Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Day-1: Beam me up

The first stage of my cycling trip this year was taking the Caledonian Sleeper from Euston to Fort William.

I had decided to ride the thirty-odd miles from home to Euston, and opted for the simplest route - which pretty much involves a straight line through Ealing and Shepherds Bush, then down Bayswater Road and Euston Road. Having allowed spare time for virtually every conceivable contingency I arrived at Euston far too early.

They split the sleeper at some point in the middle of the night, so bicycles have to be carefully stowed and labelled. I didn't like the idea of ending up in Fort William with the bike in Aberdeen. Perhaps it was worrying about that, perhaps it was the haggis, or perhaps it was the movement of the train, but I had a restless night, and got up at about 6:00 as we were leaving Glasgow. So I spent three hours watching the scenery glide by and become more dramatic as we worked north.

We arrived at Fort William on schedule. The passenger ferry to Camusnagaul leaves a few hundred yards outside the station. From there I was in another world.

It's the Scotrail equivalent of teleportation.

At one point I was pedalling madly to avoid buses and taxis in Euston Road. Then I had a few hours restless sleep. Then I was gliding along a single-track road where my own tyres were making more noise than anything except the waves lapping on the shore of the loch.

It's all a bit disorientating (in a nice way). How it will feel on re-entry doesn't bear thinking about. So I won't.

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