I saw that there was a steam train from Edinburgh to a town named Tweedback, South of Edinburgh. So I booked a ride. Why? Well, I’ve not ridden on a steam-powered train and have not been to Tweedback – so I was very much “on board”. (Sorry for the pun.)
There are several steam trains in Scotland, but this one was convenient and received good reviews. So yesterday I got myself to Waverly station, about a 30 minute walk from the flat, at around 9:00 – in time to ensure that I get on the 9:46 train to Treedback. This is the second year this particular train has been in operation and only runs for a limited time, only on Sundays, August to September.
Edinburgh to Tweedbank
Before we left the station, I took a picture of the train. It was making a lot of sounds and letting off steam at regular intervals. I returned to my seat, 2 by 2 seating (2 people facing 2 other people with a table in between), and joined a retired couple traveling with their daughter. The four of us exchanged some greetings and prepared for our journey. The rail cars were from perhaps the 50’s and we were very cozy!
At Waverley (Edinburgh) Train Station
As the train left the station, the conversation my fellow travelers started slowly. We first commented how many people came out of their homes along the way to take pictures and wave at us. We waved back. The couple pointed out the town they once lived in and commented on the various water foul on the rivers. The train ride was about an hour – just enough time to get fairly well acquainted with them.
When we got to Treedbank, we went our separate ways. They were going to take a local train back to an earlier stop and visit some attractions there. I decided to remain in Tweedbank and find a place to eat. I really hadn’t had a full meal at a Scottish restaurant, and was looking forward to see what might be on a menu in a small town. (I also needed to visit a W.C. since there were no facilities on the train or at the station.) One of the guides who met us at the station recommended a place not too far from the station, so off I went – quickly.
“Herges on the Loch” was perfect. Local and on a loch. (My first Scotish loch!) I got there about 15 minutes before opening and was happy to be let in early. The menu was fairly basic, but had a good number of items offered. The beef and ale pie looked good and also ordered the vegetable soup for a starter. Was going to have a little dessert, but was full after the meal.
On the way back to the station, I walked through some neighborhoods and taking in the sights along the way. A couple of bushes caught my eye, each had distinctive berries on them. Maybe the angle of the sun, but the red berries really were vibrant.
When I returned to the station, I took pictures of the train from the other side and another showing the passenger cars, of which there were about 10. Noticed the plaque on the train. Saw that the train was built in 1927 (the year my dad was born).
The family that I had met on the way to Tweedbank got on at Galasiels, a few miles down the track. We got caught up on what we did in between our arrival and now. They had lunch in Galashiels, and just walked around the town. We settled in for our ride back. This time, because we were going in the opposite direction from before, I had a different view – my seat now faced forward.
We talked about all sorts of subjects. Think they enjoyed my humor, or in my case, innocence, because of some of the questions I asked. For instance, “What do you call “Scottish Broom”? They laughed and said, “Broom”. Then we all laughed when they saw me realize that it would be redundant, being Scottish themselves, if they were to also call the bush, Scottish Broom. Anyway, we thought it was funny. Of course, I had to follow up with another funny and commented on the large sheep on the hill – pointing to a herd of very light blond cows. That definitely broke the ice.
Broom (a.k.a. Scottish Broom)
(Above: Sheep, not Cows)
From there we talked about many subjects: sources of Scotland electrical power, animal rights, travel, Scotland weather, schools, farms, English/Scottish history, etc. This was the best part of this trip. Of course we were treated by a nice sunny day, picturesque landscapes, natural wildlife (many heron), farm animals, and well-kept farm houses.
When it became time to say our good byes, think we didn’t want it to end. It was one of those chance meetings we have with others that make traveling so much fun.
Enjoyed this adventure very much.