The Cock O’the North

Thursday 1st June to Tuesday 6th June 2017
6 - Days


Prices from: £1355


Visit the north of Scotland in majestic splendour on our ‘Cock O’ the North’ rail tour and explore this area of outstanding natural beauty by extensive train, road coach and ferry travel.


Departure Date: 01-Jun-2017
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General George Gordon, 18th century Scottish nobleman, soldier and clan chief, first bore the nickname ‘The Cock O’ the North’ and his moniker has been used for a steam locomotive, a traditional Scottish bagpipe tune, a whisky-based liqueur, and more. This tour captures the spirit of that name starting with First Class travel on the ‘Highland Chieftain’ from London to Inverness. A distillery visit precedes the next leg of the tour to Kyle of Lochalsh, on one of the most scenic lines in Britain. A two-night stay on the famous Isle of Skye follows, including a guided tour of the sights there. Factor in a journey on ‘The Jacobite’ steam train from Mallaig to Fort William, with trip highlights including Glenfinnan Viaduct and sea views of the islands of Eigg and Rum, and you have a recipe for one of the most iconic Scottish holidays ever!

Thursday
‘Highland Chieftain’ to Inverness
From the comfort of the First Class Lounge at London’s King’s Cross Station you join the ‘Highland Chieftain’ for the scenic journey to Scotland. This train follows the route of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) via historic connections and through magnificent landscapes. A light lunch will be served at your seat as you speed on in First Class comfort. Stopping at York to take on passengers who have travelled by service train from Peterborough, you continue via Newcastle, Edinburgh and Perth, and join the Highland Main Line to travel through the beautiful Scottish Highlands to Inverness. At Inverness you check in to a 3-star hotel for two nights. Dinner will be served this evening in the hotel restaurant. (L D)

Friday
Strathspey Railway; Keith & Dufftown Railway
This morning you travel by road coach to Aviemore to join a steam train on the Strathspey Railway. This heritage railway line shares the main line railway station at Aviemore and runs to Boat of Garten and Broomhill (‘Glenbogle’ in the BBC series Monarch of the Glen). The return trip affords wonderful views of the Cairngorm Mountains. You rejoin the road coach to travel from Aviemore to Dufftown, and have lunch in the ‘Buffer Stop’, a railway restaurant car. The return trip by vintage diesel rail car takes you on the 11-mile long Keith and Dufftown Railway, the most northerly heritage railway in the UK. This so-called ‘whisky line’ passes through dense pine forests, by the tranquil waters of Loch Park, and along the winding valley of the River Isla. To end the day you visit a traditional Highland whisky distillery before returning to the hotel in Inverness. (B L D)

Saturday
Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh by Train
Today and for the next three days, luggage is collected from the hotel and transported by privately chartered road coach to your next hotel. After a traditional Scottish breakfast you leave Inverness and travel by train to Kyle of Lochalsh. This line has been voted one of the most scenic in Britain. It passes through forests, alongside lakes overshadowed by mountains, and along the shores of Loch Carron, a sea inlet. Kyle of Lochalsh is in an idyllic location on the northwest coast of Scotland at the entrance to another sea inlet, Loch Alsh. A road coach then takes you over the Skye Bridge to the Isle of Skye and on to Portree. On the way there are spectacular views inland of mountains and seaward of the islands in the Sound of Raasay, which boasts the deepest water in the UK Continental Shelf at 1,062 feet, Portree is the island’s main town and is known for its picturesque harbour. You check in to The Royal Hotel, your base for the next two nights. (B D)

Sunday
Tour of Skye
There is the benefit of a tour guide today as you explore the fascinating Isle of Skye by road coach. The island’s peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillin, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic scenery in the country. The Black Cuillin mountain range is the only truly alpine environment in Britain and has twelve summits above 3,000 feet. Returning to Portree there will be ample time to look around and enjoy a picnic lunch. Afterwards you’ll visit the north of the island, with highlights like the Flora MacDonald Memorial Cross and the romantic and historic Dunvegan Castle, ancient home of the MacLeods. Skye is rightly renowned for its vibrant culture, spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, examples being the golden eagle, sea eagle, red deer and otter, and your coach will stop whenever possible for film and photo opportunities. After an exciting day you return to your hotel in Portree. (B L D)

Monday
Ferry to Mallaig; ‘The Jacobite’ Steam Train
After breakfast, say farewell to Portree as you head south by road coach to Armadale to catch the ferry to Mallaig, a boat journey of around thirty minutes. On arrival at Mallaig there will be time to explore the village and have lunch before joining ‘The Jacobite’ steam train to Fort William. This unforgettable 42-mile route has been described as one of the great railway journeys of the world. ‘The Jacobite’ takes you through some of Scotland’s most outstanding scenery, beginning with the sea views to the islands of Eigg and Rum. It crosses the world famous 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, built entirely of concrete, and offers a spectacular vista down Lochaber’s Loch Shiel. On arrival at Fort William you rejoin the road coach for the journey to Inverness. En route you pass through the many lochs of the Great Glen and travel the whole length of the famous Loch Ness. At Inverness you check in to a hotel for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B D)

Tuesday
The ‘Highland Chieftain’ back to London
There’s an early breakfast at your hotel before you transfer to Inverness Railway Station and join the ‘Highland Chieftain’ express for the return journey to London. Relax in your First Class seat as you travel once more through the scenic Highlands. You climb to Drumochter summit, the highest in the UK, and follow the valley of the River Tay to Perth. You continue to Edinburgh to join the ECML onwards to Newcastle, York and London King’s Cross. A light lunch will be served on the journey south. (B L)

Train Timings

Approximate timings shown

Station Outward Return
London King's Cross 12:00 15:51
Peterborough 11:58* 15:26*
York 13:54 13:53
Inverness 20:06 07:55

*Passengers from Peterborough change trains at York on both outward and return journeys.


Details

Price

  • London £1395
  • Peterborough £1375
  • York £1355
  • Single supplement £165

All prices shown are per person

Price Includes

  • First Class rail travel to Inverness and return, from London, Peterborough or York, with at-seat dining
  • 5 nights bed and breakfast at good quality 3-star hotels
  • 5 dinners and 4 lunches
  • Our own road coach to transport luggage for the duration in Scotland leaving you free to enjoy the train rides and other journeys
  • First Class rail travel on “The Jacobite” from Mallaig to Fort William
  • Standard Class rail travel between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh (First Class not provided on this train)
  • All visits, train travel, transfers and tours, as detailed in the itinerary
  • Reserved seats
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!