Saturday, 12 March 2016

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Sir Alexander Matheson

Q2. Plockton

The initial clues appear to place us about a mile East of Loch a Chroisg, at the roundabout which marks the confluence of the A832 and the A890, just outside the village of Achnasheen, in the county of Ross, in the highlands of Scotland. Some of the sources I checked, claim that the roads were built by Thomas Telford. The puzzle author has been a bit crafty with the red herrings here, as I found three railways with the acronym D&SR, the Devon & Somerset Railway, the Durham & Sunderland Railway and the Dingwall & Skye Railway, which runs South West from Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh and was later part of the Highland Railway.

The banking baronet is probably Sir Alexander Matheson, some of his biographies claim that he was born in Attadale House (c 1805), which is famous for it's gardens. Calling this guy a banker may be stretching the truth somewhat, as his company might well have sold more drugs than Tuco Salamanca, to addicts in China.

Continuing down the line would bring us to Stromeferry which sits on the southern shore of Loch Carron, opposite Strome Castle (c 15th century). The next station after Stromeferry is Duncraig and this is where the opium dealing banker built Duncraig Castle (c 1866) after being involved in a shooting war with the Chinese government, who were perhaps understandably a bit upset about their citizens being stoned all the time.

The next stop after Duncraig is Plockton and this was used as a location in the 1973 film 'The Wicker Man'. The puzzle writer may be confusing his sects here, as Christopher Lee's cult in the movie were Pagans, not Devil Worshippers and the hapless police sergeant, played by Edward Woodward could have easily avoided the unpleasant effigerial conflagration at the end, if he taken Britt Eckland up on her offer. The hamlet also seems to have been used as the location for Lochdubh in the TV series Hamish MacBeth, starring Robert Carlyle.

Plockton does appear to have an airfield with an honesty box to put the landing fees in, though it appears to be unmanned and landing there without fire cover, could be a tad risky.

N.B. Due to the number of people who normally write poison pen letters in green ink posting on his page, the Eastender has moved to moderated comments but rest assured, if you have a non abusive comment or quip relating to the puzzle and its solution, he will endeavour to publish it.


  1. I think you could describe Sir Alexander Matheson as a banker as among his many roles (dodgy or otherwise) he was a director of the Bank of England for 37 years from 1847 to 1884

  2. After reading Iain Banks's Complicity, I've always thought of Stromeferry as Stromeferry-noferry, but then it did have a temporary ferry a few years ago when the A890 was closed by rockfalls. Nothing directly to do with the puzzle, but just outside Plockton there is (or used to be) a B&B called Nessun Dorma. I always wondered if it was tongue in cheek or if perhaps the owners didn't know what it meant. :-)