Trivia - Railwaygardener


By far the most popular excursion has been on the Jacobite steam train between Fort William and Mallaig, eight times to date in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2014. In 1999 and 2014 late running of the sleeper required taxis to be taken to catch up with the train at Glenfinnan.

The Tyndrum Mile (from Upper Tyndrum to Tyndrum Lower) has been successfully navigated five times, in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2007 and 2014. An attempt in 2004 was thwarted by inclement weather, with the diversionary route via Crianlarich selected as the fall-back position.

Apart from the Tyndrum Mile, walking has not been a common feature of our sleeper trips. Notable exceptions have been the Bloomsbury Medical Walk of 2007, the Lochmaddy Bog Walk of 2010 and the Vatersay Partial Circumnavigation of 2014.

Only one B&B host has been visited three times, Mrs Campbell in 1996, 1999 and (in new premises) 2000.

Swimming has featured four times (three involving Jim) in 1996, 2005 and 2006 (twice).

Until 2004 north-bound sleepers were boarded at Preston rather than London. There was a relapse back to Preston in 2005, but since then we have gone south to go north.

The route most often taken is Glasgow to Preston, eight times so far in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2014.

Two routes have been traversed twice during one trip, Edinburgh to Glasgow in 2012 and Fort William to Mallaig in 2001, 2010 and 2014.

The trip with the most mainline train journeys was that to the south-west in 2016, with eighteen train rides. Plus a small matter of four or five tube trains, three buses, three taxis, eight preserved railway rides, two boat trips (four for Jim) and a model railway.

The attractions visited have included ten castles/forts and fourteen islands. The most visited island has been Mull, five times in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2007.

Fort William has featured in ten trips, more than any other location. Inverness and Mallaig are joint second, with nine trips.

Fourteen people have had the privilege of sleeper trip participation. Their names (in strict alphabetical order) are David, Derek, Euan, Frank, Hilary, Jim, Joe, Malcolm, Norman, Peter, Richard, Robert, Terry and Tony. Honourable mentions also to wives Fiona, June and Marilyn, who have attended the latter stages of some trips to check on their husbands' behaviour.

The number of participants has varied from three (in 1995 and 2004) to eight (in 2017). Wives have participated in the end-game of the trips in 2012 (three),  2014 (two) and 2017 (two).

Only one person (your humble webmaster) has participated in every sleeper trip. He has received neither prize nor public recognition, but is not in the least bitter.

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