Scenic Scottish Railways 2018
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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
When one traces the contours of the landscape, it seems almost as if Scotland was made for rail travel. Craggy mountains, sparkling lochs and startling vistas of all kinds spring up either side of tracks which carve through rolling hills and gentle glens with an ease unmatched by any other mode of transport — take your time, and take it all in.
A gently rocking carriage, a reassuring continuous chug punctuated by a reedy whistle here and there, the unmistakable smell of coal… A journey by train is a journey for all the senses. When that journey 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 trip at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park in the town of Aviemore, home to the Strathspey Railway. From here, we discover this breath-taking part of the British Isles on a series of scenic journeys by coach and train. See the royal burgh of Wick, the traditional port of Mallaig, the waterfront Kyle of Lochalsh; even legendary Loch Ness.
Though it is impossible not to enjoy these beautiful places from any aspect, we think you’ll agree that discovering them by rail adds another dimension altogether. Gain a new perspective on, and understanding of, the rich variety of the landscape — its distant hills foregrounded by still, glassy lochs; its undulating countryside dotted with isolated hamlets; its bustling ports — as the best of Scotland slides, dreamlike, past your carriage window.
We travel to Aviemore and the Strathspey Railway, stopping en route to admire the attractive Highland station of Dunkeld with its traditional semaphore signalling. Our train sets off from Strathspey, the line crossing heather-covered moorland with the Cairngorm Mountains beyond, a scene which has changed little in the last hundred years. The train stops at Boat of Garten, a village created by the former railway companies. It also stops at Broomhill, which doubled as ‘Glenbogle’ in the popular BBC TV series, Monarch of the Glen. The train returns to Aviemore, from where we continue to our accommodation in Inverness. Dinner is served here this evening.
We board a train to Wick, on a line which takes us along 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 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 Inverness by coach, a more direct but equally as scenic coastal route. Dinner is served in the evening.
A packed lunch is included today.
We return to Inverness station, heading west to Kyle of Lochalsh on the scheduled diesel train service. Our route leads through Strath Bran and the isolated little station at Achnasheen, on to the head of Loch Carron, passing Stromeferry, the one-time terminus of the line, and reaching the current terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh. We enjoy stunning views across to the Isle of Skye, before continuing on by coach to the 13th-century castle, Eilean Donan, where we enjoy a guided tour. We return to the hotel via glorious Glen Shiel and Loch Ness. Tonight we come together for a fantastic farewell dinner at our hotel.
We check out of our hotel and travel through the Great Glen to Fort William, where we join The Jacobite steam train. It is time to 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 extraordinary views of wild, historic Scotland. A winning combination. After free time in Mallaig we rejoin the train for our return journey.
On arrival we continue to our original pick-up points, reaching them later this evening.
- 3 nights at the Inverness Palace Hotel – dinner (with wine) bed & breakfast
- One packed lunch included
- Comfortable coaching and rail travel
- Single rail journeys from Dingwall to Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh; and return journeys Fort William to Mallaig on the Jacobite; and from Aviemore to Broomhill
- Services of a professional tour manager
Supplements per person
Single room: £300
Travel and overnight accommodation before or after the tour available on request.
2018 Insurance Prices
As part of our booking conditions, our travellers must have adequate insurance protection for any holidays overseas but we strongly recommend that you are covered for any of our tours. Our travellers are welcome to take out their own insurance policy, providing that we have the details of this before departure. Alternatively, we can provide our own recommended single-trip travel insurance for all holidays, please see the most upto date prices below:
Under 65, from £18.00 | 65-74, from £35.00 | 75 and over, from £52.00
Under 65, from £32.00 | 65-74, from £64.00 | 75 and over, from £96.00
Prices on application
*The marked pick-ups will be served by feeder coach or taxi and passengers will join/leave the main coach in Perth (subject to minimum numbers).
Please note pick-ups 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.