Spirit of Scotland Pass Route suggestion

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JamesTT

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I was thinking of getting the 4 in 8 spirit of scotland pass. I was wondering if anyone could suggest a good itinerary please.
Many thanks in advance :D
 
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30907

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First question: do you intend to spend the whole 8 days in Scotland? If so, doing what, as it affects your choice of overnight stops.

Second question: do you want high mileage, fantastic scenery, lots of units to tick off...?

Thirdly: do you want to take advantage of the ferries or stick to rail? Ditto buses.

All things being equal, my top priorities with 4 days would be Mallaig and Kyle (taking in the Highland Main Line en route). You can connect the two with the Armadale ferry and a bus (not included), or double back and use the Great Glen bus (Fort William - Inverness).

I'd try and fit in a Fife Circle loco-hauled one evening, and Edinburgh-Tweedbank-Galashiels-bus to Carlisle-Dumfries-Glasgow or v.v. should work.

I'm assuming you will cover the East and West Coast routes in and out on Advances BTW.
 

cactustwirly

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You should definitely do the West Highland line, I did it in the summer and the scenery was so spectacular, I had to pick my jaw up from the floor (especially the Mallaig section)
 

JamesTT

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Hi sorry for the delayed reply to my own post. Firstly thank you to those that have replied. I was thinking of doing this over a long weekend. Travellingup to scotland on a Thursday afternoon and returning on a sleeper service on a Tuesday evening for work on Wednesday late turn. I am not fussed about ticking off train types. Seeing some excellent scenery and mileage would be my priority
 

backontrack

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Hi sorry for the delayed reply to my own post. Firstly thank you to those that have replied. I was thinking of doing this over a long weekend. Travellingup to scotland on a Thursday afternoon and returning on a sleeper service on a Tuesday evening for work on Wednesday late turn. I am not fussed about ticking off train types. Seeing some excellent scenery and mileage would be my priority

In that case, you might want to do the Skye circular, then head up to Wick. Come back down and either:

a) Use the Highland Main Line
b) Travel across to Aberdeen and down to Edinburgh

Then, head down the Borders Line to Tweedbank and back.
 

JamesTT

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Thank you for the excellent suggestions I will get planning any other ideas greatly appreciated
 

backontrack

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Obviously the West Highland Line and the Kyle Line are up there, but I'd recommend the Far North Line after you've done Kyle. It has everything - the Beauly Firth between Inverness and Dingwall, the Dornoch Firth which you follow all the way inland, the bridge over the Kyle of Sutherland into more rugged, sweeping scenery (apparently you can see the likes of Kinlochbervie and Laxford Bridge when it is clear enough), the coast between Golspie and Helmsdale (for most of the time between Brora and Helmsdale it seems as though you're actually on the shore), then the marshland north to Forsinard and the barren, peat bogland (keep an eye out for deer!) from there to Georgemas Junction, Thurso (where I'd very quickly jump off and on again to say you've stepped on the UK's northernmost railway platform, then take a picture of the sign through the open door) and Wick. Sometimes there's a trolley as well.
 

Greenback

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I love the Far North line. It's got such a variety of scenery. I did it once in March when there was snow everywhere, which was brilliant, and I've been up there in Autumn as well.
 

30907

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Be aware that Sunday services outside high season are still quite limited in the Highlands - specifically, Mallaig to Kyle on a Sunday doesn't look possible.
 

JamesTT

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Once again thank you for the input. Now to get of my backside and plan. Will all stations be open in May?
 

backontrack

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I should think so. Why, were you thinking of an excursion to Dunrobin Castle?

The only two summer-only stations, Dunrobin Castle and Falls of Cruachan, are open from March to October I think. Both are request stops.
 
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