Ascension Island Expedition — Edinburgh to Thurso
STROMNESS, Scotland (Tuesday, March 6, 2007) – I haven’t had much time to write since my trip up to Thurso from Edinburgh on Sunday. I would have liked to write more on the train, but there were no power outlets. I had to stop after about little more than an hour. I have been running pretty hard since getting to Thurso.
So I will return to the trip up. I left Edinburgh on time on the 1:55 p.m. GMT train. Leaving Edinburgh was interesting enough, but the Firth of Forth really took my breath away. From there we headed inland toward Perth. The landscape again proved amazing – large expanses of deciduous and coniferous forests – and that was before we reached the Cairngorm Mountains.
The Cairngorms are not as high as the Rockies, maybe not even the Appalachians, but they are stunning. Even in the clouds and rain that enshrouded us for almost the entire trip up, the Cairngorms looked majestic. The snow-capped ones were the most impressive for me. Somewhere, I cannot say where, I saw a red deer stag alongside the tracks.
THURSO, Scotland (Tuesday, March 6, 2007) – We arrived in Inverness around sundown. A bunch of kids – boys not quite become men – boarded the train en route to Thurso to attend a gamekeeper’s college. (One of them confirmed that I had seen a red deer.) They were rowdy and loud, but were OK. They were entertained by another man, a local who apparently spent some time in the United States and Canada.
The train pulled into Thurso around 10 p.m. GMT. It was dark and cold, but I had a short walk to the Waterside Bed & Breakfast, where I had reserved a room. Someone was waiting for me, got me set up quickly. I dashed out in search of food – getting it from the Charlie Chan Chinese takeout restaurant. I regret to say it was some of the worst Chinese food I have had. I am normally pretty tolerant, but what I ordered had little taste.
After I ate I went exploring the town. I saw it had a beach, and headed off in search of it. It was fairly easy to find. I stuck my fingers in the waters of Pentland Firth – a passage between mainland Scotland and Orkney that connects the North Atlantic to the North Sea – to add that to the list of waters I have connected with (by touching or sailing on them). The major ones (oceans and inland seas) include the North Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific (via the connected Java and Flores seas), Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, the Bay of Fundy, Balikpapan Bay, Puget Sound, Lake Superior, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Makassar Strait, Lombok Strait, Alas Strait, and Strait of Juan de Fuca.
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