Three things you should know about me: I am a hopeless romantic; I am a bit of a history geek; I love nothing more than spending time exploring Scotland and taking photographs. So a trip on Scotland’s oldest heritage railway line in the beautiful Cairngorms National Park combined these elements perfectly. The hour and a half round trip from Aviemore (stopping at Boat of Garten and Broomhill) was a wonderful way to spend a morning in the October holidays – perhaps the ideal way for our family of four to do some sightseeing at the moment. I have a 6 month old daughter and a 3 year old son, and the journey was not only fun and exciting for my toddler, who had his nose to the glass for most of the trip, my baby was also entranced by the scenery whizzing past – leaving me to enjoy a coffee and drink in the scenery.
My imagination started whirring as soon as the wheels of the vintage steam engine began to clickety-clack out of the station, thinking about a world where travel was by steam train and imagining Aviemore in the late 1800s. I loved disappearing into the past for an hour and a half: watching the steam billowing past the window; visiting the engine and guard rooms; looking out at a landscape that must be largely unchanged since the line opened in 1863. The rhythm of the train suddenly brought back dusty memories of reciting Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem From a Railway Carriage for a school assembly when I was 11 years old: ‘All of the sights of the hill and the plain/ Fly as thick as driving rain;/ And ever again, in the wink of an eye,/ Painted stations whistle by…’.
A journey on the Strathspey Railway is great fun for all ages – Isaac loved exploring the train, particularly being allowed to try on the train guard’s hat and ‘help’ to shovel coal into the fire. Of course there’s something about a steam train that brings out the kid in you too, though – hence the photo below of one rather big kid being a ‘trainee guard’!…
To read more about our steam train trip take a look at this blog post for Gael Holiday Homes.
Visit www.strathspeyrailway.co.uk for more information.
My trip was complimentary but the opinions expressed here are all my own.