Sunday, December 14, 2014

Late Night Train from Fort William to Edinburgh

One thing is for certain in Scotland, the trains run on time. We caught the 5:00pm from Fort William to Edinburgh, changing trains in Glasgow's Queen Street Station.

We pass through Town, Villages and Cities on the way, but since it was dark, the lights all looked the same.

The Loud MacLeod took the opportunity to get some beauty rest.

The first stop out of Fort William;

Spean Bridge
Spean Bridge (Scottish Gaelic: Drochaid Aonachain) is a village in the parish of Kilmonivaig, in the Highland region of Scotland.

The village takes its name from the Highbridge over the River Spean on General Wade's military road between Fort William and Fort Augustus, and not from Telford's bridge of 1819 which carries the A82 over the river at the heart of the village.

Lying in the Great Glen, Spean Bridge has transport links north towards Inverness and south to Fort William, provided by the A82, and the A86 heads east to join the A9 at Kingussie. The village is served by the Spean Bridge railway station providing links to Glasgow, London, and Mallaig and between 1903 and 1933 it offered a branch line service to Fort Augustus.

The Highbridge Skirmish on 16 August 1745 was the first engagement of the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

The Commando Memorial, dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during Second World War, is located approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) north-west of Spean Bridge, at the junction of the A82 and the B8004. It overlooks the training areas of the Commando Training Depot established in 1942 at Achnacarry Castle.

Lochaber Camanachd is the shinty club based in the village of Spean Bridge.

Roy Bridge
Roybridge (Scottish Gaelic: Drochaid Ruaidh, "the bridge over the Roy") is a small village, that lies at the confluence of the rivers River Roy and River Spean, located 3 miles east of Spean Bridge, in Kilmonivaig Parish,Inverness-shire, Scottish Highlands and is in the Highland administrative area.

Roybridge is on the A86 between Spean Bridge and Newtonmore and on the (former West Highland Railway) line served by trains passing between Crianlarich and Fort William.

Both of the parents of Australia's only recognised saint Mary MacKillop, lived in Roybridge, prior to emigrating to Australia. MacKillop visited Roybridge in the 1870s where the local Catholic church, St Margaret's, now has a shrine to her.

Tulloch railway station is a rural railway station in the remote Tulloch area of the Highland region of Scotland. This station is on the West Highland Line, 105 miles (169 km) north of Glasgow Queen Street.

The station was laid out with two platforms, one on either side of a crossing loop. There are sidings on the north side of the station. When the railway opened in 1894 the station was named Inverlair, after the nearby Inverlair Lodge. The station buildings are now used as a hostel.

Corrour railway station is on the West Highland Line, Scotland. It is situated near Loch Ossian and Loch Treig, on the Corrour Estate. It is the highest mainline railway station in the United Kingdom.

The railway station is one of the most remote stations in the United Kingdom, at an isolated location on Rannoch Moor. The station is not accessible by any public roads – the nearest road is 10 miles (16 km) away. After the failure of previous ventures in this location, the Station House was opened as a restaurant in August 2012. The restaurant is one of the UK's most remote. There are also three en suite letting bedrooms.

At 408 m (1,339 ft) above sea level the station provides a convenient starting point for hill-walkers and Munro-baggers. The station was the starting point for the "Man with no Name" whose body was found in 1996 on Ben Alder and only identified some years later.

Ossian Hostel, one of the most remote youth hostels in Britain, is about one mile from the railway station.

Rannoch Moor (Scottish Gaelic: Mòinteach Raineach/Raithneach) is a large expanse of around 50 square miles (130 km²) of boggy moorland to the west of Loch Rannoch in Scotland, where it extends into Perth and Kinross, Lochaber in Highland, and northern Argyll and Bute. Rannoch Moor is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation.

It is notable for its wildlife, particularly famous for the sole British location for the Rannoch-rush, named after the moor. It was frequently visited by Horace Donisthorpe, who collected many unusual species of ants on the moor and surrounding hilly ground. Today it is still one of the few remaining habitats for Formica exsecta, the "narrow-headed ant", although recent surveys have failed to produce any sign of Formica pratensis, which Donisthorpe recorded in the area in the early part of the 20th century.

Peat deposits pose major difficulties to builders of roads and railways. When the West Highland Line was built across Rannoch Moor, its builders had to float the tracks on a mattress of tree roots, brushwood and thousands of tons of earth and ashes.

The A82 road crosses through Rannoch Moor on its way to Glen Coe and Fort William. Additionally, the West Highland Railway line crosses the moor. The railway rises to over 1300 feet and travels over 23 miles of moorland.

Bridge of Orchy
Bridge of Orchy (Drochaid Urchaidhin Gaelic) is a village in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Often referred to as a hamlet, the settlement meets a definition of village because it has a church.

Dating back to 1751, it includes a notable tourist hotel. Located at the head of Glen Orchy, it is on the A82 road, has a railway station and is on the West Highland Way long distance path. Nearby prominent peaks include the munros Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dòthaidh. The village itself is in the central highlands.

