Despite being a very happy long distance traveller I do get a lot of satisfaction from day trips which end where they began. Today’s started at 6am when I discovered fresh snow on the flat steps in Notting Hill and realised that winter was not over and I had been a little premature in the ditching of flat cap, scarf and gloves.
My flight to Edinburgh this morning was very different from yesterday’s one to Amsterdam which was entirely in gloomy cloud. A smattering of snow and a hard frost had resulted in Britain’s uplands being picked out in staggering detail – every cragg and summit glistened as we sped north. It’s at times like this when you really do appreciate that these British Isles are quite magnificant. It also meant perfect flying conditions. By the time I consumed my hot breakfast and read the verdict of the Right Honourable (a contridiction if ever there was one) Tony Blair’s performance before the Chilcot Inquiry we were well into our descent and flying over the wind turbines in Lanarkshire (which never ever seem to be turning – I wonder if they ever return more energy than was used to construct, transport and gouge the hillsides to provide access ? Give me a couple of reliable, coastal nuclear stations anyday !).
A had 100 minutes to spare before my onward journey to Kirkcaldy so I bussed into Edinburgh and visited the National Galleries. Principally to see the ‘Picturing Britain’ exhibition based on the work of Paul Sandby which my ‘phone had prompted me to take in. Incredible work with detail which my short visit did not do justice to. I also finally visited the Scottish Collection to see the eponymous Sir Henry Raeburn portrait of the minister skating on Duddingston Loch. That and ‘The Wanderer’ by Caspar David Friedrich are two of my favourites.
Then by rail to Kirkcaldy – a short journey but one which crossed the majestic Forth Rail Bridge and hugged the Fife coastline and a number of beaches where I spent many a summers day pottering around as a child. My visit over (although the views from the hospital ward window were stunning – over the Forth to Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills beyond) the reverse journey was just as spectacular. The sinking sun casting an incredible orange glow over bridges, fishing villages and calm seas.
As I write this on the flight south every village, town and village down the spine of Britain is visible. Oh how Sandby would have killed for this view.
This blog may focus on Heathrow – Kennedy but today Heathrow – Edinburgh put the world into perspective. Clear views into the distance and lots of clarity. Just what was needed.