View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Saturday 11 July

That was a very early start, 5.30 am. Taxi took dad and myself to Arnhem for me to catch the 6.46 fast service to Schiphol Airport. It was reasonably busy, particularly at Utrecht (Holland’s 4th largest city and its main rail hub). At the airport, a large queue awaited me for check-in at Easyjet, but this went reasonably fast so at 8.30, I was in the lounge awaiting a call to board the aircraft. That duly came by 9.45 and half an hour later we were airborne. A swift passage across the North Sea saw us over East Anglia, then north over Lincolnshire and the Humber. By coincidence, I spotted the strange shape of the Stang Forest, which lies about 8 miles north of Reeth, and I could just about make out the Dales around that area, as well as the landscape to the north, into County Durham. Edinburgh came not long after, and we were on the ground as scheduled at 10.35 local time. Several other flights had also landed and disgorged their passengers, leading to a long Q at passport control. After that, it was a case of pick up your case and go for the bus. And thus it was that I found myself in Edinburgh city centre at 11.45.

I went for a walk round Princess Street Gardens, back to Waverley Bridge then up Calton Hill, which is a nice viewpoint. When walking round, you get a 360 degree view of the city. Had to return to Waverley to pick up my case and locate the bus station. Couldn’t find it on St Andrews Square. Well, it’s got this large sign – going vertically up the building and not very prominent in the street. By that time, I got so hot and bothered that I got on the wrong bus to Perth – the fast one, which does NOT go into the bus station. It drops you off at a park-and-ride outside the city, and you have to grab a shuttle service to get into Perth proper. Once there, I had about 50 minutes before the Oban bus came. On the way to Perth, we passed the T in the Park concert venue, which was marked by a sea of tents and caravans – near Kinross.

So, at 4.50, we headed off west, all the way along the A85 to Oban, 95 miles. Fifty to Crianlarich, 45 on to Oban. It was a nice sunny day, and it’s a beautiful ride. If a long one. You get a p break in Tyndrum, but that’s all. Oban was reached three hours later, as per schedule. Am typing this in the Kelvin Hotel, a simple hotel (bit too simple for my liking) and you just about get the Wifi signal from the Calmac terminal. As I type this on Saturday evening, I don’t get a signal. Went into Oban to get some fish & chips and to admire the “Oosterschelde” (a Dutch threemasted schooner) and some dolphins jumping in the bay. Beautiful sunset.

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