There is MUCH excitement here at EH Towers at the moment, as tonight we are off on the Caledonian Sleeper tonight on the way to stay with lovely Fay who so kindly invited myself & MrEH to share her, Peedie & Haggis's space for a long weekend - we've never been to Orkney before so we're very much looking forward to the trip!
We've used the Sleeper before on a number of occasions - In fact our last trip to Thurso (where we will be this time tomorrow!) involved the using the Sleeper's Seated Coach as far as Edinburgh, I think. The seated coach is what you might call an experience, and I'm not convinced it is one I would go for again. I certainly wouldn't use it any further North than Edinburgh or Glasgow - the poor travellers using it to get to Fort William on our train tonight will have to change to a different carriage at Edinburgh at 4.30am! It's the railway equivalent of "steerage" I guess!
We've always made a point of buying our sleeper tickets as cheaply as possible - the trip to Aberdeen overnight tonight is costing us just £39 each which is a bit of a bargain when you consider that includes our beds for the night and a cup of tea or coffee tomorrow morning. We'll arrive at Aberdeen, all being well, at 7.34am, ready to change on to our train to first Inverness, then on to Thurso. The actual experience of going to sleep on a train is quite a strange one - initially you think that the odd, rocking sensation will keep you awake. then you realise that actually, it's quite soothing, and gently drift off. Then the train stops at Preston, and you wake up again! Sudden stops or fast corners are interesting too - on one occasion I woke up to find myself sliding gently down the bed, ending in a crumpled heap at the bottom....just as quickly though the direction was reversed and I slid back up again!
There is something inherently romantic about a Sleeper train - there must be, The Man In Seat 61 says so. He's right though - the experience is very stately, with a level of courteous service rarely found elsewhere on the railway network. The staff have time, you see - with far fewer passengers to worry about, those they DO have are beautifully looked after. To add to the romance the time of leaving suits marvellously the meeting of friends first - for a few beers, before all heading to the platform at Euston - us to get on the train, and the friends to see us off before heading home.
No Frugal Friday post this week - there may or may not be something else posted instead!