Archive from September, 2012
Sep 10, 2012 - Fort William    No Comments

Jacobite train

All aboard 10-15 the whistle is about to go for our train journey from Fort William to Mallaig August 30 2012.

LNER Peppercorn Class K1 2-6-0 No. 62005 "Lord of the Isles" ; a 1940s development of the K4 design.

62005 “Lord of the Isles”

After my exploits yesterday on Ben Nevis it was a more relaxing day today aboard the Jacobite. This journey takes us through the countryside of Lochaber to Mallaig about 44 miles north the gateway to the Western Isles of Scotland. Just for the boys the train I was on LNER Peppercorn Class K1 2-6-0 No. 62005 “Lord of the Isles” ; a 1940s development of the K4 design.

A great opportunity to see a steam train in service which I had not really seen – yes my train spotting days at Water Orton (Warwickshire) during the holidays. Sadly it was a rather a wet day compared with the sunshine of yesterday but that did not detract from the relaxing journey ahead. Settled into my seat and off we went wending our way to the Glenfinnan Viaduct made famous recently in Harry Potter films.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Glenfinnan Viaduct

A huge exodus of the train at the main station for Glenfinnan to look at the museum a stopover of about twenty minutes and then it was off again full steam ahead for Mallaig. The countryside opened out as we travel along the shoreline arriving in Mallaig just before 1pm and time for lunch.

The journey back was all aboard prompt at 14:10 and full coaches all around. Clearly I was wanting a visual shot of the train on the viaduct but the windows were difficult to open and the doors were forever full of others looking to get shots. Well I managed to blag my way after we left Glenfinnan and manages to get a sequence with the train actually on the viaduct albeit it with rain on the lens. I managed some other shots along the carriages as well.

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Sep 3, 2012 - Munros    No Comments

I am not 40 any more but think I am?

Let me explain. When Margaret is away at her respite Leuchie House in North Berwick twice a year we have this discussion of what will you do while I am away. A 2009 I had this idea I would go to Spain and do a weeks mountain bike riding, off I went and came back with very bruised ribs I felt I could have managed a marathon a day rather than peddling up mountain sides – it was tough. I could of course do some decorating or other mundane task in the house of which there are plenty. Well I decided to go up to Fort William for a few days an eye on the weather forecast and the only good day was Thursday 30 August – book up hotel and a seat on the Jacobite Rail journey to Mallaig on the Friday.

plateau

It was my intention to tackle Ben Nevis (Munro 1) height 4,409 with the intention of only going up so far especially as the Ben is usually in cloud most of the year even when it is fine weather all round. Set off in lovely morning sunshine around 0915 along with hundreds of others any later and the car park would have been full. My initial progress was quite good and made half way in about 2 hours over some rocky ground. The weather was still fine and after taking video and pictures I decided to press on higher up from here on as the climb got steeper the progress was much slower with the top never in sight and a little cramp creeping in I had a stop and assessed my options which were not looking good as this point and I had been climbing for 4 hours.

The number of people on the climb made it very friendly and seeing my distress there was plenty of advice, take a rest drink more, one guy said I would need another hour at least to the top, whereMe at top of Ben Nevis another gave me some advice to take my time feet as flat as possible and rest a while at the top. Never being a quitter or maybe this was foolish as the getting down was likely to be harder I press on and made the top in nearly 6 hours. The clear day with just rolling high cloud made the climb worthwhile, views as afar as Skye, Rhum and Eigg to the west, Schiehallion to the east, Grampians to the north east and Glencoe to the south all visible all day.

A phone call to Matthew to tell him I had made it and to text his brothers and also to ring my hotel and let them know that I was not going to make my schedule of 1800 return. A good break was taken but off I set around 1630 progress was slow especially after the stop but I ploughed on watch about half way down a helivac taking place higher up, you be surprised how many said they thought it was me but no I was in one piece putting each foot for the dreaded steps from half way down to come. A break at the loch was called for before the steps the time was now about 1800 so it was going to take another couple of hours at my pace as this section with wobble knees and legs was going to be tough. The visitor centre was in sight and arrived at about 2030 nearly twelve hours after I started but completed the highest climb in the UK.

I bet you are now interested in my injuries because they have not been mentioned so far Рcramp was an intermittent problem, I stumbled on the steps which bruised the right knee Рstubbed my right foot with the large toe taking the force and a toe on my right foot now sore likely blister so apart from that  all in one piece. However after a nights rest the legs refused to move very quickly and the heel of my left foot was very painful to put weight on but soldier on as you do walking stick was brought into play to allow me to get around as the train and breakfast where next.

So the brain said I could do it but the body is a different matter – I am not 40 any more but I think I am. just a few of the many pictures

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Jacobite Train to come