Standard Classic Barge Cruise Itinerary - Scotland
Enjoy barging in Scotland and cruise sedately through the Great Glen between Inverness and Fort William, navigating beautiful lochs and the engineering masterpiece that is the Caledonian Canal in the Scottish Highlands. See ancient castles perched on the water’s edge, heather-clad hillsides and some of the finest inland cruising in the world. Learn of Scotland’s legends of the past, the taste of single malt and, of course, the mythical inhabitant of Loch Ness, which all contribute to a magical charm only experienced in the dramatic Scottish Highlands.
Standard Itinerary between Banavie and Muirtown
Sunday, Day 1 - Banavie
Guests are met at our designated meeting point in Inverness and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Spirit of Scotland. A champagne welcome by the Captain and crew and perhaps an early evening stroll before our first dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 - Banavie to Laggan
We begin our week this morning with a cruise through Moy Bridge, the last hand-operated bridge of its type on the waterway, before crossing Loch Lochy. As we approach our mooring at Laggan, a Highland Piper may be there to greet us with a stirring rendition of traditional Scottish music. After lunch on board, our tour today takes us to Dalwhinnie Distillery, built in 1897 and the highest distillery in Scotland. We are given a fascinating description of the maturing and ageing process of their whiskies, each with its distinctive characteristics, followed by a special tasting of several single malts. If time permits, we can also visit the ruins of Old Inverlochy Castle. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 - Laggan to Kytra
This morning we cruise across the very scenic Loch Oich, perhaps stopping en route for a spot of fishing or a gentle stroll, then onto our pretty mooring at Kytra. After lunch on board we take in some of the finest scenery Scotland has to offer as we drive to one of its best known and most photographed castles, Eilean Donan, which has featured in movies such as “Highlander” and James Bond’s “The World Is Not Enough” and overlooks three sea lochs. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 - Kytra to Fort Augustus
After breakfast, 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 we cruise to Fort Augustus and down the “flight of locks” as the locals call it, to moor opposite the Benedictine Abbey at the entrance to Loch Ness. This evening we dine ashore at a local restaurant.
Thursday, Day 5 - Fort Augustus to Dochgarroch
This morning we enjoy a picturesque cruise across world-famous Loch Ness, with perhaps a chance of spotting “Nessie”, where en-route we pass Urquhart Castle, navigating closely beneath its spectacular 13th century ruins, before continuing our cruise to moor at the hamlet of Dochgarroch. After lunch we visit Cawdor Castle*, forever immortalised in Shakespeare’s “Scottish Play”, Macbeth. The picturesque gardens have been listed amongst the top 100 in the UK. The castle contains a superb collection of tapestries, pictures and furnishings and is still in use as a home for the Dowager Countess of Cawdor who resides there for several months of the year. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 - Dochgarroch to Muirtown
This morning, our final cruise takes us through Tomnahurich swing bridge to the locks at Muirtown, where there is the opportunity to take a bicycle ride or stroll to the sea lock with wonderful views over the Moray and Beauly Firths. After lunch we visit Culloden Moor, scene of the last major battle on British soil in 1746, where English Government troops faced the Highlanders of “Bonnie Prince Charlie”. 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 series. Captain’s Farewell Dinner on board.
Saturday, Day 7 - Muirtown
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.