Sunday, Day 1 Banavie to Gairlochy
Guests are met in Inverness and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Spirit of Scotland. A champagne welcome by the Captain and crew, before we enjoy an early evening cruise to Gairlochy through Moy Bridge, with the last hand-operated bridge of its type on the Caledonian Canal. Time to savour one of the hotel barge’s many single malts before your first dinner onboard.
Monday, Day 2 Gairlochy to Laggan
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. In the afternoon, we cross Loch Lochy and as we approach our mooring at Laggan, a Highland Piper may be there to greet us with a stirring rendition of traditional Scottish music. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 Laggan to Cullochy
This morning, 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. Our afternoon cruise today takes us across the very scenic Loch Oich, perhaps stopping en route for a spot of fishing and enjoying a walk, then onto our pretty mooring at Cullochy. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 Cullochy to Fort Augustus
This morning we cruise to Fort Augustus and down the “flight” as the locals call it, to moor opposite the Benedictine Abbey at the entrance to Loch Ness. 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 Fort Augustus to Dochgarroch
This morning we enjoy a picturesque cruise from Fort Augustus across world-famous Loch Ness, with perhaps a chance of spotting “Nessie”, before passing through Loch Dochfour and mooring at the hamlet of Dochgarroch. After lunch, 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. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Dochgarroch to Muirtown
This morning, our final cruise will take us through Tomnahurich swing bridge and the locks to Muirtown, where there will be the opportunity to take a bicycle ride or walk to take in the wonderful views over the Moray and Beauly Firths. 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. 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 cruise will be in the reverse direction.