Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Operation Bold Brigand Commences

After an early morning of clearing the remainder of my stuff out of my room and packing the rest, I put my stuff into storage with my good friend Tashtego, and I was off! I caught the early train to Inverness, followed by the train up to Thurso. This involved doubling back on part of a route that I took when leaving Orkney in 2004 - a train journey I thoroughly enjoyed.

I arrived in Thurso wearing my Arc'Teryx Echo Pack, my 5.11 Rush MOAB 10, and my ancient Eddie Bauer backpack. Using some utility carabiners, I was able to clip the whole mess together, which made it moderately easier to carry; still, approximately sixty pounds worth of kit is heavy and bulky, no matter how it's packaged. I also made the mistake of deciding to walk from the rail station at Thurso to the ferry terminal at Scrabster. That ended up being about two and a half miles, and I was dying by the end of it - not bad for a guy in his thirties who hasn't played this game in nearly a decade, but still something that I was grossly unprepared for.

As I neared the ferry terminal, I passed by the Ferry Inn, which had four flags out front - notably, none of them was the Union Flag. Looking at Google Street View, they appear to be the American, Scottish, Norwegian, and Canadian flags. Why the first and last flags were there is beyond me, but since every American flag outside American soil is worth photographing, I snapped a quick picture and then kept walking.

I had to wait in the terminal for car passengers before the foot passenger terminal right next to the ferry's pier opened up. I caught my wind, and finally made that last arduous run with all of that kit on my shoulders. As I neared the terminal, I saw a sign welcoming me to the Scottish Highlands - this would have made a bit more sense in Inverness, as I was now leaving the Highlands, but I snapped a picture anyway. It seemed an appropriate transition point as I left Scotland proper to revisit my favorite island paradise.

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