2023 International Springtime in Scotland

Price
$3690 per person
Duration
11 Days
Destination
Scotland

Springtime in Scotland

• GLASGOW • OBAN • INVERNESS •
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  • Itinerary
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Mists rolling over cavernous Glens and Lochs, woolly mountain cattle grazing on rocky hillsides, castles of fame and tragedy towering over their surroundings, fireside whisky in warm pubs, and the haunting sounds of bagpipes drifting on the breeze. Scotland is at once romantic, wild, majestic, and characterised by those enterprising and fiercely independent people that Winston Churchill famously declared, “Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.” Some of the most spectacular scenery and the UK’s highest mountains are to be found in Scotland, extending from the English borders, up through the Lowlands and the Highlands, to the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Some Details

Departure Location
Iverness, Scotland
Return Location
Glasgow, Scotland
Tour Leader(s)
Anne Brown, in conjunction with PTG
Tour Date
1 Jun 2023 - 11 Jun 2023
Extras
Twin Share: $3,690 Single Supplement: $1,480
Price includes
  • 10 nights’ accommodation in comfortable, centrally located hotels
  • All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
  • Comprehensive sightseeing with your hosts and local guides
  • Luxury chartered coach
Price does not include
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, camera fees where applicable
  • Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
  • International flights
  • Meals and services not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tour Plan
Tour Plan

Day 1 • Thursday:

INVERNESS

This evening we will meet for our welcome dinner in a local restaurant, a short walk from the hotel.

Overnight Pentahotel, Inverness (D)

Day 2 • Friday:

INVERNESS – KEITH – DUFFTOWN – INVERNESS

Today we take the train from Inverness to Keith, on the main line to Aberdeen, to ride on the heritage train from Keith to Dufftown. We arrive at Keith station and either walk, or take a taxi, to Keith Town station where we catch the train. There were many branch lines in the area at one time, but these have all been closed except for this one to Dufftown. We will have lunch in the quirkiest restaurant, comprising two railway carriages, and called the Sidings – very appropriate. After a walk-through of Keith Old Town, we will end the day in the Strathisla Distillery concocting our own blend of Scotch whisky before taking the return train to Inverness. We will have dinner in the hotel.

Overnight Pentahotel, Inverness (B, L, D)

Day 3 • Saturday:

INVERNESS – WICK – INVERNESS

It’s an early start today as we catch the early train to Thurso and Wick (should you wish to ride the line, rather than visit Dunrobin Castle, that can be arranged) although we will alight at the private halt for Dunrobin Castle. It is a short walk to this splendid palace which is known as “the only French Chateau” in Scotland and is the family seat of the Earl of Sutherland. After the self-guided tour, there is a falconry display, a cafe for lunch, and wonderful gardens, modelled on the same lines as Versailles, to explore. We will return to Inverness by the mid-afternoon train. Dinner is in the hotel.

Overnight Pentahotel, Inverness (B, D)

Day 4 • Sunday:

INVERNESS – AVIEMORE – BOAT OF GARTEN – BROOMHILL – INVERNESS

This is the first of our days being hauled by a steam engine when we head out to Aviemore, which was originally developed for the skiing fraternity, but is now an all-year-round resort, in beautiful countryside, featuring mountain hikes, nature walks, cycling, pony trekking, and many other outdoor pursuits. It is also the home of the Strathspey Railway, another line rescued for posterity. Not only will we be behind a steam engine, but we will have a light lunch served to us as we travel along the original Highland line from Aviemore to Broomhill via Boat of Garten and back. There will be time to explore the town both before and after the steam train journey. From Aviemore, we return on the main line to Inverness. Dinner is in the hotel.

Overnight Pentahotel, Inverness (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Monday:

INVERNESS – KYLE OF LOCHALSH – INVERNESS

Today we travel across Scotland as we head northeast to Kyle of Lochalsh – one of Scotland’s most scenic railways – through the largely unspoiled and uninhabited wild countryside. As we approach the west coast, we by-pass the village of Plockton, the setting for TV’s “Hamish Macbeth”, and arrive in Kyle from where the ferry used to run “over the sea to Skye” – nowadays we have the bridge. During our time here we will visit Eilean Donan castle, built on a tiny island, probably to repel Viking invaders, at the confluence of three sea lochs and used defensively till its destruction in 1719. It was extensively restored to its original plan between 1911 and 1932. We will have lunch and spend some time on the island of Skye, where “Bonnie Prince Charlie” fled after the defeat at Culloden. Dinner will be in the hotel on our return to Inverness.

Overnight Pentahotel, Inverness (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Tuesday:

INVERNESS – OBAN

We leave Inverness this morning by coach and transfer to Oban via Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, where there is a flight of locks on the Caledonian Canal, and Spean Bridge from where we will take the train to Oban, changing at Crianlarich, thus completing another part of the West Highland Line. Those who wish to travel on by coach will be free to do so but please let us know your preference when you book. Oban, Gaelic for “small bay”, is a seaside town on the west coast Firth of Lorne with the iconic Mccaig’s Tower, a “Folly”, built between 1879 and 1902 by a wealthy local banker to give work to local stonemasons during winter, thus retaining their presence and skills in the town, and to be a lasting memorial to his family. Sadly, he died, and with him, the finance, before his elaborate plan was fully realised. However it now makes for a wonderful viewing point for the Atlantic islands of Lismore, Mull and Kerrera – and a good walking exercise to boot. Oban has its own distillery, is a major ferry port for the Outer Isles, was the home of WW2 flying boats, was a vital base in the Battle of the Atlantic as well as a trans-Atlantic communications point during WW2 and the subsequent Cold War. There is a small museum dedicated to war and peace, interesting architecture, and the best shoe shop in Argyll!!! Dinner will be in the hotel tonight.

