Monday, August 09, 2010

We see the mountains of Scotland for the first time

After we descended all 212 steps of the bell tower in Bath Abbey, we headed into London to catch the Caledonian Sleeper train to Fort William, Scotland.

Caledonian Sleeper Train to Scotland
We started laughing when we opened the door to our compartment.  There wasn't standing room for both of us and our luggage.  We managed to situate ourselves and our monstrous bags, and I fell asleep to the lull of the train working its way north through England.

Caledonian Sleeper Train to Scotland
The wild hills of Scotland greeted us when we awoke the next morning.  We sat at the window mesmerized by the landscape.  It was quite a change from the gentle hills of England.

The train conductors don't announce stops.  You're expected to be ready and waiting with your luggage at the doors to alight when the train rolls into your stop.  You have a few minutes to jump off before the train starts rolling again.  Fort William was the end of the line for both us and the train, so there wasn't a rush to get off immediately.  Though who would want to stick around in the closet-sized compartments any longer than they have to is beyond me.

Achintee Farm, Fort William, Scotland
We walked two miles to Achintee Farm, where we would be staying for 4 nights. The Ben Nevis path begins within several hundred yards of the hostel.  I chose this lodging wisely, if I might say so myself.

Around Fort William, Scotland-44
The mountains are ever-present.  They loom over us all, slumbering giants, ponderous with the weight of time immemorial. Ben Nevis is the greatest peak in the United Kingdom, at over 4000 feet high.  In the picture above, the Ben is the brooding mountain on the left.

Foolhardy or not, we went on to climb all 4000 feet soon after we checked into Achintee Farm.  I'll share my tale of the 10 hour ascent on another day.

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