I find the further north I roam, the more compelling the landscape. The epic hills seem to put my own transient physicality into perspective, and I have a stronger sense of myself in comparison to the vastness of the world. The undulating fields rise above me, setting heights in their hearts. The earth here seems more alive, more full of vitality, than the infinitely flat fields which surround my home in Warwickshire.
Glimpsing the lakes, I recall some of the greatest writers and their work. My head is filled with dreams of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit, Arthur Ransome and his swallows and amazons, William Wordsworth and those daffodils….
This window seat in the train carriage proves brilliant for surveying these magnificent vistas. The hopscotching rivers, the evergreen firs (which are always naked Christmas trees in my mind), the Scottish air itself – all is tantalisingly close. And yet it remains utterly inaccessible to me, locked as I am in a train which flashes red through this verdant Eden.
My journey today takes me as far as Edinburgh. Next week it will be Glasgow, the week after Aberdeen and an oil storage platform unit in the North Sea. As lovely as it is to liberate my clamped limbs and disembark from the train, I am strangely wistful for my halted journey. I feel a profound yearning to go more north, and north again. Like the proverbial moth, I am overwhelmingly drawn to the lights: the promise of the aurora borealis, the possibility of twenty-four whole hours of sunshine.
If only Bibby Line Group had an office in the Arctic Circle…!