Travel by ScotRail's wonderful historic and scenic railway network through the heart of this stunning landscape.
Scotland has some of the most diverse and stunning landscapes in Britain, with incomparable scenery, rare wildlife and a huge variety of places to thrill the adventurous traveller. But all too often this countryside, especially in the highlands and islands, is considered remote and difficult to access. Travel by rail, however, and this is not the case. Great Rail Journeys have teamed up with ScotRail to bring you tours that will take you to places where you can delight in the very best that Scotland has to offer.
On leaving Glasgow, the West Highland Line travels into the Kilpatrick Hills. Giving wonderful views of the towns of the Clyde, including Robert the Bruce's home of Cardoss, it heads towards the 'Arrochar Alps' and at Garelochhead offers stunning panoramas which continue as it runs into Arrochar itself. Departing Arrochar and Tarbet station, Loch Lomond's bonny banks come into sight, dominated by towering Ben Lomond, and across the loch is Inversnaid, which is Rob Roy country. The line then splits, with the western route turning towards Oban through superb mountain scenery and by aptly named Loch Awe, beloved of Sir Walter Scott. The north route continues to Fort William and Mallaig, crossing the vast wilderness of Rannoch Moor and via Corrour which, at 1350 feet above sea level, is the highest mainline station in Britain.
The Kyle Line is one of the most scenic rail journeys in the British Isles, travelling between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh. On leaving Inverness, the line hugs the shores of the Beauly Firth before heading north to Dingwall then turning inland and climbing into the vast and magnificent highlands. After a steep climb to Black Rock it descends through beautiful wooded hillsides until it reaches Loch Garve, then climbs up to the broad straths leading to the West Coast before climbing further to the summit at Luib. From here the line descends to the magnificent scenery of Loch Carron, where it twists and turns in and out of the loch side inlets before reaching Plockton, the location for the BBC Television series, 'Hamish Macbeth'. The final section of the journey is the most dramatic, as it is carved through the solid rock that leads to Kyle Pier and Kyle of Lochalsh at the entrance to Loch Alsh, opposite Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye.
To the east, the Edinburgh to Aberdeen line crosses the Forth Railway Bridge and heads north through many small stations to St. Andrews, then across the Tay Bridge to delightful Dundee. Continuing close to the water's edge, it passes Carnoustie, where the game of golf was first played, and past Arbroath, famous for its 'smokies', on to Aberdeen. Here the Aberdeen - Inverness line takes over, running along the valley of the River Don, famous for its salmon fishing, passing the renowned distilleries along the River Spey, and on to historic Elgin, close to where Macbeth slew Duncan l in 1040. The line now continues through the wide lands where barley is grown for distilling, across the River Findhorn to Nairn and, at Castle Stuart, enters the Highland Capital of Inverness.
These are just a few of the highlights of the ScotRail system. For anyone who wishes to see Scotland in a relaxed and comfortable way, with ample opportunity to sit back and marvel at the scenery, there can be no better way to travel. See our page on holidays to Scotland for more information.