Thursday 13 October 2022

Dateline Tuesday 11th October

High Highlands; Search for a Station 

Tuesday was less than ideal, weather-wise, but a hearty breakfast, not huge but huger than routinely enjoyed back at fbb mansions, was enjoyed in the VERY well organised dining room. 

There were FOUR coach parties in residence and each group was summoned at a staggered fixed time under the name of their driver. The fbb's were "Steven's Group" and noshed at nine with a departure at ten.

Steven was the third driver of the week and, as befits a Scottish holiday, came from Durham with a strong Durham accent. (N.B. the fbb's had, so far, not met any staff with a Scottish accent except Colleen, driver No 2!!)

Coaches were parked on-site ...

,,, and circled round to load their happy campers at the imposing front door.
Tuesday's excursion was north alongside Loch Lomond, further north to Crianlarich then across he southern edge of Rannoch Moor and on to Fort William.
Steven regaled his passengers with the usual anecdotes of Scots slaughtering the English, The English slaughtering the Scots and, more usually, The Scots slaughtering the Scots. It was not at all hard to imagine such "delights" up on the moors. 

But there is a problem. Pictures of hills, valleys, mountains and lochs often lose their impact because it is hard to judge the scale of what you might be looking at.

Here, for example, is part of the view from the fbb's table in the dining room.

No doubt our eagle-eyed readers can spot the train? Along that hillside runs the West Highland line between Helensbrough Upper and Tarbet. And in the picture below is a train traveling from south to north. 
Try again with a bit of help!
The train is just above the tree-line and the hill is BIG! So a picture like this below on the ascent to the pass of Glencoe ... 

... shows a Ben much much higher than the Hotel view's hillside!
Even a picture with cloud dispersed still leaves the actual size unfathomable. But they mountains are, indeed BIG!
This on-line picture with the tiny cottage begins to give a clue as to the immensity of Glencoe.
That tale of the "Massacre of Glencoe" is often told and its consequences still colour some Scottish family relationships. The coach stopped at the visitor centre but the fbb's, well familiar with the tragedy (another slaughtet), just enjoyed a cuppa and the obligatory PNB.

Fort William has definitely seen better days. The weather did not help with views across Loch Linnhe being a feature of the town.
The museum was worth a visit but more excitement was generated by a display outside. Here, for example, is an elderly blogger returning from his trip to the summit of Ben Nevis in a Model T Ford ...
... and an elderly lady examining the car.
It did happen in 1911 (without fbb) and a re-run was attempted in 2011.
A group of young persons from furrin parts observed the fbb's and another set of "senior" chums all enjoying the photoshoot; and they, too, joined in the excitement.
Public Transport Information in Fort William was disappointing ,...
... with most bus information frames lacking any TLC.
fbb was able to solve the riddle of how this shop got its name ...
... but that about exhausted the excitement of the town. 

A small project, however, was a search for the station - more correctly the remnants of the station. You might expect to find these in Station Square ...

... with no square and no station; just a road name|!
The original station was moved in 1975 approx 700 yards to a new site to the north of the town, releasing the former station and its approach tracks for development as a by-pass road.

The old pier whence boats departed ...
... is now a seafood restaurant.
What few "sailings" remain are now further away.
Buses now leave from the far end of the town centre; and, of course ...
... the trains are much further away.

Here is (roughly) where the above-pictured waiting bus and station entrance once stood.
... with a sad and solitary old lady trudging back to her Lochs and Glens coach.

Progress eh?

One building from the old Station Square still stands ...
... its purpose unclear then and now but possibly a public convenience for the benefit of ferry passengers!

Back at the hotel, fbb took a few snaps of its appurtenances: the dining room ...
... the reception and lounge area ...
... the roaring log fire ...
... and the man delivering logs in a shiny indoor wheelbarrow ...
... thus proving the log fire was genuine!

The answers to the two sets of "journey" quizzes will follow once fbb is back at sunny Seaton, probably as part of a weekend variety blog. Hotel technology is too clunky to complete the task in a reasonable time.

 Next Dateline Wednesday blog : Friday 14th Oct 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Kleissner13 October 2022 at 07:50

    'Twas in the buffet of the "new" station at Fort William that, in 1977, I first encountered the square Scottish or "Lorne" sausage! I was on a day trip fro Glasgow, and there was an hour or so between the arrival of the Mallaig train and the Glasgow departure (complete with sleeper carriages for London!)