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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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:
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  • 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:

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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.

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. 

 

Scotland – Thursday – Mallaig to Glenfinnan

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

INTRODUCTION

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.

EXPLANATION

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.

MALLAIG TO GLENFINNAN

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.

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Glenfinnan Viaduct through the window.

 

Scotland – Thursday: Mallaig

The stop in Mallaig.

INTRODUCTION

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. 

MALLAIG

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

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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.

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

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

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The route map.
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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.

INTRODUCTION

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. 

HEADING WEST

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. 

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ARISAIG – MALLAIG

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.

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