The Highlands & Isle of Skye: Rail & Hike

8 Days & 7 Nights 4.6 Read 42 reviews
  • Explore Scotland’s lochs, glens and mountains on foot and by rail
  • Cross Glenfinnan Viaduct on the Jacobite Steam Train - the ‘Hogwarts Express’
  • Rugged and romantic Isle of Skye with its wild scenery and intriguing culture
  • Enjoy visits to castles, ancient battlefields, Loch Ness and whisky distilleries
  • Friendly and welcoming accommodation hosts, delicious local food and beer
Discover the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye by train and on foot, taking in some of the best scenic rail journeys in the world. Ride the West Highland Line on the iconic Jacobite Steam Train, the "Hogwart's Express", and also enjoy a remote and spectacular journey between Inverness and the Kyle of Lochalsh, the gateway to Skye on the North Highland Line. Relax as you view the brooding lochs, leafy glens and rugged mountains from your comfortable seat on board the train. Rewarding walks are also included, as well as time to explore Scotland's unique and fascinating history and culture with visits to castles, ancient battlefields, Loch Ness, distilleries and centuries-old Highland estates, which all combine to give you an extensive overview of these stunning areas of Scotland.
Travelling by train is both an easy and satisfying way to ensure you experience as many of Scotland’s natural highlights as possible and also explore its intriguing history and culture. Two of Scotland’s top scenic rail journeys combine on this epic adventure by rail. This is also perfect for walkers, with hikes through some of Britain’s most impressive scenery.

Tour Type:

Discovery | Think of it as a ‘local’s guide’ to the best of the region. It includes a combination of activity and transportation to give you the freedom to explore and cover more ground at your own pace. We do all the research and organisation for you. All you have to do is turn up and enjoy!

Activity:

Rail and Hike | Perfectly planned itineraries discovering the best of a destination both by train and on foot.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveler this tour would be suitable for is: 12 Years

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Islands
  • Whisky
  • National Parks
  • Accessible by Rail

Activity Level & Terrain

This trip is graded easy to moderate and includes optional daily walks. As the walks are self-guided, you will be responsible for navigation, decision-making and safety during your trip. The terrain can be rugged underfoot on rolling terrain, but not too strenuous and generally on good tracks, paths or quiet country roads. 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

Included in the trip are 7 nights of accommodation in hand-picked small 3-4* hotels, B&B’s or guesthouses. We carefully select friendly accommodation that offers great value, food and a warm welcome. 

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

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. In this case you can opt to change your dates, or we can arrange transfers to and from an alternative overnight accommodation (supplement payable for transfers).

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This holiday is available to solo walkers, although a solo 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 room 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 may be able 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 3-4* hotels and B&B’s
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Train travel on days 1, 3, 4 & 8
  • Ferry from Armadale (Skye) to Mallaig
  • Jacobite Steam Train from Mallaig to Fort William (standard class)
  • Luggage transfer on day 7
  • Route notes and access to detailed maps & GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our UK & US office
Excluded
  • Travel to Edinburgh/from Glasgow
  • Public transport or taxi travel if required on days 2 & 5
  • Bus from Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree on day 4 (payable locally)
  • Bus from Portree to Armadale on day 6 (payable locally)
  • Optional excursions from Inverness & Portree
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks & drinks
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
Extras
  • Additional nights (recommended in Edinburgh & Glasgow)
  • Guided full-day excursion on the Isle of Skye
  • Guided day trip from Inverness to Loch Ness & Urquhart Castle (cruise/coach tour)

When To Go

This trip is available from the end of April until early October. This trip can start on any day of the week other than on Monday's and Tuesday's. This is due to daily bus schedules on Skye from Portree to Armadale.

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 Street Bus Station (city centre) an airport shuttle operates regularly to the airport (approx. 30 mins). Alternatively, you can book a taxi to Glasgow Airport with some taxi companies for a fixed rate - the journey from the city centre to the airport takes approx. 25 mins. Further information will be detailed in your pre-departure information pack.

Public Transport

The website www.travelinescotland.com is handy for researching train and bus timetables throughout Scotland. Your trip includes second class travel on Scotrail train services as detailed in your itinerary. These are 'anytime' tickets that can be used at any time during the specific date of travel. Full details can be found in your pre-departure information pack.

Luggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred for you on day 7 when you walk from Fort William to Spean Bridge. On this trip 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. The trip is designed so that during the hikes you are free to walk with just a day pack.

At Macs Adventure, we work in partnership with many luggage transfer providers who set a limit on how many bags/suitcases they will transfer per person, and also the weight of the bag/suitcase.  Your booking includes transfer of 1 bag per person.  It is very important that you read the luggage information specific to your tour before departure. If you do not adhere to these limits, there is a great possibility that you will be charged locally both for extra bags or if they are too heavy. This limitation can be a challenge, especially as airlines generally have limits that are higher. However, our luggage providers have reasons for these limits (usually due to the Health and Safety of their employees), which we must respect.

Equipment

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 9 miles / 14 km 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 Old Man of Storr Linear Walk or Optional Day Trip 3 miles / 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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