Steam locomotion has an enduring fascination for many of us and combined with the wonderful scenery on our Classic Scottish Steam Break, it becomes utterly irresistible.
The Jacobite Steam Train, from Fort William to Mallaig, is one of the longest steam-hauled rail journeys available in Britain today, an 84-mile round trip through some spectacular scenery, which features an impressive list of superlatives.
It starts near Britain’s highest mountain, (Ben Nevis), passes its most westerly mainland railway station, (Arisaig), deepest freshwater loch, (Loch Morar), shortest river, (River Morar) and finally arrives next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, (Loch Nevis). ‘Concrete Bob’ McAlpine’s 21-arch Glenfinnan viaduct is just one of the engineering marvels we encounter on our journey, which is made all the more enjoyable by the sound and fury of the steam locomotive at the head of our train, forging its way along the Iron Road to the Isles.
The SS Sir Walter Scott, one of the last surviving screw steamers, has graced the calm waters of Loch Katrine since 1900. One of the delights of a cruise on this little vessel is peering down into the engine room and watching the triple-expansion steam engine at work. We also take a boat trip in the majestic surroundings of Loch Lomond, during which we learn of the life and times of the outlaw Rob Roy, and visit impressive Inveraray Castle, the Duke of Argyll’s family seat on the shores of Loch Fyne.
Our tour includes a unique boat journey on the Falkirk Wheel, the world’s first rotating boat lift. The Falkirk Wheel is part of the biggest canal restoration project ever undertaken in Britain, as a result of which the Union and the Forth & Clyde canals, both over 180 years old, are once again linked together and fully operational.
Scottish Steam Break Tour Highlights:
- Return coach travel available from Inverurie, Aberdeen, Stonehaven, Dundee, Perth, Kinross, Dunfermline or Edinburgh
- 3 nights’ hotel accommodation with dinner, bed and breakfast – staying at The Arrochar Hotel, Arrochar
- A trip to Falkirk as we sail into the Falkirk Wheel
- A return journey on the Jacobite steam train on the Fort William to Mallaig line – a route that takes us over the impressive Glenfinnan Viaduct
- A scenic cruise on Loch Lomond or a sail on The Waverley Paddle Steamer
- An enjoyable sail on board SS Sir Walter Scott on Loch Katrine
- Services of a professional tour manager
Single supplements apply. Subject to availability.
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Scottish Steam Break Itinerary
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.
Meals include: Dinner
Hotel: Winnock Hotel, Drymen
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.
Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner
Hotel: Winnock Hotel, Drymen
Today following breakfast we will head for Tarbet on the banks of Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest inland body of water, and depart on a 90-minute cruise with full commentary. As we cross to the far side of the loch we hear the story of ‘Rob Roy’ MacGregor who was born by Loch Katrine in the 17th century and lived at Inversnaid here on the banks of Loch Lomond. After fighting in the Jacobite Rising, he became a respected cattleman but defaulted on a loan and was branded an outlaw – legends abound of his secret prison and hiding place in local caves.
We then cross the mountain pass known as the ‘Rest and Be Thankful’ and descend to the shores of Loch Fyne, a long fjord-like sea loch. After lunch in Inveraray (included) we visit Inveraray Castle, which has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the Clan Campbell, since the 17th century. The house is a mostly mid-18th century neo-Gothic design. Designers who worked on the house include Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt and Robert Adam; the interior includes a number of neoclassical rooms created for the 5th Duke by Robert Mylne.
All meals included
Hotel: Winnock Hotel, Drymen
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.
Following our cruise we continue by Aberfoyle, the Duke’s Pass and Loch Venachar to Callander where we will have some free time before continuing on to our original departure points.
Meals include: Breakfast