Quote of the Day - By degrees the castles are built.
This post is the fourth in MIPTC's travel series, so if you're catching this one first, please scroll down to the start on April 2, 2006, to follow along from the beginning.
The train from Edinburgh to Inverness qualifies as a required (some might say religious) experience when visiting Scotland, especially in either the Winter or early Spring, as we have done. "Four seasons in one day" is a frequent mantra of Scots, and one we experienced almost daily. The phrase refers to the occurrence of snow/hail/sleet/rain or some other form of frozen or cold "driech," (explained to me as "wet misery"), followed shortly by nearly gale force winds, followed by sun and warmth and a then usually followed by a quiet calm that leads into evening. Describing the weather helps set the stage for our trek between these two cities.
The quite comfortable train departs from a thoroughly modern station just below Edinburgh Castle, a fitting reminder of several wonderful days touring the surrounding sights with tour guide extraordinaire Bob Watford of Atholl Travel. In the inimitable fashion of the friendly Scots, he showed us his home on Loch Tummel, the spectacular, 270 degree Queen's View of the Loch and estates on the water's edge, an old Scottish Claddach (imagine seeing the real-life stone-walled, moss-covered sod roof home of William Wallace in Braveheart) and a host of other historical sights mentioned in MIPTC's previous posts.
These stunning views come complete with his encyclopedic recitation of the associated historical background, coupled with accurate dates and facts. You knew, of course, that it was a Scot who invented Encyclopedia Britannica, Bob would be quick to let you know. But I'm getting off track, so to speak, and need to get back to the train ride. As we wave goodbye to Edinburgh, we step into one of seven passenger cars that make up our mode of transportation to Inverness and the Highlands.
I'm sure that the First Class section of the Royal Scot train is even more comfortable, but Coach was very suitable with lovely, big-view windows to see the wonders ahead. The train coaches sit on air suspension, but still manage to provide a soothing "clickety-clack" familiar to those who have taken distance trains before. The broad and tall windows on either side of the train open to wide vistas of the lochs (lakes), firths (deltas), rivers, sea and the ever-expansive countryside.
More to follow; please stay tuned.