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Ride the Jacobite through the Highlands with Carol Kirkwood
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Chugging along on a steam train is a wonderfully nostalgic way to experience all the beauty that the Scottish Highlands have to offer, and you'll do just that on this four-day UK holiday. You'll also learn about life in the region from brilliant BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood, who grew up in Morar and will join you on your journey. Her grandfather helped build the famous 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct, which the train steams across.
Harry Potter fans will recognise the viaduct from the hit films, while nature-lovers will be richly rewarded on this trip with some of Scotland's finest views, as you spot Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, rising in the distance, and see the country's deepest freshwater loch, Loch Morar, on the way to Loch Nevis, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Your packed itinerary also includes some unique boat rides: one to and on The Falkirk Wheel boat lift; another on the SS Sir Walter Scott, one of the last surviving screw-propelled steamers; and a cruise on beautiful Loch Lomond.
Ride The Jacobite
You'll puff past rugged scenery, craggy coastlines and beautiful lochs on a line that opened in 1901 and is frequently voted the world's greatest scenic railway. Carol Kirkwood will join you on your journey.
Stay in the Trossachs
The dramatic scenery of the Trossachs National Park inspired both Turner and Wordsworth and you'll stay in the centre of it at The Winnock Hotel, an 18th Century inn close to the shores of Loch Lomond.
Travel with Carol Kirkwood
Popular BBC weather presenter Carol will give a talk about her life, career, love of Scotland and her time on TV's Strictly Come Dancing. The region will be bought to life as Carol talks about growing up in Morar and her grandfather's role in building the incredible Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Enjoy a 90-minute cruise on Loch Lomond and hear the story of Scotland's celebrated outlaw Rob Roy. You'll also sail the waters of Loch Katrine on SS Sir Walter Scott, which has been sailing there since 1900.
The unique Falkirk Wheel
The world's only rotating boat lift, this will take you from the waters at New Port Downie to the Union Canal 115ft above.
Fascinating Scottish history
You'll visit the mid-18th Century neo-Gothic Inveraray Castle, home of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the Clan Campbell.
Reasons to book
Meet Carol Kirkwood
Carol's Scottish heritage
Stay in the Trossachs
Ride the Jacobite
- Return flights from Stansted to Edinburgh (other airports available on request).
- Three nights' dinner, bed and breakfast at The Winnock Hotel near Loch Lomond.
- Journey on The Jacobite from Fort William to Mallaig with Carol Kirkwood.
- Exclusive talk and Q&A session with Carol Kirkwood.
- Journey on the SS Sir Walter Scott.
- Ride on The Falkirk Wheel.
- Visit to Inveraray Castle.
- Rob Roy Loch Lomond Discovery Cruise.
- Comfortable coach travel throughout.
- Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager.
Day1Falkirk WheelFalkirk Wheel, United Kingdom
Depart this morning from London Stansted Airport on a morning flight to Edinburgh.
On arrival at Edinburgh Airport we are met by our coach and guide 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, where lunch is available (not included).
We continue to The Winnock, where dinner with wine will be served in the evening after a welcome drink. After dinner Carol Kirkwood will give a talk on her grandfather's experiences in helping to build the Fort William to Mallaig railway.
Day2Fort William to Mallaig on the JacobiteFort William, United Kingdom
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. On arrival in Fort William we return by coach to our hotel where we will enjoy dinner. We will be joined on the excursion by Carol Kirkwood.
Day3Rob Roy Discovery Cruise and Inveraray CastleTarbert, United Kingdom
Today, following breakfast, you'll head for Tarbet on the banks of Loch Lomond, Britain's largest inland body of water, and depart on a 90-minute 'Rob Roy Discovery Cruise' with full commentary. As you cross to the far side of the loch you'll 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.
You'll 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.
This afternoon, 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.
Day4SS Sir Walter Scott on Loch KatrineLoch Katrine, United Kingdom
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 through The Trossachs to Callander, where there will be an opportunity for lunch (not included). Thereafter we return to the airport or make onward connections.
Cosy former coaching inn by Loch Lomond
Dating back to the late 1700's, The Winnock has offered lodging to weary travellers passing through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs areas, for centuries. Formerly a coaching inn, The Winnock hotel has been lovingly restored and tastefully extended to its present day form. Offering 73 bedrooms, cosy lounges; many with open log fires, a characterful restaurant, function room and public lounge bar, the hotel has many things in common with its historic counterpart with one striking similarity - friendly, welcoming service. Guests take time to savour the fine food, wines, ales & whiskies on offer at the Merlin Restaurant and Ptarmigan bar, or in the light and airy Conservatory or snuggled up by a log fire.