6 day Scottish Railway Tour

 

Combining scenic journeys by train and touring with our knowledgeable guide this six day tour is the perfect combination to experience the very best of Scotland.

Day one: Leaving your base in Glasgow or Edinburgh this morning your first stop is a real hidden gem. Just 40 minutes away lies the historic town of Bo’ness home to the heritage Bo’ness and Kinneil railway.

*Travelling on a steam locomotive you will enjoy a round trip lasting just over an hour. You will travel along the shores of the Firth of Forth with views of the majestic Ochil Hills, before climbing a tree-lined gradient, passing woodland, wild flowers and waterfalls to the country station of Birkhill. The train then crosses the River Avon Viaduct to Manuel beside the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line before heading back to Bo’ness.

The Museum of Scottish Railways is also located here, a fascinating insight into Scottish railways through the ages with some impressive rolling stock and fascinating artefacts and time permitting you will have a chance to visit that too.

*Train only operates on weekends and Tuesdays during the season. The museum is open every day.

Leaving Bo’ness you will now head north through Highland Perthshire, perhaps stopping at the pretty Victorian town of Pitlochry for some refreshments? Then on through the Cairngorms National Park to the highland town of Aviemore, your base for this evening. With stunning scenery all around you there are many places to stop along the way and your friendly guide will discuss options with you.

 

Day Two: Today you will explore Speyside and Moray, home to some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery and landscapes and most famous for whisky, with nearly half of all the distilleries in Scotland located here. The area takes its name from the River Spey, which runs through the region, and many of the distilleries lie in the beautiful glens that surround it. You will have the chance to tour a distillery of your choice and your guide will be happy to help you decide.

Your day starts with another scenic steam train trip aboard the Strathspey Steam Railway, a ten mile restored section of the original Highland Railway Line, brought back to life in 1978 by a dedicated group of volunteers.

Departing from Aviemore,the train takes you past heather-clad moors and woodland, travelling parallel with the Speyside way. Five miles further along the line the train stops at Boat of Garten(known as The Osprey Village) before heading north alongside the river Spey to Broomhill, which originally served the nearby villages of Dulnain Bridge and Nethy Bridge on the original Great North of Scotland Railway line. The views from Broomhill are quite stunning. You will have the chance to disembark here for 15 minutes or so and take some photographs, perhaps even meet the driver before retracing your route back to Aviemore.

If travelling at the weekend there is also an opportunity to take a trip on the Keith and Dufftown railway line,Britain’s most northerly heritage railway. Run entirely by a group of enthusiastic volunteers the eleven mile line links the ‘World’s Malt Whisky Capital’, Dufftown, to the market town of Keith, passing through some spectacular scenery and perhaps spotting red squirrels, deer, buzzards and other large birds of prey along the way.

Your destination this evening is the highland capital Inverness.

 

Day Three: Your journey continues today to the magical Isle of Skye by way of the beautiful North Highland Line to the Kyle of Lochalsh. Passing the shores of Loch Alsh, taking in spectacular Highland scenery and finishing of course with magnificent views of Skye. Your guide will drop you at the railway station in good time to catch your train and will be there to collect you on arrival in Kyle of Lochalsh.

Before you leave Inverness this morning, time permitting, you may want to visit the Culloden Battlefield, just a few miles from the city, it’s a fascinating story. Nearby Clava Cairns, a well-preserved Bronze Age cemetery is a fantastic example of the distant history of Highland Scotland, dating back about 4,000 years.

On arrival at Kyle of Lochalsh, before crossing the bridge to Skye you will take a sight detour to view one of the most photographed sights in Scotland, the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. Situated on an island at the point where three great Lochs meet the sea, and surrounded by majestic and awe inspiring scenery, you will have plenty of time to capture some great images.

Known the world over for its dramatic landscapes and captivating history Skye really does have something to suit everyone. The largest island in Scotland, it is one of contrasts with brooding mountains, peaceful lochs and spectacular coastlines. You will spend two nights here so there will be plenty of time to experience many of the highlights the island has to offer.

 

Day Four: After a restful night your guide will collect you from your hotel this morning and discuss a plan for the day.

Heading to the North of the Island, options include a stunning walk to the top of the stunning Old Man of Storr’, the dramatic pinnacles of Kilt Rock and The Quirang with wonderful views of a spectacular series of landslips, the spectacular Trotternish Peninsula or perhaps a chance to explore the Dinosaur footprints at Staffin beach? Dunvegan Castle which lies on the west of the island is a must see, ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years it the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. The island’s ‘capital’ Portree has a good selection of shops and eating places and is framed by an attractive colourful harbour.

In the south of the island lies the beautifully scenic Sleat Peninsula, often referred to as ‘The garden of Skye’. There and you will also find Armadale Castle and the Museum of the Isles.

Other options depending on your interests include a tour of the Talisker Distillery, a walk to explore the mystical Fairy Pools and a visit to the Skyeskyns Tannery to witness how real sheepskins are made using time honoured methods.

 

Day Five: Leaving Skye by way of the ferry today you will enjoy your last train journey of your tour this afternoon on the world famous West Highland Line. Subject to availability this journey will be on the Jacobite Steam Train depicted as The Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter series.

From Mallaig, your journey will take you over the spectacular Glenfinnan viaduct passing the beautiful villages of Arisaig, Morar and Lochailort arriving in the Highland Town of Fort William. The journey takes just over two hours.

You will spend this evening in the West Highlands around Fort William or perhaps travel slightly further south towards Oban.

 

Day Six: You will have a choice of routes back to your base in Glasgow or Edinburgh today and your guide will discuss your preferences with you.

Perhaps travel through the dramatic and haunting Glencoe towards Tyndrum and on to thepretty town of Inveraray, where you can visit the with its fairytail castle. From there you will join the fabulously titled and scenic ‘Rest and be Thankful’ road before reaching thestunning natural beauty and spectacular backdrop ofthe shores of Loch Lomond or alternatively head north through Spean Bridge to Laggan then south through the Cairngorm National Park and in to Perthshire, stopping at the pretty Victorian town of Pitlochry where you will have plenty of time to pick up some last minute souvenirs.

Whatever route you chose it will be the perfect end to a wonderful and memorable trip.