Mister C’s Scottish Loco Hauled Farewell,Jan 89


This was intended to be a sedate farewell so we avoided the last week and planned to overnight in proper beds.


Sunday 8 January

We were booked on the Aberdeen sleeper in the evening but gambled on an early start from Paddington, 31409 and 31423 having been out in a pair on Oxfords the previous day. We were rewarded with 31409 but were led astray by some dud gen about 31413 on 0909 Derby to Newcastle, which turned out to be 47413 instead. The Great Western at Wolverhampton provided the Bathams sleeping fluid for the overnight journey.

317348 0750 Cambridge-Kings Cross

31409 1102 Paddington-Manchester to Stoke on Trent

Fast car Stoke on Trent-Derby

47413 1450 Newcastle-Birmingham from Derby

85012 1901 Birmingham-Liverpool to Wolverhampton

47662 1754 Southampton-Liverpool from Wolverhampton to Crewe


Monday 9 January

This went according to plan, the most extravagant part of which was doing both Far North termini in and out by staying at the Bridge Hotel in Helmsdale. Even in 1989 this still had a 3 figure phone number and brown bath water. The downside was only bottled beer in the hotel, but we’d taken advantage of Scottish licensing hours to have a few McEwans 80/- in the Station Bar at Thurso. The TV was on but soap addicts had to make sense of that day’s episode of Neighbours without sound. Earlier in the day our exploration of Dingwall had been curtailed by heavy rain, but we did find a branch of Gateway selling Ilchester cheese, obviously the finest cheese shop in the district.

87022 2100(prev night) Euston-Aberdeen from Crewe to Mossend

47467 2100(prev night) Euston-Aberdeen from Mossend

47643 0740 Aberdeen-Inverness

37416 1010 Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh to Dingwall

37417 1135 Inverness –Wick from Dingwall to GeorgemasJn

37418 1525 GeorgemasJn-Thurso

37418 1814 Thurso-GeorgemasJn

37417 1812 Wick-Inverness from GeorgemasJn to Brora

37414 1735 Inverness –Wick from Brora to Helmsdale


Tuesday 10 January

No rush in the morning, which was nice after a night in the sleeper, and another day following the plan. We slipped in a quick visit to the Phoenix for some Maclays 80/-while in Inverness. The shape of things to come was indicated by some heavy rain in the evening. Passengers getting out at Plockton and Durinish got a severe soaking, including a woman who got a cab ride in 37417 from Stromeferry to Durinish. At Kyle of Lochalsh we went up to the Ferry Boat Inn on the top the hill but had to drink Guinness as the handpump had been withdrawn.

37418+415 0635 Inverness –Wick from Helmsdale to GeorgemasJn

37415 0635 Inverness –Wick from GeorgemasJn

37415 1212 Wick-Inverness

37421 1735 Inverness –Wickto Dingwall

37417 1820 Inverness-Kyle of Lochalsh from Dingwall


Wednesday 11 January

The plan had been to do the move via Skye to Mallaig, then back to the Central Belt, with accommodation booked in Edinburgh, but on the Tuesday evening that was already looking doubtful. On the Ferry Boat Inn TV John Kettley had given the weather forecast: he stood in front of the West Coast of Scotland and then stepped back to reveal an Atlantic depression with at least 10 concentric circles of isobars. When we got up next morning it was virtually impossible to stand up outside the hotel because of the strength of the wind, and even the ferry to Kyleakin was cancelled.

So we had to go back to Inverness, even though the wind was easing slightly, enough for me to be able to stand on the jetty while listening to Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture on my Walkman. At Perth we found out that 1525 Glasgow-Dyce had been delayed by a loco failure, and when 37175 rolled in getting back to the plan went out of the window. We were part way through confusing a Scottish baglet, attempting to do a travel survey, when we bailed again at Montrose for old Anglian hero 37097. At Aberdeen the accommodation was cancelled, and a rancid overnight beckoned, prepared for with some Caledonian 80/- in the Moorings Bar. Then it was over the top to Inverness where at least I managed to get a sleeper berth to Glasgow.

37414 1128 Kyle of Lochalsh-Inverness

47593 1415 Inverness-Edinburgh to Perth

37175 dragging failed 47709 1525 Glasgow-Dyce from Perth to Montrose

37097 1838 Montrose-Aberdeen

47467 2055 Aberdeen-Inverness

47702 2340 Inverness-Glasgow


Thursday 12 January

The overnight put us in a good place for an early start on the West Highland, enabling us to get to Mallaig only a day late. Others were doing the Skye move in the opposite direction but our objective was to finish at Oban, with time for a few beers in the Oban Inn. I’m not sure how I managed to get up next morning after a heavy session of Youngers No3 (my favourite 1980s Scottish ale) with Highland Park chasers only terminated by last orders at 0100.

37410 0347 Mossend-Fort William from Glasgow

37423 1005 Fort William-Mallaig

37423 1230 Mallaig-Fort William

37410 1445 Fort William-Glasgow to Garelochhead

37412 1634 Glasgow-Fort William from Garelochhead to Crianlarich

37425 1810 Oban-Glasgow from Crianlarich to Arrochar

37411 1834 Glasgow-Oban from Arrochar


Friday 13 January

This was our spare day for clawbacks, but with everything covered, we spent another day on the West Highland.The ride back across Rannoch Moor with 37425 was particularly memorable: lashing rain leaking into a very antique Mark 1 coach. We then headed for Edinburgh and a few beers in the Guildford Arms before the sleeper home: Merlin Ale, Caledonian 70/- and Belhaven 80/-. As a vegetarian I objected to the Belhaven which smelled too much like corned beef! We finished with a bowl out of the same class 87 that we’d had going north five nights before.

37411 1810 Oban-Glasgow to Arrochar

37404 0834 Glasgow-Oban from Arrochar to Crianlarich

37410+407 0840 Fort William-Glasgowfrom Crianlarich to Arrochar

37403 1015 Glasgow-Fort William from Arrochar

37425 1445 Fort William-Glasgow

47711 1900 Glasgow-Edinburgh

47704 2314 Edinburgh-Carstairs

87022 2330 Glasgow-Euston from Carstairs


Saturday 14 January

We got to Liverpool Street in time for breakfast at the Polo Bar opposite the Bishopsgate exit. I can still visit the Polo Bar now, but doubt that I will go again to any of Wick, Thurso, Kyle of Lochalsh, Mallaig, Fort William or Oban.

47579 0835 Liverpool Street-Kings Lynn to Cambridge.


Locos for haulage in Scotland (23)

37097, 37175, 37403/404/407/410/411/412/414/415/416/417/418/421/423/425

47467, 47593, 47643, 47702/704/711



Not much daylight so very few pictures, but some are here on flickr:



Thanks to Gerard for the beer gen and memory jolters from his diary.


June 2019