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Special interest holidays
|Price range||From £595|
|Travel partner||Brightwater Holidays|
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Scotland's Transport Heritage
This extended tour begins in Glasgow at the excellent new Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel on the banks of the River Clyde, which celebrates this rich industrial heritage with an extensive collection of more than 3000 objects. We then sail 'Doon ra Watter' on the world's last seagoing paddle steamer, the PS Waverley, still elegantly plying her trade on the Clyde. There can be no better way to enjoy the gentle beauty of the Argyll hills and the Kyles of Bute than from the deck of this grand old lady. There is a similar majesty to the SS Walter Scott, one of the last surviving screw steamers, which has graced the calm waters of Loch Katrine since 1900. Next is a unique boat journey on the Falkirk Wheel, the world's first rotating boat lift, a fine example of modern engineering which links the Union and the Forth & Clyde canals. Travelling north, we board The Jacobite Steam Train for one of the longest steam hauled rail journeys available in Britain today, an 84-mile round trip through some spectacular scenery from Fort William to Mallaig. 'Concrete Bob' McAlpine's 21-arch Glenfinnan viaduct is just one of the engineering marvels we encounter on our journey, which is made all the more enjoyable by the sound and fury of the steam locomotive at the head of our train, forging its way along the Iron Road to the Isles.
Using scheduled diesel train services, we will travel 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. Finally, we take the steam train from Aviemore to Boat of Garten on the preserved Strathspey Line, which provides an authentic taste of the Golden Age of rail travel in the Highlands.
- 3 nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the comfortable Erskine Bridge Hotel, Erskine (or similar); 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 and from Aviemore to Broomhill (return) on the Strathspey Line; excursions on the P.S. Waverley and SS Sir Walter Scott and visits to the Riverside Transport Museum and the Falkirk Wheel
- Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager
Depart from your chosen pick up point and travel by coach to Glasgow, where we begin our tour with a visit to the new Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel. Glasgow was once at the forefront of transport technology and built thousands of ships, railway locomotives and road vehicles throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. This brand new museum on the banks of the River Clyde celebrates this rich industrial heritage with an extensive collection of more than 3000 objects that includes trams, buses, cars, motorcycles, majestic steam locomotives and finely detailed models of Clyde-built ships. There is also a recreated life-size street from 1895 to 1930, plus two additional display areas depicting shops from the 1930s right through to the 1980s, giving visitors a fantastically detailed insight into Glasgow's distant and more recent past. Following our visit we continue to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.
Wednesday 17 July 2013
Today following breakfast we will head for Largs where we will commence our sail 'Doon ra Watter' on the world's last seagoing paddle steamer - The Waverley. The Waverley is the last ocean-going paddle steamer plying its trade on the River Clyde. It was built in 1946 to replace the 1899 Waverley which was sunk at Dunkirk and is an extremely impressive sight with its immense 2100 horsepower steam engine. On board facilities include a self-service restaurant, cafe, bar and souvenir shop. We will leave the ship at Tighnabruaich where our coach will be waiting to take us back to the hotel, over the "Rest and Be Thankful" and through stunning Argyllshire scenery. Dinner will be served in the evening.
Thursday 18 July 2013
After breakfast today we travel through The Trossachs to Loch Katrine, where we have a cruise on the steam ship SS Walter Scott, the only surviving screw steamer in regular passenger service in Scotland. The grand old lady has been sailing majestically on Loch Katrine since 1900. She was launched in 1899 and today retains her original engines, which are powered by steam using smokeless solid fuel. We then travel south to the Falkirk Wheel, the world’s first rotating boat lift. We shall start the journey on the water at New Port Downie from where you will sail into the Falkirk Wheel. Enjoy the truly spectacular scenery as the wheel commences its graceful ascent to join the Union Canal 35m above. We sail along the Union Canal and under the historic Antonine Wall - the Roman’s most northern frontier - before you enjoy a wander through the Visitor Centre. We return to our hotel, where dinner will be served in the evening.
Friday 19 July 2013
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. We then continue our journey by coach via the Great Glen and Loch Ness to our accommodation in Strathpeffer, where dinner will be served on arrival.
Saturday 20 July 2013
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.
Sunday 21 July 2013
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.
Monday 22 July 2013
Sadly today we must check out of the hotel and head for home, although we have time for one more excursion, on the Strathspey Railway. At Aviemore 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, before continuing to Broomhill, which doubles as ‘Glenbogle’ in the popular BBC TV series, Monarch of the Glen. The train will then return to Aviemore. Thereafter we continue by coach to our original departure points where we expect to arrive during the evening.
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