Yet Once Again, I Have Arrived at My Departure.

Last we spoke, I was about to board the Caledonian Flyer. Let me correct myself, it is the Caledonian Sleeper.

Last we spoke, I was about to board one-of-the-greatest-trains-on-earth. Let me correct myself, it is one-of-the-trains-on-earth.

I wasn’t expecting the Orient Express (they don’t cross the channel) and I had taken this train before (TGOC 2016) but still, it was wanting.

Scottish Rail is bringing on new trains and when booked, we were told this trip would be one of them. But it wasn’t.

Imagine how cool it would have been to fly over on the inaugural BA Airbus 380A (did that) and in the same trip, take the inaugural Caledonian Sleeper! Make it better? How about an invitation to the inaugural wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan? I’m still counting on it. While it adds to the weight on my back, I did bring my tux. I know they are inviting last minute “common folk” and think I might make the list. I’ve noticed several people pointing at me, whispering and laughing. No doubt those are their secret agents.

I and a bunch of TGOCers border the train around 20:30. I found my cabin, dumped my pack, changed out of my hiking boots into camp shoes and went down to the Fort Williams club car to hunt down Alan Sloman and Lord Elpus who are headed to…well I forget. Some Scottish hamlet that they haven’t been band from entering.

Tony, providing drink and sustenance, Alan and Phil (Lord Elpus)

We were soon joined by several other brothers and sisters in arms (well, armed in man made fabrics and hundreds of zippers) and talked about past trips, this trip and why didn’t we get one of the new trains?

As the train was splitting in a bit, I hightailed it back to my section headed to Inverness. There I ran into Russ who I believe is doing his 25th crossing and Gordon, who has only done a dozen or so.

In our conversation we shared our routes and Russ and I are doing a similar one. When I mentioned my day two was from Pait Lodge (not a lodge but a place) to Cannich, he bowed. “That’s a two day trip!” And then I think I heard him say under his breath, “You twit!”

So now, before I’ve started, I’m challenged. It’s a bog, there’s no path and I’m on my own. And to top that off, no one has come forward to invite me to the royal wedding.

But moving on…

I strongly suggest you take an overnight train trip, with your own cabin. Whatever you do, do not try to sleep on a chair. To bring up Dante one more time, I believe sleeping in a train seat is certainly one of the circles.

A sleeping car, however, is heaven. It is your own little world. Once you turn in, the movement lulls you to sleep. You sleep like a baby.

You are up every two hours.

We arrived in Inverness around 08:30, I shopped for fresh food to bring hiking and then boarded the train to Strathcarron at 10:55.

Downtown Inverness

The train ride was just shy of two hours and arrived at Strathcarron. There was a bus waiting that took me to Lochcarron—four miles away—where I am staying, prior to my start tomorrow.

The inn I am staying at is the Lochcarron Hotel, found on the internet and like me, cheap and easy.

View outside the hotel’s restaurant window, Loch Carron across the street.

That aside, instead of frozen pizzas and bad Shepard’s Pie, here is the specials menu in their restaurant:

And here are the langoustines that cost $13.00 (£8.95)

How were they? Worth considering moving here for.

That’s it for today. It all starts tomorrow. It may be a few days before I can post again. When I do, I’m very certain I’ll have a story or three.

Yip yip.

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