Oh fine, I wasnt going to post again tonight, but enough has happened today to make it worthwhile, so lets roll with it.
The day started with some amusement, and helped to convince me that Trump followers really are idiots, or some of them, anyway. It actually started positively (if you ignore the earlier sighting on news of Trump doing a fist pump at a 9/11 memorial service, for heavens sake. Is he, and his fans complete idiots? Oh fine, seemingly, but more on that shortly.
Some very efficient service from a nice man at Scotrail assistance, means Eric will not need to walk miles at Edinburgh Waverley on the return journey, assistance arranged! But then to today’s journey, and the moment of idiocy. There were at least 2 signs, that I noticed, advising customers that there were no seat reservations on the train we were catching to Aviemore, due to, as I found out later, a printer issue.
So fine, no great fuss, got in a pair of seats, ready for the journey, and then… This American elderly man, wearing, you’ve guessed it, one of the dreaded M.A.G.A hats came up to us, and told us we were in his reserved seats. I politely explained, just as the conductor was again confirming it over the speaker system, that there were no reserved seats. His only reply (and its fair to comment, there was little sign of intelligence in his eyes, was to repeat what he said, and glare at us again. After 3 rounds of this, I decided that beating my head against a Trump fan, with an IQ roughly around zero, was a pointless exercise, so we gave up, and moved.
He then started bemoaning us to his wife, who miraculously pointed out to him that we were right, there were no reserved seats on the train. Anyway, one of his other companions/family members gave a face that was clean out of Redneck territory at the whole event, best described as a gurn. No, I’m not sure his IQ was as high as zero! Thankfully, we were only going one stop, so soon left them behind, about 35 minutes later.
The steam train ride was nice. Cant remember the last time before this I rode a steam train, definitely cant remember the last time I had a meal on one! Anyway, back to Aviemore at 14.08, and… we proceeded, after about 30 minutes wait, to get the 12.23 to Inverness! No, I’m not kidding, there was an issue with a freight train further down the line, it was running about 2 and a quarter hours late! Now, in this country, when you have this much of a delay, you get a refund on your ticket. Thing is, we were actually booked on an anytime ticket, which even though that wasnt our planned train, we could have claimed for the delay. Thing is, we had reserved seats for the 14.40, so if anyone checked, we werent actually delayed, but a few minutes early.
I’ll be honest, if worthwhile money was involved (£9.75 each), and I wasnt a civil servant, I probably would have gone for it anyway. But yeah, I can just see the headlines, if anyone found out, so for that much money, no go. Honest, but stupid, probably!
Lastly, after we got back to the hotel, and Eric settled down for a nap, I took a stroll back up into Inverness, one last time, probably. I cant see me being back anytime soon, and in truth, a few years after that, I probably, quite literally wont be going anywhere, lol! Body might last a few more years, but I suspect not many, and the odds on being back up here, not good.
So, when I was a child (as I have mentioned before), I had some distant relative who lived in the Highlands, at Kinlochleven, of a very similar age to me. She, as I suspect young Scottish children do, was from time to time, dressed in her clan colors, Maclaine of Lochbuie. At one time, I had a tie, and a plaque in said colors, but both have long since passed from my ownership in time, and moves. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to look for a dress, or skirt in said clan colors, but unsurprisingly, I couldnt find any, its not one of the popular clans, shall we say? But those I did, well over £100, so definitely not going to happen, regardless! Oh fine, lets include the clan name as a category, I might get offered a skirt, or dress in clan colors, though I wont hold my breath on that!
And thats about it! Tomorrow we head back down south, end of the break. Lets just say I’m looking forward to some lay ins, in the morning, for the last 3 days of my break! Eric, please note, lol!
I dont know what to say about video suggestions, to be honest. Last Farewell, Roger Whitaker, maybe?
Edited to add the video from home
I had initially planned to save this blog for Sunday, the last day before the trip to Scotland, but I’m short of ideas, and hopefully something will inspire me before Sunday to solve the issue arising then! Lets just say Thursday isnt going to be an issue for blog material, will be a duplicate blog, and leave it at that, for now! 😉 One or two will know why, but for the rest of you, wait and see!
The last time I visited Kyle of Lochalsh would be somewhere in the early/mid 1980’s, and back then, if you wanted to visit Skye, it was go on the ferry boat, or not go at all! I actually did go on said ferry boat, the only time in my life that I have been to Skye, though that was in the 70’s, I did go back after that, but not to Skye. Now, that ferry boat is but a very distant memory, as there has been a bridge to Skye for over 20 years now, which I have only ever seen in pictures, not in person. Next Tuesday, I plan to change that fact while there.
Scotland has always seemed to have a lot of routes that required ferries to get you to your destination, and I’m not just talking to the other islands. There are a lot less now than there used to be, and most of the road ones are now gone, the only one I really know that still exists being the one to go to Cape Wrath, in the very north of Scotland.
Funnily enough, the ferry that was closest to my heart in the Scottish Highlands, was one I rarely used, which was the one crossing Loch Leven, at Ballachulish. There were 2 good reasons for this. Firstly, in summer, the traffic jams to use the ferry was legendary, and it was often quicker to drive around the Loch (about 15 miles), via Kinlochleven, than wait to get on the ferry! More principally for me at least, it was the case I had some distant relatives living in Kinlochleven, so we were heading there, so no point using the ferry! Inevitably a bridge was built, to clear the traffic jams, which opened in 1975, and that was the end of the days of the ferry. Unsurprisingly the road around the loch went from being busy much of the time, to an almost deathly hush!
The final ferry I’m going to mention is another I never got to travel, only over the stunning new bridge that replaced it. Going back to the very north of Scotland, you’ll find a tiny village named Kylesku, heading up the north west coast. Before 1984 the ‘main’ road (it was single track up until the last 40 years or so) simply ran down to the ferry at Kylesku, and you had to take the ferry to Kylestrome (or vice versa) to go any further north. Given it was the late 80’s, or early 90’s before I went up that far, with my partner at the time, the ferry was gone, and the mighty bridge stood above the water. But that night, we stayed at Kylesku, in the little hotel there, and walked down to that ferry point, where so many cars had queued over the years, and looked across the water. The next morning, we left, crossed the bridge, and headed north, and I’ve never been back. Nor am I likely to now, as to put it mildly, public transport in that corner of the world is nigh non existent!
Oh, if you still want to go on a boat, over the sea to Skye, it can still be done, from Mallaig, to Armadale, though that, like the Glenelg, to Kylerhea routes are not the famous crossings of history. No, that was Kyle of Lochalsh, to Kyleakin, a route that Bonnie Prince Charlie would now not be able to use.
No, I’m not planning to cross to Skye, its not easy to do as a non driver nowadays, and besides neither of us are in the first flush of youth (by a long stretch), and we dont have that much time anyway. So I’ll settle for walking down to where the ferry used to leave from, and look across to Skye…and remember!
Oh fine, the video is the very obvious one, really!