OldByreSkye

gallery, cafe & apartment

There and back again (And there again. And back again. And…)

So, to earn a little money to help things along, a few weeks ago we did a little work for a data collection company, riding the rails from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness counting passengers getting on and off at various stops.  This means that in three days we went from Kyle to Inverness and back again five times, with a side trip from Inverness to Invergordon on Sunday when there are less trains.

The trip from Kyle to Inverness takes about two and a half hours, with 14 stops along the way.  The first train in the morning leaves at 0621 (to get into Inverness at 0853) and as we like to allow an hour to get from Ose to Kyle you can see what time we had to get up…

Strathcarron Station

Strathcarron station (as if you hadn’t noticed…)

That said it is a stunningly beautiful line. Rail travel can often shed a poor light on the places you pass through.  Very few people want to live right on a railway line, and even commerce and industry backs onto the line showing its least flattering face (unless,  increasingly rarely, it has its own railhead).  Without wishing to be too crude, if you want to see the backside of a town or city, travel by rail.  But out in rural Scotland… It’s the only east/west line north of the Glasgow/Edinburgh corridor but it doesn’t follow the main east/west route down the Great Glen.  From Kyle it hugs the coast, up Loch Carron, then cutting north-east through the mountains until it turns south at Loch Luichart, meeting the line north to Wick at Dingwall.  It’s somewhat surprising that the line, which was fully opened in 1897, still exists.  It was earmarked for closure by Beeching in 1963, and then again in the early ’70s and is still probably on some hit list somewhere, although it’s surely safer under the devolved administration at Holyrood than it would be under Westminster’s supervision, particularly at the moment…

You can see more about the line the Friends of the Kyle Line website.

Currently listening to: Travelogue–  Joni Mitchell.

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