Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

West Towers from the Cloisters


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Durham Cathedral – 19 May 2018

A day with a lot of distractions, including two football cup finals and a certain wedding in Windsor, saw us heading to Durham Cathedral for Choral Evensong, sung by RSCM Scottish Voices.

Situated on promontory high above a loop of the River Wear, adjacent to Durham Castle, Durham Cathedral dates from the late 11th Century under the first Prince-Bishop, William of St. Carilef (or William of Calais), appointed by William the Conqueror. The cathedral is approached from the Durham Market Place, via Saddler Street and Owen Street to Palace Green. On the north side of the green is Durham Castle, and of the south side is the cathedral.

Durham Cathedral from Palace Green

Durham Cathedral from Palace Green
19 May 2018

However, the See of Durham, takes its origins much earlier Diocese of Lindisfarne in the 7th century, although it was translated to York 664 and prior to going back to Lindisfarne in 678. Saint Cuthbert, who was Bishop of Lindisfarne fron 685 to 687, was instrumental in the foundation of Durham Cathedral. As a result of Viking raids, the monks of Lindisfarne left the island in 875, taking the relics (body) of St Cuthbert, initially settling in Chester-le-Street until 995, when further Viking incursions took place. Legend has it that they following two milk maids who were searching for a dun coloured cow to the peninsula of the River Wear. This is where they settled building the initial church on the site made of wood to house the relics, prior to being replace by a stone church, known as the white church, which was substantially complete (apart for he tower) in 1018. The following of the cow is commemorated by a carving in the north east side of the current building.

Carving of Milkmaids and Cow.

Carving of Milkmaids and Cow.
19 May 2018

On the north west door of the cathedral is a knocker. In the middle ages anyone who had committed a serious offence could claim sanctuary by knocking on the door. They then had 37 days to put their affairs in order then stand trial or leave the country. The original 12th century knocker is now on display in the Open Treasure exhibition, whilst a replica is on the door.

Sanctuary Knocker on the North West Door.

Sanctuary Knocker on the North West Door.
19 May 2018

Photography is not allowed in the cathedral, except to a limited number of photography evenings, however pictures can be taken in the Cloisters.

Central Tower from the Cloisters

Central Tower from the Cloisters
19 May 2018

In the cloisters that are a large number of carving on the roof.

Cloister Roof Carving

Cloister Roof Carving
19 May 2018

In some of the corners there are carvings of saints.

Gilded Carving of a Saint

Gilded Carving of a Saint
19 May 2018

Walking to the east end of the building along the appropriately named Dun Cow Lane, the east end can be viewed from North Bailey.

East End of Durham Cathedral

East End of Durham Cathedral
19 May 2018

To the south of the Cathedral, where North Bailey becomes South Bailey, there is a gateway that takes you into a small courtyard called The College, including a property with an Episcopal Crest above the door.

Episcopal Door in Durham Cathedral College

Episcopal Door in Durham Cathedral College
19 May 2018

Walking through the College, takes us back into the Cloisters.

The day was for singing, so some of the back stage areas were seen including the Song School and the Chapter House. The music for Choral Evensong included:

  • Responses: Herbert Sumsion
  • Canticles: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in B flat (Sir John Stainer)
  • Anthem: Evening Hymn (Henry Balfour-Gardiner)

We were under the direction of Frikki Walker and the organ was played by Kevin Duggan.

A return visit to Durham Cathedral is in order to explore the building further (when not singing), possibly for one of the photographic evenings.

Organ Casing in the Chancel


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Launch Concert for St Mary’s Organ Appeal – 12 May 2018

The organ in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow was originally constructed by William Hill in 1871. When the building became the Cathedral of the United Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway, the organ was rebuilt and enlarged by Harrison and Harrison (in 1909), become one of the largest organs of its kind in Britain. The next two rebuilds by Hill, Norman and Beard in 1967 and 1990.

Organ Casing in the Chancel

Organ Casing in the Chancel
12 May 2018

As part of the 1990 rebuild, fundraising including a Choir Tour singing unaccompanied in all Scottish Episcopal mainland cathedrals in one day. In 2018, the appeal has been launched by a concert showcasing the talents of the Cathedral Choir and the organ, directed by Frikki Walker and accompanied by Steven McIntyre.

