The holiday starts at Aviemore Station to coincide with the arrival of The Highland Chieftain at about 19.30.
We then transfer up the drive, check in, and enjoy a welcome meal together.
We’re not going too far today as we tour in and around the Cairngorms getting to know the locals.
A flexible itinerary allows for plenty of scope and variety with wildlife, scenic and transport highlights including the Strathspey Steam Railway and (provided it is repaired by now!) a memorable trip up Cairngorm itself aboard the modern funicular railway.
The Skye Circular - to the west coast we head on what is without doubt one of the very best scenic days we do – anywhere. We start off with a gentle drive to Fort William with a stop or two on the way. Here we join the world famous Jacobite steam train for the unsurpassable ride to Mallaig - this is the most stunning steam hauled railway journey in the British Isles. From Mallaig we cross by ferry to the Isle of Skye and tour through the Garden of Skye before using the Skye Bridge to return to the mainland. Now, sit back and relax as we take the train back across from Kyle of Lochalsh skirting sea-lochs and passing idyllic villages before the wide expanse of the Highlands opens up around us – magic! We alight at Dingwall and drive back down to Aviemore reflecting on a magnificent day out.
Saturday A super “local” day begins with the classic cruise on Loch Ness to Urquart Castle and clan history continues with a visit to melancholy Culloden. In the afternoon a rail journey to Keith transports us to the ever so friendly Keith and Dufftown Railway. We then track back along the Spey Valley, passing distilleries galore, to Aviemore.
It’s time to head for the far north and we are going to enjoy another stunning rail journey and holiday highlight. The spectacular journey to Wick and Thurso traverses some of the most rugged, desolate terrain in Scotland – this is among the finest, and yet least travelled railway lines in all the land.
The Orkneys beckon today and we cross the Pentland Firth from Gills Bay this morning. Then we tour “mainland” Orkney with the main attractions being Skara Brae, the wonderful Italian Chapel and the Churchill Barriers. There’s also time in Kirkwall (the capital) for a visit to the cathedral. Our circular tour is completed from Stromness over to Thurso’s port, Scrabster, passing the iconic “Old Man of Hoy” as the sun dips in the sky – lovely!
Heading back south today, we take a relaxed journey that includes some interesting stops and dramatic coastal scenery on the way. But first we need to show you some of Scotland’s most northerly sights. No visit up here would be complete without dropping in at John O’Groats, Dunrobin Castle and Helmsdale.
Breakfast at leisure before commencing homeward bound journeys, from Aviemore Station, at the time of your choice and through the spectacular Scottish scenery.
This four star is the top hotel in Aviemore. It has large modern rooms with all the amenities one would expect and commands super veiws of Craigellachie and the Cairngorms. The bustling town of Aviemore is but a short stroll down the drive, as is the station. To ensure quality of service, our evening meals will be at an agreed time each evening according to the day’s itinerary.
This is one of the best hotels in this northern outpost with comfortable rooms and a bar/restaurant enjoyed by residents and locals alike. Another centrally located base enables one to get out and about of an evening here too.