Scotland – Homeward Bound: Lochluichart to Inverness

Continuing the account of the homeward journey, taking the story up to Inverness (Inbhir Nis).

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next post in my series about my holiday in Scotland. This post continues the story of the journey home picking up where it’s predecessor left off at Lochluichart.

LOCHLUICHART TO INVERNESS

This part of the journey is not as impressive as its predecessor, but I did still get some good pictures.

14901491149214931496149714981499150115021503150715081509151015121513151415151516151715181519

 

Scotland – Homeward Bound 1: Ferry Cottage to Lochluichart

Starting the account of my homeward journey. This post covers the first part of the Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness rail route.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my Scottish holiday. This post starts the account of the homeward journey. We are looking at Saturday June 3rd for the record.

WHY LOCHLUICHART?

Those who recall my post Getting There, will remember that on the outbound journey I had to travel on a replacement bus rather than the railway line for the Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh leg of the journey. For the return journey I was on the train, and the railway route is far more scenic than the road route. Thus, this section of the journey warrants more than one post. As for the actual selection of a break off point, Lochluichart stuck in my mind both because of its name and because a large party of students (school or FE I think) who had clearly been on a field trip in the region boarded the train at that station. 

DEPARTURE

I had set the alarm on my phone, but being me actually did not need it, waking up before it was due to go off. Transferring sandwiches and bottle of cooled tap water from the fridge to the bag I intended to keep with me at all times accomplished, my parents were ready to give me a lift down to the station at Kyle of Lochalsh, and we arrived there nice and early. I had been assigned an aisle seat, but the train not being over full (this was a  train leaving at 6:11 on a Saturday morning after all) I moved to a vacant window seat later in the journey. As far as Plockton we were of course in an area that I had seen a lot of over the previous week, but the view from the train gave a different perspective.

1361136213631364136513661367136813691370137113721373137413751376Plockton

PLOCKTON TO STROMEFERRY

As one of the photos in my post about Plockton shows, Stromeferry was the original western terminus of the line when it opened in 1870, the Kyle end of the line only opening in 1897. The segment of line between Plockton and Stromeferry is very scenic indeed:

137813791381138213831384138513861387138813891391139413961397139813991400140114021403140414051406

STROMEFERRY TO STRATHCARRON

From Stromeferry the line heads to Strathcarron, the largest settlement in the vicinity of Loch Carron.

1407140814091410141114121413141414151416141714181419142014221423142414251426142714281430143114331434143514361437143814391440

STRATHCARRON TO ACHNASHEEN

After Strathcarron, through which we passed on the road route to Applecross – see these posts:

the railway route diverges from anything previously covered as it head rounds to Achnasheen.

144114421443144414451446144714481449145114521454145514561457145814591460146114621463146414651466146714681469

1470
Spot on for a floral display at a train station!

1471

ACHNASHEEN TO LOCHLUICHART

As we approached Lochluichart I was amazed to see the platform of this tiny station in the middle of nowhere looking crowded. It turned out that it was the student group referred to in the preamble to this post, and the rest of the journey to Inverness was rather less quiet than hitherto!

14721473147414751476147714781479148014811482148314841485148614871488

 

Scotland: Craft Ale From The Isle Of Skye

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to another installment in the series about my Scottish holiday. This post deals with one particular aspect of the whole week. 

THE ISLE OF SKYE BREWERY PRODUCTS

My first encounter with the products of this local brewery which specialises in  craft ales was on the Saturday, at Hector’s Bothy. I also sampled some of their product at lunch on the Isle of Skye on the Tuesday, and a selection box of four bottles from Kyle of Lochalsh Co-op enabled my to broaden the range of my sampling. All these ales have a strength of between 4 and 4.5%. Here now are my findings about each the ales I drank:

  1. Skye Blaven (blue label on bottle): a perfectly fine craft ale, albeit the least impressive of this particular selection.
  2. Skye Red – a rich, full flavoured drink. The fact that I rated this one third of the four is credit to the top two, not in any way discredit to this one.
  3. Skye Gold – a heavily hopped ale which also features a highly unusual ingredient – porridge oats. This is a delicious drink, and it would require something special to keep this one out of the top spot, but fortunately for me this brewery has something else that is not merely special but absolutely unique…
  4. Skye Black – a unique craft ale, because it contains oatmeal. The result of the combination of the oatmeal with malted barley, hops, yeast and water is a truly remarkable drink. Imagine the finest stout you have ever encountered and then ramp the quality up from that and you get somewhere close to just how good this drink is.

