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More From the West Highland Line

I forgot to include this photo of an old North British Railway Signboard at Glenfinnan Station in my previous post. The posters are modern of course.

Glenfinnan was the only long stop between Fort William and Mallaig.

This is the sea loch, Loch Ailort (Loch Ailleart) after which the next town and station up the line, Lochailort, are named:-

First proper sea view. I think this is Loch nan Uamh – looking towards the Sound of Arisaig:-

The next station, Arisaig, has a unique claim to fame as the sign on the station wall attests. The stop was a short one but handy for me to take the photo.

Glenfinnan Viaduct from Train

The most iconic piece of railway scenery on the West Highland Line between Fort William and Mallaig is the Glenfinnan Viaduct which was apparently the first entirely built of concrete – by Robert McAlpine, thereafter known as “Concrete Bob.”

Here it is as viewed as from the Hogwarts Express on the outward leg.

There are great views of Loch Shiel from the viaduct. This photo was taken just after crossing it:-

The train stopped at Glenfinnan Station for about fifteen minutes to exchange tokens for the single track with a Scotrail train. If you had time you could have a meal in the restaurant car in the Station precincts.

Return journey – shows viaduct and locomotive. Someone is ignoring the “Do not lean out of the window” signs!

View down into Glenfinnan from train:-

Hills at Glenfinnan:-

Loch Shiel from viaduct:-

The Jacobite Steam Train (aka The Hogwarts Express)

This was the reason we went to Fort William.

My work colleagues had given me a voucher for two tickets on an excursion from Fort William to Mallaig on the Jacobite Steam train run by West Coast Railways. This is the train that features as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films.

We hadn’t been on a steam train since we took the boys on the one at Bo’ness in the long ago.

That British Railways logo is a cracker.

It’s reminiscent of the one used for the British Empire Exhibition of 1924-25.

Wembley Lion

See more images of the Wembley Lion here.

When we debarked at Mallaig Station the footplatemen were hard at work shovelling coal on the Jacobite’s coal tender.

The end of the line at Mallaig:-

Friday On My Mind 88: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

I remember when The Man From U.N.C.L.E. first started it was broadcast in the UK on BBC 1 on a Thursday night at 8 pm. That meant it was a quick rush home from choir practice, which itself followed straight on from my piano lessons. Thursday nights were busy then.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. theme tune is very hard to recall. It always gets overwhelmed, at least in my head and also in those of other people of my acquaintance, by the one for Mission Impossible – a show which took over that Thursday night slot from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The first episode’s opening with explanatory introduction:-

Later colour version, with altered arrangement:-

Reelin’ In The Years 70: Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands was a children’s TV programme, broadcast by ITV between 1970 and 1972, which had fantasy elements. As well as this, another attraction was the cracking theme tune.

The tune was released as a single, Tarot, and was performed by Andy Bown. There’s some brilliant mellotron in this.

Andy Bown: Tarot

Friday On My Mind 87: Captain Pugwash

Captain Pugwash was a cartoon precursor to Sir Prancelot (see last week) and featured a similarly bumbling lead character in the shape of the eponymous captain of the ship The Black Pig.

Strictly speaking this isn’t a sixties piece since Captain Pugwash first appeared on television in the 1950s. However my folks didn’t get themselves a television till 1960 so as far as I’m concerned it belongs firmly in the 60s.

There is an urban myth that the cartoon series was a repository of filth/sexual innuendo. This is NOT TRUE.

The cabin boy was called Tom not Roger, there was no seaman Staines and it was Master Mate with an M not a B. The Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian both had to pay libel damages for printing this misconception.

The jaunty signature tune is apparently called The Trumpet Hornpipe.

Captain Pugwash (The Trumpet Hornpipe)

Reelin’ In The Years 69: The Adventures of Sir Prancelot


The Adventures of Sir Prancelot
was a cartoon series – each episode lasting only five minutes – first broadcast in 1972, about a bumbling knight who sets out on a crusade and of course gets into scrapes. As I recall it the one who always pulled his irons out of the fire was his minstrel whose voice narrated the episodes.

The minstrel of course played a stringed instrument – from the pictures it may be supposed to be a lute – and Sir Prancelot’s (but also the minstrel’s) theme tune was a belter.

The programme was broadcast at 5.55 pm, just before the early evening news. I can remember rushing home from University in order to catch it. (No iPlayer or DVD box sets in those days. No videos even.)

They don’t make them like that any more, sadly.

Sir Prancelot

Friday On My Mind 86: The Flashing Blade

I’m changing the arbitrary rules on this category again with this one.

The Flashing Blade was a French TV serial (Le Chevalier Tempête) set in the 1630s during the War of the Mantuan Succession which the BBC broadcast in children’s slots in the late 60s, repeating it several times ending in the 70s.

It was dubbed into English – somewhat atrociously, which added to its charm.

The thing is, though, it was curiously watchable and benefited from a catchy theme tune which had driving guitars and drums similar to Joe Meek productions of the early 60s.

I can’t remember much more about it but this website claims the final episode was never dubbed into English.

According to Wikipedia the theme song was called Fight and was released as a single by “The Musketeers” in 1969.

The Flashing Blade theme tune

A Further Taste of Ireland

There is a full set of shelves in my local supermarket selling Irish products.

Irish Shelves in Kirkcaldy Supermarket

This includes for some reaon – third shelf up extreme left – Irish shortbread. Irish shortbread? On sale in Scotland? That seems a bit coals to Newcastle.

Anyway here is a close-up on the Cadbury shelf.

Irish Shelf, Cadbury's Products

Caramello, Tiffin, Mint Crisp, Golden Crisp and Snack Bars. Fair takes you back. The 95p price for a vending machine sized bar might be thought a bit steep.

I bought the Mint Crisp this week, though. As good as I remembered.

Caramilk

I was thinking about Cadbury’s Caramello again today and I suddenly remembered that the bar had another name, Caramilk. It had disappeared once before and was brought back under a new name.

I can’t now remember which name came first – possibly Caramilk was the one which was around in my youth and Caramello came later.

I looked up Caramilk and it seems there is a bar of this name sold by Cadbury’s in Canada, and Caramello is found in the US, Australia and New Zealand. The Wiki article doesn’t mention Ireland though.

Here’s a link to the Irish shop and its picture of a Caramello bar which looks more like the non-vending machine size I remember buying back in the day. When I looked there though it said, “Sold Out!”

Some of the images on this page (I see mine has got on there somehow; it’s about halfway down) are of the old packaging.

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