Friday, 29 March 2013

Caledonian Sleeping our way north.

So, as you know, we caught the Caledonian Sleeper to start our journey north on Wednesday night. If you book early this is a bargain-priced way of combining travel and hotel - saving both time and cost. For us the big attraction was cutting a huge chunk off our travel time north - enabling us to get the ferry across to Stromness yesterday evening, rather than this morning. Actually, those of you who know us know that actually, the main attraction of this method of transport was actually the train itself!

There she is - waiting patiently for us at Euston. Boarding starts a good amount of time before departure to enable people to settle themselves in, the compartments are quite small and if you're travelling with luggage a bit of effort has to go into slotting everything into place!

You get everything you really need for a good nights sleep - a surprisingly comfy bed each, with fluffy white duvet and two pillows. A hand towel & tablet of soap are provided, and the artfully hidden washbasin....look...

...has hot (very hot indeed!) and cold running water. At each end of the carriage are separate ladies and gents toilets which makes for a FAR nicer experience for those of us of a female persuasion than shared facilities!

Once underway and with the first stop (Watford Junction - to pick up passengers only) out of the way, we wandered along to the rather comfy Lounge car to find some food. I was just in time to grab the final portion of Haggis, neeps & tatties -

...while Ben went for Cumbrian Lamb Hotpot. Both were very tasty and reasonably priced, although it did feel strange eating a proper meal on a train like that!

The Lounge car itself has leather sofas - the only train in the UK on which you'll find such a thing - and also provides 3-pin sockets for charging phones or laptops.

See - that's what you call a civilised way to travel! We headed bed-wards after that - wanting to get settled down immediately after the second "pick up only" stop at Crewe. Sleep came surprisingly easily - fractured by occasional "ooh - we've stopped somewhere" and "ahh - we seem to be moving again" moments. The stop at Edinburgh is when the three sections of our train separate - new diesel loco's are coupled on and off we go, to Aberdeen in our case, with the other two sections heading to Inverness & Fort William. After that I drifted off to sleep again, not waking properly until our lovely cheery steward lady knocked on the door with tea & coffee just before 7am. We'd already been warned that our driver liked to get home for his breakfast, so arriving at Aberdeen 10 minutes early didn't come as a surprise - shortly before we got there we had this lovely view...

Pretty good start to the day, that!


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