At 8:57 on the dot this evening the massive, 16 coach, Caledonian Sleeper pulled out of Euston Station, Platform 1. Having previously checked into my berth I headed for the lounge car. You won’t be surprised to learn I was first in, not at all due to being desperate for a cold beer but because I know the little kitchen normally runs out of haggis neeps and tatties quickly.

I was feeling quite pleased with myself for having set up my new blog earlier in the day, on WordPress, and for having secured the site name of ‘’ for a very reasonable sum. The main reason for moving to WordPress was to get the ability to update my blog via email. Weebly didn’t support that meaning that I could only update if I had 3G or wi-fi; as likely to be flakey in Scotland as it was in Nepal. My first task had been to complete the ‘about’ section in which I explained the purpose of the site. This was to be not only a site for writing about a series of adventures beginning with the West Highland Way, but where I would write about any progress I made towards becoming a published author. I was under no illusion that this concept had been used before, but imagine my horror when, in the sleeper lounge enjoyed a cool Deuchars IPA I found there was another Andrew James online doing exactly the same! Mercifully I was calling myself ‘Andy’ rather than ‘Andrew’ and the other chap writes crime fiction based in Paris, but it was a bit close for comfort.

Anyway, we are now hurtling through North London and due to the train having been in the sidings in full sunshine all day it is stifling. The cool Deuchars is of course some comfort but the best decision of the day, far better than the blog site shenanigans, was putting on trousers with zip-off lower legs. Trying desperately not to upset fellow travellers, and especially the young lady peering intently at her iPhone next to me, I managed to remove said legs from my trousers and deposit them in my rucksack under the table. Hence the joyous title of this, my first ‘Writing Journal’ piece, being ‘They’re Off!’

Future blogs in this category will be more considered and to do with publishing plans and progress. For now however I’ll make do with telling you of my lower limb ventilation. Why? Because I read in the other ‘Andrew James’ blog that his intent to document progress suffered from a form of writers block to do with not wishing to share emotion publicly. Thus I thought I would demonstrate no such hang up.

If you didn’t want to know about my ventilation issues then blame the other Mr James!

By the way we’ve just passed Watford Junction and my legs, curiously rubbed almost hairless during the full leg covered strenuous walk-out from Everest Base Camp, are much cooler now; thanks for asking.

Bet you can hardly wait for the next post eh!? Fear not as I shall focus on the West Highland Way for the rest of the week.

At least I spared you the photo!