We had noticed the presence of a footpath to Kyle of Lochalsh, and I was particularly keen to sample it. I was not expecting the walk to pose too many problems as the distance was only three miles. However, I had seriously underestimated the difficulty of the terrain. Thus it was that after a brief period in Kyle of Lochalsh we got a bus back.
LEAVING THE ROAD – WOODS
The footpath began by climbing up through some woodland, before emerging into the open.
ON THE HEIGHTS – TO SCALPAIDH BURN
The middle point of the walk, until we crossed a footpath running between Scalpaidh Bay and Loch Scalpaidh, took place high above Lochalsh. This junction came at the crossing point of the only major waterway on the route (there were numberless minor waterways cutting the path at various points – this is northwest Scotland we are talking about!).
THE DESCENT INTO KYLE OF LOCHALSH
The final stages of the footpath were on a steady downhill gradient as we approached Kyle of Lochalsh. The whole walk took two hours due to the difficult terrain (there were points when the path was almost indistinguishable from what as around it). We walked it on a warm day during what had been by the standards of the area a dry period.
LUNCH AND THE RETURN
We had lunch at Hector’s Bothy, also making use of their wifi before getting a bus back. This bus service runs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and although its first scheduled stop is Balmacara Square they acceded to a request that we be dropped at the turn off leading to Glaick (pronounced Glike) wherein Ferry Cottage is located. The fares were remarkably cheap at £1.20 each (central King’s Lynn to the Hospital costs more for example). The bus is the smallest vehicle I have ever seen running what purports to be a public bus route:
A combination of an account of the booking of train tickets for a trip to Scotland and an expose of the sheer craziness of British public transport.
My parents have booked a house near Kyle of Lochalsh for a week which includes my birthday. As a birthday present I have been given the wherewithal to purchase train tickets for the journey, which happens to feature one of the most scenic routes anywhere in Britain. To set the scene for the rest of this post and give you a little test here is a photograph of my railway tickets for the journey:
BOOKING THE JOURNEY
Those of you who follow this blog with due care and attention will be aware that for some years I have been resident in King’s Lynn for some years, and had I moved I would certainly have mentioned it here. Why then is the ticket above booked as a return from Peterborough to Kyle of Lochalsh and not from King’s Lynn?
The following screenshots will expose the reason for this and the utter craziness and illogic of pricing on British public transport.
I will actually be travelling the King’s Lynn – Peterborough and its reverse route on the First Eastern Counties X1 bus, which will set me back £6.40 each way or £12.80 in total, making a saving of approximately £47 as compared to the all-in-one booking from King’s Lynn.
You might think that having cut through all the BS re fares and booked the tickets the daftness would end there, but you would be wrong…
COLLECTING THE TICKETS
The booking accomplished yesterday evening, this morning I set about collecting the tickets. First, as a precaution since I would be needing to keep them safe for a long while I searched out a receptacle of suitable size, shape and robustness to put them in, locating this pretty swiftly:
Having thus equipped myself it was off to the library to print off some booking information that I was going to need to collect the tickets.
Then with the information printed it was on to the station to pick up the tickets. This is usually done via ticket machines, of which King’s Lynn station has two. Here are pictures of both machines, showing precisely why I could not use them…
I fully understand the desirability and indeed the need to replace old ticket machines with new, but why take both out of service simultaneously? Why not take one out of service and keep the other operational until the first new machine is ready, then take the second old machine out of service and replace it, thereby keeping at least one machine operational the whole time?
Fortunately, there were staff present, and I was able to get my tickets printed at a ticket office. While waiting I bagged an image of the station plaque:
Although the process took longer and entailed more frustration than I had anticipated, I have the tickets and other info safely stowed, and am looking forward to my visit to the wilds of northwest Scotland. It will not be my first visit to Kyle of Lochalsh – back in 1993, before the opening of a swanky new toll-bridge and consequent removal of ferry services to maximise said bridge’s profits, I passed through Kyle en route to the Isle of Skye, returning to the mainland by way of the southern ferry crossing to Mallaig.
I conclude this post with two more photos, one showing all the printed material I have for the journey, and the other ending our journey back where we started (a lot more straightforward in a blog than in a journey on British public transport!)
More spring photographs following on my last post, likewise some appropriately themed music, some stuff about public transport, some autism related links and some other links.
This is a follow up to my previous post, but after the photographs I will be sharing a number of links as well. Here is some appropriately themed music once again – Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”.
Immediatelty I had put up the previous post I set off on another walk. Although I did not manage to capture any more butterflies I did get plenty of splendid pictures.
AN EXAMPLE OF THE DAFTNESS OF BRITISH PUBLIC TRANSPORT
This too has some photographic content. I made passing mention of a daft situation involving public transport in Norfolk in my post“Network Autism”, and now I am following up on it.