595

SG1
At some stage in this series I will be producing a post about the craft ales produced by the Skye brewery.

Scotland – Friday: The Paddle Steamer

A post dedicated to the world’s last ocean going paddle steamer.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to another installment in my series about my holiday in Scotland. The steamer has been mentioned/ shown in various previous posts (Setting the Scene, The Museum of All Shells and Friday Overview) but this one is dedicated to it. There are a few other pictures as well.

THE STEAMER

Alighting from my parents camper van in Kyle of Lochalsh I was just too late to get the whole steamer in shot, but I did get this picture:

Steamer2

I had not expected to see it again, not knowing the route it would be taking, but that evening it passed by Ferry Cottage, all be it on the opposite side of Loch Alsh, so I was able to get plenty more pictures of it.

Steamer2Steamer3Steamer4Steamer5Steamer 6

SOME EXTRA PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are the remaining photographs from Friday evening.

1350
Old map on wall of Ferry Cottage

1355135613571360

THE MEME

Enjoy Nature Infographic

 

Scotland – Friday: The Murchison Monument and Balmacara Square.

An account of the Murchison Monument and our second visit to Balmacara Square.

INTRODUCTION

This post continues the coverage of the Friday of my Scottish holiday. 

THE MURCHISON MONUMENT

This is not in honour of geologist Roderick Murchison, who has various things including a river in Western Australia named in his honour, although it was originally erected by him, in 1853. It is instead a monument to someone who fought on the side of the Jacobites and (probably because he was not significant enough for the other side to be that interested in dealing with him) held the land on behalf of his laird. 

The monument is at the end of small, midge infested path, and is quite impressive.

Murchison Monument1
The first of two shots of the whole monument.

Murchison Monument2

Murchison Monument Inscription
The first of two close-ups of the inscription.

Murchison Monument Inscription 2

BALMACARA SQUARE REVISITED

The first time we walked around Balmacara Square nothing was open, so it was good to go back when things were open. There is a coffee shop there, which we visited. Even in this tiny place in the middle of nowhere they had raised over £500 at their Macmillan Coffee Morning. There is also a photographic gallery, run by photographer Iain Turnbull. My mother purchased one of his prints.

13481349

 

Scotland – Friday Overview

Continuing the account of my Scottish holiday.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the next installment in my series about my holiday in Scotland. It is now three weeks since I returned, and I edited the last of the photos from said holiday only yesterday. This post is the first of three that relate specifically to Friday, there will also be several about the homeward journey and a special post about craft ales from The Isle of Skye Brewery. 

FRIDAY MORNING

Someone from the National Trust called round to check on the cottage’s water systems. It was from them that we learned of the presence in the area that day of the world’s last remaining ocean going paddle steamer. Once they had finished we went into Kyle of Lochalsh, and while my parents went to check in on emails I went out with my camera.

Steamer2
This was my first shot at the steamer – as you will see in a later post there were many more to come.

1329Think BikeBridge1332133313341335133613371338133913401341Tarka's IsleCastle Moil

FRIDAY AFTERNOON

After lunch I decided to do as much packing as I sensibly could given how early my train would be leaving on the morrow. This process brought to light the fact that my train tickets were no longer in my possession. All attempts to locate them and/or secure replacements having failed, the woman at the ticket office in Kyle of Lochalsh did her best for us by providing tickets for each part of the route, which reduced the cost of the tickets to a still painful £117.60. On the way back from this unwanted excursion we visited the Murchison Monument and revisited Balmacara Square, which will feature in the next post in the series. 