Steven McIntyre on the organ stool with Frikki to the right

Steven McIntyre on the organ stool with Frikki to the right
12 May 2018

The organ is in need of a rebuild to deal with not only wear and tear, but some previous work that was not as optimum as it could have been. One other omission is the lack of an organ casing in the South Transept.

View showing the Organ Casing in the Chancel and lack of casing in the South Transept.

View showing the Organ Casing in the Chancel and lack of casing in the South Transept.
13 May 2018

The 1990 rebuild included the provision of a mobile console which could be positioned in the most appropriate place for the service or concert that it was being used for. For this concert it was position in pride on place so that all could see the organ being played.

1990 Movable Console

1990 Movable Console
12 May 2018

The concert also included contributions from two of the choristers on the organ, one singing the solo in Bob Chillcott’s “The Lord is My Shepherd” (Vicar of Dibley theme) and another (who is now studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) conducted the choir for one item.

Concert Flyer

Concert Flyer
12 May 2018

The concert would not be complete without Frikki playing the organ. he played a piece specially commissioned in 2014 by the young composer Piers Connor Kennedy – A Scottish Fancy.

Frikki playing "A Scottish Fancy"

Frikki playing “A Scottish Fancy”
12 May 2018

The appeal is now welcoming donations and over the coming months there will be further activities which will be publicised on the Cathedral Web Site.

Appeal Concert Programme Cover

Appeal Concert Programme Cover
12 May 2018

West End of Peterborough Cathedral


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Peterborough Cathedral – June 2017

Our third cathedral visit in 2017 was to Peterborough. The cathedral precinct is approached via a gateway.

Entrance gateway from within the precinct

Entrance gateway from within the precinct
3 June 2017

The west end is displayed to you as you walk through the gateway.

West End Entrance

West End Entrance
3 June 2017

Passing through the door, the nave altar is seen.

Peterborough Nave Altar

Peterborough Nave Altar
3 June 2017

We had booked the tower tour, so soon after arriving we joined the tour and followed our guide to the north transept. The first part of the tour takes in the walkway around the chancel and behind (and above) the high altar to the south side.

Looking down on the High Altar Canopy

Looking down on the High Altar Canopy
3 June 2017

On the galleries to the north and south are various artefacts, mainly masonry, but also templates of the various pillars and a cupboard with air-raid helmets.

Masonry in the gallery

Masonry in the gallery
3 June 2017

Pillar templates

Pillar templates
3 June 2017

Air Raid Relics

Air Raid Relics
3 June 2017

Retracing our steps to the North Transept, it was another climb to a a higher gallery and to the inside of the tower.

Tower ceiling from ground level

Tower ceiling from ground level
3 June 2017

From the narrow walkway around the inside of the tower, the decoration can be seen at close quarters.

Tower Ceiling Boss

Tower Ceiling Boss
3 June 2017

There was also an opportunity to see the recently restored organ pipework from above.

Peterborough Organ from the tower walkway

Peterborough Organ from the tower walkway
3 June 2017

Looking east, the high altar is also viewed.

High Altar from the Tower Walkway

High Altar from the Tower Walkway
3 June 2017

The tour then headed into the roof space above the North Transept, before coming out unto the roof and the walkway to the top of the tower. From there view across the plains of Cambridgeshire can be seen. Those with a keen eye are able to make out the top of Ely Cathedral.

Looking east towards Ely

Looking east towards Ely
3 June 2017

East End roof from the tower

East End roof from the tower
3 June 2017

Looking south west to the cloisters

Looking south west to the cloisters
3 June 2017

All too soon it was time to come down off the tower, taking the stairs to the nave roof, and walking along the side of the roof to the north west tower where the ringing room is located. Emerging back into the Nave we had a further look around.

High Altar from ground level

High Altar from ground level
3 June 2017

Ceiling above the High Altar

Ceiling above the High Altar
3 June 2017

We then headed to Becket’s Tea Room for a light snack before attending Choral Evensong.