Although the routes taken differ, the distance covered and the time taken to cover that distance are similar, and therefore so too is the fuel consumption of the bus. The First Eastern Counties X1 route is available almost the whole day, whereas the Stagecoach X29 route is more restricted timewise, with the first bus leaving King’s Lynn at 6:28AM and the last return bus leaving Norwich at 5:20PM (and the other way around the restriction is greater because the depot is in King’s Lynn.
This is the sort of nonsensical situation that can arise when public transport is in the hands of greedy profiteers rather than being publicly run and publicly accountable. There is no rational justification for the same journey costing twice as much by one route as by another like this.
For today this section divides into two subsections, starting with…
AUTISM RELATED STUFF
I start with a link to a post on Mamautistic, titled “Not an Excuse”. This post is liberally laced with links of its own that I recommend you to follow up. Click on the picture below to read it in full.
My remaining links in this section are to posts on thesilentwaveblog.First up is a post titled “Asperger’s / autism may not be a disability only (but we *do* need to treat it like one)”. Please click on the image below to read this post, which is detailed and well reasoned, in full.
Next comes a post with the title “When an “official” Asperger’s / autism diagnosis is just a formality”. This one is is super-detailed but very well worth the read. Once again, there is an image that I can use as the link.
Finally, to end this subsection, although I reblogged the magnificent ‘put the boot on the other foot’ type post “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Neurotypicality: a handbook on the rest of the world for Asperger’s / autistic people” earlier today it is so good that I feel another plug is in order, so if you have not already read it please click on the image below to rectify the omission.
I start this section with a horrifying story from The Canaryabout how some girls in Britain in 2017 are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary products. Click the image below to read this piece.
My last two links go together – not only are both to pieces on Skwawkbox, both are to pieces about Tory election fraud:
The first one is titled “#TORYELECTIONFRAUD JUSTICE REQUIRES FULL RECKONING, NOT #MCKINLAY AS SACRIFICIAL LAMB” – as usual I am using an image as the actual link.
The second piece deals with a ‘tactic’ that the Tories are using as a supposed form of defence, and is titled “TORY ‘NO INTENT’ #ELECTIONFRAUD CONFIDENCE IS A NON-STARTER. HERE’S WHY”. Click the image below to read the piece.
Some public transport related links, accessible by means of appropriately themed photographs.
Several of the interesting pieces I wish to share with you are related to public transport (no great surprise there). In the case of each piece that I share the link will be in the form of a picture that appears I have introduced the subject matter. In this particular post all the pictures I am using are appropriately themed ones that I have taken myself (if the post I am linking to is illustrated I will use a picture from there). More detail about where these particular pictures come from will appear in my next post.
BUSES IN CRISIS
This section links to a post from the Campaign for Better Transportdetailing the way in which British bus services have been slashed since 2010. If you are ready to read the full, grim detail, please click on the picture below, which features a 505 bus on it’s way into Lynn from Spalding.
My second link, accessed by clicking the picture of the bus depot that ends this section, is to the Campaign for Better Transport’s response to the House of Commons Bus Services Bill Public Bill Committee.
Given the scandalous state of Britain’s railways, it is not terribly surprising to read the horrors contained in David Hencke’s latest piece, titled “Why millions of passengers will face years of overcrowded trains because of a staggering electrification blunder”, which you can read in full by clicking the picture of a train framed by willow trees.
In addition to this blog I am the creator of the website www.londontu.beon which I today posted a piece about Greenwich. To see this piece please click on the map section below:
My gloss on an excellent little fact sheet produced by George Monbiot.
This post was inspired by a fact sheet created by environmental campaigner George Monbiot which you can read in full by clicking the screenshot below:
This short piece outlines some very valid objections to the over-use of cars. However, the pollution aspect of the problems caused by the over-use of cars (which in this country has reached scandalous proportions) is more properly a criticism of the fact that the vast majority of cars continued to be powered by the infernal combustion engine. There are many non-polluting means of powering vehicles available these days. Addressing the pollution issue however does not address the problem of congestion. To avoid misunderstandings: Monbiot’s fact sheet is bang on the money, and everyone should read it in full.
As an example of my own approach as a non-driver, here courtesy of google maps is a suggested walking route from my home to the scout hut on Beulah Street, which I quite often have cause to visit:
My usual choices of walking routes are actually longer than those recommended above because I prefer routes that spend less time around roads even if they take longer (see this postfrom yesterday for examples of two routes that I used on Saturday). There is a bus route that I could use if so inclined – there is a stop close to the Wootton Road end of Beulah Street but for a journey of this distance I positively prefer Shanks’ pony.
However, I freely acknowledge that while cars are over-used for short journeys there is another reason why there are far too many cars on British roads, and that leads to the next section of this post…
BUSES AND TRAINS
British public transport is in a shocking state. There are many people, particularly in rural areas, who have no public transport options available to them, and even where there are public transport options they are overpriced and unreliable. It is only by creating a public transport system that works for those who use it that we can seriously reduce car usage.
I always like to include photographs in my posts, so to conclude this little post here is a shot of the front of King’s Lynn railway station: