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chris@traintrips.biz (Rail Tour Manager)

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Europe - Scotland

 

Sprintime In Scotland

TOURIST TOUR

JUNE 1-11, 2023

 

Sprintime In Scotland

 

Come and join us on a tour from Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, via some of the “most scenic rail journeys in the world” to Glasgow and the River Clyde. Heading north, east and west from the railway hub of the city, you will ride on a heritage train, be hauled by two steam engines, and cross the “Harry Potter” viaduct as you traverse the famous West Highland line. There will be wonderful scenery and engineering marvels to admire. There will be a visit to Dunrobin castle, Scotland’s French chateau, a trip over the bridge to Skye, a visit to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, a couple of nights spent in Oban on the West Coast and we will end the tour with a trip “doon the watter”, taking the ferry from Wemyss Bay across the Clyde to the Island of Bute.

 

Day 1 Thursday June 1: (D)

There are many ways to arrive in Inverness. You can fly to Inverness or travel by train on the East Coast line, before checking into our city center hotel. If you arrive early, there are attractions to visit in the city, such as the Victorian Market, St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness Castle as well as Culloden Moor, the site of the last battle of the ’45 Rebellion which is a short bus or taxi ride away. Tonight, we will meet in reception at 7pm for our Welcome dinner in the Mustard Seed, a short walk from the hotel.

 

Day 2 Friday June 2: (B,L,D)

Today we take the train from Inverness to Keith, on the main line to Aberdeen, to ride on the heritage train from Keith to Dufftown. We arrive at Keith station and either walk, or take a taxi, to Keith Town station where we catch the train. There were many branch lines in the area at one time but these have all been closed except for this one to Dufftown. We will have lunch in the quirkiest restaurant, comprising two railway carriages, and called the Sidings – very appropriate. After a walk through Keith Old Town, we will end the day in the Strathisla Distillery concocting our own blend of Scotch whisky before taking the return train to Inverness. We will have dinner in the hotel.

 

Sprintime In Scotland

KEITH AND DIFFTOWN RAILWAY

 

Day 3 Saturday June 3: (B,D)

It’s an early start today as we are catching the early train to Thurso and Wick although we will detrain at Dunrobin Castle. It is a short walk to this splendid palace which is known as “the only French Chateau” in Scotland, and is the family seat of the Earl of Sutherland. After the self-guided tour there is a falconry display, a cafe for lunch and wonderful gardens, modeled on the same lines as Versailles, to explore. We will return to Inverness by the mid-afternoon train. Dinner is in the hotel.

 

Sprintime In Scotland

DUNROBIN CASTLE

 

Day 4 Sunday June 4: (B,L,D)

This is the first of our days being hauled by a steam engine when we head out to Aviemore, which was originally developed for the skiing fraternity, but is now an all year round resort, in beautiful countryside, featuring mountain hikes, nature walks, cycling, pony trekking and many other outdoor pursuits. It is also the home of the Strathspey Railway, another line rescued for posterity. Not only will we be behind a steam engine but we will have a light lunch served to us as we travel along the original Highland line from Aviemore to Broomhill via Boat of Garten and back. There will be time to explore the town both before and after the steam train journey. From Aviemore we return on the main line to Inverness. Dinner is in the hotel.

 

Sprintime In Scotland

STRATHSPEY RAILWAY

 

Day 5, Monday June 5: (B,L,D)

Today we travel across Scotland as we head north-east to Kyle of Lochalsh – one of Scotland’s most scenic railways – through largely unspoiled and uninhabited wild countryside. As we approach the west coast we by-pass the village of Plockton, the setting for TV’s “Hamish Macbeth”, and arrive in Kyle from where the ferry used to run “over the sea to Skye” – nowadays we have the bridge. During our time here we will visit Eilean Donan Castle, built on a tiny island, probably to repel Viking invaders, at the confluence of three sea lochs and used defensively till its destruction in 1719. It was extensively restored to its original plan between 1911 and 1932. We will have lunch and spend some time on the island of Skye, to where “Bonnie Prince Charlie” fled after the defeat at Culloden. Dinner will be in the hotel on our return to Inverness.

 

Sprintime In Scotland

EILEAN DONAN CASTLE

 

Sprintime In Scotland

ISLE OF SKYE

 

Day 6 Tuesday June 6: (B,D)

We leave Inverness this morning by coach and transfer to Oban via Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, where there is a flight of locks on the Caledonian Canal, and Spean Bridge from where we will take the train to Oban, changing at Crianlarich, thus completing another part of the West Highland Line. Oban, Gaelic for “small bay”, is a seaside town on the west coast Firth of Lorne with the iconic Mccaig’s Tower, a “Folly”, built between 1879 and 1902 by a wealthy local banker to give work to local stonemasons during winter, thus retaining their presence and skills in the town, and to be a lasting memorial to his family. Sadly, he died, and with him the finance, before his elaborate plan was fully realised. However it now makes for a wonderful viewing point for the Atlantic islands of Lismore, Mull and Kerrera – and a good walking exercise to boot. Oban has its own distillery, is a major ferry port for the Outer Isles, was the home of WW2 flying boats, was a vital base in the Battle of the Atlantic as well as a trans-Atlantic communications point during WW2 and the subsequent Cold War. There is a small museum dedicated to war and peace, interesting architecture, and the best shoe shop in Argyll!!! Dinner will be in the hotel tonight.

