View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The epic journey - part 2

Awoke at 6 am, and packed my bag, checking on the television whether the weather was suitable for travelling. It didn't look to bad, all things considered. The taxi turned up to return me to bonny Gatwick for half the fare that last night's cab had charged. The latter was an airport taxi, which generally fleeces the punters who don't know any better. Gatwick was slightly better organised than yesterday, and things were moving.

Not for me. Although the plane for Glasgow was leaving at 8.25, I was not booked onto it. I'm livid about that, because I had gone out of my way to rebook my flights. And it had not been done. Grrr. A kind BA employee booked me on a flight out of Heathrow at 2.05pm, which would have me back in Stornoway by 6.50pm. It required me to take a coach to Heathrow, and once on the motorway, there were problems. An accident on the M23 north of Gatwick, and one on the M25 near Reigate caused a delay, but nothing too serious.

Arrived into Heathrow's Terminal 5 at 9.30 am, in plenty of time for my flight. Terminal 5 was a nightmare. People were dossing down on the floor, queueing left right and centre, and it was a miracle that there wasn't a riot. Large numbers of cancelled flights, and after I had queued for 90 minutes, my flight was also cancelled. Before I was told that, the couple in front of me found that they had missed their plane, and they threw a wobbler at the poor girl in the check-in desk. It took nearly half an hour before they accepted that they had missed the plane.

I rang BA at 12, and they rebooked me to a flight at 4.35pm. I had a long wait ahead of me. Terminal 5 was finally getting its act together, and an area was allocated to people going on shorthaul, European or domestic flights. I was allowed in there by 2.35pm. Well, things began to look up from there. I was actually checked in, taken through security and lo and behold, at 4.35 I was on the plane. Which was not going anywhere for another hour, because the luggage was late and the truck that was going to push the plane away from the stand decided to malfunction. Take-off by 5.45, and we witnessed a nice dusk.

Glasgow was reached an hour later, and by 7pm I found myself on the bus into the city. With some fastfood in hand, I managed to get on the 7.41 train to Perth, from where a different train took me to Inverness in two and a half hours. Pity it was dark; it is one of the most scenic railrides in the country. And here I am, in my second hotel, closing down the day.

More tomorrow!


  1. You must be worn out by now. All that changing around and going here and there would have had me in foul way for sure. Sounds like you are not home yet. Will wait for the next episode.
    Take care !

  2. What a nightmare. We've been stranded due to weather, too, and I feel for you, believe me!

  3. From the sound of your writings you handle this like a pro. I, on the other hand would be out of my mind. I bet you can't wait to get home after this journey.

  4. What a journey..and still you are not back !! I just had to check in to see how you were as soon as I sat down this morning...Good luck for the next leg....we have it very very icy here this morning...Will be back later
    Sybil x

  5. Hope you will finally get home this morning. You must be exhausted! I'd already given up! You deserve a bit of rest. Ciao. Antonella

  6. Well, you have certainly had some adventures. I bet you cannot wait to get back to base. Makes me glad I do not fly, it sounds a total nightmare.

  7. Bless you, Guido. It sounds like you are having really rotten luck on this trip. Maybe you will soon be back home where you can just sit back and watch the snowy weather from your favorite chair.

  8. At least you are on your way back home to the Isles Guido. My you must be fair worn out! An hour's flight from London to Glasgow? Magic! I hope your train journey was comfortable and warm.
    shame it was so dark...I too would have loved to have seen those views outside your window.
    I bet you will sleep for a week! When you get back....Lol!

    Home Is the Sailor
    ---A.E. Housman

    Home is the sailor, home from sea:
    Her far-borne canvas furled
    The ship pours shining on the quay
    The plunder of the world.

    Home is the hunter from the hill:
    Fast in the boundless snare
    All flesh lies taken at his will
    And every fowl of air.

    'Tis evening on the moorland free,
    The starlit wave is still:
    Home is the sailor from the sea,
    The hunter from the hill.

    Happy landings Guido..


  9. Dear Lord, Guido. This all makes ME nervous...i just want you back home safe and sound!

  10. I was shocked to think those people could not take in the news they had missed their flight and punished the poor person behind the desk. But missed flights now seem more common than they used to be, especially in inclement weather, although we have very little of that in Phoenix. I had to smile at how complicated your trip home turned out to be once you had missed that flight, but I am glad to read that you persevered without turning into a ranting maniac. Ha. And throwing things.