A day excursion for members (and friends) has been organised for Tuesday 15 June to Kildonan, the first station north of Helmsdale.
This beautiful and peaceful strath, was the scene of a gold rush in 1869 and we will visit the site of Baile an Or (The town of gold) and learn how to pan for gold from a local expert. This will involve a round walk of two miles, but a car will be on hand for those who need it. For the more energetic, a six mile walk will also be on offer.
This excursion will be by service train. (Sorry to disappoint those who were perhaps envisaging our own train pulled by two historic locomotives and complete with dining car!). We will use the 11.27 ex Inverness and the 12.09 ex Wick due at Kildonan (which is a request stop) at 13.57 and 13.31 respectively. As we will be on the summer timetable by then, please check these times in case there are slight changes.
Return will be by the 17.39 from Kildonan, due Inverness 20.06. It is suggested that north passengers also catch this train as far as Helmsdale (due 17.52), adjourn to a restaurant for tea before catching the northbound service at 19.56 due Thurso at 21.01 and Wick at 21.30. Those members who are Highland residents and have a Highland railcard will be able to purchase tickets at half price. For this reason we are not proposing to organise a group ticket for the day.
If this idea is successful, it is hoped that the excursion could become an annual event visiting different stations on the line and allowing members to meet more frequently.
It is important that you fill in the enclosed booking form and return it to Roger Piercy, Findon Mills, Culbokie, Ross and Cromarty IV7 8JJ by the 7th June so that we have an idea of numbers for the day. We are sorry that it will not be possible to provide any catering on this occasion and you should bring your own picnics. You should also be well shod, with wet weather gear and rubber boots if you wish to stand in the burn. Midge cream might also be a wise precaution. There is a small shelter at Baile an Or should we be unlucky enough to encounter rain, and one final and very important item of information is that there are no toilets available in the area.