Depart from your chosen pick up point and travel by coach to Aviemore and the Strathspey Railway. We will board the maroon-liveried coaches which will evoke memories of train journeys in the 1950s and 60s and the train will be hauled by a lovingly restored steam locomotive from the collection which is housed in the engine shed adjacent to the station here. 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 will then return to Aviemore, from where we continue our journey by coach to our accommodation in Strathpeffer.
Please note: on Friday 9 June there are no steam-hauled trains operating so our excursion will be on board a vintage diesel multiple-unit in original 1960s livery. This train has large panoramic windows affording excellent views of the surrounding scenery which will add to your enjoyment of the journey.
Dinner is served in the evening.
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.
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.
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.