I have to say first impressions are always the best and Sir Richard Branson has done this one up a treat. Booking tickets on line and picking a little ticket card up at the station eliminates a couple sheets of paper from my travel folder. I even bought a few chits for the refreshment cart. I guess if I was younger and hipper I might have an iPhone app for all the bits and pieces. As it is my trip will be blogged from a new tablet computer-
The train from Euston was swift, for sure. People stand like stone waiting for their trains platform to be posted then it is a mad dash.
The train was quiet and swift I was disappointed that I could not see the land for much of the way as the rail beds are sunk into the landscape. I did get a glimpse of the land I will be walking and it helped get my mind on the map.
As quiet as the Virgin Express was, the connecting train to Whitehaven was a noisy old toot. It sounded like an old disel with a missing gear and a square wheel.
The countryside is everything you might imagine Once into Cumbria the rolling hills give way to high rolling hills with stunning rock faces---
and everywhere sheeeeeep
I could have booked this trip better. I thought to give myself 1 hour in Carlise to be sure that I made the rare connection to Whitehaven and on to St Bees via taxi. If I had thought the details through better I might have flown out of Seattle on a Thursday and headed north on a Saturday, allowing for a train connect all the way to St Bees. As it turns out I caught the train that met the connector with 10 minutes to spare. The express train was late but they did hold the connector so I got to Whitehaven on time.
I was able to share a rare taxi with three young folks and I was swiftly to St Bees from Whitehaven.
The village of St Bees was named for St Bega, an Irish princess who escaped her country and fled across the water to this shore. She established a convent and is noted for her good deeds. Dates are vague and said to be sometime between the 5th and 7th century.
We will stay at Fairladies Barn Guest House www.fairladiesbarn.co.uk a 17th century barn converted to a guest lodge.
Sunday roast was sold out at the pub, so I had Toad in the Hole... A fine dish indeed.
Oh and sticky toffee pudding which I am weak for.