Kyle of Lochalsh
June 3rd to 9th
July 1st to 7th
July 29th to August 4th
September 2nd to 8th
Single Rm Supp: £200
4 days walking
1 heritage rail journey (Strathspey)
1 tour boat trip
6 nights B&B
6 evening meals
Rail/bus/ferry travel throughout
Depart from Edinburgh: tbc Sunday
Return to Edinburgh: 2-3pm Saturday
The travel involved is almost entirely by rail, which allows excellent access to some world famous scenery, hidden glens, lochs, beaches and mountains.
Our “Highland Railways and Hills” tour takes in much of Scotland, using a mixture of scheduled service trains, steam railways, ferries – and feet! Scotland’s railways offer access to incredible scenery, and trains provide views so much better than you will ever see from a car. The itinerary below is designed to be flexible to allow for any level of fitness – on a “Highland Railways and hills” tour in 2008 our oldest group member was 80 and the youngest 18!
Although you will a small rucksack to carry additional clothing and food during the day, you will need to have reasonably light luggage for the transfer days. Baggage transfers will be arranged for travel days to and from the Isle of Skye – we can also arrange secure left luggage in Edinburgh for the duration at no extra cost.
Day 1 (Sunday): Leaving Edinburgh Waverley on a mid morning train, you will travel to Aviemore and check into the hotel before an afternoon walk through the Rothiemurcus forest. If the group is feeling exceptionally fit, we may stop en route at Pitlochry for an ascent of Ben Vrackie before onward travel to Aviemore.
Rothiemurcus: 8km/5m, flat, good trail or Ben Vrackie: 10km/6m, 600m/2000ft ascent, good trail
Day 2 (Monday): A journey on the Strathspey steam railway – whose station is opposite our hotel! – takes us to Broomhill. A spectacular walk follows, through the ancient Rothiemurchas Forest and into the Cairngorm Mountains. The walk ends at Glenmore on the shores of Loch Morlich, from where a bus takes us back to the hotel.
14km/8m, 100m/300ft ascent
Day 3 (Tuesday): A Scotrail train from Aviemore takes us to Inverness, where we transfer onto train for Kyle of Lochalsh. The Kyle line is one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the world, and is known as the “Skye train”. At Kyle, we transfer to a bus for the short hop to Broadford on the Isle of Skye, where a quality bed and breakfast forms our base for the next few days. Time permitting, we will have an afternoon coastal walk from Broadford and admire views of the surrounding Cullin mountain range.
Day 4 (Wednesday): A full day of walking on Skye. We’ll go up into the hills if the weather is kind, and if not an equally spectacular coastal walk is planned.
10km/6m, 100m/300ft ascent, mainly good tracks
Day 5: (Thursday): A bus takes us from Broadford to the ferry terminal at Armadale, on the Southern end of Skye. From here we cross the Sound of Sleat by ferry, and arrive back on the mainland at Mallaig. We then travel by small charter boat over to Inverrie, on the Knoydart peninsular. You have the option of stopping at the Old Forge, Britain's most isolated pub or doing a short walk. The boat trip should hopefully give us chance to spot some of Scotland's larger sea mamals.
8km/5m, 100m/300ft ascent, good tracks
Day 6 (Friday): A late departure from Fort William means keener walkers can join us for a morning excursion up beautiful Glen Nevis. However, we need to be back at the station for 11.30 when we rejoin the West Highland line for a service to Corrrour – Britain’s most remote station. From here we make an ascent of Ben Na Lap, which provides astonishing views without being too steep a climb! Returning on the evening train to Fort William.
10km/6m, 450m/1500ft ascent, rough path
Day 7: (Saturday): Return to Edinburgh - Our last day, and we take the morning train from Fort William southwards towards Glasgow, skirting the banks of Loch Lomond. Arrival in Edinburgh should be around 12.30, giving additional time to explore the Scottish capital before setting out for home if you wish.
Accommodation and Meals
Your accommodation for the week is in personally selected small hotels and guest houses in Aviemore, Skye and Fort William. We only use places we have personally visited and approved and you will be warmly received by your host.
Evening meals for the whole group on this trip are normally taken at a local inn or restaurant. On all our tours we make a special effort to ensure that your evening meals are a highlight of the trip and seafood is a particular speciality on the Skye part of this trip. Specific dietary requirements can normally be catered for if we know in advance. Packed lunches are included throughout the week.
Grading of Walks
The walking throughout this tour we class as “easy to moderate” – suitable for people of reasonable fitness who enjoy walking or the outdoors but who needn’t necessarily have any previous hiking experience. Walks each day are between 5-7 hours, with mostly lower level walks with little ascent on good trails. There are easier alternatives to the ascent of Ben na Lap which the guide will advise depending on weather conditions and fitness levels of the group. You will be on pathed terrain throughout the week, but this will vary to being quite rugged or sometimes boggy. If you have any doubts about your suitability for the trip please just ask! Please read our grading guide here.
Picture from header by 96tommy