© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
It struck me recently, how often I
had been out doing railway things,
on 11th August - a date engraved
in the minds of all ageing British
railway enthusiasts. On this
occasion, the date coincided with
a week or two on Skye, and one of
the scheduled trips hauled by the
moribund class 26s, D5300 and
D5301, repainted in their original BR green livery. 25 years
previously, I had watched 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" making
that last departure from Hellifield station with the 15 guinea
special - marking the end of everyday steam traction.
I left the car at Kyleakin, and travelled (free) as a foot
passenger on the ferry to Kyle. Construction work was beginning
on the notorious Skye bridge, and the ferry would soon be a
bygone. Like the end of steam,
replacement of the ferries
would mark the end of a era.
The journey to Skye would be
quicker and easier, but would
lose its romance.
With OS map in camera bag, I set off
along the coast road around the Kyle
peninsular, eventually taking up
position near the village of Erbusaig.
As well as the 26s, there would be
another service train to photograph,
which duly passed in the hands of 37
232 "The Institution of Railway
A bonus on this occasion was yet
another bygone - a distant view of the Royal Yacht "Britannia",
making its way to the regular anchorage off Raasay.
The day was very still - as perhaps can be seen from the water.
For the last shot of the 26s leaving Kyle, I found a perfect
position on a little rocky outcrop - and was nearly bitten to
death by the dreaded highland midge. I came close to falling
from my perch on more than one occasion, as I swatted them
desperately. It hardly needs to
be mentioned that, the
following day, the strength of
the wind was such that it was
wise to tie down light objects,
small dogs / children etc.
The small plaque, beneath the dog, reads
"This locomotive, 26007 (D5300) was the
last to be overhauled and painted at
Eastfield TMD, Glasgow, before the
closure of that depot on 26th September
1992". More bygones.
Hauled stock has since gone from the
line, and class 156 Sprinters operate the
Inverness - Kyle service. There must be
those who think that's progress too....