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Heritage trains of the Highlands with Carol Kirkwood
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Carol Kirkwood's connections to the railways of the Scottish Highlands run deep. Her grandfather helped build the iconic 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous around the world after appearing in the Harry Potter films, and she grew up riding them each day to school.
On this four-day break, you'll travel on the train used as the Hogwarts Express, The Jacobite, with Carol, starting near Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, and passing by Loch Morar, where Carol grew up, over the Viaduct and to Loch Nevis. These are some of the most romantic landscapes in the UK, and steaming through them on heritage trains is one of the finest ways to experience them.
As you pass through Morar she'll tell stories of the Loch Morar monster, as well as her twice weekly train journey to school in Fort William. Your packed itinerary also includes three unique boat rides: one on The Falkirk Wheel, another on the SS Sir Walter Scott, one of the last surviving screw steamers, and finally a cruise in the footsteps of Rob Roy on Loch Lomond.
Reasons to book
Meet Carol Kirkwood
Carol's Scottish heritage
Stay in the Trossachs
- Return flights from London Stansted to Edinburgh.
- Porterage and services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager.
- Three nights at The Winnock Hotel, an 18th-century inn near Loch Lomond, on a B&B basis, with dinner also included.
- Jacobite rail journey from Fort William to Mallaig with Carol.
- Exclusive talk and Q&A session with Carol.
- PS Waverley cruise.
- Cruise on Loch Katrine.
- Ride on The Falkirk Wheel.
- Comfortable coach travel throughout.
Day1Falkirk WheelFalkirk Wheel, United Kingdom
Depart this morning from London Stansted Airport on a morning flight to Edinburgh.
On arrival at Edinburgh Airport we are met by our coach and guide 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 Winnock, where dinner with wine will be served in the evening after a welcome drink. After dinner Carol Kirkwood will give a talk on her grandfather's experiences in helping to build the Fort William to Mallaig railway.
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. On arrival in Fort William we return by coach to our hotel where we will enjoy dinner. We will be joined on the excursion by Carol Kirkwood.
Day3The River Clyde on PS WaverleyKilcreggan, United Kingdom
Today following breakfast we'll head for Kilcreggan where we commence our sail 'Doon ra Watter' on the world's last seagoing paddle steamer, 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, café, bar and souvenir shop. We will leave the ship at Tighnabruaich and 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 this evening.
*Subject to confirmation of the Waverley's sailing schedule.
Day4Loch Katrine cruiseLoch Katrine, United Kingdom
Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and depart for a cruise on Loch Katrine, the tranquil loch which serves as Glasgow's water supply. Sit back and relax as we glide across the water and savour the famed charms of The Trossachs, a highly scenic area of lochs, hills and woods.
Following 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.
Cosy former coaching inn by Loch Lomond
Dating back to the late 1700's, The Winnock has offered lodging to weary travellers passing through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs areas, for centuries. Formerly a coaching inn, The Winnock hotel has been lovingly restored and tastefully extended to its present day form. Offering 73 bedrooms, cosy lounges; many with open log fires, a characterful restaurant, function room and public lounge bar, the hotel has many things in common with its historic counterpart with one striking similarity - friendly, welcoming service. Guests take time to savour the fine food, wines, ales & whiskies on offer at the Merlin Restaurant and Ptarmigan bar, or in the light and airy Conservatory or snuggled up by a log fire.