Scotland – The Museum of All Shells

Continuing my account of my holiday in Scotland with a piece about shells.


Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my holiday in Scotland. 


One of the things I identified early on about where we were located was the preponderance of shells of various kinds. I decided therefore to include a post dedicated to them. I took my title from a chapter in Richard Dawkins’ “Climbing Mount Improbable”.

Climbing Mount ImprobableMuseum of All Shells textMuseum of All Shells pic

As with all activities on this holiday I adhered strictly to the policy outlined in this infographic of my own creation:

Enjoy Nature Infographic


Here to conclude the post are the shell pictures:

Shell1Shell2Shell3Shell4Shell5P1000378Shells (scallop)Shell6Shell7399Shell9Shells (3+)Shell10Shell11Shells (3)Shell12Shell13Shell14Shells (many)Shells - 3Razor Clam and musselsMusselsClear WaterMussel and shell


Scotland – Thursday Supper (In Which I Perpetrate a Shameless Act of Cultural Appropriation)


Welcome to the next post in my series on my holiday in Scotland. This one is different from most of the others as it does not feature photos. The theme is Thursday’s supper, which was my signature dish.


Although the version of the dish that I am describing differs from the original by enough to count as my own, it developed from a recipe created by Madhur Jaffrey (hence the reference to cultural appropriation). Courtesy of the Fort William branch of Morrisons and a little forethought I had the following ingredients at my disposal:

  • 1 large ginger root
  • 1 head of garlic
  • eight chicken thighs
  • 70g of fresh coriander
  • 4 lemons
  • salt
  • ground coriander
  • ground cumin
  • 500g pasta

To start my mother grated half of the ginger, which I then mixed with a tiny amount of water to form the necessary paste. I assembled my mix of salt and dried spices (2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander and 1 and a half teaspoons of salt mixed together in a cup). Having consulted with my mother as to how much butter would be necessary to equate to a tablespoon of olive oil I melted the appropriate quantity in the largest available pan and having removed the skin from the chicken thighs put them on to cook. This done I squeezed the lemons, and commenced chopping the garlic. I had initially envisaged using the whole head of garlic, but by the time I had chopped half of it as finely as I am capable of I reckoned based on experience that I had sufficient chopped garlic for my purposed. Removing the chicken from the pan I added the garlic and stirred continuously for about one minute, until it picked up some colour (the stirring is because I did not want it in direct contact with the base of the pan, when it would have burned). Now it was time to add the ginger paste and stir thoroughly. Roughly chopping the fresh coriander that went in next along with the ground cumin, ground coriander and salt mix. Then the chicken went back in, followed by the addition of the lemon juice and a tiny amount of water. Then once this mixture had started to bubble I put the lid on, turned the heat right down and had a fifteen minute lull, which I used to attend to some of the cleaning. Having tested the mixture at that point and found it good it was time to attend to the pasta. 15 minutes later the meal was ready. I started by serving each person two thighs and some pasta, over which I drizzled some of the juices (more generously for my father who is not that keen on pasta than for the rest of us). 

Everything got eaten, including the two bonus thighs.

The reason for the imprecision in the description of the cooking is that I know from experience when I have enough of any given ingredient. The biggest difference between my version and the Jaffrey original in that that one incliudes chili and cayenne, neither of which I use, because while I like strongly flavoured food, as this was, I do not like to blow the roof off my mouth. Also she recommends much more oil than I use.

Scotland – Thursday: Fort William to Glaick

The return from Fort William to Glaick.


Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about a Scottish holiday. Having finished the account of my experience with The Jacobite, this penultimate post for the Thursday deals with the return journey from Fort William to Glaick. 


Before heading back to the cottage in Glaick where were staying we visited the Morrison’s in Fort William to stock up on food, including some ingredients which feature in the next post in this series. That done we headed off back towards Glaick, me with the camera at the ready.

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Scotland – Thursday: Farewell to the Jacobite

The final stages of The Jacobite jnourney.


Welcome to the latest post in the series I am doing about my holiday in ScotlandThis post brings to an end the account of The Jacobite train journey. 


Once we were able to move on from Glenfinnan we encountered no further hitches and the train chugged into Fort William at 3:55PM, within a few minutes of the stated return time. 

GV2GV3GV41175117711851188119311951196120012011202Island and boatlock gates1205Loco at rear of trainFarewell to the Jacobite


This is unquestionably a very fine train journey, and to experience it on a steam train added something to it. However, I have to disagree with the ‘selectorate’ who named it The World’s Greatest Train Journey. Inlandsbanan in Sweden is one that I rate ahead of it, the other section of this same railway, Glasgow to Fort William, is as impressive in its own way, sweeping across a moor that sees it at one point seven miles from the nearest road, and as you will be seeing later in this series of posts the rail route from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness is pretty special as well. 


Scotland – Thursday – Mallaig to Glenfinnan

The account of the first half of the return journey on The Jacobite.


Welcome to the next post in my series about my holiday in Scotland. This post commences the coverage of the return journey from Mallaig to Fort William on The Jacobite.


Why am I covering the return journey? Because although I was still on the non-ideal side of the train, rge fact that the locomotive runs around the train to be attached to the opposite end did mean that I was facing the direction of travel for the return journey, which meant that I got more and better photos than on the outward run.


Although we would not be stopping for long enough for anyone to disembark on this return journey we would have a stop at Glenfinnan to allow a regular service to pass us. Thus, Glenfinnan once again forms a logical break poiny.


Glenfinnan Viaduct through the window.


Scotland – Thursday: Mallaig

The stop in Mallaig.


Welcome to the next post in my series about my holiday in ScotlandThis post covers the hour and a half at Mallaig that The Jacobite allows. 


Naturally, I commenced proceedings at Mallaig by taking the opportunity to get some photos of the train:

JacobiteIIThe JacobiteMHCnumberFront of LocoCabLogoLoco2

I had noticed the presence of a Heritage Centre close to the station. Unfortunately such is the extent to which Mallaig has embraced its status as a tourist trap that they were charging for admission, so I got nor further than the gift shop.

Jacobite train long viewJacobite Loco 3Jacobie Loco3Jacobite Loco2Skye + Wester RossJacobite LocoMHC2MHC1

The rain eased sufficiently for me to explore a little further.

Herring GullwagtailSea view

While on the train I had purchased a souvenir route map. In Mallaig I also bought a pictorial map of Skye and Wester Ross:

The Iron Road to the Isles
The route map.
Skye and Wester Ross 2
Two pics of the pictorial map.

Skye and Wester Ross


Scotland – Thursday: Glenfinnan to Mallaig

An account of the Glenfinnan-Mallaig section of The Jacobite journey.


Welcome to another post in my series about my holiday in Scotland. This post covers the second half of the outward journey on The Jacobite, ending with our arrival at Mallaig. 


Although we did not stop between Glenfinnan and Mallaig, two stops before Mallaig on the regular route is Arisaig which has the distinction of being the westernmost mainline railway station on the British mainland. 

107210751076107710781079108010811082108310841085108610871088bird1090109110921093109410951097109810991100110111021103Arisaig sign


The finish of the journey provided few photo opportunities, although travelling back the other way (a journey I had previously made on a regular train in 1993) made up for this.


The locomotive at Mallaig station – there are more shots of this to come in my next post, this being an aperitif.