I liked St Andrews a great deal, and if were the sort to go for small towns I would have simply fallen in love with it. It was beautiful and charming, wild and yet so historical. Definitely fascinating. And with ruins to explore as well...
|Peeking through the cathedral ruins.|
A lovely little town by the sea in Scotland, known the world over for golf and Prince William. I mean it's university. Which Wills happened to attend. I did have vague hopes of taking a walk by the sea while I was there, but these were laid to rest in light of my mobility issues. Arriving off the train at Leuchars (St Andrews itself not actually being on the train line), I taxied in, and settled in to my B&B (not as perfect as the one in Edinburgh, but everything else was full). I hobbled around with my sprained ankle and found a surprising lack of restaurants, the one I found and really liked the look of was, wait for it... fully booked.
|The remainders of the grand main entrance.|
|Some nice Scottish imagery.|
I discovered it to be a lovely medieval town perched up above the sea, complete with castle and cathedral ruins. Of which the castle ruins were so lovely, I shall dedicate a post entirely to pictures of it. It was pretty idyllic really. I spent most of the next day either sitting in a coffee shop (needed coffee, and couldn't walk much) or hobbling around the ruins. Ruins are pretty amazing. Oh and the graveyard! Sounds weird, but the graveyard by the old cathedral ruins was quite something to see. It was on a gentle hillside, topped by the cathedral walls and sloping down towards the beach. I don't usually make a habit of touring graveyards, or photographing them, for that matter, but this one fascinated me.
|The angel raises his face to the sky, finished.|
In between I managed to find what might be the worlds most amazing ice-cream store, with a variety to astonish the most experienced ice-cream samplers. I believe I went for something reasonably tame, some sort of special Scottish icecream, with caramel swirls and something else, it was very tasty. I even sampled some of the Irn Bru ice-cream, which I was less taken with. But the one I had was delicious! I wandered around the pretty streets (and Butts Wynd as I recall), before realising that if I didn't get my own butt over to the castle I wouldn't get to see much of it. I arrived with five minutes until close, and luckily they were kind enough to let me in anyway, and I wandered around taking pictures. Like the cathedral, it was in an advanced state of ruins, but rather cool to explore, as you shall see. It would have had amazing views when there was an actual building there, it sits right at the top of the cliff above the sea, just where you really want there to be a castle.
|I was totally mature enough not to giggle. Honestly.|
After all this exploring I went and collected my massive pack and staggered around for a while, until I found a suitable restaurant to loaf about it for the remainder of my evening. I was very well attended by the staff, who were super-kind, and found somewhere to keep my pack, and loaded it into my taxi (which they called) for me at the end of the evening.
After scrambling aboard the Caledonian Sleeper train I had an epic adventure night of awful proportions. The sleeper train broke down in Edinburgh, and after moving us to new carriages, we were then allowed to 'sleep' for a few hours before they woke us all up to tell us "This train isn't going anywhere" Ummm yeah, figured that out a few hours ago guys, what with the not moving and all. Eventually with much kerfuffle I managed to obtain coffee from the plebs who open the Costa Coffee in Edinburgh Waverley at some truly unreasonable hour of the morning (I was there at about 5.30am...) and get on a train to Lancaster? Somewhere in the North, starting with an L. Eventually arrived there at about 8am, changed to a new train to Birmingham, only to be told I *still* had to get off a Crewe anyway and collect my tickets for onwards travel. Sigh. Crewe was difficult to navigate, their ticket machines useless, and the elevators slower than me going down stairs with a sprained ankle and a pack my own size and weight. I was not happy with Crewe. Oh and they denied the existence of my tickets until I eventually got my phone (with dying battery in its very last moments) to show an email receipt that I had indeed paid for the tickets. At which point they were obliged to concede their existence, and eventually relinquished them to me. After Crewe I eventually got to B'ham, where they proceeded to change my train platform (after I had arrived at it, of course) not once, but twice. Way to mess with someone who has a heavy pack and can't walk.
I am honestly surprised I made it without hurting somebody.