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Weeknote 47

A bumper weeknote this week, with the past week spent exploring Scottish cities and castles.

A few days in sunny Scotland

Ahead of my birthday, I went with X to Glasgow by train on Tuesday. We were lucky to enjoy fine weather for the whole of the trip there and back. Riding all the way up the West Coast mainline was a joy I've rarely done before. It brought back pleasant childhood memories of my many car trips along much of the same route through the Lake District, Cumbria and southern Scotland towards the ferry for Ireland.

In Glasgow, we enjoyed a visit to the Kelvingrove museum, along with a visit to the Necropolis Victorian cemetery to take in the magnificent clear views across the city. Beside attractions, we found a great choice of breakfast cafés in the Charing Cross area. Top of my list to visit would have to be Single-end at Garnethill, if you can manage the sharp, short ascent with a 20% gradient on the road there.

Birthday celebrations

For my 36th birthday, we visited Stirling Castle and once again faced some steep gradients to reach it. The highly entertaining guided tours are a must for seeing round this expansive castle, as is a visit to the self-serve restaurant.

Calum with backdrop of unglazed castle window looking over Central Scotland hills.

My birthday meal was back in Glasgow at Kelp which specialises in sustainably sourced seafood. I'd some of their spicy sauce oysters followed by a main of Shetland caught Coley and the most delicious roast potatoes I think I've ever tasted.

left to right dishes of spicy sauce oysters, roast potatoes, Coley in green sauce, cheesecake.

Train-strike relief

We were lucky enough to avoid getting stranded in Scotland over the weekend due to the industrial action on the railway, having chosen to return home via the scenic East Coast line instead which still had some trains running. I find the journey to/from a place is an important part of the enjoyment in a trip overall. Passing along the Northumbria coastline by train in such beautiful weather was a treat for the eyes!

View from train window of coastline

Chilean street food and exercising

Back home, X and I went to try another of London's Chilean cafés, this time the Red Lion café in Holborn. I enjoyed the Completo, plus an empanada. Cheap, good and tasty, but have to say not the best quality of Chilean food I've tried.

left to right, Completo and empanada cut in half.

Burning off the calories from all that food, on Sunday I went for a much-needed cycle ride on the country lanes of Hampshire. This is just an hour away from my new home by direct train, or at least when they run, occasionally on Sundays. A hint that we're all now living with climate change was all too clear on my delayed return train journey, which was held up by track equipment worryingly smouldering as I arrived back at Alton station.