Tuesday, 30 November 2010

(No) Planes, trains and automobiles

Having been down to Inverness for our L2 Development day and our canoe coaching sessions, we had to try and get home to Orkney.  With Justin’s help, we got away from Muirtown in good time and got to the airport to return the hire car without a hitch.

Having been delayed by two and a half hours on the journey south, we were suspicious of claims that the plane was running to schedule.  We checked on the internet and found that it hadn’t left Sumburgh in Shetland, never mind leaving Kirkwall or arriving at Inverness.IMGP0395Snowy runway

On Sundays we coach the beginners in the pool but the delay on the plane meant that we couldn’t make it.  Emergency phone calls were made and the other Orkney L2 trainees were enlisted to deliver our session, having been instructed where to find the lesson plan saved on my computer!

More time passed and after about an hour and a half, we were unsurprisingly told that the plane had been cancelled.  We were all booked onto the next available flight which was 9.55am on Monday, then Flybe put us in a taxi and sent us to Nairn to the Newton Hotel, across the road from where we had been staying with Steve and Mags!IMGP0397Newton Hotel, Nairn

The morning did not start well with 4 of the passengers being taken to the airport in a taxi at the appointed 8.15 while the others were left for over 45 minutes.  Several calls were made to Flybe and eventually taxis came for the rest of us.  IMGP0398

Mackayak looks bored part one – no taxi

Upon arrival at the airport, we were checked in but told there was a delay to our flight.  We, of course, looked on the internet and found that it hadn’t left Shetland….

I’m sure the Flybe staff were doing their best but there was a complete lack of information all morning.  Everything in the airport was cancelled because the airport had run out of de-icer so we were very sceptical that we would fly at all.

After a while, we decided Plan B was required so we started getting information on buses, trains and ferries.IMGP0399Mackayak tries to get information from the information desk

Just before 12 we were told that the next announcement would be at 1 but we knew that since the train left at 13.59 and we had to get tickets etc that really we couldn’t wait around that long.  We asked the Flybe people if they would pay for our train and ferry but they said no because our flight had not been cancelled (even though we were cancelled on Sunday).  Instead we asked for a refund (which as yet I haven’t seen) and set forth to Inverness.

Our initial plan was to take the bus to Scrabster but we had a feeling the railway line was more likely to be open than the road so we opted for the train.IMGP0424Means of escape!IMGP0402Well it rhymes with plane…   IMGP0405Mackayak looks bored part two – awaiting four hour train journeyIMGP0408Inverness Airport ran out of de-icer.  This man was keeping Scotrail moving with only a brush and a can of Car Plan de-icer!        IMGP0416The line to Thurso

Scotrail should be commended for running their train in difficult conditions with only a half hour delay.  The guard on the service was also extremely helpful and contacted Northlink Ferries to tell them he had a train load of ferry passengers and could they hold the boat if necessary….   

When we finally made it to Thurso, there was no sign of our taxi, but we found one going the right way and got to Scrabster in good time for the boat.  Phew!  Once on the boat, it was time for a well deserved drink.          IMGP0430Mackayak stops looking miserable!  You can count on Northlink!!! 

After a pleasant crossing we finally made it to Orkney where a taxi awaited to take us home to Kirkwall (after I’d retrieved my car from the airport of course…)IMGP0432 Hamnavoe in Stromness


  1. LOL!!! What a series of expressions!

  2. But you can see the relief when we've made it to the boat!

  3. you remind me why I hate travel outside the realm of my own ability to move myself!