Window in Becket's Tearoom

Window in Becket’s Tearoom
3 June 2017

After Choral Evensong, we spent some time talking to the vergers, who kindly showed us their wands.

Peterborough Cathedral Vergers' Wands

Peterborough Cathedral Vergers’ Wands
3 June 2017

We then went to a local restaurant before getting our train to London. Unfortunately, it was delayed and then diverted due to someone being hit be a train near to Knebworth. Then after getting Northern Line from Kings Cross to London Bridge (we were staying at the London Bridge Hotel) we noted police sirens and blue lights. Although we thought nothing of it very soon afterwards it became evident we were in the middle of a major incident.

Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban


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Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Alban – April 2017

The next Cathedral visit in 2017 was to St Albans. Alban was of Roman descent and lived in Verulamium to the south west of the current modern city of St Ablans.

In the third century, Alban, who had recently converted to Christianity, changed clothes with a fugitive priest called Amphibalus and was arrested. Because he refused to sacrifice to the Roman Gods, he was convicted and executed by beheading. The first church on the site is reputed to have been built over Alban’s grave.

The original Saxon Benedictine Abbey dates from the 8th century however plans to rebuild it in the early 11th century came to nothing. After the Norman conquest a new Abbey of the site of the current Cathedral was built. The tower over the crossing built at this time is still standing. The Norman Abbey was completed in 1089.

Inside ceiling of the Tower

Inside ceiling of the Tower
8 April 2017

Over the next 500 years the Abbey had mixed fortunes, including damage resulting from an earthquake in 1250. A few years later parts of the east end that had been damaged were demolished. In 1323 part of the south aisle collapsed taking parts of the roof with it. The biggest change to the Abbey buildings took place as a result of the dissolution of the monasteries following the break from Rome by Henry the VIII. Only the church and the Abby gateway survived. The rest of the buildings were dismantled that the stone used for building elsewhere. The Abbey Gateway is now past of St Albans school.

St Albans Abbey Gateway

St Albans Abbey Gateway
8 April 2017

West End of St Albans Cathedral

West End of St Albans Cathedral
8 April 2017

Entering the west end of the Cathedral, the parish [nave] altar is seen.

Nave of St Albans Cathedral

Nave of St Albans Cathedral
8 April 2018

On the nave screen is a series of statues of martyrs, by Rory Young, installed in 2015 as part of the 900th anniversary of the dedication of the Norman Church in 1115.

Modern Martyrs on the Nave Screen

Modern Martyrs on the Nave Screen
8 April 2017

The martyrs on the screen are St Alban [Britain’s first saint]; St Amphibalus [the Christian priest to whom Alban gave shelter]; George Tankerfield [a Protestant, burnt to death in Romeland]; St Alban Roe [a Roman Catholic, hanged in London in 1642 having been found guilty of treason for being a Roman Catholic priest]; St Elisabeth Romanova [granddaughter of Queen Victoria]; Dietrich Bonhoeffer [Lutheran pastor and theologian]; Oscar Romero [Roman Catholic Archbishop of El Salvador].

On the other side of the nave screen is the Quire and High Altar

Chancel and Organ

Chancel and Organ
8 April 2017

High Altar and Screen

High Altar and Screen
8 April 2017

In the Ramryge Chantry Chapel to the left of the High Altar, the Ramryge Angels are on display. This is their normal location, however I had previously seen them when visited Rochester Cathedral in January 2016.

Ramryge Angels

Ramryge Angels
8 April 2017

Ramryge Angels

Ramryge Angels
8 April 2017

Behind the High Altar is the Shrine to St Alban.

Shrine of St Alban

Shrine of St Alban
8 April 2017

In the north aisle close to St Alban’s Shrine, are the surviving pieces of the shrine constructed to Amphibalus.

Shrine of Amphibalus

Shrine of Amphibalus
8 April 2017

At the east end of the Cathedral is the Lady Chapel.

Lady Chapel

Lady Chapel
8 April 2017

Chelmsford Cathedral


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Chelmsford Cathedral – January 2017

Another of our series of visits to Cathedrals. This time a visit made to Chelmsford Cathedral on 27 January 2017.

East End with Chapter Stalls and Lectern.

