Departing Peterborough just after 6am, the second Saturday in December had brought an early start to allow a full day of exploring and adventuring. The Isle of Wight was my ultimate destination, but first I had two trains and two tubes to catch, as well as making my way across to the Island from Portsmouth.
Less than 12 hours after arriving back from Aberdeen, I was back at Inverness station to begin my journey home. As I mentioned in my post about the sleeper (read that here) there are just two direct London to Inverness services each day, with the sleeper making up one of these. The other pair of services are LNER’s ‘Highland Chieftain’ which leave Inverness and King’s Cross at 0755 and 1200 respectively, arriving at their destinations just under 8 hours later.
When planning my trip to Inverness, I was aware that I’d have a bit of an issue in that I wouldn’t be able to check in until 1500 and I’d have a bag with me until then. Rather than traipse around the city, luggage in tow, I decided to take the opportunity to discover what is possibly the most beautiful railway line in the UK.
Heading from London to Inverness, there are just two direct trains each day, LNER’s ‘Highland Cheiftan’ which leaves King’s Cross at 1200 and the Caledonian Sleeper’s ‘Highland Sleeper’ which leaves Euston at 2115. Having decided to tick off a bucket list item on this trip, I was booked on the latter, a journey that would take just over 11 hours and cover almost 600 miles through the night.
After an excellent week in Scotland, we took a train from Glasgow Queen St, back to Edinburgh with enough time for us to have an enjoyable lunch at our favourite restaurant in the capital (Maxies!) before catching our LNER service back south of the border and home. Having paid to leave our bags at left luggage (this one was open, however as it’s staffed it costs a fortune), we made sure to pick them up within the 3 hour time period and so headed to the first class lounge for somewhere to dump them and sit in the warmth until our train.
In 2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released in cinemas and from that point the Glenfinnan Viaduct became world famous as ‘the Harry Potter Bridge’. Operating since 1984, The Jacobite is a steam locomotive-hauled service that runs from Fort William to Mallaig, crossing the famous viaduct, and giving tourists the amazing view of a steam train passing over ‘the Harry Potter Bridge’.