Scenic Scottish Railways
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- Iconic views over Loch Shiel from the Glenfinnan Viaduct
- Classic Steam journey through the Cairngorms
- Breathtaking views of the Cuillin mountain range on Skye
- The palm trees of Plockton
- Scenic banks of the Beauly Firth
Tracing the contours of the Scottish landscape, the land seems almost to have been made for rail travel. Craggy mountains, sparkling lochs and startling vistas of all kinds spring up either side of tracks that carve through rolling hill and gentle glen with an ease unmatched by any other mode of transport — take your time, and take it all in.
A gently rocking carriage, a continuous reassurring chug punctuated here and there by a reedy whistle, an unmistakable smell of smoke — a trip by train is a trip for all the senses. When that trip is taken through the breathtaking landscapes of the Cairngorms and along Scotland’s northwest coast, it quickly takes a turn for the unforgettable.
We begin our journey at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park in the town of Aviemore, home to the Strathspey Railway. From here, we discover this beautiful part of the British Isles on a series of scenic journeys by coach and by rail — see the Victorian spa village of Strathpeffer, the former royal burgh of Dingwall, the waterfront Kyle of Lochalsh, and the Highland town of Fort William.
But as much as these beautiful places are impossible not to enjoy from any aspect, we think you’d agree that discovering them by train brings another dimension altogether. Gain a new perspective on, and understanding of, the rich variety of Scotland’s landscape — distant hills foregrounded by still, glassy lochs; undulating countryside dotted with isolated hamlets, and bustling ports — as it slides, dreamlike, past your carriage window.
We travel to Aviemore and the Strathspey Railway. The line crosses heather covered moorland with the Cairngorm Mountains beyond, scenes which have changed little in the last hundred years. The train stops at Boat of Garten, a village created by the former railway companies that served the area and Broomhill, which doubled as ‘Glenbogle’ in the popular BBC TV series, Monarch of the Glen. The train will return to Aviemore, from where we continue our journey by coach to our accommodation in Strathpeffer.
Dinner is served in the evening.
We travel the short distance to Dingwall where we board our train to Wick. The line takes us along the shores of the Cromarty and Dornoch Firths, looping round by Lairg and back to the coast, passing the former junction with the Dornoch branch at the Mound. From Golspie, the line follows the spectacular coastline as far as Helmsdale, where it turns inland, pausing at remote stations such as Forsinard and Altnabreac, before reaching Georgemas Junction, the most northerly railway junction in Britain. We continue to the terminus at Wick, before returning to our hotel by the more direct but equally scenic coastal route.
Dinner will be served in the evening.
We return to the station at Dingwall, this time heading west to Kyle of Lochalsh on the scheduled diesel train service. Our route takes us through Strath Bran and the isolated little station at Achnasheen, on into Strath Carron to the head of Loch Carron, passing Stromeferry, the one-time terminus of the line, before we reach the current terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh. We have time here to stretch our legs and enjoy the views across Loch Alsh to the Isle of Skye before re-boarding the train for the return journey to Dingwall.
We return to our hotel for dinner.
We check out of the hotel and travel through the Great Glen to Fort William, where we join ‘The Jacobite’ steam train and experience one of the most memorable and spectacular railway journeys in the world — to Mallaig on the famous ‘Road to the Isles’. ‘The Jacobite’ combines the romance of the steam era with the opportunity to drink in the stunning views of this wild and historic part of Scotland. After some free time in Mallaig we rejoin the train and return to Fort William. We continue to our original departure points, where we expect to arrive late evening.
- 3 nights at the Highland Hotel, Strathpeffer – dinner, bed & breakfast
- Comfortable coaching and rail travel
- Rail journeys from Dingwall to Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh; from Fort William to Mallaig on the Jacobite; and from Aviemore to Broomhill
- Services of a professional tour manager
Please note pick-up points are subject to minimum numbers and all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.
Departure points and times
(Millennium Hotel, George Square)
(Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Road)
(outside Fife College)
(Moto Services, M90)
(Bus stop on Canal Street, Tay Street end)
The following pick-ups will be served by feeder coach or taxi and passengers will join/leave the main coach in Perth (subject to minimum numbers)
(outside Railway Station)
(outside Railway Station)
(outside Discovery Point)