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The Scottish Highlands by steam
Steam locomotion has long been one of the most elegant and memorable ways to travel, and when mixed with the magnificent scenery of the Scottish Highlands the combination is irresistible. On this wonderful four-day holiday you will ride on the famous Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig, an 84-mile steam-hauled journey through spectacular scenery, which features an impressive list of superlatives.
It starts near Britain's highest mountain (Ben Nevis), passes its deepest freshwater loch (Loch Morar), shortest river (River Morar) and finally arrives next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe (Loch Nevis). You will enjoy champagne and chocolates on the return journey.
Staying at the four-star Airth Castle Hotel & Spa throughout, you will also enjoy a relaxing voyage along the Clyde on the historic paddle steamer PS Waverley, sail on the calm waters of Loch Katrine on SS Sir Walter Scott, one of the last surviving screw steamers, and take a unique ride on the Falkirk Wheel, the pioneering rotating boat lift that links the Union and Forth & Clyde canals.
Reasons to book
Sail by paddle steamer
Steam journey on the Jacobite
- Three nights' dinner (with wine), bed and breakfast at the four-star Airth Castle Hotel & Spa
- Return flights from London Stansted
- Comfortable coaching throughout
- Journeys on PS Waverley, SS Sir Walter Scott, the Fort William/Mallaig line on the Jacobite and the Falkirk Wheel
Day1Falkirk WheelFalkirk Wheel, United Kingdom
Depart from your chosen pick-up point and travel 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, where lunch is available (not included).
We continue to the 4-star MacDonald Forest Hills Hotel & Spa where dinner with wine will be served in the evening.
Day2Fort William to Mallaig on the JacobiteFort William, United Kingdom
Today, following an early start, we will journey back in time on the Jacobite steam train and experience one of the most memorable and spectacular railway journeys in the world - the famous Fort William to Mallaig line following The 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 also takes us over the massive Glenfinnan viaduct overlooking Loch Sheil, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard in 1745.
There is time to enjoy lunch (not included) in Mallaig, whether you choose fish and chips, crab sandwiches or freshly landed lobster, but do leave room for a special treat as we enjoy champagne and chocolates on the return journey. On arrival in Fort William we return by coach to our hotel for dinner.
Day3River Clyde on The WaverleyFirth Of Clyde, United Kingdom
Today, following breakfast, we will head for Helensburgh where we will commence our sail 'Doon ra Watter' on The Waverley*, 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, travelling over the "Rest and Be Thankful" and through stunning Argyll scenery. Dinner will be served in the evening.
*Subject to confirmation of the Waverley's sailing schedule
Day4Loch Katrine on the SS Sir Walter ScottLoch Katrine, United Kingdom
Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and depart for a cruise on the steam ship SS Sir Walter Scott on Loch Katrine. The Sir Walter Scott is 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.
After our cruise we continue through The Trossachs to Callander, where there will be an opportunity for lunch (not included). Thereafter we return to the airport or make onward connections.
Airth Castle Hotel & Spa
An exclusive retreat in a 14th-century castle; Central Scotland’s most luxurious spa and fitness club.
This gorgeous hotel and spa is housed in Airth Castle, once owned by the family of Robert the Bruce and complemented by an adjacent pretty courtyard building which houses the Grill Room restaurant, leisure club and spa and many of the bedrooms. Rooms are located in both the original Castle and the main hotel building, and their design ranges from traditionally furnished period charm to super sleek contemporary interiors. The Grill Room at Airth Castle, set under a unique pyramid of glass, is renowned for its food, serving locally inspired dishes complemented by classics with an innovative twist.