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.

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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.

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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:

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STROMEFERRY TO STRATHCARRON

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

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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.

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Spot on for a floral display at a train station!

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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!

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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.

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The first of two shots of the whole monument.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

Scotland – The Museum of All Shells

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

INTRODUCTION

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

EXPLANATION

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

THE MUSEUM OF ALL SHELLS

Here to conclude the post are the shell pictures:

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Scotland – Thursday: Fort William to Glaick

The return from Fort William to Glaick.

INTRODUCTION

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. 

LEAVING FORT WILLIAM

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.

INTRODUCTION

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. 

THE LAST STAGE OF THE 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. 

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A FEW FINAL THOUGHTS
ON “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.