New favourite route?

The whole rail route from Edinburgh to Thurso must be one of the most scenic in the country, something I realised once I got over my panic about the southward creep of Gaelic. I’ve travelled the section from Edinburgh to Pitlochry so often that I suppose I’ve become almost immune to the wonders of the Forth Bridge, the charms of the Fife coast (not all routes go this way) and the gradual replacement of Lowland with Highland scenery.
The stations from Perth to Inverness tend to be very well kept – especially Pitlochry, with its multiplicity of floral features – and even the forests look as if they had been manicured, perhaps by the Forestry Commission.

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I’ve tried here to capture the look of Aviemore station with its smart colour scheme and twiddly wrought-iron accessories. There is much more to it!
As I write this I am travelling back through this part of the Highlands, and I can see that the scenery, as well as changing with each mile along the way, looks different each time you travel. So when we headed north through Drumochter on Wednesday it was gloomy and forbidding. Now, on a bright Saturday morning, there are pockets of early morning mist in the dips, but the hills are lit by sunlight and you can see all the patches of heather and tufts of grass and protruding rocks in quite a bit of detail, even from the train windows.
The stretch of line north of Inverness was completely new to me but it was the best part, with the huge skies of Sutherland above us and the passing scenery opening out as we reached the coast and then changing again as we climbed from Helmsdale to cross the top of the Scottish mainland, scaring away herds of deer as we went.
There will be more pictures later! Here’s one for now.

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Cloud formations out in the North Sea, near Brora

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