The Highlands & Isle of Skye: Rail & Hike

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.6 Read 30 reviews
  • Discover Scotland’s lochs, glens and mountains on foot and by rail
  • Cross Glenfinnan Viaduct on the Jacobite Steam Train - the ‘Hogwarts Express’
  • Explore the rugged and romantic Isle of Skye, and walking the Great Glen
  • Ride the remote North Highland Line from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh
  • Get to know the hosts of our hand-picked small hotels and guesthouses
Experience the Scottish Highlands by train and on foot, taking in some of the best scenic rail journeys in the world. Starting from the regal city of Edinburgh, travel deep into the Highlands and across to the Isle of Skye, before returning to vibrant Glasgow. Ride the iconic West Highland Line on the Jacobite steam train, the ’Hogwarts Express’, as well as the as North Highland Line, one of Britain’s most remote and spectacular, between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh, gateway to Skye. Relax as you speed past brooding lochs, leafy glens and rugged mountains. What’s more, you’ve some rewarding hikes included, as well as time to explore castles, ancient battlefields, Loch Ness, distilleries and centuries-old Highland estates. If you'd like to treat yourselves to something really special, then take a look at our Luxury Highlands & Isle of Skye tour, which stays in boutique properties, including lodges and castle hotels.
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What To Expect

Travelling by train is both an easy and satisfying way to ensure you experience as many of Scotland’s natural highlights as possible. Two of Scotland’s top scenic rail journeys combine on this epic adventure by rail. This is perfect for walkers, with hikes through some of Britain’s most impressive scenery.

Tour Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active trip.

Activity:

Rail & Hike | See more of a destination by mixing train travel with walks accessible from the rail-line. Travel inn-to-inn by train & enjoy hikes from each stopping point. Train fare inc- no baggage transfers.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travelers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wildlife
  • Historical Journeys
  • Coastal & Island

Featured in our collections:

  • Most Popular
  • Classic

Activity Level & Terrain

This trip is graded easy to moderate and includes daily walks of up to 12 miles (Day 7). As all walks are self-guided, you will be responsible for navigation, decision-making and safety during your trip. The terrain may be rugged underfoot with some hills but not too strenuous. You should enjoy a good level of fitness to make the most of this trip.

Navigation

The majority of the walks suggested on this trip (with the exception of Skye) are way marked and we supply you with maps and route notes so you can easily find your way.

Accommodations

7 nights accommodation is included in hand-picked small hotels, B&B’s or guesthouses, of a 3-star standard.

We carefully select small and friendly accommodation that offers great value, food and welcomes. The properties we normally use are detailed in the itinerary, however are subject to availability and therefore alternatives of an equal standard may be offered.

You can add extra nights at any point during your stay, and we particularly recommend doing so in Edinburgh and Glasgow as there is so much to see and do —please contact us for details.

We book en suite rooms as standard. If there are no en suite rooms available in an overnight location, we may book a room with shared facilities, but we would always inform you in advance if this was the case.

Accommodation Location

We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in your itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability, there is the option to be accommodated at an alternative location. In the unlikely event that we have to accommodate you elsewhere we will advise you of this before confirming your booking. You will have the option to change your dates or we can arrange transfers to and from an alternative overnight accommodation (additional cost payable for transfers).

Accommodation Upgrade

If you would prefer a little extra luxury whilst in Blair Atholl, Inverness, on Skye, Fort William/Spean Bridge you can upgrade to 'In Style' properties. For this option we use a selection of country hotels, luxury bed and breakfasts and country inns of character.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This holiday is available to solo walkers, although a single supplement is payable. If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate your request, although it is not generally possible to secure more than three single rooms in a party. A single supplement is payable.

Meals

Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival, alternatively, you can stop at local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants.

Included
  • 7 Nights in small hotels and B&B’s (3-star standard)
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Train travel (days 1, 3, 4 & 8)
  • Ferry Armadale to Mallaig
  • Jacobite steam train (standard class) from Mallaig to Fort William
  • Luggage transfer on Day 7
  • Maps & route notes
  • 24/7 emergency telephone support from our UK office
Excluded
  • Travel to Edinburgh/from Glasgow
  • Overnight in Edinburgh/Glasgow
  • Travel if required on days 2 & 5
  • Bus from Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree (Day 4)
  • Bus from Portree to Armadale on Day 6 (payable locally)
  • Optional excursions from Inverness & Portree
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks & drinks
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Personal equipment
  • Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
Extras
  • Additional nights (recommended in Edinburgh & Glasgow
  • Upgrade to first class rail travel on the Jacobite steam train
  • Guided full-day excursion on the Isle of Skye
  • Day trip from Inverness to Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle (cruise/coach tour)

When To Go

This trip is available between mid-May and mid-October. From late June to late September you can start this trip on any day of the week. From September to end of October, you can start this trip on a Wednesday-Sunday due to a more limited timetable of the Jacobite Steam Train.

Getting to the Start

By Air: Both Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports are well-served by low-cost and scheduled airlines. From Edinburgh Airport you can travel by tram or airport shuttle bus to the city centre (approx. 30 mins).  From Glasgow Buchanan St Bus station (city centre) an airport shuttle operates regularly to the airport (approx. 30 mins). Further information will be detailed in your pre-departure information pack. 

Travel Timetables, Spirit of Scotland Travelpass

The website www.travelinescotland.com is fantastic for researching train and bus timetables throughout Scotland. Your pre-departure information pack will also have handy hints and tips about journeys and transport services.

Included in your arrangements is a Spirit of Scotland Travelpass, which gives you four days of unlimited travel over eight consecutive days. Conditions apply. Full details will be given in your pre-departure information pack. Please see ‘not included’ section for travel that is not covered in the pass but suggested in your itinerary.

Luggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred for you on Day 7 when you walk from Fort William to Spean Bridge. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 18kg per person. On the rail/bus days, we ask that you take all your baggage with you aboard the train/bus.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack. 

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Edinburgh to Blair Atholl by train Day 2 Blair Atholl Walks and Castle Day 3 Train to Inverness, Optional Visit to Loch Ness/Culloden Battlefield 7 miles / 11.5 km Day 4 North Highland Line to Portree Day 5 The Storr, Portree Coastal Walk or Optional Day Trip 7 miles / 11.5 km Day 6 Travel to Mallaig, Jacobite steam train to Fort William Day 7 Walk to Spean Bridge 12 miles / 19.5 km Day 8 West Highland Line to Glasgow

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