CallySleeper's Scottish Summer adventure 2015

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by CallySleeper, 23 May 2015.

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  1. CallySleeper

    CallySleeper Established Member

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    I'm very excited to next week be taking a small adventure holiday in the Scottish Highlands, not only to take some time out but also of course to add some challenging coverage to the map, and give the mileage a boost!

    Here's the plan:

    Day 1
    Highland Chieftain: 12.00 Kings Cross - Inverness

    Day 2
    10.38 Inverness - Wick
    16.00 Wick - Inverness

    Day 3
    08.55 Inverness - Kyle of Lochalsh
    Scottish Citylink to Portree and return
    17.13 Kyle of Lochalsh - Inverness via Rose St Curve PSUL

    Day 4
    09.00 Inverness - Aberdeen
    17.36 Aberdeen - Perth

    Day 5
    11.46 Crianlarich - Oban
    18.11 Oban - Crianlarich

    A few days in Perthshire, then

    Caledonian Sleeper: 23.28 Perth - Euston.

    Fortunately by planning in the Rose St Curve I think I'll be able to cover all the public track in the north, as well as going over old track. I'll be using a Highland Rover for most of this of course, excluding Highland Chieftain, Sleeper and Aberdeen - Perth.

    It would be nice if anyone had any suggestions/recommendations of things to do while not on the rails(!) specifically in Inverness, Portree, and for an hour in Wick!

    When I return, I'll be immediately venturing on my Yorkshire coverage trip, the itinerary of which has yet to be completely confirmed.

    In addition I hope to return to the Lothians later in the summer specifically to cover the Winchburgh Jn - Dalmeny PSUL, in regular action over June and July.
     
  2. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    I had identical days to your 2 and 3 last year. Wick town is about 5 minutes walk downhill from the station. There's very little there and very little to pass time with. The solution I found was the Spoons (turn right at the crossroads beyond the river), which had exceptionally cheap pints (<£2 if memory serves, no idea why it was so cheap!).

    The journey between Kyle and Portree is breathtaking, and Portree is a very nice, bustling little place. I'd recommend taking a look at the harbour (very photogenic) and the independent shops. There's also a couple of decent pubs there, and enough places to procure some food, either to eat in or take with you on the journey back. Easy enough to pass a couple of hours.
     
  3. CallySleeper

    CallySleeper Established Member

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    Ta. I do need to think about the catering arrangements and when to eat properly/whether to take snacks on the train/buy stuff on board.

    Is Wick any good for chippies? And Portree too to some extent.
     
  4. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    I seem to recall the trolley on SR services was quite reasonably priced if that helps, not sure what's changed since the new franchise however. There was one chippy in Wick, which was the other place I went to aside from the pub. Not the greatest I've ever had but decent enough. It's a left at the aforementioned crossroads for that.

    I'm guessing there would also be one in Portree (it certainly had more going for it than Wick did), but I went to the Co-op there so couldn't give you locations.
     
  5. CallySleeper

    CallySleeper Established Member

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    Thanks.. given the nature of some of these journeys specifically Wick, I'll need to get something substantial at some point!

    As an idea. Is there a Spoons or anywhere else you'd recommend for brekkie close to Inverness station?
     
  6. PHILIPE

    PHILIPE Established Member

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    The Kings Highway Spoons but approx. 10 minutes walk.
     
  7. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    I had breakfast in my hotel so can't help there, but like Philipe says, there's a (decent) Spoons not 10 minutes from the station.
     
  8. CallySleeper

    CallySleeper Established Member

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    Another question - do the 158s at Inverness still run round with declassified 1st sections?
     
  9. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    The best chippy in Portree is down on the harbourside, adjacent to "The Lower Deck" restaurant. If that's closed, then there's another one at the top of the bank (at the junction between Bank Street and Quay Street), but it's not of the same standard.

    As others have said, I would suggest the Wetherspoons in Wick.
     
  10. CallySleeper

    CallySleeper Established Member

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    Thanks! :)
     
  11. MidnightFlyer

    MidnightFlyer Veteran Member

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    Reading that reminds me I actually did visit one in Portree, this one, which I think might be the back-up choice you refer to. If it is the same then I agree that there probably will be better ones to visit, also not the cheapest you're likely to come across too IIRC.
     
  12. Lee_Again

    Lee_Again Member

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    If you fancy something different in Wick and you have about £50 available you should consider what I did a couple of years ago.

    Leave the train at Thurso and take a taxi to Wick but going via Dunnet Head (most northern part of the mainland) and John 'O Groats (one of two points furthest from each other on mainland).

    You'll still get 15 minutes in Wick for supplies.
     
  13. sprinterguy

    sprinterguy Established Member

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    Yeah, that's the one I would suggest as a second option. The Café Arriba next door, however (visible in that street view image), is quite decent. They do a good soup, and hot chocolate - Very warming on a rainy day.
     
  14. NottsPhil

    NottsPhil Member

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    I was on the West Highland on Monday and the trolley was good value - hot drinks (except Cappucino) at £1.60, £1.90 with a chocolate bar or £2.30 with a piece of cake (except they didn't have any on either journey!). Compared to what you pay elsewhere, I think that's very good.
     
  15. ScotrailINV

    ScotrailINV Member

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    Spoons is a couple of minute walk from the station, right exiting the entrance, first left, then right, then 50m down on the right. 9/10 breakfast there is pretty decent (My hangover cure on the way to work!).

    Depending on what time you're wanting breakfast, there's a couple of independent cafes in the Victorian Market (Anya's and Cafe Victoria) directly opposite the station. Couple of quid more than Spoons but better quality food and a 'cosier' atmosphere. They also do reasonably priced home baking and sandwiches/rolls/salads to takeaway if you're needing something for the journey.

    There's also a Morrisons with a cafe to the rear of the station (through the gate by platform 1, turn left and follow the road round behind the shopping centre), but that's a bit hit and miss on whether your foods still moving or overcooked!
     
  16. CallySleeper

    CallySleeper Established Member

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    Thanks for all your advice and knowledge... I did this trip this week and it worked out really well, a really lovely holiday.

    A full(er) report to follow...
     
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