I have often stood in Kings Cross station waiting to catch a train to Stevenage or Hatfield, to Welwyn Garden City or Hertford. Watching the board of departures, jealous of those travelling to York, Edinburgh and beyond. Those people just about to go on a ‘real’ train journey, not a 40 minute hop-on-and-off.
This is in part why I choose to visit Scotland and Linlithgow, which is a small town just to the west of Edinburgh. The train journey took me from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley direct, followed by a regional train from Edinburgh to Linlithgow.
I do like train journeys. A long train journey actually feels like part of a holiday, whereas a long car journey or flight is just a means to an end.
Part of me wished I had upgrade to First Class upon realising the seat next to me was also reserved, but as luck would have it the seat remained empty the entire journey. So, my laptop in hand, Kindle loaded with books and some mind-numbing mobile games at my fingers tips, I could spread out and make the train my home for the next six and a half hours.
It is a feeling not too dissimilar to making ‘camps’ when I was a child. It is hard to put it into words.
I made sure I enjoyed a couple of beers and grabbed something from the food carriage, which unfortunately wasn’t the greatest. Still, it was better than plane food.
The route was unusual, I can only assume because it was a weekend schedule. Rather than continuing north, the train instead headed west from Newcastle onward to Carlisle. This meant I missed some of the coastline scenery the route ordinarily enjoys. This is not to say I did not enjoy the rolling hills of England, even if the weather was a steady drizzle until I reached Scotland.
Pulling into Edinburgh and despite nearly seven hours on the train, I was a little disappointed it was coming to an end. I still had to catch the train for a 20 minute journey to Linlithgow, but regional train journeys are never the same. They feel too much like being on the London Underground. I just want to get there.
It was late, but I was greeted with the below view of Linlithgow Loch as the sun was disappearing behind the horizon.
Day 2: Linlithgow to follow.
Photo: Linlithgow, Scotland (2017)