Discover The Scottish Highlands aboard the Royal Scotsman
If you’re looking for a unique blend of adventure, activity and travel with the absolute luxury of first class food, wine and accommodation, then this trip aboard the Royal Scotsman is perfect for you.
Departing from Edinburgh Waverley station the Belmond Royal Scotsman begins its Highland journey. Meandering through Stirling, Gleneagles and Perth and onto the Highlands where you will pass majestic mountains and beautiful Scottish scenery before coming to rest at your first nights stabling in ‘Boat of Garten’. This small village sits four miles east of Aviemore in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and it’s little wonder this vibrant and wild landscape has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Also affectionately known as ‘The Osprey Village’ because these spectacular birds of prey first reintroduced themselves here in the 1950’s after dying out in the UK a century ago. Ospreys now migrate yearly back to nest and hunt around the River Spey which runs along the East side of the village and the nearby lochs.
‘Boat of Garten’ is certainly an unusual name, and can be traced back to the time when the only way to cross the River Spey was by boat (the bridge in the village wasn’t built until 1898). Garten translates as ‘fertile place’ hence the name – ‘Boat of Garten’.
After an informal dinner and entertainment aboard the Observation Car, you will bed down in your beautifully appointed cabin with private facilities and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep before the adventures begin again tomorrow.
An absolute highlight of the trip is a visit to the amazingly beautiful Rothiemurchus estate. A short coach ride after breakfast will take you through breath-taking landscape to this highland estate with a unique blend of rivers, lochs, mountains and glens set in 10,000 hectares of ancient Caledonian forest. This is a truly special place with the opportunity to partake in activities such as clay-pigeon shooting, off road driving and fishing or simply enjoying a walk amongst the stunning scenery and enjoy a private tour of the estate. With a wide range of wildlife including rare birds, otters and roe deer and of course not forgetting the ‘Heilan coo’ (or the Highland Cow to you and me), this is a wildlife enthusiast and photographers little piece of heaven.
After a morning out in the Scottish fresh air you will be ready to enjoy a delicious lunch and a glass of wine served back on the Royal Scotsman, before travelling on to visit the thought proving, evocative site of the Culloden Battlefield. It was here in 1746 the Battle of Culloden took place which was the final confrontation of the Jacobite Rising led by Charles Edward Stewart otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The conflict was the last pitched full scale battle fought on British soil which lasted less than an hour but resulted in immense bloodshed and the death of over 1200 men. Enjoy a private tour on the windswept moor where the battle took place some 250 years earlier and imagine the scene of what happened on that fateful day which marked the end of an era for Scotland.
During the tour a hand held audio device is available to further enhance your experience by describing the tactics of the two sides and enabling you to listen to the words and songs of the people whom fought in the battle. You will also have plenty time to look at some interesting artefacts such as weapons, clothing and coins that are on show at the visitor centre next to the battlefield.
The final stop of the day is a visit to the oldest working distillery in the Highlands for a spot of whisky sampling. Strathisla Distillery is over 230 years old so you can be sure they know a thing or two about the art of making whisky. This informative tour answers many questions including, ‘Which ingredients are used to make whisky?’, ‘What is the distillation process?’, ‘How does it age?’, ‘How is the flavour captured?’. Discover all this and more and best of all you get to enjoy a wee dram of the fine liquor too.
The Belmond Royal Scotsman continues its adventure through Aberdeenshire and Angus towards Dundee whilst you enjoy a formal dinner (optional) and your second night on board this delightful train. After enjoying a first class breakfast in the morning you will travel through the former Kingdom of Fife and cross the Firth of Forth over the Forth Railway Bridge. This iconic cantilever railway bridge opened in 1890 and was built by Sir John Fowler, Benjamin Baker and a vast team of over 4,500 men. Crossing the river at a dizzy height of 158 feet and stretching 1.5 miles you will have a glorious view of the Firth of Forth.
Today the bridge is used by around 200 trains each day and the steel structure contains an impressive 6.5 million rivets. The old cliché used to describe a never ending task – ‘it’s like painting the Forth Bridge’ is thankfully now redundant due to a specialist paint which has successfully been used to paint the bridge and is set to preserve the steelwork for many decades to come.
You will end this magical experience back in Edinburgh Waverley where you will inevitably be pondering where you next adventure will take you.
Combining a unique blend of luxury, adventure, travel and entertainment all set in the beauty of the Scottish Highlands this is one not to be missed.
If you would like more information on this holiday or any of the other adventures Planet Rail has to offer, then give one of our friendly team a ring on 01347 825292.