Good morning folks. We’ve made it up to Scotland without further incident, although we are now running 72 minutes late, which will affect the amount of time teams have to climb Ben Nevis. Contingency plans are in hand to have any stragglers bussed to Crianlarich where they can rejoin the train as we head South.
Breakfast of tea, coffee and porridge was served around 04:15. Right now the train’s a hive of activity as people have a was and brush up (as much as you can on a train with no showers!) Visit one of the two physiotherapists we have on board offering massages and medical care, or otherwise prepare for climbing Ben Nevis.
We’re expecting to arrive at Fort William in the next 15 mins. Once the teams are off the train will be taken to the sidings to be tanked, serviced and cleaned. For once, I’ll be staying with the train and myself and some of the operations team will be meeting the climbers when they cross the finish line.
The stock from the 3Peaks train is now sat in the yard and some of the crew are enjoying 40 winks before we head off into Fort William. On an adjacent road is this beastie, one of two which are in steam, ready for working the ‘Jacobite’ service from Fort William to Mallaig.
Time for an update now that we’re on our way home. The late arrival in Fort William did have an impact on people climbing Ben Nevis. The new event management team from Global Adventure Challenges streamlined the process of getting everyone on the mountain safely, which made up some time, but there had to be a cut-off time that meant if you hadn’t reached the summit by a certain time you had to turn back from wherever you’d reached in order to make it back down in time to catch the train. Delaying our departure would have too many knock-on effects with pathing and connections. Despite this 90 people summited, far more than we’d hoped for. Even so, not everybody made it off the mountain in time. Three people were too late to get the bus to connect with the train so plan B was enacted. They were put on a fast coach with a Global Adventure Challenges member and ferried to Crianlarich where they rejoined us.