August 9, 2014

EVERYTHING LOOKS BETTER FROM A TRAIN:

Great Train Rides: Run Away on the Rails : Taking the train from London to the tip of Scotland beats a plane any day (CASSIE WERBER, Aug. 7, 2014, WSJ)

Traveling by train in the U.K. isn't the luxury it once was. But while brass-and-leather bar cars and china teacups might be ancient history, there are still few better ways to see the island's remote and beautiful corners--and everything in between.

My first-class cabin is well-worn and industrially lit, with a small berth, space to hang clothes, and not much else. But the moment I'm in bed, the magic that clings round the "sleeper" kicks in. The train's soft clicking and rocking soothes like no other mode of transportation--particularly not the bright, overstuffed spaces that airplanes have become.

After six hours of deep sleep, I open the blinds to glimpse a dawn sky over Scotland's Pentland Hills. The train pauses at Carstairs, a village in South Lanarkshire, and I discover that one of the panels in my cabin lifts to reveal a sink, with hot water and a tiny towel. My continental breakfast is more delicious for being eaten in bed, as the train begins to move. We're traveling northeast, and the light comes in shafts from the seaward side, almost lulling me back to sleep.

Getting off in Edinburgh less than an hour later allows you to explore this dramatic northern capital, where buildings, including Edinburgh Castle, seem to grow from rock like dark crystals. But if you can, continue north to Inverness and beyond. Granted, it is unusually sunny on the morning of my trip, but even on a dreary day, Scotland is extraordinarily beautiful. Just ask the Scottish landscape poet Kathleen Jamie.
Posted by at August 9, 2014 8:27 AM
  
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