Memories on rails: Exploring Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper

As the rhythmic clatter of the train wheels filled the night, my friend Antonella and I embarked on a journey to the picturesque Isle of Skye, courtesy of the first-class service aboard the Caledonian Sleeper. The excitement buzzed as we settled into our bunk beds, ready for a pre-Christmas travel escapade away from the festive chaos of London.

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The Caledonian Sleeper: A Cosy Choice

Our expedition kicked off at London Euston, where we hopped onto the Caledonian Sleeper, renowned for its overnight voyages. Opting for the first-class service promised a mix of snugness and practicality.

Bunk Beds and More: First-Class Comfort

The first-class compartment greeted us with bunk beds, transforming our journey into a cosy retreat. With soft bedding, plump cushions, and a calming atmosphere, it was evident that the Caledonian Sleeper was all about ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep. The bunk beds added a touch of thrill for our young-at-heart selves remembering our sleepovers as teenagers. Our expedition turned into an exciting adventure.

A Gastronomic Journey: Dining on the Tracks

A standout moment of our Caledonian Sleeper escapade was the onboard dining service. The first-class dining car flaunted a menu celebrating the finest of Scottish cuisine. My filling full Scottish Breakfast included:

  1. Scottish Sausages (Lorne or link sausage): A type of pork sausage, either in a square slice (Lorne) or in the more traditional link form.
  2. Black Pudding: A type of blood sausage made with pork fat, pork blood, and oatmeal.
  3. White Pudding: Similar to black pudding but without blood, typically made with pork fat and oatmeal.
  4. Bacon: Usually back bacon, which is less fatty than streaky bacon.
  5. Eggs: Fried, scrambled, or poached eggs are common choices.
  6. Grilled Tomatoes: Often halved and grilled for a savoury flavour.
  7. Grilled Mushrooms: Sautéed or grilled mushrooms add an earthy touch.
  8. Baked Beans: A serving of baked beans is a common addition.
  9. Hash Browns: Though not traditionally Scottish, hash browns may be included in some variations.
  10. Haggis: In some cases, haggis (a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck) might be included, especially on special occasions or as part of a more elaborate breakfast.

The dinner menu included an excellent curry lentil soup which I loved. The service and menu mirrored a commitment to delivering a top-notch travel experience. The train crew was lovely and spent some time entertaining us with their funny Caledonian Sleeper tales. 

Lounge time

At both ends of our travelling Antonella and I spent idle time in the comfortable Guest Lounges at London Euston and Inverness stations. With our first-class tickets, we were offered unlimited complimentary hot drinks and a selection of soft drinks  as well as complimentary sweet & savoury snacks, shower facilities and desks provided with plugs for our electronic devices.

 

Isle of Skye: Hassle-Free Connections

Upon reaching Inverness, we effortlessly switched to a connecting train and proceeded with our trip to Kyle of Lochalsh. From Kyle, a brief car ride across the Skye bridge whisked us away to the Isle of Skye. The smooth connections provided by the Caledonian Sleeper made our escapade both efficient and stress-free.

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