2019 Aug/Sept. South Africa, Scotland, Switzerland, Singapore travel blog

Jacobite Steam Train/Hogwarts Express

Neptune’s Steps taken from train

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan monument of a Highlander

Day 23. Thursday. 5/9/2019. Ballachulish to Inverness.

The day looks promising weather wise. Lazy morning then after checkout we went to Fort William and had a couple of hours to fill in there due to afternoon departure of train. The morning train was booked out which was unfortunate, as it meant that we didn’t arrive at Inverness till 8pm after a long day, and then we had to have dinner.

We travelled on the Jacobite Steam Train, made famous by its appearance in Harry Potter films. We climbed into the mountains which are spectacular, especially in the sunshine, ran beside lochs, crossed the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct which is one of the most iconic engineering works on the British railway network, also in Harry Potter films, and dropped down to the sea’s edge at Mallaig. We transferred to our bus which took us to Inverness, stopping at the Glenfinnan Monument of a Highlander, and where we could also see the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and passing a monument representing Commandos who trained at Spean Bridge during WW11. It was a good 2+ hour drive but our driver Angus continued to relate stories of Scottish history told in such a personal and proud way. It was wonderful listening to him, and raised so many questions, but that will need Mr. Google, because we said goodbye to him when he unloaded us and our luggage at Inverness. Angus is in his 30’s, was born on Skye and remained there until he was sent to boarding school at age 12 for High School education, drove his father’s taxi when he was 19 (father was a Crofter), sent to Glasgow to get a bus licence and married at the beginning of the year. He plays the bagpipes as did his father, and his mother spoke Gaelic. I commented to him that it sounds like he had a great childhood, and he readily agreed. Such a nice young man.

Something I’ve never done before, but I checked that our luggage was all in the hotel waiting to go to our rooms while we had dinner. Well, mine didn’t arrive. Bit of a heart stopper when we discovered it missing after dinner, so back down to Reception to report it and to say that I’d seen it off the bus. ‘Wait back in your room’ said the Supervisor. 20-30 mins later it was brought to our room, but it was a bit scary!

We’ve seen pink/mauve round bales of hay in among big piles and were told that you pay extra for the colours and it goes to cancer. Some bales have smiley faces on them also, and that’s a further payment which also goes to cancer. Great fund raiser!

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