On a train in Brighton at 10am, an easy and short walk between stations in London and stepping off the train in Edinburgh at 4.30pm. With sunny scenery, a good book and a pile of sandwiches augmented by a couple of those little bottles of red wine they sell from the on-board trolley service, the time fair flew past.
Our accommodation is at the University, just a mile south of the station, and the first challenge is to get from the low-level station valley up to the higher-level southbound road. Fortunately they are linked by a flight of steps called Fleshmarket Close. Even better is the Halfway House, a tiny bar halfway up those steps. Time to taste some Scotch ale – Harviestoun’s Haggis Hunter and Broughton’s The Reiver.
Suitably refreshed we set off south, catching some fine views of the rocky hills that press in on the city from the east.
We were staying at a hotel and conference centre on part of the Edinburgh University campus but run by private enterprise. Why worry about Sussex Uni sliding its employees out to the private sector, when it seems to be the way others have gone?
A few other conference delegates had arrived, so we recommended food at the Salisbury Arms just over the road (conference starts tomorrow, so find your own tonight), but ended up eating at The Steamie, a few dozen yards away. Not in the Good Beer Guide, but I noticed that the Edinburgh CAMRA branch was meeting there that night. And it proved to be a satisfactory selection – Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted as well as Belhaven IPA – plus adequate supper. Then to the Salisbury Arms to catch up with fellow diallists.
And sample some Harviestoun Natural Blonde, Titanic Capuccino and Deuchars IPA.