Wednesday 02/05/07

Get up at 5.45 am to be at the ferry an hour later. It is a windless morning with the low, rising sun in the east. Depart at 7.15 sharp, and pass all the familiar landmarks as far as Point. Muirneag passes us in the opposite direction heading into port. Can see right down the east coast of Lewis, and Skye is discernible on the southern horizon. It is very hazy indeed. Have bacon and eggs for breakfast. We reach the entrance to Loch Broom at 9 am, to dock at Ullapool by 10. The bus to Inverness is ready to board, and it leaves at 10.10. Drive up the glen to Corrieshalloch and Glascarnoch. There are still patches of snow high up some of the mountains. Wisps of low cloud hover in the east, and upon descending past Aultguish, these become a closed blanket of cloud. It is overcast at Inverness, which we reach at 11.25; the Moray Firth is full of mist and fog. My bag comes off the bus first; Mrs B’s is last. We buy a return ticket for the journey to Glasgow, which comes in at £20.05. We buy sandwiches in Marks & Spencer’s. An amble to the River Ness closes proceedings in Inverness. The train departs at 12.40, and takes us south through the sunny Highlands over Culloden, the Slochd summit to Carrbridge and Aviemore, our first stop. Quite a lot of snow on the tops of the Cairngorms. Continue south to Kingussie, which is the second stop. Beyond that it’s on past Dalwhinnie, near Loch Ericht, and over the Drummochter Pass. We come to a halt by a red signal. Notice a dead deer at the trackside, surrounded by a swarm of flies. We proceed south past Blair Atholl to Pitlochry and Dunkeld, where we leave the Highlands behind. A change of trains at Perth, where we arrive 10 minutes late. The connecting train departs from platform 1; we arrive on platform 7, in other words a bit of a walk on the overpass. Fairly busy on the service, which has come in from Aberdeen. In the lowlands, cornseed rape fields glow bright yellow in amongst the many shades of green – the leaves on the trees are yet young. A hideous windfarm scars the hillsides near Stirling. Stop taking pictures when hundreds of electricity pylons scar the skyline all the way into Glasgow. We pull into Queen Street station on time at 4.15pm. K picks us up, and we pile into a taxi to go to his house on Bank Street. It is rush hour, and the traffic is a nightmare. Arrive at the flat at 4.40pm, and am introduced to a myriad of rooms in the 2nd floor. The tenement was built in 1841. We go to an M&S food hall on Byres Road, by taking the subway (underground train), one stop to Hillhead Station, from Kelvin Bridge station, which is nearest to Kenneth’s home. A return costs 80p. The Glasgow subway is a circular route, with trains running frequently in both directions. We return to consume the goodies: lasagna and garlic bread.

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