KYLE OF LOCHALSH
For about 30 years, I have wanted to take the rail from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh. It is one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. I asked the station master if I should make reservations for this rail journey and he said, “Definitely not. There are always plenty of available seats……..unless there is a tour.” In order to complete the trip in one day, we decided to travel to Kyle of Lochalsh in the early morning and return late afternoon. The late afternoon train was important to us, since this was the last train of the day and our overnight things were at the Royal Highland Hotel in Inverness. As we boarded the first coach car in Inverness at 7:00 AM, we noticed that nearly every seat in the first car had seat reservations. Two cramped seats in the rear of the car were the only ones available. I went to check the next car and found there were no reserved seats, so we were able to get very nice window seats with table. On this route through the mountains, lots of purple and lavender colored rhododendrons were still in bloom. We expected more sun in Norway, but were surprised that the sun rose at 530 AM and set at 1030 PM throughout Scotland and England. (You can tell we mostly go to UK in the wintertime.) The weather was uncharacteristically nice for the trip. When we arrived in Kyle of Lochalsh, there were dozens of people waiting to board for the return train to Inverness. We walked into the nearby town, visited a local pharmacy to buy maps of the region, admired the bridge to Isle of Skye and vowed to return to spend more time on the Isle of Skye, had lunch in a local restaurant, then returned to the rail station for the mid-afternoon train rather than risk a full train in the late afternoon. There wasn’t much to do in Kyle of Lochalsh at any rate. We boarded the train with very few other passengers and enjoyed a rather carefree return to Inverness. One local young man, sleeping with his head on the table, slept through his stop, so we enjoyed watching the conductor trying to awaken him without success, followed by a confused and ranting Scotsman who discovered two stops later that he missed his stop. I thought there for awhile that he might end up in Inverness.