My 568-mile commute
WEDGING my complimentary copy of Nocturne: The Essential Companion to the Caledonian Sleeper into the door of berth C03—a trick we aficionados know stops the rattling—i ponder the advantages of two nights a week in an airless cabin over 10 two-hour journeys in a crowded commuter train.
There’s nothing like being lulled to sleep as you speed north after a few hours in the restaurant car or lifting your blind to birchwoods against rolling hills as Leon, Adam, Mario or Clare brings you breakfast in bed. The litany of station names, the rattle of china as the engine pulls wearily up the Slochd, the great viaduct striding over the River Nairn, and then we’re barrelling down the last few miles past Culloden—and now it’s 10am and I’m at my desk overlooking the Ben. Heading south at this time of year, you can drink in several hours of Highland scenery (I like to be in bed by Perth) and then wake up refreshed for the bustle of Euston.
Lycra and rucksacks eclipse tweed and shotguns. On Inverness platform this morning, a delightful sight: 30 kilted scouts from the Western Isles back from camping in Finland; lots of purple tartan I don’t recognise. It’s Pride of Scotland, they tell me, proudly.