Monday 18 September 2023

Fort William Sojourn (7)

 Emergency pre-porepared blog.

Remarkably Remote

At first g;ance, and zoomed out, the Ardnamurchan Peninsula looks fearfully empty. But there are communities there and, guess what, it does have a bus service six days a week. Wowsers.

Cross via the Corran Ferry, as with yesterday's Lichaline route 507, but this time stay on the north bank of Loch Sunart and you will come to Strontian. It has a lavish village shop ...
... a posh hotel ...
... and a smattering of private dwellings. But Strontian is globally famous. Everyone who knows Mendelev's Periodic Table knows Strontian. It was neat here that element 38 (Strontium) was discovered.
Strontium is named after Strontian, a village in Scotland ...
... near which the mineral was discovered in 1790 by Adair Crawford and William Cruickshank. 
It was identified as a new element the next year from its crimson-red flame test colour. Strontium was first isolated as a metal in 1808 by Humphry Davy using the then newly discovered process of electrolysis. During the 19th century, strontium was mostly used in the production of sugar from sugar beets. At the peak of production of television cathode-ray tubes, as much as 75% of strontium consumption in the United States was used for the faceplate glass.

It was found in a small mine down the hole in the centre of this moorland picture.
But, despite the possibility of falling down the hole itself, we must press on with Sheil Buses route 506.
...which will take us on to Salen ...
... and further into the dark 
hills of Ardnamurchan. Between Salen and Laga we are deep in wooded areas but with occasional tempting glimpses of the Loch.
Blink and you will miss Laga!
Most properties are on the loch side, dating from the days when residents were fishermen. Smoked fish anyone?
Our bus is probing further into the remoteness of the Peninsula ...
... till we reach the terminus at Kilchoan. It's got a school ...
... payphone box and a school bus, and ...
... down a turning, a tourist information centre ...
... more houses and two minibuses.
But the highlight of this lane is ...
... a shelter and public conveniences.

Such lavish facilities are there, in part, because we have a ferry terminal ...
... which the bus will serve on request. 
The actual terminus is officially stated as Kilchoan Post Office some distance past the ferry lane.
The ferry itself is a reasonable size ...
... and offers significant improvement over the pre-car early days!
There must have been a big knees-up somewhere!

The link is with our old friend Tobermory on Mull,
There must be some good round trips you could do but it would take some planning.
So that now makes THREE ferries and one main road on to this ostensibly remote area.

Soon we'll make it FOUR ferries.


Yesterday's schedule.

0650  depart Fort William

0820  Layby caff north of Luss (PNB)
By far the nicest stop of the day!

1020  Moffat (picnic purchased at co-op)
Concours d'Elegance of FOUR Lochs and G;rns coaches, two from Fort William and two from their L:och Awe hotel

1205  Southwaite Services for fuel (lots)

1427 Knutsford Services
By far the worse. Coach out the back near the filling station - coach parking area full of cars ...
... M6 just a barrier away ...
..; and, to add to the joy, on the flight to path to Manchester Airport.
TEN planes roared by during the fbb's peaceful rest break. But the old folk did finish their packed lunch outside on a very dirty table as pictured above.

Deep joy!

1840  Gordano Services
fbb was well done in by now and forgot to take any pictures until the coach was pulling out.
Again., coach parking is an afterthought and a good walk to the facilities and to the "facilities"!

1955  set down Ilminster

2010  Chard

2030  Axminster

2045  Seaton

The final drop off was to be at Honiton.

A wearisome journey BUT WELL WORTH IT for the gorgeous scenery and no noticeable rain in Scotland. Sunshine EVERY day!

On the other hand, on the M5 ...

 Next Fort William blog : Tuesday 18th September 

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