Scotland: Garden Cruise Itinerary
On this special garden-themed barge charter you will have the opportunity to visit spectacular gardens and woodlands, including Arisaig and the Wild Woodland Garden of Larachmhor, which is famed for its two hundred varieties of rhododendrons. Another highlight is the wonderful family-owned Abriachan Nurseries and gardens close to Loch Ness, also known for their exquisite auricula collection. You will also explore the peaceful Attadale Gardens which includes a vast woodland, and Japanese and herb gardens with magnificent views over Skye, Loch Carron and the Applecross peninsula.
Garden Cruise Itinerary between Muirtown and Banavie
Sunday, Day 1 - Muirtown
Guests are met in Inverness and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Spirit of Scotland. A Champagne Welcome awaits and perhaps an early evening stroll to the sea lock with wonderful views over the Moray and Beauly Firths. Dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 - Muirtown to Dochgarroch
Our first cruise will take us up the Muirtown lock flight and through the Tomnahurich swing bridge, with an option to walk alongside River Ness to the hamlet of Dochgarroch. After lunch on board, we visit Cawdor Castle (see note below), forever immortalised in Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play”, Macbeth. The picturesque gardens have been listed amongst the top 100 in the UK and we make a tour escorted by the Head Gardener. The castle contains a superb collection of tapestries, pictures and furnishings and the Dowager Countess of Cawdor still lives there for part of the year. If time allows, then we take a tour of Clava Cairns, a pre-historic clan chieftain burial site dating back to 2,000 B.C and setting for the Outlander TV. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 - Dochgarroch to Foyers
This morning we enjoy a visit to Abriachan Nurseries, set on the shores of Loch Ness with their mix of native and exotic plantings. We wander the woodland paths before setting sail through Loch Dochfour and across Loch Ness, where en-route we pass Urquhart Castle, navigating closely beneath its spectacular 13th century ruins, before continuing our cruise to the village of Foyers. Here we can take a trip to Tomatin Distillery, established in 1897 and set iun the hills, to learn more about whisky production and of course, have a tasting. Alternatively, we can climb through the lochside woods to the spectacular Falls of Foyers. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 - Foyers to Kytra
After breakfast, we cruise across the southern end of Loch Ness to Fort Augustus where we visit the private Highland Club, a spectacular exclusive set of residences and a former 19th century Benedictine Monastery. Here we are treated to a falconry and birds of prey demonstration (weather dependent) on the banks of Loch Ness, and the majesty of the swooping birds against the backdrop of the sweeping Scottish Highlands is not easily forgotten. There is time to explore the pretty village of Fort Augustus before lunch on board, after which our cruise takes us up the “flight of locks” and then on to our pretty mooring at Kytra where our Highland Piper may greet us with a stirring rendition of traditional Scottish music. Dinner on board.
Thursday, Day 5 - Kytra to Laggan
Today we make an early start for a drive through dramatic scenery to the west coast to visit the Attadale Gardens, set in the grounds of a castle with woodland, Japanese and herb gardens, and magnificent vistas of the mountains. We have lunch at a local restaurant offering traditional highland fare before returning to the barge. We then take a late afternoon cruise through pretty Loch Oich and cruise tree lined Laggan Avenue to our mooring on the canal. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 - Laggan to Banavie/p>
On our final cruise today, we cross Loch Lochy to Gairlochy, where we rejoin the canal and continue on to Moy Bridge, the last fully hand-operated bridge on the waterway. From here it is a short cruise to our mooring at Banavie beneath Ben Nevis. After lunch on board, we head to Arisaig and the Wild Woodland Garden of Larachmhor, created by eccentric entrepreneur John Holms in the 1920s with later support from the Edinburgh Royal Horticultural Garden and famed for its 200 varieties of rhododendrons. Return to the barge for Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 - Banavie
After breakfast, guests are transferred by private chauffeured minibus to their choice of location in Inverness.
- This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change.
- On alternate weeks the barge cruise will be in the reverse direction.
- Please note that the excursion to Cawdor Castle is only possible between early May and the end of September. A visit to Fort George will replace it either side of these dates.