Travel North to where there will be approximately 21/2 hours free time to wander around this lovely town of Ripon with its Cathedral
and Market Square, typical of a small Yorkshire Town. Then on to the Caledonian Hotel
in Newcastle upon Tyne for our first night.
Depart the hotel at 08:30 and drive through the Northumbria National Park to Tweedbank Railway Station the beginning of the newly re-opened Borders Railway Line that follows the old Waverley Route closed in 1969. The train will then take you through the attractive Countryside of the Scottish borders to Edinburgh, a distance of 35 miles,.
Alight the train at Waverley Station in Edinburgh where there will be approximately 2 hours free time before re-boarding the coach that will take you to Arrochar for the next 2 nights atLoch Long Hotel.
The second railway journey starts at Crianlarich a relatively short coach journey from the hotel. The West Highland route is arguably the most picturesque railway Line in the United Kingdom as it wends its way to Fort William, a journey of approximately 11/2 hours.
After passing Tyndram the train navigates the impressive loop known as “Horseshoe curve” . Then onward through the Bridge of Orchy and across Rannoch Moor. The train will stop at Corrour, the highest and most remote halt in the UK over 9 miles from the nearest road. Leaving Corrour the train passes the picturesque Loch Treig . Then approaching Roy Bridge,there are views of waterfalls and beautiful Monessie Gorge on the left hand side of the train. The end of the journey sees a gradual descent into Fort William.
Free time in Fort William before re-boarding the coach and returning to Loch Long., via the Pass of Glencoe.
Day 4 Wednesday: Scenic route to Stranraer via Luss
Leaving Loch Long the drive takes us along the shores of Loch Lomond with a stop at the village of Luss, on the shore of Loch Lomond. The village is said to be one of the most picturesque in Scotland. Journeying on Southwards, skirting Glasgow, to the seaside resort of Ayr where we will take a break before continuing to Stranraer for a 3 night stay at the North West Castle Hotel.
No coach or train journeys today. Today is a free day to do as you please.
In Stranraer there is the Castle of St John
which is a small Tower with an interesting history told by information boards inside. It also offers some great views over Stranraer from the top of the tower (free to enter). Castle Kennedy Gardens
are a short taxi ride (about 10 minutes ) from Stranraer , 75 acres of gardens, woodlands and spectacular scenery (admission £5.50* adult, £4.50*senior, * 2017 prices quoted). There is a walking tour available on the Stranraer Dumfries and Galloway Website, or you might just like to while away your time on the sea front where you will find beaches as well as the Terminal serving Ferries to Ireland.
Early start this morning for a short walk from the hotel to catch the 08:58 train from Stranraer to Troon. The journey follows the Ayrshire coast on a journey of approx. 11/2hours passing through Burn’s Country to the North of Stranraer.
On arrival at Troon re-join the coach that will take you to the Maritime Museum in Irvine, where you can learn about Scotland’s importance to Maritime history.
Culzean Castle is the afternoon destination which has 40 buildings to explore, including many follies as well as the main Castle. Inside the castle is one of Robert Adams’s best works the “oval staircase” which forms the centre piece to the castle. If Historic buildings are not for you, then there are gardens, woods and beaches to explore with some spectacular views.
Day 7 (Saturday): Scenic tour across to Gretna Green
and over the Pennines
Leaving Stranraer behind there is a delightful journey through Dumfries and Galloway, Stopping at Gretna Green around lunch time.
Leaving Gretna there is a short Motorway Journey before turning Left and travelling over the Pennines towards Darlington and our unusual hotel, The St George Hotel, which was a former RAF building.