SPIRIT OF SCOTLAND
Hotel Barge SPIRIT OF SCOTLAND
Cruising the Caledonian Canal of Scotland
Between Muirtown and Banavie
Whisky Trail Cruise Itinerary
Sunday, Day 1 - Muirtown
Guests are met in Inverness and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Spirit of Scotland. Champagne Welcome and if you wish, an early evening stroll to the sea lock with wonderful views over the Moray and Beauly Firths. Then perhaps savour one of the hotel barge's many single malts before your first dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 - Muirtown to Dochgarroch
Our first cruise will take us up the Muirtown lock flight and through Tomnahurich swing bridge, with an option to walk alongside the River Ness to the hamlet of Dochgarroch. In the afternoon, we visit the Benromach Distillery near Forres, the smallest distillery on Speyside and run by Gordon & MacPhail of Elgin, a family business for over 100 years. Here we enjoy a guided tour and then a tutored tasting of the classic Benromach Speyside single malt whisky. On the way back to the barge, we can stop off at Culloden Moor, scene of the last major battle on British soil in 1746, or visit the Inverness Whisky Shop to discover its huge range of specialist whiskies. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 - Dochgarroch to Fort Augustus
This morning, we drive through some stunning scenery to visit the Glen Ord distillery, founded in 1838 on the Black Isle by the Mackenzies of Ord. A fascinating description of the maturing and ageing process of single and blended malts is followed, of course, by a tasting. After returning to the barge, our afternoon cruise is through Loch Dochfour and down magnificent Loch Ness, with perhaps a chance of spotting "Nessie", to arrive at Fort Augustus. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 - Fort Augustus to Cullochy
After breakfast, our cruise takes us up the "flight", as the locals call it, at Fort Augustus and then on to our pretty mooring at Cullochy. Later, we can visit the Tomatin Distillery nestled in rolling hills alongside the River Findhorn and founded in 1897. We are given an expert tour, followed by a tutored nosing and tasting of a range of single malts, including some from exclusive casks. Alternatively, we can encounter some of Scotland’s bloody past and visit the majestic ruins of Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness, then a gentle drive will take us back to the Invermoriston Falls and the "Old Bridge" designed by Thomas Telford. You may even see a salmon leaping. This evening we are given a tutored private whisky tasting at a nearby hotel in Fort Augustus, The Lovat, followed by dinner in the fine dining restaurant.
Thursday, Day 5 - Cullochy to Laggan
After breakfast, we encounter some of the finest scenery Scotland has to offer as we take a drive to one of Scotland’s best known and most photographed castles, Eilean Donan. It has featured in movies such as "Highlander" and James Bond’s "The World Is Not Enough" and overlooks three sea lochs. The afternoon cruise today can be partially walked as we cross the very scenic Loch Oich, perhaps stopping en route for a spot of fishing, and onto the pretty Laggan Avenue. As we approach Laggan, our Highland Piper may greet us with a stirring rendition of traditional Scottish music. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 - Laggan to Banavie
Today, our final cruise will see us sail along Loch Lochy through Moy Bridge, the last fully hand-operated bridge on the canal, before mooring at Banavie beneath Ben Nevis and a stroll from Neptune's Staircase leading down to Loch Eil. After lunch on board, our tour today takes us to the renowned Dalwhinnie Distillery, standing in the Cairngorms National Park. Here, we are given a tour of the distillery and taste some single malts paired with a selection of delicious chocolates. If time permits, on the drive back to the barge we can also visit the ruins of Old Inverlochy Castle. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board and of course, another evening to enjoy a wee dram or two.
Saturday, Day 7 - Banavie
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Inverness.
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