 

Sprintime In Scotland

FORT AUGUSTUS

 

Day 7 Wednesday June 7: (B,D)

Today we travel by coach to Fort William, gateway to the Road to the Isles, which is at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, where – depending on your direction of travel – the long distance walking route, the West Highland Way, to Milngavie begins/ends, the Great Glen Way, a walking or cycling road, to Inverness begins/ends and the Caledonian Canal begins/ends with the set of locks called Neptune’s Staircase. It is a center for skiing, climbing, mountain biking and, most importantly for us, the home of the Jacobite Steam train on which we will travel to Mallaig, a former herring port. Transporting fresh fish to Glasgow is one of the reasons the West Highland Line was constructed, though now it is not only a fantastic tourist railway through superb scenery, but also it is a commercial railway still. It is a engineering marvel, using concrete for bridges and viaducts, the most famous is the Glenfinnan Viaduct featured in “Harry Potter”, building sea walls where required and constructing several tunnels. We traverse a swing bridge across the canal, pass historic landmarks like the Glenfinnan monument where “Bonnie Prince Charlie” raised his standard in 1745, admire beautiful beaches at Arisaig, and Loch Morar, one of the deepest in Scotland reputed to have its own monster to rival “Nessie”. Many film and TV companies have used this area as the backdrop to their tales – from “Trainspotting” to “Outlander” and many others. You will have some time in Mallaig, now a ferry terminal, from where you may see another view of Skye! There are many scenic sights you only see from the train and it really is a highlight of the whole trip. On our return to Oban, we will have dinner in the hotel.

 

Sprintime In Scotland Sprintime In Scotland

VILLAGE OF ARISAIG AND NEPTUNE'S STAIRCASE LOCKS

 

Sprintime In Scotland Sprintime In Scotland

THE JACOBITE STEAM TRAIN FROM HARRY POTTER MOVIES

 

Sprintime In Scotland

 

Day 8 Thursday 8 June (B,D)

After a leisurely morning in Oban, we take the mid-day train to Glasgow to complete our journey on the West Highland Line. We will re-trace the line to Crianlarich where we either change trains or are added to the Fort William section and travel south, where railways should not go, by-passing Loch Lomond, Loch Long, Loch Fyne and Gareloch where you might catch a glimpse of the submarine base at Faslane, before following the River Clyde on our way to Glasgow. Our hotel is next door to Queen Street station and that is where dinner is tonight.

 

Sprintime In Scotland

LOCH LOMOND NEAR BALLOCH

 

Day 9 Friday June 9: (B,D)

It is time to explore Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. We have on offer a walking tour of Glasgow and a tour of Hidden Central station, which can be reversed so you can do both, followed by the rest of the day using the excellent sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus taking you to the Riverside Museum (all things transport), Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the People’s Palace, the Cathedral and giving you an overview of the city and its superb architecture. There are many eateries for lunch, whenever you require sustenance. However, if you wish to do something different, you might visit the Burrell Museum and Pollok House in Pollok Park on the south side of the city or go to Bellahouston Park to visit “House for an Art Lover” – a Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece built, between 1989 and 1996 following his 1901 plans, as a tribute to him. Dinner this evening is in the hotel.

 

Day 10 Saturday June 10: (B,D)

Today we go “doon the watter” as Glaswegians would say during the Glasgow Fair when workers and their families could escape the city for the seaside resorts on the River Clyde – rich merchants would send their families to the likes of Largs, Ayr, Dunoon, and Rothesay for the entire summer and join them at weekends. We will take the train to Wemyss Bay – a spectacular Victorian station where the platform curves round to the ferry terminal – and sail across the Clyde to Rothesay. We will be transferred to Mount Stuart, the ancestral home of the Marquis of Bute. This 19th century building is fascinating as well as striking – being the first house in Scotland to have both electricity and an indoor heated swimming pool! During WW1 it was used as a convalescence hospital for the navy, given its proximity to Glasgow and its peaceful surroundings in extensive grounds, After the tour, you can have lunch in the cafe and explore the gardens. Dinner is in the hotel.

 

Sprintime In Scotland

THE WONDERFUL RAILWAY STATION AT WEMYSS BAY

 

Day 11 Sunday June 11: (B)

Sadly, all good things must come to an end and it is time for you to leave the tour. There is an excellent bus connection to the airport from Buchanan Bus station, not far from the hotel, and the main railway stations are easily accessible on foot. If needed there is a taxi rank opposite the hotel. We hope you have enjoyed the tour and experiencing Scotland by rail.

 

This trip involves some walking, including just over a kilometer between the stations in Keith, a flat 500 meters with your luggage from the hotel in Oban to the train station and the walking tour in Glasgow

 

ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON

 

DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$2,555 

SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$1,055 

DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONFIRMED$500 

FINAL PAYMENT DUE BY MARCH 1, 2023

TOUR CONDITIONS **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**

Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.