The Cock O’the North

Thursday 27th August to Wednesday 2nd September 2020
7 - Days


Prices from: £1695


Discover the outstanding natural beauty of Scotland’s northern outposts on our ever-popular ‘Cock O’ the North’ rail and road tour.


Departure Date: 27-Aug-2020
Book Now
  • Explore this rugged terrain by extensive train, road coach and ferry transport, starting with a First-Class journey on the ‘Highland Chieftain’ from London to Inverness.
  • Steam on ‘The Jacobite’ from Mallaig to Fort William, taking in the famous 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct on one of the greatest railway journeys in the world.
  • Enjoy two heritage rail trips in one day, on the Strathspey Railway in the shadow of the Cairngorms, and on the Keith & Dufftown ‘Whisky Line’, the most northerly heritage railway in the UK.
  • Discover the Kyle of Lochalsh on a trip along the most scenic line in Britain, followed by a fascinating two-day stay on the Isle of Skye, including a guided tour highlighting its vibrant culture and spectacular attractions.
  • With overnight stays at comfortable hotels, outstanding cuisine, and point-to-point road coach transport for your luggage included, this is a Scottish holiday tour not to be missed!

Thursday 27th August
‘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 The Best Western Hotel and Spa for two nights. Dinner will be served this evening in the hotel restaurant. (L D)

Friday 28th August
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 outstanding views of the Cairngorm Mountains. You re-join your 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 an eventful day, you visit a traditional Highland whisky distillery before returning to the hotel in Inverness. (B L D)

Saturday 29th August
Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh by Train
After a traditional Scottish breakfast your luggage is collected from the hotel and transported by privately chartered road coach to your next hotel. You then leave Inverness and travel by train to Kyle of Lochalsh, an idyllic location on the northwest coast of Scotland at the entrance to another sea inlet, Loch Alsh. This line has been voted one of the most scenic in Britain and passes through forests, alongside lakes overshadowed by mountains, and along the shores of Loch Carron, a sea inlet. 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. Here you check in to The Royal Hotel, your base for the next two nights. (B D)

Sunday 30th August
Tour of Skye
You have 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’ll be ample time to look around and enjoy a picnic lunch. Afterwards you’ll visit the north of the island, with highlights including 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 31st August
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’ll 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 once again check in to The Best Western Hotel and Spa for dinner and overnight accommodation. (B D)

Tuesday 1st September
Leisurely Morning, Loch Cruise and Inverness
After a leisurely breakfast you embark on a Canal & Loch cruise with an inclusive visit to the Urquhart Castle. After a short transfer from the hotel, your journey starts at Dochgarroch Lock, sailing through the famous man-made part of the Caledonian Canal onto the world-famous waters of Loch Ness. Once ashore you have the opportunity to explore the ruin of the historic Urquhart Castle.  After your visit, you’ll have ample time to explore the town of Inverness with an opportunity to enjoy some retail therapy. In the evening you will regroup for a Farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Wednesday 2nd September
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 15:49
Peterborough 11:58* 15:26*
York 13:54 13:54
Inverness 20:04 07:55

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


Details

Price

  • Tour price £1695
  • Single supplement £345

All prices shown are per person based on two persons sharing.

Price Includes

  • First Class rail travel to Inverness and return, from London, Peterborough or York, with at-seat dining
  • 4 nights dinner bed and breakfast at The Best Western Hotel and Spa in Inverness
  • 2 nights dinner bed and breakfast at a good quality 3-star hotel in Portree
  • 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!