The Experience

A Wonderful insight into some of Scotland’s finest properties. Day 1: Edinburgh – Keith
The Royal Scotsman departs Edinburgh Waverley Station early afternoon, and travels north across the Firth of Forth by means of the magnificent Forth Railway Bridge. This is one of the first cantilever bridges, designed and built by Benjamin Baker in the late 1880s. It is considered one of the greatest achievements of the Victorian Age, and known as the eighth wonder of the world.

Enjoy your afternoon tea as you journey through the former Kingdom of Fife and across the Tay Bridge.

Disembark in Montrose for your first visit, to Edzell Castle. This historic castle, now an enchanting ruin, was built in the 16th century and was the seat of the Lindsays for several generations. Explore the fascinating walled garden, complete with intricate carvings, that was laid out in 1604 and is unique in Scotland.

Re-join the train in Stonehaven and continue up the east coast through Aberdeen and then into Speyside, Scotland’s whisky region, before arriving in the market town of Keith for an informal dinner and overnight stabling.

The Royal Scotsman
Day 2: Keith – Kyle of Lochalsh
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast as the train departs Keith and travels west towards Inverness, capital of the Highlands, passing through Dingwall before continuing north to Invergordon where you will disembark for a visit to Foulis Castle.

This 18th century castle is built on the site of the seat of the Clan Munro for seven hundred years and is still occupied by the family. And who better to welcome you and tell you of the history of their wonderful home and clan than Mrs Munro of Foulis and her son, Hector, the Clan Chief. After their welcome, wander round the castle’s grounds and tour Mrs Munro’s delightful courtyard garden.

Returning to the train, lunch will served as you travel towards Kyle of Lochalsh, on what is arguably the most scenic route in Britain. You pass through Dingwall and Garve, which lies under the shadow of Cnoc na h-Iolaire. The line passes Loch Luichart and the Torridon mountains, which are so old they contain no fossils. Geologists believe that they were formed before any life began. On through Achnasheen, then the climb to Luib summit and Achnashellach forest before descending to Strathcarron. The train then follows the edge of Loch Carron through Stromeferry and Duncraig.

At Plockton you disembark for a visit to Attadale on the west coast. This huge, 30,000 acre estate has been home to the Macpherson family since the 1950s. Join Mr & Mrs Macpherson and their head gardener, Geoff, as you wander around their various gardens, including Attadale’s renowned Water Garden, Japanese Garden and the Sunken Garden. You may even spot a roe deer on the distant hillside. Later, enjoy a glass of chilled wine with your hosts as they welcome you into their home, which was built over 250 years ago by the Mathesons. Later it was bought by the Schroder banking family, who collected rhododendrons and laid out garden paths.

You return to the train in Kyle of Lochalsh for overnight stabling. Dinner this evening is formal and afterwards there is entertainment in the Observation Car. Marvel at the view from the train’s verandah as you gaze over Loch Alsh to the Isle of Skye.

The Royal Scotsman
Day 3: Kyle of Lochalsh – Boat of Garten
During breakfast the train departs Kyle and you retrace part of yesterday’s route as far as Dingwall. Have your cameras ready for the views of Plockton across the bay to the left, where you can see whitewashed cottages with fishing boats and yachts riding at anchor. Travelling round the edge of the Beauly Firth, you cross the northern end of the Caledonian Canal shortly before reaching Inverness.

The train continues south to Carrbridge where you disembark for your visit to Logie House. This estate is privately-owned by Mr & Mrs Alastair Laing, who will be delighted to show you around their home and gardens and tell you how they run their estate. This includes a series of local shops and crafts in the Steading with a good local museum of life on the Findhorn. Logie House sits well, high above the River Findhorn and offers some incredible views as it straddles the border of Moray and the Highland regions.

You return to the train at Boat of Garten on the private Strathspey Railway for overnight stabling. A formal dinner is served and afterwards you meet Ray Owens, a Highlander who brings to life the stories of Scottish heroes. Listening to Ray, you will gain a true sense of the past and learn how life in the Highlands has changed over the centuries.

The Royal Scotsman
Day 4: Boat of Garten – Dundee
After breakfast you disembark the train at Boat of Garten and take the motorcoach to Rothiemurchus Estate. En route, hear about the regeneration of the native Caledonian pine forests. This estate has been owned by the Grant family for almost 450 years. Philippa and Johnnie Grant, the 17th Laird of Rothiemurchus invite you into their hunting lodge. During the tour you will learn something of their history, home and parkland or enjoy some of the many activities offered on this 20,000 acre estate. Rothiemurchus nestles under the magnificent Cairngorm Mountains.

You rejoin the train in Aviemore and enjoy lunch as you journey south through Blair Atholl and Pitlochry to Dunkeld, where you disembark for your visit to Pitmuies Garden near Forfar. This is a gem of a final visit for your journey, with walled potager, well planted borders and elegant design. You will have time to explore the gardens and walks and then enjoy a drink in the Ogilvy’s exquisite drawing room, hosted by a member of the family.

Rejoin the train in Dundee where you will enjoy an informal dinner and final evening with your new friends before stabling for the evening at Dundee.

The Royal Scotsman
Day 5: Dundee – Edinburgh
After breakfast, the train leaves Dundee you travel through the former Kingdom of Fife crossing the Firth of Forth by means of the Forth Railway Bridge to arrive in Edinburgh Waverley station where your journey ends.

The Royal Scotsman

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