Relax and take in the glorious scenery from Glasgow to Fort William, before enjoying the final section in first class style as the steam train meanders its way from Fort William to Mallaig. But that's not your final destination: from here you take the ferry 'over the sea to Skye' to a beautiful hotel in a tiny village with stunning coastal views.
Day One: From Glasgow to Fort William on the West Highland Line
You start your rail journey in Glasgow travelling north on the Scotrail regular service, past Loch Lomond, over Rannoch Moor and past Ben Nevis, to reach your first base in the highland village of Spean Bridge. Along the way make sure to enjoy the views and marvel at the engineering prowess needed to create the railway, which actually “floats” on the moorland for long stretches.
With views toward Ben Nevis, this family-run small hotel is a popular restaurant serving organic, home-cooked food and also has comfortable but informal accommodation. On arrival, you will be greeted with fresh tea and home-made scones. Settle into your room to unwind, or take a stroll down the quiet country lanes for amazing views of Ben Nevis, Loch Lochy and the Great Glen and work up an appetite for dinner. There are comfy sofas and cosy corners in the sitting rooms with a library of books begging to be looked at and, when the need arises, real fires to warm your toes. This is a perfect haven for a relaxing break whatever time of year, where the pace of life slows the minute you arrive.
The hotel is around a mile from the rail station – and you will be picked up and dropped off as required.
Dinner is included for the next two evenings.
Day Two – relaxing in the Highlands
A day at leisure, with options to walk on the nearby trails, take a bus and boat trip to Loch Ness or ride the cable car up Aonach Mor. Do not miss a stroll to the impressive Commando memorial with its commanding views of the glen. Fort William is only 17 minutes away by train if you prefer.
Day Three: by Steam train to the Isle of Skye
This morning, travel on by train to Fort William then join the Jacobite Steam train for the final section of the West Highland Line; your route will include the spectacular Glenfinnan viaduct and finish at Mallaig, the ferry port for Skye. On the way you will also visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station (Arisaig), then pass close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain (Loch Morar), the shortest river in Britain (River Morar) and finally arrive next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe – Loch Nevis.
After a short time in Mallaig, it’s over the sea to Skye, where you will be met by local taxi, for the hour-long trip to Portree, the island’s capital. Your accommodation for the next two nights is another family-run guest house, more traditional in style and boasting a well-preserved Victorian interior.
Uniquely situated only ten minutes walk from the island’s capital, Portree, yet set in 20 acres of woodland garden, this is an ideal base for discovering Skye. Built over 200 years ago, and still run by members of the same local family, the house retains all its original charm and the splendid Victorian interior is wonderfully intact.
Your hosts offer light suppers by prior arrangement, and there are a number of options to dine in Portree itself, just a 10 minute walk into town.
Day Four: Explore the Isle of Skye
Today you will enjoy a full day tour of some of the highlights of the Isle of Skye in the company of one of our hand-picked local guides.
The tour may include visits to The Old Man of Storr, Lealt Falls, Kilt Rock,The Quiraing, The Fairy Glens, Dun Beag Broch, Glenbrittle, The Fairy Pools or The Talisker Distillery Shop, Sligachan and the Red Cuillins.
Day Five: Return home
Today you retrace your steps, back to the ferry then across to Mallaig for an early afternoon crossing and journey by the regular train via Fort William to Glasgow. This will give you another chance to enjoy the wonderful West Highland Line. You will arrive back in the city in the evening, so do ask us for help with accommodation here.
If you prefer we may be able to arrange an earlier arrival, though this may mean a longer rail journey via Inverness, or a very early start from Portree.