Overnight Columba Hotel, Oban (B, D)

Day 7 • Wednesday:

OBAN – FORT WILLIAM – MALLAIG – OBAN

Today we travel by coach to Fort William, gateway to the Road to the Isles, which is at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, where – depending on your direction of travel – the long-distance walking route, the West Highland Way, to Milngavie begins/ends, the Great Glen Way, a walking or cycling road, to Inverness begins/ends and the Caledonian Canal begins/ends with the set of locks called Neptune’s Staircase. It is a centre for skiing, climbing, mountain biking, and, most importantly for us, the home of the Jacobite Steam train on which we will travel to Mallaig, a former herring port. Transporting fresh fish to Glasgow is one of the reasons the West Highland Line was constructed, though now it is not only a fantastic tourist railway through superb scenery, but also still a commercial railway. It is an engineering marvel, using concrete for bridges and viaducts, the most famous is the Glenfinnan Viaduct featured in “Harry Potter”, building sea walls where required and constructing several tunnels. We traverse a swing bridge across the canal, pass historic landmarks like the Glenfinnan monument where “Bonnie Prince Charlie” raised his standard in 1745, admire beautiful beaches at Arisaig, and Loch Morar, one of the deepest in Scotland reputed to have its own monster to rival “Nessie”. Many film and TV companies have used this area as the backdrop to their tales – from “Trainspotting” to “Outlander” and many others. You will have some time in Mallaig, now a ferry terminal, from where you may see another view of Skye! There are many scenic sights you only see from the train, and it really is a highlight of the whole trip. On our return to Oban, we will have dinner in the hotel.

Overnight Columba Hotel, Oban (B, D)

Day 8 • Thursday:

OBAN – GLASGOW

After a leisurely morning in Oban, we take the mid-day train to Glasgow to complete our journey on the West Highland Line. We will re-trace the line to Crianlarich where we either change trains or are added to the Fort William section and travel south, where railways should not go, by-passing Loch Lomond, Loch Long, Loch Fyne, and Gareloch where you might catch a glimpse of the submarine base at Faslane, before following the River Clyde on our way to Glasgow. Our hotel is next door to Queen Street station where dinner is tonight.

Overnight Carlton George Hotel, Glasgow (B, D)

Day 9 • Friday:

GLASGOW

It is time to explore Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland. We have on offer a walking tour of Glasgow and a tour of Hidden Central station, which can be reversed so you can do both, followed by the rest of the day using the excellent sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus taking you to the Riverside Museum (all things transport), Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the People’s Palace, the Cathedral and giving you an overview of the city and its superb architecture. There are many eateries for lunch, whenever you require sustenance. However, if you wish to do something different, you might visit the Burrell Museum and Pollok House in Pollok Park on the south side of the city or go to Bellahouston Park to visit “House for an Art Lover” – a Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece built, between 1989 and 1996 following his 1901 plans, as a tribute to him – again if you do not want to do the walking and station tours or the sightseeing bus, please let us know when booking. Dinner this evening is in the hotel.

Overnight Carlton George Hotel, Glasgow (B, D)

Day 10 • Saturday:

GLASGOW – WEMYSS BAY – ROTHESAY – GLASGOW

Today we go “doon the watter” as Glaswegians would say during the Glasgow Fair when workers and their families could escape the city for the seaside resorts on the River Clyde – rich merchants would send their families to the likes of Largs, Ayr, Dunoon, and Rothesay for the entire summer and join them at weekends. We will take the train to Wemyss Bay – a spectacular Victorian station where the platform curves around to the ferry terminal – and sail across the Clyde to Rothesay. We will be transferred to Mount Stuart, the ancestral home of the Marquis of Bute. This 19th-century building is fascinating as well as striking – being the first house in Scotland to have both electricity and an indoor heated swimming pool! During WW1 it was used as a convalescence hospital for the navy, given its proximity to Glasgow and its peaceful surroundings in extensive grounds, After the tour, you can have lunch in the cafe and explore the gardens. While at the ferry terminal, I would recommend the gentlemen make use of the Victorian facilities – they are delightful – and report back to the rest of us! Dinner is in the hotel.

Overnight Carlton George Hotel, Glasgow (B, D)

Day 11 • Sunday:

DEPARTURE

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and it is time for you to leave the tour. There is an excellent bus connection to the airport from Buchanan Bus station, not far from the hotel, and the main railway stations are easily accessible on foot.

Mists rolling over cavernous Glens and Lochs, woolly mountain cattle grazing on rocky hillsides, castles of fame and tragedy towering over their surroundings, fireside whisky in warm pubs, and the haunting sounds of bagpipes drifting on the breeze. Scotland is at once romantic, wild, majestic, and characterised by those enterprising and fiercely independent people that Winston Churchill famously declared, “Of all the small nations of this earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind.” Some of the most spectacular scenery and the UK’s highest mountains are to be found in Scotland, extending from the English borders, up through the Lowlands and the Highlands, to the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

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Accreditations: A14416
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    Springtime in Scotland

    Price
    $3690 per person
    Duration
    11 Days
    Destination
    Scotland

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