GRAND NORTH WESTERN (7 nights) > Edinburgh – Keith - Kyle of Lochalsh - Boat of Garten – Dundee - Stirling – Spean Bridge - Taynuilt – Wemyss Bay - Edinburgh



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With seven nights aboard, this is an opportunity to savor The Royal Scotsman and Scotland to the full. After traveling along the east coast to Keith you head across to the picturesque west coast village of Plockton, before returning to Inverness and then south to Perth. Enjoy the many highlights along the way, including a private ceilidh at Strathisla and your personal invitation to visit Ballindalloch, with its magnificent house and gardens. There will also be time and opportunity for golf, seal spotting aboard Callum"s boat, or a guided nature walk along Caledonian pine forest trails. Relax and experience the magnificent West Highland scenery and a private view of Mount Stuart, one of Britain"s most spectacular Victorian gothic houses.

Day 1: Edinburgh - Keith
The Royal Scotsman departs Edinburgh Waverley Station at 14.25, and travels north across the Firth of Forth by means of the magnificent Forth Railway Bridge. This is one of the first cantilever bridges, designed and built by Benjamin Baker in the late 1880s. It is considered one of the greatest achievements of the Victorian Age, and known as the eighth wonder of the world.

Enjoy your afternoon tea as you journey through the former Kingdom of Fife and across the Tay Bridge. Following the east coast, passing through Arbroath, Montrose and Aberdeen before arriving in Keith, where you disembark for a traditional Scottish ceilidh at Strathisla. You then rejoin the train at Keith for an informal dinner and overnight stabling.

 

Day 2: Keith - Kyle of Lochalsh
Breakfast is served as the train departs Keith and travels west towards Elgin where you disembark. Our luxury, liveried motor coach is waiting to take you to the Glen Grant distillery. Founded by James and John Grant in 1840 the distillery is set around a small courtyard with turreted and gabled offices in the "Scottish Baronial" style.

Return to the train before heading west to Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Afterwards you continue westwards towards Kyle of Lochalsh, on what is arguably the most scenic route in Britain. Lunch is served as you pass through Dingwall and Garve, which lies under the shadow of Cnoc na h-Iolaire. The line passes Loch Luichart and the Torridon mountains, which are so old they contain no fossils. Geologists believe that they were formed before any life began. On through Achnasheen, then the climb to Luib summit and Achnashellach forest before descending to Strathcarron. The train then follows the edge of Loch Carron through Attadale, Stromeferry and Duncraig.

At Plockton you have an opportunity to become your own guide and explore this picturesque Scottish Highland village. Be at one with nature, as you take a boat trip to see the colony of wild seals, and relish the magnificent views across the Isle of Skye to the Applecross Mountains. There is also a woodland walk, which leads to a viewpoint overlooking the loch. Alternatively visit the local art gallery or simply wander through this charming village. Afterwards rendezvous at the Plockton Hotel, where there is time to enjoy a dram or two before rejoining the motor coach.

Return to the train in Kyle of Lochalsh for overnight stabling. Dinner this evening is formal and afterwards there is entertainment in the Observation Car. Marvel at the view from the train"s verandah as you gaze over Loch Alsh to the Isle of Skye.

 

Day 3: Kyle of Lochalsh - Boat of Garten
After your breakfast, enjoy a photo opportunity outside Eilean Donan Castle, the second most photographed in Scotland. The castle stands on a rocky promontory at the meeting point of three sea lochs, and its beginnings reach back to the time of the Picts. It survived many bombardments, until in 1719 it was razed to the ground during the Jacobite rebellion. Two hundred years later it was restored to its former glory.

Departing from Kyle you retrace part of yesterday"s route as far as Dingwall. Have your cameras ready for the views of Plockton across the bay to the left, where you can see whitewashed cottages with fishing boats and yachts riding at anchor. Travelling round the edge of the Beauly Firth, you cross the northern end of the Caledonian Canal shortly before reaching Inverness.

The train continues south to Carrbridge where you disembark for your visit to Ballindalloch, one of Scotland"s most romantic castles, and with its wonderful gardens. Set in the magnificent surroundings of the Spey valley, Ballindalloch has been the home of the Macpherson-Grant family since 1546, and exemplifies the elegant and comfortable country house so beloved of Victorians in the Highlands.

Return to the train at Boat of Garten on the private Strathspey Railway for overnight stabling. A formal dinner is served and afterwards you meet Ray Owens, a Highlander who brings to life the stories of Scottish heroes. Listening to Ray, you gain a true sense of the past and learn how life in the Highlands has changed over the centuries.

 

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Day 4: Boat of Garten - Stirling
Disembarking from the train at Boat of Garten you can choose from a number of different options; golfers can have a round at Boat of Garten Golf Club, a demanding test of sporting skill and a magnificent Highland setting for the game, those wishing to explore the surrounding countryside can take a leisurely, guided woodland walk where various species of wildlife are pointed out, fishing enthusiasts have an opportunity to try their hand on a loch at Aviemore or alternatively, enjoy some time on your own in this beautiful Speyside setting.

