So far the agents I booked my Scotland tour with have been spot-on. Every little train trip I take has me facing the “right” way. However, on this leg back down to Inverness, I’m sitting backwards. Not because they erred but because there’s a woman sitting right next to me and I’ve decided to sit backwards instead of having to elbow it with her. I know it’s psychosomatic but I do feel a little out of sorts seeing the landscape zoom by and seeing where I’ve been rather than where I’m going. At least it’s on the same route I had coming up. Waahhhhh!
Thurso is a little sleepy brown town (they all are brown, by the way) at the northern tip of the “mainland”. Again, I was picked up on schedule and delivered to my lodging…a sweet little B&B serving the usual Scottish breakfast (except no haggis, thank god). Next day, headed to Orkney on the Ferry from Scrabner to Stromness which I realized at some point was Orkney. Who knew? Past the “Old Man of Hoy”.
BTW the Orkenians named their largest island the mainland.
Picked up by Lorna (See-Orkney tours) for a private tour of Orkney with visits to Scara Brae (Neolithic village). It’s like a warren with the stone huts connected by tunnels and reminded me of The Buried Giant by Ishiguro…a haunting and thought-provoking book.
Then on to some other 5000 year-old stone circles (eat your heart out Stonehenge). Some archaeologists were working on the site.
The St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall is quite impressive and has a wonderful tale to tell about his life, demise, canonization…and his and his nephew’s (who founded the Cathedral in 1137) remains being found in hidden cavities in two different columns of the church.
The Orkenians think of themselves independent from Scotland who themselves think themselves independent…from Great Britain. Orkney identifies more with Norway and the Vikings (ala Magnus) then it does with the Scots.
A whole gaggle of girls just embarked on the train. Heading to Inverness I imagine and a wild weekend! They are enjoying themselves…it’s Saturday. Cackle, yuck, cackle. It is a bit annoying…oh, there goes a few people moving to the next car.
Why do people ooh and aah when they see a baby, a dog, a horse? What little neuron and/or chemical controls that reaction? Fields roll by, wheat spools, sheep,cows, sheep, lambkins, sheep, wheat spools, standing stones, stone tonsured hills, stone walls, grass, pine trees, sheep, sheep, horses, sheep.
OK. Here go the earphones on.