Grand West Highland Journey Aboard 'The Royal Scotsman' (2013-14)
Luxury Train Travel: One of the most romantic ways to discover a destination
- Day 1: Edinburgh - Spean Bridge
The Royal Scotsman departs from Edinburgh early 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 will 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 will 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 will gain a true sense of the past and learn how life in the Highlands has changed over the centuries.The Royal Scotsman | Meals: L D
- Day 2: Spean Bridge - Bridge of Orchy
Breakfast is served as your journey continues west, passing through Fort William with views of Ben Nevis (Britain's highest mountain). 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.
Rejoining the train, your lunch is served as the train retraces the route towards Fort William. Here you will disembark for an exclusive visit to Ben Nevis Distillery which is nestled at the foot of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. The distillery was established in 1825 making it one of the oldest in Scotland.
Returning to the train you will enjoy an informal dinner as you head south towards Bridge of Orchy where you stable overnight.The Royal Scotsman | Meals: B L D
- Day 3: Bridge of Orchy - Wemyss Bay
Leaving Bridge of Orchy this morning enjoy breakfast on route south towards Glasgow and 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 will 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.
You return to the mainland and rejoin the train in Wemyss Bay where a formal dinner is served and the train stables for the night.The Royal Scotsman | Meals: B L D
- Day 4: Wemyss Bay - Edinburgh - Boat of Garten
During breakfast you depart Wemyss Bay to arrive in Edinburgh where the first 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.
You rejoin the train The Royal Scotsman early afternoon and head west through Linlithgow to Stirling, and past Gleneagles on your way to the "Fair City" of Perth. You then continue north on the Highland line through Dunkeld, Pitlochry and Blair Atholl. Once past the station you can catch a glimpse of Blair Castle.
We continue our journey to Dalwhinnie where we disembark to visit Dalwhinnie Distillery, which at 1,073 feet above sea level makes it the highest Distillery in Scotland. You will have the opportunity to sample the 'Gentle Spirit' of the glen.
You return to the train at Boat of Garten on the private Strathspey Railway for overnight stabling. A formal dinner is served and afterwards you will be reacquainted with a familiar face for your evening entertainment.The Royal Scotsman | Meals: B L D
- Day 5: Boat of Garten - Dundee
Leaving Boat of Garten after breakfast you travel by motorcoach to Rothiemurchus. The history of this estate is as varied as most of the Highlands of Scotland. Its diverse landscape comprises low-lying fields on the river flood plain, open heather moorland, forestry plantations and majestic Caledonian pine forest. Here you can enjoy a variety of activities including clay pigeon shooting or a guided tour of the Estate with one of the Park Rangers where you can learn about the local flora and wildlife.
You rejoin the train in Aviemore and head north to Inverness. Enjoy lunch as you pass Culloden, site of the last battle on mainland British soil in 1746. You then continue east following the Moray coast to Nairn where we disembark to visit Johnston's of Elgin Woollen Mill. Founded in 1797 Johnston's is the only British Mill to transform cashmere from fibre to garment and its success has been founded on processing some of the world's rarest and most luxurious fibres.
You return to the train in Keith and enjoy a formal dinner as you travel south towards Dundee, for overnight stabling.The Royal Scotsman | Meals: B L D
- Day 6: Dundee - Edinburgh
After breakfast, the train leaves Dundee and travels through the former Kingdom of Fife. You cross the Firth of Forth by means of the magnificent Forth Railway Bridge to arrive in Edinburgh Waverley station where your journey ends.Meals: B