Trails and trials of the writer who walks
I’m a fraud! Having decided that I wasn’t, after all, going to continue my travels to Skye and Harris on this trip, I suddenly couldn’t be bothered to go back to Gairlochy to finish the last 12 miles of the Great Glen Way. This decision was influenced by the worsening weather and the knowledge that I would have to get the 7:40 am train back to Spean Bridge (knowledge acquired courtesy of Wi-Fi at Wetherspoons yesterday evening). Glen Nevis hostel was much further from the centre of Fort William than I remembered, a walk of around 45 minutes.
As well as Wetherspoons, and the Grog and Gruel pub, there is another delight that awaits in Fort William and it’s the railway station café. I was really glad today to be able to pass some time there once more. Apart from their delicious home-made cakes, my favourite of which is a kind of fruity bread pudding, they serve loose tea in individual pots, together with a wee tea strainer in its own wee stainless steel holder. (Two wees in one sentence – I’m really getting the hang of the language now).
It’s a mystery to me why the train journey from Fort William to Glasgow takes four hours when the distance is less than 100 miles (as you would know if you walked the West HIghland Way).
If you’re in Scotland (but this also works from Carlisle and Berwick-upon-Tweed), and you’re over 55, you can buy a return ticket to most destinations within Scotland for £17 (or £19 if you don’t have a Senior Railcard), and the return half is valid for a whole month. Sad that I had to waste my return half but it was the cheapest way to get to Carlisle, from which the remainder of my journey home was only £15.30. Club55 is not valid for east coast services, and you’re not allowed to change at Glasgow during the peak rush hour times. This was another reason why I ditched the Skye and Harris part of my trip – the rail fare is so cheap, I can go at any time. I can spend a whole day getting to Carlisle on the buses, camp overnight and then buy a return ticket (I’ve just checked) all the way to Mallaig for £17. This rail journey takes a mere seven and a half hours!
So, my next blog might be an adventure in the Outer Hebrides. Or it might be a quest to unearth the ‘other’ Benidorm. I have a hankering to explore the area around that notorious resort and have a very cheap holiday which is as different as it can possibly be from Benidorm’s TV portrayal.