The final post in the series about my holiday in scenic Scotland.
Welcome to this concluding post in my series about a Scottish holiday. In this post we deal with the last stages of my journey home.
AVIEMORE AND THE CAIRNGORMS
Aviemore is the first station the train calls at on its way out of Inverness towards Edinburgh, and also marks one edge of The Cairngorms national park.
DALWHINNIE TO BLAIR ATHOLL
The next stage of the route takes us to Blair Atholl.
BLAIR ATHOLL TO MARKINCH
Markinch is situated two miles from Glenrothes town centre, a fact that is advertised on the platforms.
MARKINCH TO EDINBURGH
The train arrived at Edinburgh so promptly that had it been allowed by my ticket I would have had time to get the 13:30 to London instead of the 14:00. As it was I was glad to be able to take things a bit easy at this interchange, the corresponding one on my journey up having been a little close for comfort.
THE CLOSING STAGES
I located my seat on the express train that would carry me to Peterborough and it was in a designated quiet coach. Unfortunately there was a large family who had been assigned seats in that coach and who did not really understand quietness, so it was not as relaxing a segment of the journey as it should have been. A minor frustration at Peterborough when I stepped out of the station exit just as an X1 was heading off towards King’s Lynn. This half-hour delay notwithstanding I got home dead on 8PM.
Post 2 in my Scottish holiday series (there will be more later today). This post describes the journey there.
Welcome to the second post in my series about my holidayin Scotland. This one focusses on the first day, when I travelled from King’s Lynn to Kyle of Lochalsh and then walked across the bridge to Isle of Skye, where I stayed the night at Saucy Mary’s Lodge.
THE FIRST LEG OF THE JOURNEY-
KING’S LYNN TO PETERBOROUGH
With my envisaged train for the next leg of the journey leaving Peterborough at 9:46 and the bus journey reckoned at 1 hour 20 minutes or thereabouts I decided that prudence dictated being on the 7:34 rather than the 8:04. The journey ran fairly smoothly and I arrived at Peterborough Train Station at just after nine o’clock.
PETERBOROUGH TO EDINBURGH
The 0:946 to Edinburgh Waverley, scheduled to get there at 13:20 arrived in time and was not absolutely packed, although it is clearly a popular service. I got a window seat in a designated quiet coach (both parts of which represent significant bonuses to me – the latter even more than the former). This was the start of the portion of the journey that is not so familiar to me, and also therefore represented the point at which the camera got pressed into service…
EDINBURGH TO INVERNESS
A slightly late arrival at Edinburgh meant that I had to move fairly fast to make the change to the train to Inverness. A combination of the fact that some idiot at Scotrail (part of Abellio, the profit-making subsidiary of the Dutch state railway company) had deemed three carriages sufficient for this train and the heat of the day made this leg of the journey like travelling in an oven on wheels. However, neither of these factors kept me from taking photographs…
INVERNESS TO KYLE OF LOCHALSH
Arriving at Inverness over half an hour late I then discovered that the train I had expected to catch to Kyle of Lochalsh was being replaced by a bus service. There were two different buses, and there was some confusion of who should go on which, but we set off at the appropriate time. I continued to ply my camera…
THE WALK TO SKYE
It was still pretty hot even at 8:45PM as I began the walk to Saucy Mary’s, which according to my instructions was 2.5 miles. The reason for this is that the bridge to Skye actually starts a good half-mile beyond Kyle of Lochalsh, is itself a longish crossing and then on the other side one has to go back along the Skye shore to Kyleakin which is directly opposite Kyle of Lochalsh. I arrived at Saucy Mary’s thoroughly exhausted and went straight to reception. There I was greeted with news that I had been relocated from my dorm bed to a room normally used only by staff. The reason for this was that the people who had booked the other four beds had revealed at the 11th hour, having not mentioned it while booking, that they were travelling with two babies, and the manager had decided that it was unacceptable to put me in the dorm room in that circumstance (absolutely right, and thankyou very much).
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!)