Join us on this beautiful tour to the stunning Cairngorm region of Scotland and stay at one of our favourite Scottish hotels. The Grant Arms bills itself as ‘The Wildlife Hotel’ and their commitment to providing an informative and comfortable base for the discovery of the local plant and animal life is second to none. We are given a tour of the Rothiemurchus Estate by an experienced ranger, take a wildlife cruise on the Moray Firth and travel on the wonderful Cairngorm Mountain Railway**.
Day 1 Leaving the south coast early in the morning we make our way north with suitable refreshment stops along the way, reaching our overnight hotel in Cumbria in time for dinner.
Day 2 We continue up through Scotland and visit Stirling, where the castle perches on an extinct volcano and the cobbled streets of the old town are filled with pleasant shops and cafés. We then travel up past Perth on our way to the Cairngorms National Park and our hotel in Grantown-on-Spey to be greeted with tea and biscuits.
Day 3 This morning we drive to Inverness Marina and board the Dolphin Spirit for a 75- minute wildlife cruise along the gorgeous Moray Firth coastline hopefully seeing otters, seals, red kites, ospreys, herons and the resident bottlenose dolphins. The afternoon is free in Inverness, which boasts a host of historic buildings notably in the old town and a delightful Victorian covered market. Take a stroll past Inverness Castle (not open to the public) and St Andrews Cathedral on the River Ness, or take the open-top bus tour (not included).
Day 4 Today is free in Grantown-on-Spey. The hotel is proud to be the base for the Bird Watching & Wildlife Club, and you can take advantage of the wealth of material available in the BWWC’s Club Room and Natural History Library. There are various local walks suggested in the gorgeous surrounding area. Alternatively, you could take the local bus to Inverness or Aviemore to explore the areas in more detail.
Day 5 A short drive to Aviemore brings us to the Cairngorm Funicular Railway** and a ride to the summit of Cairn Gorm. We experience views from the Ptarmigan Top Station at 1,097 metres above sea level, making this the UK’s highest mountain railway. In the afternoon we visit the Rothiemurchus Estate, where we have the services of a ranger to accompany us on a coach safari to get the best views of the estate, which stretches from the River Spey to the summit of Braeriach, Britain’s third highest mountain. There will be opportunities to get close to the resident highland cattle and beautiful red deer.
Day 6 Leaving our hotel after breakfast, we make our way south and cross the Firth of Forth to enjoy a short time in the centre of Edinburgh. We continue our journey past Berwick-upon-Tweed and along the Northumbrian coast to our overnight hotel.
Day 7 We continue homewards, with suitable refreshment stops along the way. We reach the local area early evening to meet our waiting taxis.
Situated in the heart of Grantown-on-Spey, this lovely four-star hotel offers modern comforts while retaining a traditional Victorian character. The award-winning restaurant prides itself on its traditional Scottish dishes sourced from local produce, and the hotel has a dedicated area showcasing the amazing local flora and fauna with wildlife enthusiasts listing daily sightings of birds and animals in the area. There is a comfortable lounge and bar, a high-ceilinged restaurant and bedrooms have TV, telephone, WiFi, hairdryer and hospitality tray. The hotel has a lift to some rooms.