East End with Chapter Stalls and Lectern.
27 January 2017

As the church of St Mary the Virgin, the church in Chelmsford dates 1223. In the 15th Century, the church was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style to include the tower, parapets and magnificent South porch. However, due to feuding during the War of the Roses, it took nearly a century to complete.

South Transept

South Transept
27 January 2017

In 1800, whilst work was being undertaken to open out a vault, the nave partially collapsed. The rebuilding was supervised by County architect John Johnson using Coade stone, rather than the flint, stone and brick of the earlier construction.

Chancel from the Nave

Chancel from the Nave
27 January 2017

In 1914, the diocese of Chelmsford was created from parts of the Diocese of St Albans and the church became a Cathedral. There are two organs, one at the west end and the other in the nave. Both can be played from the console in the nave.

West End Organ

West End Organ
27 January 2017

Nave Organ

Nave Organ
27 January 2017

Between the chancel and nave are the pulpit and lectern. The are mirror images of each other.

Pulpit

Pulpit
27 January 2017

Lectern

Lectern
27 January 2017

At the time of our visit, a set of sculptures by the Iranian artist Saloomeh Asgary had just arrived. The six Salvation Sculptures are carved in pine titled ‘Jonah in the Fish’, ‘Motherhood’, ‘Repentance’, ‘Salvation’, ‘Maturing’ and ‘Christ is
Born’. They remained at Chelmsford until 20 February 2017.

Salvation Sculpture: Birth of Jesus

Birth of Jesus
Salvation Sculpture
27 January 2017

Salvation Sculpture: Birth of Jesus

Birth of Jesus
Salvation Sculpture
27 January 2017

On the north side, there is a painting in the style of a window, showing the Tree of Life.

Tree of Life

Tree of Life
27 January 2017

Tower of London at Night


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London South Bank – 13 January 2018

As well as exploring More London and Borough Market, we followed the Jubilee Walkway westwards along the south bank of the Thames to the Royal Festival Hall before getting the Thames Clipper back to Bankside and the Globe. Later in the evening, we heading back through More London to St Katharine Dock to an evening meal.

Leaving Borough Market, we returned to the walkway along the Thames, passing The Globe to reach Tate Modern. Tate Modern was built as Bankside Power Station. This ceased generating in 1981. The building was redeveloped and opened as a gallery in 2000, with an extension opening in 2016.

Tate Modern Chimney

Tate Modern Chimney
13 January 2018

A feature of the South Bank is street entertainers, and this particular walk was no different.

Street Entertainment on South Bank

Street Entertainment on South Bank
13 January 2018

From the South Bank sights on the north of the Thames in the Cities of London and Westminster are visible.

St Paul's Cathedral from South Bank

St Paul’s Cathedral from South Bank
13 January 2018

BT Tower and Cranes from South Bank

BT Tower and Cranes from South Bank
13 January 2018

As the tide was out, we noted birds on the tide line, including a number of geese at Gabriel’s Pier near the Oxo Building. On this occaision there were no sand sculptures to photograph.

Goose near Gabriel's Pier

Goose near Gabriel’s Pier
13 January 2018

Reaching the Royal Festival Hall, we stopped for a hot drink and cake at Le Pain Quotidien. The chocolate muffin was delicious.

Chocolate Muffin at Le Pain Quotidien 13 January 2018

Chocolate Muffin at Le Pain Quotidien
13 January 2018

After refreshment, we decided to head back to our hotel in Southwark and we elected to take the Thames Clipper from the London Eye (which was closed for maintenance) to Bankside.

Meteor Clipper leaving Bankside Pier.

Meteor Clipper leaving Bankside Pier.
13 January 2018

Walking back along Southwark Bridge Road we noted The Shard in the dusk as we passed the Financial Times building, near the site of the original Globe.

The Shard at dusk from Southwark Bridge Road.

The Shard at dusk from Southwark Bridge Road.
13 January 2018

Later in the evening, we headed to St Katharine Dock for an evening meal. As earlier in the day we headed through More London picking up floodlit views of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Floodlit Tower Bridge

Floodlit Tower Bridge
13 January 2018

Returning from our meal, crossing over Tower Bridge we saw the lit-up Shard across the Thames.

