Friday, November 16, 2012

Scottish Hols–rainy Edinburgh

Our time in Edinburgh was short  we were moving on after an overnight stay. The weather was none too promising. The rain was that peculiar rain which doesn’t seem to be falling fast – but seems to get you wet in double-quick time.  Fortunately I had brought a large hooded waterproof coat that normally only comes out when we go walking in the Lake District.

The snag is that it can be tricky stopping the camera from getting wet. The is the Nelson Monument in Edinburgh – not to be confused with Nelson’s Column in London. "It provides a “dramatic termination of the vista along Princes Street”.  It does look a little like an “!”. It was finished in 1815 and in 1853 a time ball was added. The ball is raised and lowered to mark the time – in this case for the nearby port of Leith.

Nelson Monument – Edinburgh

Meanwhile elsewhere in Edinburgh Thunderbird 3 had popped up through the swimming pool and was getting ready to blast off. Although most people know it as the Scott Monument a Victorian Gothic  monument to the aforementioned Sir Walter Scott.

Scott Monument, Edinburgh

Actually title is a little bit misleading. The same day we caught the train from Edinburgh to Glasgow and then along the  West Highland Line, “Britain's most scenic train journey” to Fort William. It isn’t fast with the journey taking just under 4 hours. It starts with views of the coast adding  mountains and moors along the way. One of the interesting places was Rannoch Moor.  An expanse of 50 square miles of boggy moorland – quite a tricky place to build a railway line.

We stopped at Fort William – where is was still a wee bit gloomy (just getting into the swing of the Scottish vernacular). As we left the station and walked to our hotel this was the view we passed – Loch Linnhe a sea loch.

Loch Linnhe – Fort William

When you live in the Flatlands of East Anglia you forget just how lumpy the ground can get and how that lumpiness can make for picturesque and slow travel.

Mind you one thing about travelling by train is that you can do other things.  Apparently the average commuter spends  75 minutes a day commuting.  On one rat-run Police tests indicated 77% of drivers were speeding over a one week period. They were busy trying to get the overall commute time numbers down perhaps.

Another thing is the on a train you don’t have to worry about the mass of “ugly and confusing”  of road signs that seem to have sprung up – here is a test.

Nor do you have to worry about drink-drivers, with a surge of drink-drive arrests in Cambridgeshire in October. Apparently serial drink-drivers might even lose their cars – although since it is a banning offence what is the use of a car and what if it isn’t theirs? Why not a bigger fine?  It would seem to be the season for cracking down on drivers in Cambridgeshire with more than 100 drivers caught. Although the way traffic planners determine speed limits seems to beggar belief.

Finally one worrying aspect of train travel has to be when you are on a train crossing a road – some drivers seem to think that stopping is optional

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