Wick, June 16th
The nice thing about staying in a hotel adjacent to a rail station is that the walk to the train platform is really close. The train to Wick, as far northeast as one can go on the rail in Scotland, takes approximately 5 hours. This trip had to be planned carefully. The early train left about 700 AM, so we asked the hotel to fix us an early breakfast. The waiter was from Transylvania, so we had a nice chat with him about his homeland. The station master was right. There weren’t many people going to Wick. But there was a small uprising when the conductor mentioned to the passengers 50 miles along the route, traveling at 100 MPH that, “Sorry, there would be no plumbing services aboard the train.” A pleasant 5 hour journey to Wick suddenly became an endurance test. As people boarded the train a various stops, once could hear, “WHAT???” as the conductor came by.
Wick is a busy town. Jim wanted to rent a taxi to visit John O’Groat’s (very top of Scotland, 30 miles away), but I suggested lunch first. We found a nice, little restaurant. After lunch, the restaurant owner suggested we have her brother, a local taxi driver, drive us around Wick and nearby countryside. He wanted to take us to the Wick Distillery, but we opted for castles instead. Wick has two castles, in complete ruin, in the nearby fields. They were on private land, so even with my 12X optic lens, they still looked very distant. We returned to the rail station for the 430 PM train back to Inverness, which we didn’t want to miss, since we were going to York the next day. (The plumbing was working on this train.)