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It's all points north on this celebration of the iron road, which combines vintage steam with modern diesel and the most scenic lines in the country.

The north of Scotland is home to some wonderfully scenic railway lines, built by the great engineers of the Victorian age through some of the most difficult and challenging terrain in the British Isles. Despite sweeping closures elsewhere in the country their legacy remains intact and the single-track lines which cross wild moors and lonely glens with sweeping curves and majestic viaducts continue to provide important links to the north and west Highlands today.

Using the scheduled diesel train services, we will travel both northwards to Wick, following the coast as far as Helmsdale before sweeping inland through the wild and empty country of Sutherland and Caithness, and westwards to Kyle of Lochalsh, by Strath Bran and Strath Carron to the shores of Loch Alsh. We have the added attraction of steam haulage for our two other journeys. The ‘Jacobite’ ensures that the haunting sound of a steam whistle continues to echo around Glenfinnan, as the train crosses ‘Concrete Bob’ McAlpine’s magnificent viaduct on its way from Fort William to Mallaig. At Aviemore we enjoy a journey on the preserved Strathspey Line when we take a train to Boat of Garten providing an authentic taste of the Golden Age of rail travel in the Highlands.

Available departure dates and prices

 

It's all points north on this celebration of the iron road, which combines vintage steam with modern diesel and the most scenic lines in the country.

Day 1 

Depart from your chosen pick up point and travel by coach to Aviemore and the Strathspey Railway. In 2015 the Strathspey Railway will realise a long-held ambition and run trains all the way to Grantown-on-Spey. The line crosses heather covered moorland with the Cairngorm Mountains beyond, scenes which have changed little in the last hundred years. The train stops at Boat of Garten, a village created by the former railway companies that served the area, and Broomhill, which doubled as ‘Glenbogle’ in the popular BBC TV series, Monarch of the Glen. The train then continues over the re-opened section of line to Grantown, which includes a new bridge over the River Dulnain. The train will then return to Aviemore, from where we continue our journey by coach to our accommodation in Strathpeffer. Please note that until the new section of line has been passed for use by steam locomotives, this trip will be operated by Diesel Multiple Units. These heritage trains carry the authentic 1960’s green livery with ‘speed whiskers’.

Dinner is served in the evening.

 Day 2

Today following breakfast we will travel the short distance to Dingwall where we board the morning scheduled diesel train service to Wick. The line takes us along the shores of 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 the 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. The driver changes ends here to take the train to Thurso before we continue to the terminus at Wick. On arrival here we will re-join our coach and return to our hotel by the more direct but equally scenic coastal route. Dinner will be served in the evening, which will be followed by a video presentation on railways in Scotland in the 1950s and 60s.

 

 

 

Day 3

 After a leisurely breakfast today we will return to the station at Dingwall, this time heading west to Kyle of Lochalsh on the scheduled diesel train service. Our route takes us through Strath Bran and the isolated little station at Achnasheen, on into Strath Carron to the head of Loch Carron, passing Stromeferry, the one-time terminus of the line, before we reach the current terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh. We have time here to stretch our legs and enjoy the views across Loch Alsh to the Isle of Skye before re-boarding the train for the return journey to Dingwall. We return to our hotel for dinner.

Day 4

After an early breakfast we check out of the hotel and travel through the Great Glen to Fort William, where we join ‘The Jacobite’ steam train and 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 the opportunity to drink in the stunning views of this wild and historic part of Scotland. From the slopes of Ben Nevis the line runs through rugged mountains, past sea and inland lochs and onto the shores of the Atlantic at Mallaig. The route takes you over the massive Glenfinnan viaduct overlooking Loch Sheil, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745. After some free time in Mallaig we rejoin the train and return to Fort William. Thereafter we continue by coach to our original departure points where we expect to arrive late evening.

Included in the price

  • 3 nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the comfortable Highland Hotel, Strathpeffer (or similar). All rooms have private facilities
  • Comfortable coaching throughout
  • Rail journeys from Dingwall to Wick (single) and Kyle of Lochalsh (return); from Fort William to Mallaig (return) on the Jacobite; from Aviemore to Broomhill (return) on the Strathspey Line Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager

Not included (per person)

  • Single room supplement               £45.00
  • Insurance                                    £18.50 (under 65); £37.00 (65-74); £55.50 (75-90)
  • Rail/air connections and/or overnight accommodation in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Perth before or after the tour available on request

Departure points and times:

Depart Return
Glasgow (Millennium Hotel, George Square) 0830 2130
Edinburgh (Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Road) 0945 2015
Dunfermline (outside Carnegie College) 1015 2000
Kinross (Kinross Services) 1030 1945
Perth (Bus stop on Canal Street, Tay Street end) 1045 1930
The following pick-ups will be served by feeder coach or taxi and passengers will join/leave the main coach inPerth (subject to minimum numbers):
Montrose (Outside railway station) 0915 2045
Arbroath  (Railway Station) 0935 2025
Dundee (Outside Discovery Point) 1000 2000

 

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.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the archaeological tour to the Outer Hebrides, the driver and guide made the holiday a great success

Mr and Mrs Sutherland, Dundee

A superb holiday - thanks Trish the Tour Manager was very helpful and knowledgeable - the free day was a great idea.

Mr and Mrs Somerville

Pauline our Tour Manager was a wee star, her personality and knowledge make the Highlands come alive.

Mrs Wilson
 
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