September 13th – 23rd 2018
Jacobite Express crosses Fort William – Mallaig Road
The first Haggis Trail was a great success and oversubscribed, with thirty-nine participating cars instead of the projected twenty-five. It was certainly an interesting logistics exercise, with seven ferries needing to be used as the tour traversed the Western Isles!
The 2nd Haggis Trail is restricted to just twenty-five cars in total due to hotel and train limitations, so if you’re interested it’s wise to return the entry form quickly. Certainly at the moment there’s no intention to send this schedule out to anyone other than people who have expressed an interest and priority will, as usual, be given on the basis of receipt of entry forms. Once the twenty-five places are taken a reserve list will be opened, but deposit cheques will not be cashed for those on that reserve list.
We will all gather for the first night’s dinner in Penrith on Thursday, September 13th before heading off East the next morning via the Hartside Pass (1903 feet) to Alnwick. From Alnwick the route takes us to halts in Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Aberdeen, Inverness, and Fort William, before a final night in Dunblane.
There is an interesting mix of roads and during our two night halt in Fort William we’ll be taking the famous Jacobite Express to Mallaig.
Daily mileages are once more generally low, with the emphasis on scenery and sightseeing.
Country Lane Tours will once again be running a support vehicle in case of mechanical maladies, and, of course, I will be along too to deal with any other problems.
Finally – midges! You’ve all heard about how the Scottish midges are fearsome, and this is true. However, by September we should hopefully be safe as they are at their worst June / July / August, tend to congregate near peatlands and bracken, and also are much less prevalent on the East coast.
The itinerary is as follows:
Thursday, September 13th 2018. The group collects for a first night dinner and overnight halt at the North Lakes Hotel & Spa. The hotel was used on the Haggis Trail last year, is close to the M6 motorway and gives people travelling from the south an easy run up, assuming the car park at Birmingham is avoided by taking the toll route. £5.50, but worth it! Overnight Penrith.
Friday, September 14th 2018. Penrith – Alnwick. A leisurely run though rural roads via the Hartside Pass and Alston to Alnwick, where our base for two nights is the historic White Swan in the centre of the town and just a short distance from Alnwick Castle.
Alnwick Castle was used for many scenes in the Harry Potter movies and the White Swan has the dining room from the RMS Olympic, Titanic’s sister ship. Overnight Alnwick, mileage for day – 86.
Saturday, September 15th 2018. Alnwick. Today is a chance to relax, visit the castle and also the amazing Barter Bookshop in the old station which has an incredible selection of second-hand books but also model trains running around a track overhead.
You might also be tempted to take a short scenic run out to picturesque Alnmouth. Overnight Alnwick, mileage for day – 0 (15).
Sunday, September 16th 2018. Alnwick – Edinburgh via Lindisfarne Island and Jim Clark Museum, Duns. A bit of a lie in this morning before a run up to Holy Island (Lindisfarne) as the causeway is flooded until 11am.
From Lindisfarne the route follows the coast up to Berwick-on-Tweed before cutting inland to the Jim Clark Museum in Duns and then north to Edinburgh. Overnight Edinburgh, mileage for day – 102.
Monday, September 17th 2018. Edinburgh – St. Andrews, via the Kelpies. Our hotel is on the outskirts of this busy city so I’ve arranged for a guided tour by coach during the morning.
On return to the hotel we take a run along the motorway to the amazing Kelpies before heading east again, taking in some small fishing villages before reaching the five-star Fairmont Hotel on the outskirts of St. Andrews, our stopover for the next two nights. Overnight St. Andrews, mileage for day – 95.
Tuesday, September 18th 2018. St. Andrews. Another leisurely day and a chance to wander around the historic university town and also the ruins of the abbey. Overnight St. Andrews, mileage for day – 15.
Wednesday, September 19th 2018. St. Andrews – Aberdeen, via Dundee and Grampian Transport Museum. Still heading north we visit the RRS Discovery in Dundee and also the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford.
Our hotel is near the sea front in Aberdeen, close the historic fishermen’s cottages and you can get an idea of how buy the oil industry was by the still frenetic activity of the oil supply boats queuing to get into the harbour. Overnight Aberdeen, mileage for day – 110.
Thursday, September 20th 2018. Aberdeen – Inverness, via Fraserburgh and Fort George. A slightly longer day but with spectacular coastal views as we travel north to the fishing port of Fraserburgh before starting west, calling in at the amazing Fort George, still a military base. Overnight Inverness, mileage for day – 142.
Friday, September 21st 2018. Inverness – Fort William. A leisurely run along Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal – perhaps keep your camera handy in case you spot the monster? Overnight Fort William, mileage for the day – 66.
Saturday, September 22nd 2018. Fort William. We join the Jacobite Express at Fort William station for the two hour journey through stunning countryside to Mallaig.
There’s an hour and a half here before the return journey so time to have lunch and a walk around the little port. Overnight Fort William, mileage for day – 0.
Sunday, September 23rd 2018. Fort William – Dunblane. Once more a scenic run, this time through the Trossachs, to our final night and dinner in Dunblane. Overnight Dunblane, mileage for day – 93.
Monday, September 24th 2018. Departure for home. Dunblane is close to the motorway, enabling people travelling south to start their journey easily.
Included in the price are the following:
- Eleven nights hotel accommodation on a B&B basis
- Nine dinners
- Guided tour of Edinburgh by coach
- Return journey to Mallaig on the famous Jacobite Express
- Back up support vehicle with experienced mechanic
- Organiser present throughout to deal with any queries
- Detailed road book
- Marked map of route
- Rally plates
- Entry to RRS Discovery, Dundee
- Entry to Fort George
- Entry to Jim Clark Museum
- Entry to Grampian Transport Museum
- Sundry other extras including buffet lunch in Mallaig
Space precludes a detailed description of everything you will see, so the details here are necessarily a synopsis. However, the daily mileage allows plenty of time to relax and enjoy the scenery and quiet roads as well as hotel facilities. The TOTAL mileage from Penrith to Dunblane is approximately 700.
VERY IMPORTANT, PLEASE NOTE!!!!!!!! Accommodation is of a good quality throughout but Fort William is, I’m afraid, coach party country, and the hotel is actually owned by Shearings. It’s in a good location and I have secured the best rooms.
If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to call me on 01824 790280, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.