The eponymous bridge was constructed by Government forces as part of a programme of pacification of the Highland Clans which involved the construction of military roads from the Lowlands into the much wilder upland areas of Scotland. It crosses the River Orchy, one of the finest white-water rivers in the United Kingdom.

Upper Tyndrum
Upper Tyndrum railway station is one of two railway stations serving the small village of Tyndrum in Scotland. It is on the Fort William route of the highly scenic West Highland Line. In 2005/06 it was the least used station on the West Highland Line, probably because of its position up a hill above the village, as opposed to Tyndrum Lower on the Oban branch, which also offers services to and from Crianlarich and destinations to the south (usually at about the same time, as the trains tend to connect at Crianlarich).

Crianlarich has been a major crossroads for north and westbound journeys in Scotland since mediaeval times. In the 1750s, two military roads met in the village; in the 19th century, it became a railway junction on what is now the West Highland Line; in the 20th century it became the meeting point of the major A82 and A85 roads. As such, it is designated a primary destination in Scotland, signposted from as far as Glasgow in the south, Perth in the east, Oban in the west and Fort William in the north.

The village bills itself "the gateway to the Highlands", a not uncommon claim - for example, Callander, Dunoon and Pitlochry also do so.

The village lies in the glen of Strath Fillan at the north western extent of the Trossachs, lying in the shadow of several Munro peaks, notably Ben More, but also Stob Binnein and Cruach Ardrain. Thus Crianlarich is very popular with hillwalkers. Also the village lies halfway along the long distance footpath, the West Highland Way.

Its location makes Crianlarich a popular stop for tourists and there are a variety of types of overnight accommodation including guesthouses, B&Bs a SYHA Youth Hostel and a Best Western hotel.

In 2001, the village had a population of 185.

Ardlui (Àird Laoigh in Gaelic) is a hamlet in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.
It is located at the head of Loch Lomond between Crianlarich and Glasgow. Ardlui railway station is on the West Highland Line between Glasgow Queen Street and Fort William.

Arrochar & Tarbet
Arrochar and Tarbet railway station is a railway station on the West Highland Line in Scotland. It stands between the villages of Arrochar and Tarbet.

Garelochhead (Scots: Garelochheid, Scottish Gaelic: Ceann a' Gheàrr-loch) is a small village on the Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It is the nearest village to the HMNB Clyde naval base.

Garelochhead lies at the head of the Gare Loch, 7 miles (11 km) northwest ofHelensburgh. Loch Lomond is a few miles to the east, and Loch Long to the west.
To some the scenic beauty of the loch is only slightly marred by the presence of the HMNB Clyde submarine base and the associated semi-permanent 'peace camp'. In addition to the few local shops, pubs and churches, it has a bowling club and a Community building at the Gibson Hall.

Garelochhead's 1,265 residents are served by Garelochhead railway station on the West Highland Line and a local bus service running between Coulport and Helensburgh.

Helensburgh Upper
Helensburgh Upper railway station serves the town of Helensburgh, Scotland, on the north shore of the Firth of Clyde to the west of Glasgow. It is located in a residential area uphill from the town centre and is by far the smaller of the town's two stations.

Dumbarton Central
Dumbarton Central railway station serves the town of Dumbarton in the West Dunbartonshire region of Scotland. This station is on the West Highland Line and the North Clyde Line, 15¾ miles (25 km) north west of Glasgow Queen Street.

The station was opened on 15 July 1850 by the Caledonian and Dumbartonshire Junction Railway on their route from Balloch Pier to Bowling, where travellers could join steamships on the River Clyde to get to Glasgow.

Dalmuir railway station is a railway station serving the Dalmuir area of Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. It is a large, five platform interchange between the Argyle Line, North Clyde Line and West Highland Line.

The station is very close to the Dalmuir drop lock on the Forth and Clyde Canal.

The station here (once known as "Dalmuir Park" to distinguish it from the nearby Caledonian Railway station at Dalmuir Riverside) is located on the Glasgow, Dumbarton and Helensburgh Railway and opened with the line in May 1858.

Glasgow Queen Street
Glasgow Queen Street (Scottish Gaelic: Glaschu Sràid na Banrighinn) is a railway station in Glasgow, Scotland
, the smaller of the city's two main line railway termini and the third-busiest station in Scotland. It is between George Street to the south and Cathedral Street Bridge to the north, at the northern end of Queen Street adjacent to George Square. Queen Street station serves the Greater Glasgow conurbation's northern towns and suburbs, the Edinburgh shuttle, and is the terminus for all inter-city services to destinations in the North of Scotland.

With over 16 million passenger entries and exits between April 2013 and February 2014, Queen Street is the third busiest station in Scotland.

The station was built by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, and opened on 18 February 1842.

The climb through the tunnel to Cowlairs is at 1 in 42 and until 1909 trains were hauled up on a rope operated by a stationary engine, although experiments were carried out using banking engines in 1844-48. In 1928 there was a railway accident causing 3 fatalities when a train leaving the station slipped to a standstill and rolled back into another train. Modern diesel trains have no difficulty with the climb.

We arrive in Edinburgh at Waverly Station near midnight, taxi to Shanda's, a wee dram and off to bed.

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