Scottish Highlands

It happened again. I picked up another Tour, (this time only 24hrs notice) to Scotland. The Tour Manager had to go to hospital (Get better soon Lucy) and I got the “Please Help” phone call. The Tour was for Great Rail Journeys - Highland Adventure. Because of the short notice I had to do a …

Scottish Catchup

I'm back home now and I have 3 days to prep for the Sicily Tour. I just realised that I never finished off the Shetland/Orkney. The problem was that the last day was a travel day and the Caledonian Sleeper WiFi wasn't working. What I'm going to do is just put up a couple of …

Jarlshof

Yesterday we visited Jarlshof a world heritage site in the Shetlands where there are the remains of settlement buildings from the stone age, iron age, bronze age, viking period and 16th century, all layered under and over each other. Four thousand years of history in one place. From there we moved on to the lighthouse …

Shetland Breeze

The sun came out… unexpectedly. We were treated with lovely morning Shetland sunshine and a strong blustery wind, which is pretty normal Shetland weather. Scalloway, the old Shetland capital before Lerwick was the base for the Shetland Bus during World War II. The Shetland Bus missions ran between Shetland and Nazi-occupied Norway, running in SOE …

Trains and Boats

So… off we go to Aberdeen on the Caledonian Sleeper train, leaving London Euston at 21:00 and arriving at 07:40. We left and arrived on time. This was my home for the journey. It’s tight, but just about manageable for two people. For one, no problem. I was asleep by 23:00 and slept through to …

Shetland Isles and how to sleep on a Night Sleeper Train

Well, it's happened again. Sadly one of my colleagues has become unable to operate a Tour at short notice and so I'm off to cover for them. This time I've had about 2½ days notice so I have had to work rather fast to get the prep done. It was made much easier by the …

Amazing Grace at Sea Lion Rocks

Today, our final full day on the Isle of Man, was a free day for the clients to explore at leisure. As I write, they’re still out at somewhere unknown. Having Fun. Alone and unsupervised! Better hope that doesn’t catch on. I planned out a voluntary excursion for those clients that had nothing better to …

Sheep (probably)

Today was our visit to the top of Mt. Snaefell (2307 feet - 620mtrs) on the Snaefell Mountain Tramway. After some fabulous views, at about 1500 feet we entered the clouds… And didn’t come out! The visibility stayed at about 50 metres, and, since clouds contain the odd bit of moisture, it was wet. None …

Queenies

Today we headed for the North & West side of the Isle of Man. The weather Gods decided to give us all a day off from being drenched after we sacrificed a small child. First stop was Tyndall Hill where the government of the Isle of Man (They’re independent, remember?) meet once a year to …

Castletown

Our first full day on the Isle of Man and we experienced a biblical deluge for most of the day. I was surprised that we hadn’t mutated into webbed feet creatures by the evening. Fortunately, my clients are British (including some from Yorkshire!) and they are made of sterner stuff than others, and so took …

Back On The Rails

I'm off on Tour again. At Last! I'm back with Great Rail Journeys again, this time on a Tour named Vintage Railways of the Isle of Man. It leaves on Wednesday, returns home next Monday, and you can follow me round the Tour on this Blog. Surprisingly (for some of you) the Isle of Man …

On our way Home

Yesterday we visited Fort George, near Inverness. It’s the home base of 3rd Battalion ‘Black Watch’ who have just arrived back from a Tour in Afghanistan. We thank them for their service. The morning was spent with the Strathspey railway, and our last steam of the Tour. The Aviemore scenery looked beautiful. I’m writing this …

Boats & Trains

Travel Day today. We started with a short ride to Stromness to pick up the Ferry to Scrabster (population: approx 6) Goodbye Orkney On the Ferry we passed close to the Old Man of Hoy, captured here by one of our clients (Thanks to John Williams). Copyright: John Williams Next, John O’ Groats for the …

Far North & Orkney Tour – Days 4 & 5

The Orkneys are the site of the finest Neolithic archeological diggings in Western Europe, and they can be found at The Ness of Brodgar, a thin strip of land, in the West Mainland of Orkney, that separates the lochs of Harray and Stenness. We explored the Standing Stones of Stennes, the Ring of Brodgar and …

Far North & Orkney Tour – Day 3

Excitingly, I’m writing this on a boat. Or should it be ship. Or maybe just, Ferry. I’m not too strong on things nautical. Boats make me slightly nervous. They sink. Also, the ones in Aberdeen harbour, which service the oil industry look a bit odd and have some very strange names… That said, this is …

Far North & Orkney Tour – Day 2

A busy day, and a good one. We started this morning with a visit to Crathes Castle. It’s surrounded by beautiful formal gardens. Today is our 31st wedding anniversary, so I thought I’d Facetime Mrs TimOnTheTrain (Hi sweetie) from somewhere with an attractive background. You couldn’t ask for much better than this… (and she seemed …

Far North & Orkney Tour – Day 1

So. The thing about the far North is that it’s quite… you know… far? It’s a seven hour journey from London Kings Cross up to Aberdeen even on the latest AZUMA trains. The post-COVID on board catering is improving gradually from the dog days of a bag of potato chips and a bottle of water. …

Thank You Sainsburys!

The life of a Tour Manager during lockdown is not a pleasant one. Working in the Travel Industry at a time when there is no travel is depressing, and financially ruinous. After many months depleting my savings in the recurrent expectation that travel would return, only to have my hopes dashed time after time, I …

Remembrance Day

This morning, Bailey & I went for a walk. We stopped at the Village War Memorial, as we always do on this day, and observed a two minute silence. I was pleased to see that despite attempts by the government to prevent it happening, nearly 40 people had gathered together for an act of remembrance …

The BBC… So, What’s The Fuss About?

The BBC want to remove 'Land Of Hope & Glory' from the Last Night of the Proms - because somebody, somewhere, might be offended. There is no more eloquent rebuttal than to show people what it actually looks and sounds like, so here we are. Take 09:51 minutes out of your life to watch a …

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