Wednesday 10 July 2019

Scotland by Rail - Markinch station - book swap and old railway photos - Grey Partridge recovery project

A station I've seen from the train many times through my life, usually on the way to and from Aberdeen or Montrose, but never before got off at. It's in a steep cutting and the infrastructure - buildings and bridges is modern but go into the ticket office waiting room and you find a book-swap bookcase, loads of fascinating old rail photos stacked across all the windowsills (there are lots of windowsills) and a wooden train set. Absolutely brilliant and what a difference made to an otherwise functional, standardised, uninspiring building. And how inspiring that this sort of thing is still allowed in as large an organisation as ScotRail. Thank you stationmaster and thank you ScotRail.

You can walk out into the countryside from Markinch station in only moments and a couple of miles of country road between woods and meadows gets you to the fields, copses and hedgerows of Balgonie Farm. This is the home of a really successful-sounding Grey Partridge Recovery Project. Grey Partridge are one of our native 'game' birds and are now Red-List threatened with extinction having crashed to a tiny percentage of their historic UK population. Europe-wide they are declining.

I was exploring with artist friend Kittie Jones who you probably already know of but if you don't please enjoy her work here:

We didn't see Grey Partridge but they are hard to spot. We did see a pretty good mix and quantity of birdlife.

Farms can be great for nature, should be, and I believe more and more will be. Ditto gardens, parks, playgrounds, office rooftops...

I look forward to going back to explore around Markinch more. And taking Oren to play with that train.

How to get there:

Trains to Markinch are easy from Edinburgh and Fife in particular. 

The station and the castle are only open 1st April to 31st October.

Click 'The East Coast and Fife' timetable and 'Buy Tickets' on ScotRail website.

Many thanks to ScotRail for enabling and supporting my ongoing Scotland by Rail work.

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