Ten days off

In about ten days time, I am off for about ten days. This is the longest period of time off I’ve had in ages at a time of year that doesn’t have Christmas involved. I am looking forward to it more than I can possibly say. I have exactly two things in my diary over the time, both Hibs fixtures, but beyond that I am a free man. I spent some time this morning thinking about a few ideas for day trip destinations since I haven’t really been on a big day trip in months, coming up with a few good contenders. Since working to a schedule is all part of working, I don’t intend to be too rigid about how I spend my time. If I want to have a lie in one day, I will. If I wake up and think ‘I want to go some place’ then that can happen too.

One idea was to visit one of my favourite parts of the world, Lochaber. The bus trip to Fort William alone will be worth the trip, passing Loch Lomond on the way out of Glasgow then up by Arrochar to Crianlarich, Tyndrum, Rannoch Moor and Glencoe. I am an atheist but even I would consider Glencoe an argument for a divine being. From Fort William, I intend to head west a bit to Glenfinnan at the mouth of Loch Shiel. Glenfinnan is where the Jacobite standard was raised by Charles Edward Stuart’s forces after he landed in Scotland in 1745. There’s a muckle monument dedicated to that so I’ll go there, not out of any great sympathy but because it is beautiful, sat right on the shore by the loch. Not so far is the Glenfinnan Viaduct, as seen in the Harry Potter films, and also a contender for best loch in Scotland, Loch Eilt. I’ll spend a couple of hours and then make my way back to Fort William, eat then go home, hopefully contented. That’s a long day but hopefully I will get the weather right. Then again Fort William is one of the wettest places in the country so I will be taking a big kagoule, just in case.

Another contender I was thinking about this morning was Manchester. I’ve been there a few times but the motivation was put in my head by one of my friends who I saw on Friday night. We’re both library geeks and there’s a brilliant one called Chetham’s, which is brilliant and worth seeing, I’m informed.

Similarly I have been thinking about London, heading down overnight on the Sleeper then back up the following evening on a Virgin Pendolino. I am not the hugest fan of London but a wee trip to the British Museum and maybe out to Greenwich wouldn’t be bad.

Apart from that, there are some other ideas kicking around. I haven’t been to Dunbar in ages (save for a toilet break when in the area a fortnight ago) so my home town probably needs a visit. I looked up the exhibitions in Inverness Museum and the Maritime Museum in Aberdeen but they don’t strike my fancy. Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, is one I have wanted to get back to for ages, only intensified after being at the similarly beautiful Tantallon a couple of weeks ago. I wrote in a post last week about the National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride and I might just have to head out there. It is on a bus route from Glasgow, I think, so you never know.

I am off the week after the school holidays finish, which is a great advantage in visiting any of these places. In my experience, when the schools go back is also when the weather gets better, which is another undoubted bonus. I know with absolute certainty that I won’t get to all of these places when I’m off. But it’s fun planning anyway, almost as much as the actual travelling in my experience. I will write up where I get to here. Any suggestions in Scotland or northern England will be gratefully received.



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