Night Time Shard from Tower Bridge

Night Time Shard from Tower Bridge
13 January 2018

Once across Tower Bridge, we followed More London Place down to London Bridge station, with The Shard in front of us. Walking through the new ticket hall of London Bridge Station to St Thomas Street, we passed Guy’s Hospital and onto Southwark Street and back to our hotel.

Borough Market


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Borough Market – 13 January 2018

Just over seven years I published a blog on Borough Market. At that point I was still discovering the area around Southwark Cathedral, The Shard was still under construction and the Thameslink expansion to London Bridge Station and associated viaduct through Borough Market was still in progress.

Borough Market and The Shard

Borough Market and The Shard
13 November 2010

Borough Market and The Shard

Borough Market and The Shard
13 January 2018

We entered Borough Market from Borough High Street and the first thing you sense is the various smells from the many stalls. All lot of them we selling food on the go.

Greedy Goat at Borough Market

Greedy Goat at Borough Market
13 January 2018

To the other areas of Borough Market.

To the other areas of Borough Market.
13 January 2018

Heading across Cathedral Street, there is the Beard Ahead Bakery, which includes a Baking School.

Bread Ahead Bakery

Bread Ahead Bakery
13 January 2018

Into the western side of the market, there are many other stalls.

Borough Market

Borough Market
13 January 2018

Leaving Borough Market via Park Street, there are many eateries, including The Market Porter, Little Dorritt and this one, German Deli.

German Deli in Park Street

German Deli in Park Street
13 January 2018

Once underneath the railway viaduct, there is a memorial to an International Incident that occured in 1850.

International Incident in Park Street

International Incident in Park Street
13 January 2018

The Austrian General, Julius Jacob von Haynau, whilst on a brewery tour of Bankside, was chased from Borough Market local residents, workers and the brewery drayman. In Park Street he was flogged by the mob and had manure and dirt thrown over him. Allegedly an attempt was made to cut his moustache off.

Plaque of More London


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More London – 13 January 2018

Our first visit to London in 2018, was in mid January. We stayed in one of the hotels we regularly stay in in London, the Novotel in Southwark Bridge Road. We booked in late November 2017, taking advantage of the “Black Friday” savings.

On the Saturday of our visit, we started by walking to More London. Walking up Southwark Bridge Road to Southwark Bridge, we joined the Jubilee Walkway along the Thames heading east.

Typhoon Clipper heading east at Cannon Street Railway Bridge

Typhoon Clipper heading east at Cannon Street Railway Bridge
13 January 2018

Having passed under the approach viaduct to Cannon Street railway station, we followed Clink Street to Southwark Cathedral and onto Montague Street.

The Mudlark in Montague Street.

The Mudlark in Montague Street.
13 January 2018

The Mudlark dates from the 1700s and is named after the people who used to search through the mud at the edge of the Thames to collect items which could be sold and hence they could make a living. Across the street from the Mudlark, is the Glazers’ Guild house, one of the ancient guilds of the City of London (which is across London Bridge). The Guild of Scientific Instrument Makers also are based in the same building.

Before passing under the approach to London Bridge, there is a set of steps from Montague Street up to London Bridge, called Nancy’s Steps, named after the character in Charles Dickens’ novel “Oliver”. Passing under London Bridge, the street changes name to Tooley Street. On the left side is St Olaf House, with an image of St Olave, King of Norway on the corner.

The corner of St Olaf's House

The corner of St Olaf’s House
13 January 2018

Walking through Hays Galleria, we came out onto the edge of the Thames. Initially the first thing that is seen on the river is HMS Belfast.

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast
13 January 2018

Passing HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge comes into view.

Tower Bridge from More London

Tower Bridge from More London
13 January 2018

Turning away from the river, City Hall – home to the Mayor of London – is seen. In this area is a series of art installations called Full Stops, by Fiona Banner.

City Hall, with "Full Stop Slipstream"

City Hall, with “Full Stop Slipstream”
13 January 2018

The five “Full Stops” are based on various typographical fonts – ‘Slipstream’, ‘Optical’, ‘Courier’, ‘Klang’ and ‘Nuptail’. All are finished in high gloss black.

