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The Caledonian.

UK rail trip – 2022

Day 5 – 7th April, 2022

Having not yet adjusted to UK time, I awoke at around 06:30. So, I decided to get up and take a walk around town. It would be a few hours before anything opened, with the exception of the local Co-Op supermarket. As expected, it was quite cold outside. But, as always, the scenery made up for it!

The harbour with mountains on Skye in the background.
The old ferry slipway and the Lochalsh Hotel.
The Lochalsh Hotel, with the Skye Bridge in the distance.

After wandering around for a bit, I dropped into a local cafe as soon as it opened. Nice to get inside from the cold outside! I ordered bacon and eggs and a cappucino. The bacon and eggs were quite tasty! After breakfast, I took a bit more of a walk around town. I eventually found myself at the railway station. It would be a couple of hours or so before I caught the train back to Inverness. Still, I returned to the Islander Bunkhouse, grabbed my stuff, checked out and returned to the station. As the docks are right at the end of the station platforms, I spent some time there also.

Kyle of Lochalsh railway station.

It wasn’t long before the train turned up and was available for boarding. Another class 158. The Scottish branch lines are predominantly operated by either class 158s or 170s. Though, it’s usually a 158 on this line. But that’s ok, as they’re one of my favourite classes of British trains.

Kyle of Lochalsh (12:08)
2:37 (13:23)
Inverness (14:45)
132.5 km (1199 km)

The scenery back to Inverness was just as spectacular as it was on the way to Kyle. Travelling in the opposite direction gave it another ‘new’ feeling to it. This has definitely become my favourite line to travel on in the UK. An on-time arrival at Inverness.

I walked (with my suitcase in tow) to the canal I spotted yesterday (and again on the train about 15 minutes ago). It was certainly a decent walk. It has been raining on and off all morning, but the walk down to the canal resulted in no rain.

The Caledonian Canal, looking upstream.
The Caledonian Canal, looking downstream.
The Caledonian Canal, with towpaths clearly visible both sides.

While at the canal, there were brief periods of rain. So I took refuge at the nearby LIDL supermarket. While there, I picked up a couple of doughnuts. And very tasty they were! Once the rain stopped, I went back to the canal hoping to see at least one boat. Sadly, I didn’t. The day was getting on and it was time to return to the station. I decided to catch a bus back, this time. However, after waiting for ages at the bus stop, I decided to walk back instead.

The Caledonian Sleeper was already at the station, but not yet ready for boarding. That happens about half an hour (or so) before departure. I went and grabbed something to eat. Before long, it was time to board. I found the coach my seat was in. I didn’t pay for a sleeper, being the cheapskate that I am. 🙂 After stowing my luggage and claiming my seat, I stepped back on to the platform to see what kind of locomotive was upfront. It was a class 66 and a class 73.

A class 66 (EMD JT42CWR).
A class 73.

It was time for departure, so I hopped back on board and found my seat. There weren’t many on this time – at least in the sitting coaches anyhow. I almost had it to myself. It will probably be a different story in a month or so, once it gets warmer.

Inverness (20:45)
Caledonian Sleeper
11:08 (24:31)
London Euston (07:53)
946.7 km (2145.7 km)

The weather was quite miserable as the train made its way from Inverness. But the view was nice just the same. I settled in for the night. Tomorrow morning, I arrive at London Euston. Don’t have any plans, yet, for tomorrow. I’ll make that decision after arriving in London.

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