When I was trying to decide where to travel over the UK's rail network for a book that never ended up happening, there were a lot of possibilities. One route that was definite though was the Borders Railway in Scotland. I went up there in June 2016, and here's the start of that trip.
Edinburgh Waverley is, of course, one of the Great Stations. It's big and it's busy and it's right in the centre of a bustling historic city. But - and I'll whisper this quietly - I don't really like it.
It's undeniably beautiful in places, with a wide clear roof and some lovely features. It's never quiet. It's exciting. I just can't take to it. I think it's the position. Waverley is located in a drained loch in the centre of Edinburgh and as such is below street level. Stand on Princes Street, one of the most famous and elegant roads in the country and which the station runs alongside, and you can't see it at all. You reach it via a series of escalators, descending into the depths. I feel like stations - major stations - should make their presence felt. They should dominate and entice. Waverley doesn't want you to know it's there.
Finally, off in the distance, I spotted a watering hole, or a Caffe Nero as it's more commonly known. I went in and treated myself to a chai latte and a clean toilet while my coat dried. I was also glad of the opportunity to spend one of those awful Scottish banknotes I had got out of the cash machine at Waverley. I had a vague terror of still having some when I went back to England, so for my time in Scotland I paid for everything with a note. Coffees, magazines, packets of gum - everything, no matter how small. It meant that by the time I went home my pockets were dangling round my ankles because they were full of small change but it was worth it.