About 80 miles to the Insch
Although the Inverness to Aberdeen railway line is much maligned for its poor service it does have a restored Great North of Scotland railway station at Insch. Part of the station is now a railway and local history museum called "The Insch Connection" which is open on Wednesdays and Sundays in the summer. The rest of the station is a kiltmakers which must be quite a rarity on a railway station.
We went on the 10.43 from Inverness and arrived at Insch at 12.20 and were surprised to find the museum open before its advertised time so had about an hour looking round its interesting collection of railway and local memorabilia. We then walked into Insch and called in at the new Community Centre for lunch. The Station and Commercial Hotels also provide refreshments for the weary traveller.
Well fortified, we walked to the Old Manse which is a new experience featuring miniature paintings, water colours, acrylic painting and a display of carpets, rugs and wall hangings from Nepal and Turkestan, all of which may be purchased. Although tempted, we left empty handed.
From there we took a 20 minute stroll to the top of Dunideer Hill, about 800 feet high, with superb views over the railway line and surrounding countryside. The hill has a 2000 year history of fortification, the remains of which can still be seen. It is also home of the rare breed of Duni deer which can usually be seen grazing on the hillside.
We walked back to the station and toured the platform using the leaflet guide which we had purchased at the museum. There is still a working signalbox and the only GNSR Waiting Room still in existence.
The level crossing barriers went down and the 17.51 arrived on time, disgorged its commuters and took us to Inverness for 19.35 and then a wait for the bus to Muir of Ord.