One of Scotland’s most famous locomotives steamed back to life this week as the Lancashire Fusilier resumed its Fort William to Mallaig journey over the stunning 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct.
Famous for its starring role as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter franchise, it hauls the Jacobite’s vintage carriages along the 84-mile round trip, taking in some of Scotland’s most breathtaking scenery.
On the Jacobite Trail
The train stops at the beautiful village of Glenfinnan and, by special request to the guard, at Arisaig where travellers can see the Small Isles of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye. The train continues past Morar and the silvery beaches used in the films Highlander and Local Hero.
Not surprisingly, the experience has been voted one of the world’s greatest train journeys, with two trips available each day until October. Covid measures will be in place and all passengers must wear face masks except when eating or drinking.
Prices start at £49 return for an adult, e-tickets only, with pre-booked champagne and chocolates available for an additional charge. Book your trip at www.westcoastrailways.co.uk
Market Value: Love Local at Blair Castle
Blair Castle, the white turreted ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl, is hosting an open-air arts, crafts and food market today and tomorrow, May 1-2, with a showcase of exclusively Scottish foodmakers and producers on offer.
With the message to “buy local” and the chance to enjoy some old-fashioned, in-person shopping into the bargain, the market event will bring together a host of local food, beverage and craft producers, with small businesses displaying an array of gifts and produce for everyone. Goods include arts, textiles, jewellery and ceramics, to tasting sessions with fine Scottish gins, local brews, food and confectionery.
A one-way system around the outdoor fair, generous spacing, guides and sanitising stations will be available throughout the day for a safe, family-friendly day out in the grounds of the Atholl estate.
Open from 10am to 5.30pm, entrance to the market is included in either the Garden or Garden and Castle ticket price: £9.00 for children, £12.75 for concessions and £15 for adults, with a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) available for £45.
Booking in advance is required at www.atholl-estates.co.uk
Now that spring has arrived, a whole new world of nature has sprung into action with a feast of wildlife action to see and enjoy across the country.
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has published a series of spotter’s guides for visitors to their nationwide network of protected properties, including Mar Lodge, Britain’s largest national nature reserve in the heart of the Cairngorms, and Inverewe.
Both areas are home to Scotland’s iconic “big five”: the golden eagle, red deer, otters, red squirrels and the harbour seals, along with mountain hares and pine martens.
The National Trust for Scotland is encouraging people to take a walk on the wild side and enjoy these national treasures whilst boosting awareness of our fragile environment.
For your NTS guide to our feathered and furry wildlife in action, go to www.nts.org.uk
Route Map to Relaxation
Hospitality experts the Accommodation Services Trading Company is mapping out Scotland’s top destinations along the dynamic NC500 route, bringing hotel and travel together to help put tourism back on the map.
Called the Fusion 500, trips depart from Glasgow and explore 500 miles of picturesque countryside and highland beaches, from the Trossachs to Glencoe, Highland Perthshire, Dornoch and the Cairngorms before reaching your final destination of Edinburgh to enjoy the buzz of city culture.
Accommodation Services can provide a completely bespoke package offering a range of top hotels, B&B, eco lodges and self-catering for all budgets, with pet-friendly options, too.
Kirsty Laird, marketing manager for Fusion said: “This route has something for all ages, and it can be comfortably completed by car, or public transport, in seven to eight days.
“As the hospitality sector recovers after the pandemic we want Scots to get behind their own country as there is so much to see and do. All of the accommodation providers on this route will really appreciate their custom this summer and into autumn.”
Pitlochry’s Logierait Lodges (pictured) are offering a 10% discount with direct bookings: use code Direct10.