Day 2 in Scotland, we decided to take a boat tour because we had pleeeenty of time to hit the train to Edinburgh and on to Inverness. In fact, we did a dry run, walking up all the steep trails in town to find the train station so we would know exactly where to go when the time came. Aren’t we good planners?
The boat tour was fine. There were advertisements for puffins, but halfway through the tour, the narrator said the puffins are only there through July. Sad trombone. So some seals and an old abbey now used for tours and weddings out on an island.
And… garden gnomes. An island covered in gnomes.
After the tour, we pounded pavement to the B&B to pick up our bags and then make our way back uuup the hill to the train stop. We got there in plenty of time, bought tickets, and sat to wait, all proud of ourselves.
Until the message board announced the train was full and would not be stopping at our stop. By that time, it was too late to walk all the way back down the hill to town to catch a bus into the city and still make our train to Inverness. We were stunned for a minute. And then everyone around us made magic happen. A young guy called a cab for a few of us who had train reservations. A man named Hugh shared the cab with us, as he was in a hurry too. The cabby thought to bring us to a closer station so we would be sure not to miss our trains. It worked. It all worked. I was entranced.
The train from Edinburgh to Inverness is ~3.5 hours and an absolute marvel. We watched a father flying a kite with his two sons, a Clydesdale mare nudging her foal to get up and walk, crumbling cemeteries, mobile homes along the river Broadchurch-style, and sheep–so many sheep–living the life in the heather on the mountainsides.
Inverness is a big little city that spans out over a pretty steep hill. Town is at the bottom of the hill. Homes are at the top of the hill. So the walk from the train to the B&B was not bad. Except for the hill. We had done enough hills in Queensferry. So we huffed and puffed with our bags up the hill.
The B&B owner was super nice, with that fantastic deadpan British wit. So as we were signing in and he was showing us a map of the town and pointing out dinner options, he kept saying, “There’s the hell you went up.” And I kept nodding enthusiastically. It wasn’t until we were halfway back to town that I realized he was just saying “hill.” His accent made it accidentally punny. So I decided I’m going with hell. It was the hell we were to walk up many times.