Thursday, 20 September 2012

Thursday 20 September

A beautiful, calm morning in Stornoway. After breakfast, I make final preparations for my journey to Holland. Taxi arrives as booked and takes me to the airport. Of course, I have to be selected for a random baggage search, as they wanted to have a look at all my cables and wires in that bag. The Inverness plane arrives nice and on time from Benbecula, but is delayed slightly by a minor technical fault. This is soon found to be of no concern, and just after 11 o’clock, we are in the skies, and headed southeast to Inverness. The plane flies to the south of the Point peninsula, and it is still in sight when I spot the ferry, which left Ullapool 45 minutes before, passing the Summer Isles and out into the open Minch. By that time, the plane is 10k feet up. A minute or two later, we pass Ullapool and then traverse the mountain ranges of Wester Ross to land at Inverness at 11.45.

A quick turn-around, and the Amsterdam plane takes off at 12.30. I am requested to switch off my GPS as it interferes with aircraft systems. Aye, it only receives signals, and does not transmit, but there is no point entering into a technical discussion with the stewardess. The remainder of the flight to Amsterdam is boring, as it passes over white cloud with only small gaps from time to time. Only on approach to the Dutch coast does cloud break – to reveal two offshore windfarms. We land at Schiphol at 3.30pm (local time, an hour ahead of the UK). We are transferred to the terminal in a shuttle-bus, but when I want to collect my bag it does not come off the baggage belt. After enquiring at customer services, it appears someone has found it and it turns up on belt 9 after a few minutes.

My train departs at 4.15pm. Although the sun is shining in Amsterdam, it clouds over on approach to Utrecht, 25 miles to the south. In spite of the threatening clouds, no rain ensues. I have to change trains at Utrecht and duly arrive into Arnhem at 5.27pm. It was quite busy on the train, but I sat on the balcony, because of my large rucksack which would otherwise have occupied a seat. The connecting no 21 bus departs at 5.31pm. I had been warned about the short transfer time, but managed it. At 6pm, I reached my father’s house, where a cordial welcome awaited me.

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