FRIDAY EVENING

The steamer came past Ferry Cottage, enabling me to get some more photos of it (post coming up about that). After supper it was time for bed, bearing in mind the very early start.

Autistic Pride Award: Laina’s 500th Post

My response to Laina’s magnificent 500th blog post “The Autistic Pride Award [500th Post]”.

INTRODUCTION

Laina over at thesilentwaveblog decided to do something special for her 500th blog post. The result was an absolutely splendid post, and this is my response to it. 

THE AUTISTIC PRIDE AWARD –
LAINA’S BRIEF

This section sets the scene for the remainder of the post. First here is Laina’s brief:

  1. Whoever wants to participate, participate.  I’m focusing primarily on Asperger’s/autistic people, of course, but anyone who supports autistic people and neurodiversity is welcome!
  2. Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea 
  3. Do link back to this blog as the original creator.
  4. Describe a bit about yourself.  However much you feel comfortable saying.
  5. List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
  6. If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.  
  7. If you’re not on the spectrum yourself, you can use this opportunity to describe a loved one in your life who is and what makes them awesome, or you can explain what autism means to you and why you think the world would be a better place if it were to be more embracing of autism.
  8. (Of course, you can answer more than one!  For example, someone who is autistic can also describe how much better the world would be if it was more open toward autism.)
  9. If you like, you can list other blogs or resources that are autism/neurodiversity-positive, to give them a shout-out, too.

The fact that I am writing this post demonstrates that I wish to participate (1). I was inspired the source article itself which deals with (2) and (3), and I take this opportunity to urge you not just to read Laina’s 500th post in full but also to explore her blog in more detail. Thus, the rest of this post will start with point (4) of this list.

ABOUT ME

This is my WordPress profile statement:

I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk and #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.

You can learn more about me by reading more posts on this blog, and the rest of this post. I will include photos that relate to some of my interests, and links to other blogs the relate to my interests.

SPECIAL INTERESTS

  • Photography – as many of the posts on this blog show. There are many photographic blogs that I could link to here, but I have chosen just one, Cindy Knoke’s, from which I choose to feature a post titled “Gorgeous Greece & Her Beautiful Islands“. Here is one of my fairly recent photographs:
    Castle
  • Public Transport – I am the creator of a London Transport themed website, www.londontu.be, I have blogged here about many journeys, including Inlandsbanan and The Jacobite, while the photograph above was taken through the window of a moving train. Here is a public transport related photo to end this segment:
    Farewell to the Jacobite
  • Nature and Natural History – these linked interests are lifelong. For a natural history blog I thoroughly recommend whyevolutionistrue, while for good stuff about nature I recommend Anna’s blogthis is one of her posts about nature. Here is a recent bee picture to end another segment:
    P1020327
  • Cricket – I am listening to commentary on the second T20 between England and South Africa as I write this.
  • Autism – kind of obvious given that I am both autistic and involved in an autism charity. Before moving on to autism related blogs I offer a link to the National Autistic Society website (it is a very useful resource). I have of course already linked to Laina’s blog at the very start of this post, and I also recommend strongly theunabashedautist, americanbadassadvocates and theinkedautist.  Having (including the opening link to Laina’s blog) given shout outs to four blogs by #actuallyautistic folk I finish with a link to Autism Mom.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BEING AUTISTIC

Many of my greatest strengths, such as my computer skills, my attention to detail, my skill at taking and editing photos are a direct product of my autism. Autism is part of who I am, and never in the ten and a half years since I was diagnosed have I wished that I was not autistic. I conclude this post with a photographic collage that I used in an auction alert email sent out yesterday:

1052 composite
I envisaged something like this when I started assembling this image – along the top we have the full lot followed by close-ups of both faces of the medal, while along the bottom we have photographs of the engraving around the rim.