We took the overnight train to Scotland last week for a long weekend away. C1 and C2 had been waiting for weeks to see what train beds actually look like, while I, on the other hand, had been in complete and utter denial about the whole thing. It’s not that I didn’t like the idea of sleeping on a train, it’s just that I couldn’t imagine actually sleeping on the train…
ScotRails’ Caledonian Sleeper is a sleeper train. Here’s a bit of history for you because it’s quick and easy…Caledonia is the Latin name the Romans gave the land north of Brittania (their empire), ie. today’s Scotland. Come on, most of you didn’t know that right? Admit it! I didn’t until recently, and I’m married to a Scot!
The Romans only occupied Scotland briefly and any Scot will proudly tell you, not very successfully. So who wants to come with me to visit what is left of Hadrian’s Wall next half term? And no, we’re not talking William Wallace and Braveheart as that wasn’t until the 13th Century. I knew that much…but enough history…right?
Back at Euston (not Houston) Station at 9:15pm and we are getting ready to depart. London, Euston to Perth, Scotland is to take just over 8 hours so we should arrive at 5:39am. On holiday. GREAAAAAAAAT ! See, no sleep.
A ‘sleeping car attendant’ or in our case ‘Sleeper Host’ Dan greets us, checks us in and shows us to our two ‘berth’ sleeper that connects to another compartment with another bunk, each complete with wash basis and crisp clean sheets. Not bad…even has a duvet and individually wrapped towels. I really need to sort out my phone/camera. Here is my picture…
And here is what may inspire you more to even consider an overnight trip to Scotland!
Except that one doesn’t have a bottle of red wine in a Sainsbury’s bag like mine does so mine wins.
We prop open the middle door to the other compartment for C1 and C2, yet when CSr (Daaad) tests out the top bunk, C1 claimed looking across the room at his face was ‘intimidating’. Really C1? Daaad’s face is intimidating?!? Just wait until you see the long walks Daaad has planned for us this weekend. But I didn’t say anything as we hadn’t even left the station yet.
C1 and C2 got into their pajamas, brushed their teeth and snuggled up into their beds. Yippee! Where’s that Sainsbury’s bag? But as soon as we started moving, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was sure that I wouldn’t sleep but was by no means going to fight it. The soporific effect the ‘ol Scottish locomotive had on me was too powerful. Lights out. I hit the pillow and according to CSr, apparently even snored for the next 6 hours.
Six hours…not too bad actually but that was it. Now there were bumps, rattles and screeching wheels. I was certain that we had derailed and I was sure that we were now lost in deepest, darkest lowlands and forever off the radar and would not to be found or rescued for days, if ever. How could everyone else be asleep at a time like this?!?
Never mind. We start moving again. About an hour later a knock on the door and Dan the Man delivers tea, coffee and juice for the kids. Dan whispers that the train is on time and we will be pulling into Perth in 30 minutes. Waking C2 is easy. Waking C1 and getting C1 to get moving was more of a challenge but Walker’s Scottish Shortbread does the trick and we’re all ready now.
Nothing like a bit of sugar and butter at 5am.
As we leave the train, we are all in a haze. We have uncoupled from the main locomotive at some point and arrive facing the opposite direction than when we departed. That must have been what woke me and only me, at 4:30am.
The stars are still out and as my father-in-law would say, the air is ‘fresh’, which to anyone not born or bred in the Highlands, or Lowlands for that matter, means FREEZING. But it’s not waking us up. None of us are speaking and we are swaying a bit as we walk. I’ve never had train legs before but it feels like we’re still moving. I am dizzy and disoriented and need 3 more cups of coffee. Train lag? Highland haze? Sleepy Scot.
Perhaps a whiskey will wake me up?
Tea for Daaad because he just won’t drink the mermaid mix.
Next stop, Dewar’s Distillery in Aberfeldy …stay tuned.