I absolutely love the view from the train on the way along the coast in the North East of England. Even on a stormy day (which it was), the view is wonderful (although taking photographs from a seat window is particularly challenging, so I hope the seat shadows and light will be excused, this is not meant to be a “quality photography” post, but an “ooh.. look at that!” post).
From Edinburgh Waverley station one gets a wonderful view of Calton Hill and Calton Gaol; enormous crenellated buildings on huge rocks loom which above the station and gradually give way to the townscape of the city (look out for the Meadowbank Stadium and its velodrome whilst heading out East). As you pass on towards Dunbar one sees the beautiful red pantile roofs and dark stone buildings (typical of the Lothian and Borders townscape). Dunbar station has a lovely mosaic stating the name of the station, made from pebbles which are painted white, just incase you don’t know where you are. I don’t know any other station which has an official railway typefaced sign directing you to a wishing well either!
Onward south, one is greeted with wonderful views of the coast, at times the track clings to the cliffs so one can get a peek into the secretive coves and bays of the borders with that distinctive red rock tinge.
When one reaches Berwick one passes through the site of Berwick Castle and crosses the great Royal Border Bridge designed by Robert Stephenson. You can see the “old bridge” (1611) and the “new bridge” (1928):
On a fine day, keep an eye out for the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and the very top of Warkworth Castle (it was too stormy on my visit, as you will see from this):
Onwards again, Alnmouth comes into view with its colourful houses facing out towards the railway and the view of the harbour sands.
In Newcastle you zoom past the Byker Wall and past the old castle, with fine views of the Sage and the Millennium Bridge.
Don’t forget to wave at Antony Gormley’s the Angel of the North!
To Durham… home of truly spectacular views, taking in a the cathedral and castle- it’s not every day you pass a World Heritage Site on your train journey (infact Edinburgh Old and New Towns to Durham Castle and Cathedral could be called the World Heritage route).
Sometimes one would like a quiet space. In Glasgow this is easy, the old nickname for the City is “Dear Green Place” due to the number of parks and gardens within the City boundary so you are never far from a little but of nature. I recently took my camera to the Necropolis (Victorian “City of the Dead” where all the great and good were buried), which some might say is a little bit of a strange way to pass the time, but a wander around this cemetery is far from dismal or spooky as it has some fascinating architectural monuments and wonderful views over the city. If you are lucky you may even run into some of the resident deer, though they were proving to be a little elusive on my visit! I love the care and attention to detail seen in the architectural and monumental masonry, there are some delicate inscriptions and bold columns carved with everything from Greek acanthus leaves to Egyptian eyes.
There is a lot of information on the Glasgow Necropolis in the Glasgow City Council Necropolis Heritage Trail, and the Friends of the Necropolis website. You can often pick up paper versions of the heritage trail from nearby public libraries (try GOMA Library in Queen Street within the City Centre, after a nosey at the art upstairs), or the Tourist Information Centre (now located on Buchanan Street).
When you are finished your wander around the Necropolis, a pleasant place to sit is the Zen Garden designed in 1993 by Yasutaro Tanaka. It sits in the grounds of the Saint Mungo Museum of religious life which houses a fascinating collection of paintings and objects from all over the world and celebrates the diversity of Glasgow’s cultural heritage and population. One can even take tea in the zen garden on a sunny day, as there is a restful cafe in the museum.