As you leave More London, heading towards London Bridge Station, there is a small stream which flows down towards Tooley Street.

Stream in More London Place

Stream in More London Place
13 January 2018

Looking back, Tower Bridge can been seen, and looking through the gaps in the buildings is the Tower of London.

Tower of London from More London

Tower of London from More London
13 January 2018

In More London Place, there is a selection of places to eat, or buy food to take away. At the end of more London Place, across Tooley Street is London Bridge Station. As a result of recent development of the station, there is an entrance here which takes you to the ticket office, and escalators to platform level. Walking through the station takes you to St Thomas Street and Guys Hospital.

East Window and memorials


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Bothwell Parish Church – 17 February 2018

The Oldest Collegiate Church in Scotland is Bothwell Parish Church. In recent years I have sung Choral Evensong there twice, firstly in September 2016, prior to the completion of the restoration of the Medieval Quire, and then in February 2018 when we sung in the restored Quire.

Bothwell Parish Church

Bothwell Parish Church
10 September 2016

There has been a religious foundation on the site in Bothwell since the 6th century. In the late 14th century the collegiate church was built by the 3rd Earl of Douglas, Archibald the Grim. It was used by Roman Catholic worshippers until the Reformation in 1560.

Medieval Quire seen from the Nave

Medieval Quire seen from the Nave
17 February 2018

From 1667 to 1689, the church followed the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church, until the the church was proscribed. At that time it became Presbyterian as part of the Church of Scotland, with several ministers subsequently become Moderators of the General Assembly.

The Patron Saint of the church is St Bride, however during the Middle Ages is was dedicated to St Mary. Between 1929 and 1979 the church was St Bride’s, In 1979, the two churches in the village were united under the name of Bothwell Parish Church.

The Medieval [Gothic] Quire was restored, with it being rededicated late in 2016. Either side of the east window there are two memorials to Johanna de Moravia on the left and 4th Earl of Douglas and his wife on the left. The Oak Altar dates from 1898, along with the set of three chairs which is behind it.

High Altar

High Altar
17 February 2018

Around the walls of the nave there are various items in small alcoves containing fragments of the architecture of the original Norman church of Bothwell which was founded in the middle years of the twelfth century.

Alcove with fragements of the Norman Architecture.

Alcove with fragements of the Norman Architecture.
17 February 2018

Bothwell Parish Church has a centre, including the Chapterhouse Cafe, which is open Monday to Saturday.

Northbound Platform building.


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Pitlochry Railway Station – 17 March 2018

Just over 28 miles north of Perth, by train, is Pitlochry. The station was opened on 1 June 1863 by the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway, when the first section was opened between Dunkeld and Pitlochry.

Southbound Platform building

Southbound Platform building
17 March 2018

Pitlochry remained the terminus until 9 September 1863, when the line to Aviemore was opened, connecting up with the section between Forres and Aviemore, which had opened on 3 August 1863.

Pitlochry has a loop for trains on the single line to pass.

16:46 train to Inverness (15:09 from Glasgow Queen Street)

16:46 train to Inverness (15:09 from Glasgow Queen Street)
17 March 2018

The platforms are linked via a footbridge built by Hanna, Donald and Wilson of Paisley.

Footbridge and building on northbound platform.

Footbridge and building on northbound platform.
17 March 2018

On one of the footbridges posts, on the southbound platform, is a post box dating from the time of George V.

GR (George V) Post Box

GR (George V) Post Box
17 March 2018

Pride is taken of the gardens in Pitlochry, with a sculpture to catch the eye of passengers.

Pitlochry in Bloom, on the southbound platform.

Pitlochry in Bloom, on the southbound platform.
17 March 2018

At the time of writing, Pitlochry has 13 trains from Inverness heading to London (one each to Euston & Kings Cross), Glasgow Queen Street (three trains) and Edinburgh (seven trains), with the penultimate train of the day terminating at Stirling. Northbound there is a similar number of trains with the first train from Perth, five each from Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley, and two from London (one each from Euston & Kings Cross).