Scotland by Railway
After the memories of the first hitchhike-tour were fading, it was time to get out the backpacks and to see again the beauty of Scotland.
This time Martina and I took the train to Hoek van Holland. The passage to Harwich was quite stormy and I have never seen so many peaople with green faces like on this small ship. In the dawn we finally reached the coast of England. The continuation after London occurred in a funny old train, which tormented itself slowly through the flat landscape of the South of England. After short time of travel we arrived at London Liverpools Street and drove immediately by the underground-railway further to the direction of Ravenswood, where my aunt and my uncle were living. We spent a few days with them and we repeatedly took the train down south to London, visiting Piccadilly Circus, Carnaby Street and Abbey Road. Then finally the time had come: with our backpacks in hand and a rumour in the stomach we were waiting at the late evening at the Euston station for the entrance of the "Royal Scotsman", which should take us up to the Midlands. However, first of all it seemed to be a train ride, like many other. Houses, trees and peoples appearing and disappearing, while we drove into the night. The rattling of the wheels strengthened in the darkness the monotony of the excursion and so we were swung slowly into sleep.
As the morning had broken, we were woken up through a strong jerk. We saw out and looked to our boundless delight at the first mountains of Scotland. In that relatively empty train we naturally had one window seat each. We looked at the most beautiful scenery, we had ever seen. The "Royal Scotsman" tramped through a wild landscape, rought and very, very beautiful. Again and again we saw the ordinary sheeps and in the background alternated the mountains. In between they released again and again a look at the sea and the whole picture gave us the feeling of boundless freedom. The train meandered through valleys, framed by high trees, drove over a high bridge then and went through a tunnel furhter. Again and again there was a short break at one of these small, dreamy stations, whose names appeard in the same way just strangely and timelessly to us. It was like an excursion through the solitude - secluded however incomparably beautiful.
Meanwhile it was getting noon, as we arrived at the lonely station of Rannoch Station closely to the Rannoch Loch. as far as I remember, we were the only ones leaving on this station. We gave up the search after a restaurant or at least a shop already after few minutes later. Here was absolutely nothing but one or two small houses and a nearly endless landscape. For a very last time we looked at the train which disappeard crossing a bridge which led over the moorside.
Now a long walk was ahead of us, unless a car would take along us. Mentioning cars, we felt as if we would have made a timejump back into the past, since no car was to be seen. During the first 10 kilometers we even did not meet actually even one single soul. Sheeps, which examined in a meager rocky landscape looking at us curiously, were the only larger living beings. Further and further the lonely excursion went and as more heavy the backpacks became the shorter the distances between the breaks even became.
A few "Highland Caddle", approached us curiously and could be fed from us with grass, a welcome occasion were, to speak finally once again with somebody. We did not receive an answer of course, but at least those big animals looked friendly at us with their big brown eyes. The dearest would be to get them for a ride.......
Actual in the interim time of 6 hours two car passed us. Unfortunately none stopped. I think the next time Martina better should uphold thumb, that works according to experience better on those hitchhike tours. Anyhow she had already the first blisters at her feet, but heroically she held out and we went on through this almost rought landscape. My attention was raised by a small electricity-flat on the left side of our way, for this striking point occurred to me well known. We therefore were approaching completely slowly our destination.
Many kilometers later one we arrived at the place, were years ago a schoolmate and I built up our tent durng the first time visiting Loch Rannoch. The water of the Loch Rannochs had climbed in all the years so hight, that in fact the old pine, beside which we had camped, already stood almost under water. This was no longer a good place for camping.
Too bad, therefore we had to look for another place. Finally a teacher stopped her car and took us along at least the final way just a few kilometers ahead of Kinloch Rannoch. We set up our tent and bathed our feet in the tides of the loch.
On this day we neither had any power nor any pleasure, to run the last kilometers to Kinloch to get some food.
We limited ourselves to our reserves. Now dreamlike days were following.
Each day our campfire close to the lake was burning until late night. Sausages or potatoes were grilled, the inevitable beans of "Heinz" came again on the table and the guitar was played.
Always then, if the reserves went out, we went to the small town Kinloch. Every now and then we tried to get a lift to Pitlochry, in order to have a warm shower on the campground over there.
At one of our first excursion up to there we met Peter. He was the owner of a hotel at the Loch and offered the swimming pool, which belonged to his hotel, to use gratuitously. That again was another example for Scottish hospitality, which I met so often.
At one of the following days we got visited by a forest ranger, as we straightened up just our tent. He examined our fire-place and left us with the advice to leave "everything so, as we found had it", but that is selfunderstood! We again were sitting at the fire, playing guitar and drinking cider when we got unexpected visit. Chris and Mike from Glasgow had set up their tent a couple hundred meters further and had been attracted by our music. From now on we spend the evenings regularly with each other and our both new friends were honestly trying, to explain us the sense of English jokes. To tell the truth, they were not successful at all, perhaps we should repeat that once more! Chris and Mike were not the only neighbors, for we had found a "Wobler" - so Chris and Mike explained later on - beside the road. A small bird, similarly to the domestic sparrow. The bird lay for any reasons weakens aside the road. We built him a little wooden box in a hollow tree near to our telt and provided him with food. At least we tried to feed him, but whatever we offered him, he refused to eat.Even earthworms were not the right one for him. In the need the devil devours flies, we thought, and so we tried it this way.
Actually, that worked, indeed it had to be living flies and thus we were pretty busy and since these days we know, how hard the job of a little birds parent is. Shortly before our departure had come, the wobler began, to leave his protecting nest and started to jump around in the area. Little later he disappeared completely.
Now it was time for us say goodbye, too. Starting again at Kinloch Rannoch we took the postbus to Rannoch station and looked again and again sadly to the other side of the Loch, there, where we had enjoyed again some kind of a completely free life. We were much too early at the station and set up a last time the camping stove and opened us a last time a can of beans. As the train came, we boarded sadly and looked still in the direction of Loch Rannoch.
Our decision was quite clear: Next year we will come back again!