Great Coastal Railway Journeys

Great Coastal Railway Journeys

Michael Portillo’s Scottish railway journey reaches Aberdeen. From the Granite City, Michael heads straight out to a dramatic piece of coastline 18 miles to its north. Forvie National Nature Reserve is 1000 hectares of protected coastal habitat dominated by grassy dunes. It’s a wild and fantastic landscape, and a perfect place to explore over and over again, since the dunes shift and change all the time.

Returning to Aberdeen, Michael finds out about the languages, dialects and vernacular of Scotland from a young ballad singer, who talks to him in Gaelic, Scots and Doric, and sings him a Scots ballad.

Dyce is Michael’s next stop. It’s the station for Aberdeen airport and the location for many businesses related to Scotland’s global energy industry. It’s an industry Michael knew well as a young special adviser to the energy secretary, and memories of flying out to oil and gas platforms remain with him. If there is an accident, training can make the difference between life and death. Michael is thrown in at the deep end, training for the terrifying scenario of a helicopter making a controlled descent into the sea.

The most easterly town in Scotland is Michael’s last port of call. At Peterhead, they land more fish than any other port in the United Kingdom. Michael is up early to see the traditional shout auction, where the catch is bought and sold, and to find out how the industry is coping after Brexit.

Great Coastal Railway Journeys – Friday 6.30pm on BBC2

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