Rejoin the train in Aviemore and enjoy lunch as you journey south through Blair Atholl and Pitlochry to Perth, where you disembark for your visit to Glamis Castle and gardens, Seat of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and childhood home of the late HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. The Bowes Lyon family have lived at Glamis since 1372, when Sir John Lyon was granted the thaneage of Glamis by King Robert II. Since then the castle has been visited and lived in by many members of the Scottish and British Royal Families.

Rejoining the train in Perth enjoy an informal dinner as you travel to Dundee “The city of Discovery” where the train stables overnight.

 

Day 5: Stirling - Edinburgh - Spean Bridge
After breakfast, the train leaves Dundee and travels over the Tay Bridge then through the former Kingdom of Fife. You cross the Firth of Forth by means of the Forth Railway Bridge to arrive in Edinburgh Waverley station where this part of your journey ends.

Now there is an opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Edinburgh, known as the "Athens of the North". Explore the historic Royal Mile, visit the Castle, take in an art gallery or simply relax with a coffee. Should you so wish, a light lunch will be served for you in a local hotel before you re-join the train. Your Train Manager will be pleased to confirm details on the day.

The Royal Scotsman departs from Edinburgh in the afternoon and heads west through Falkirk, Clydebank and Dumbarton to skirt Glasgow and so reach the northern bank of the Clyde. Near the mouth of the Clyde estuary lies Craigendoran, the starting point for the majestic West Highland Line.

Enjoy afternoon tea as you travel along the edge of Gare Loch. Loch Long comes into sight to your left, and after vanishing for a while, returns with a view of Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) with its distinctive peak. Passing Arrochar you get your first view of Loch Lomond. The train descends almost to the water"s edge at Ardlui, and then has a hard climb up Glen Falloch, whose many waterfalls provide an impressive display.

As you continue north you pass through Crianlarich and Bridge of Orchy. There are spectacular views of Rannoch Moor before arrival in Spean Bridge where the train stables overnight. After a formal dinner you meet Ray Owens, a Highlander who brings to life the stories of Scottish heroes. Listening to Ray, you gain a true sense of the past and learn how life in the Highlands has changed over the centuries.

 

Day 6: Spean Bridge - Taynuilt
Your breakfast is served as your journey continues west, passing through Fort William with views of Ben Nevis (Britain"s highest mountain) to your left. Travelling by the side of Loch Eil you then pass Glenfinnan and Lochailort, before turning north along this stunning coastline until reaching Arisaig. Here you can disembark for a romantic walk along the beautiful Morar Sands, a magnificent expanse of gleaming white sand, where you can enjoy excellent views across the Sound of Sleat to the beautiful Isle of Skye with its awe-inspiring Cuillin Mountains.

Rejoin the train whereupon your lunch is served as the train retraces the route towards Fort William then Spean Bridge before turning south. You arrive at Bridge of Orchy and disembark for a cruise on Loch Awe. In the comfort of your cruise boat, enjoy an hour"s sailing on the loch taking in the beautiful scenery, as you pass Kilchurn Castle which was built in the early 15th century by Sir Colin Campbell, 1st Laird of Glenorchy. The substantial ruins are some of the most picturesque in Scotland.

Return to the train at Taynuilt for overnight stabling. After an informal dinner enjoy entertainment in the Observation Car.

 

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Day 7: Taynuilt - Wemyss Bay
Leaving Taynuilt you follow the previous day"s route as far as Glasgow before heading south to Gourock. At Wemyss Bay, board the ferry across to the Isle of Bute. The island embraces a variety of landscapes; seashore, moorland, farmland and forest. The natural history, geography, geology and ancient history of the island are revealed at every turn. From St Blane"s Chapel at the south of the island to the abandoned townships in Glen More at the north, it seems that every stone has its tale to tell.

Mount Stuart is Britain"s most spectacular Victorian Gothic house. This was the architectural fantasy of the 3rd Marquess of Bute and his architect Sir Robert Rowand Anderson. Stunning, mysterious interiors reflect the romantic and scholarly Marquess" passion for art, heraldry, astrology, mythology and religion. At Mount Stuart, there is arguably the finest privately held collection of family portraits in Scotland.

Following your afternoon tea, you have time to explore this magnificent house, its tranquil Rock Garden, the Wee Garden containing rare plants from the southern hemisphere, the Kitchen Garden and the Victorian Pinetum. The Limetree Avenue leads you to a secluded stretch of coastline and one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland.

Return to the mainland and rejoin the train at Wemyss Bay where a formal dinner is served and the train stables for the night.

 

Day 8: Wemyss Bay - Edinburgh
During breakfast you depart Wemyss Bay to arrive in Edinburgh where your journey ends.

 

 

ON BOARD THE ROYAL SCOTSMAN >>>

 

 

Departure Dates 2017

April 27, 30
May 4, 7, 21, 25 ,28
June 11, 15, 18
July 2, 6, 9, 23, 27, 30
August 3, 17, 20, 24
September 7, 10, 14, 28
October 1, 5

 

 

Prices – 2017

 

1 Person in compartment - € 11.680,00

2 People in compartment - € 7.300,00 per person

 

Rates are fully inclusive of accommodation, meals, wine, alcoholic and other beverages, day tours and entertainment. Prices in EURO currency.

 

 

We suggest adding trip insurance >>> to any and all bookings.

 

For exact inquiry on dates and quotations, please, fill in the Personal inquiry >>> form

 
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