July 13th 2020

Barging and Walking in Scotland

Scottish piper

There is something so very appealing about traveling by water. To see the scenery glide by as we relax… and when that scenery is the Scottish glens and Highlands, well, it doesn’t get much better!

Our “barging” Walk in the Great Glen along the Caledonian Canal is the best of all worlds. Wonderful walking – at an easy Level 2, so perfect for all; exclusive accommodation on a beautiful hotel barge designed to echo the gracious days of the lake steamers; wonderful food and drink – and no need to repack our bags each day.

We have just one fall departure this year and next – and by necessity, spaces are very limited. Do contact us now to reserve your place on this, very special, Walk.

Meanwhile, stay safe and enjoy our 'DreamNow, Visit Later' suggestions for the Highlands.

Scotland's Great Glen

Loch Ness - Urquhart Castle

Two centuries ago, before the railway age, work began on a wide, deep channel connecting the west coast of Scotland with the east; it took 21 years to complete. The Caledonian Canal stretches for 60 miles along the Great Glen, the "rift valley" that forms the boundary between the mighty Grampians and the remote and beautiful West Highlands.

The waters of the UK's greatest artificial waterway reflect towering pines and verdant meadows, rare animals and birdlife - and a wealth of human history.

And there is no better way to experience it than to travel upon it! With easy, Level 2 walking during the days and relaxing evenings on board our luxury barge as we make our way along the canal, this is a Highlands Walk like no other.

Imagine a serene escape from modern life amid some of the rawest nature surviving in Britain, with luxury accommodation exclusively for our Wayfarers.

Cawdor Castle

From Fort William, where Ben Nevis towers above us, we stroll the glens, admire ancient castles – including Cawdor, made famous by Shakespeare in Macbeth, and dine in a former Benedictine monastery.

The canal itself is a wonder of engineering. Marvel at the eight-lock “ladder” known as Neptune’s Staircase, where the water level drops 80 feet to the sea of Loch Linnie.

Birds of prey show at the Highland Club

On the shores of Loch Ness, (while keeping a close eye out for the monster) we’ll watch a wonderful display of falconry. Culloden battlefield, site of the last battle stand of Bonnie Prince Charlie is a haunting place to visit, as are the Clara Cairns, an Iron Age burial site.

Clara Cairns burial site

And this is Scotland, so before we leave, we’ll be having a tour of a whisky distillery – and tasting the wares!

Welcome to 'The Spirit of Scotland'

Spirit of Scotland dining area

Our home for this Walk is this elegant hotel barge with extensive public areas inside and out: perfect from which to admire the breathtaking Highlands scenery.

Accommodating up to 12 passengers in six air-conditioned cabins, her interior features a bright and spacious saloon and dining area with picture windows, a separate bar, and an integral forward wheelhouse giving views of the cruise route ahead.

Aboard Spirit of Scotland

Outside, there are separate areas where you can relax on a recliner, or perhaps in the heated spa pool, as well as a covered dining terrace. And the large upper sun deck is the ideal place to admire the dramatic backdrop as you cruise on deep-water lochs, passing historic landmarks along the way.

All this, together with the traditional Scottish cuisine, fine wines and wide range of whiskies served on board by an attentive crew of 6, combine to ensure a truly memorable cruising experience.

Walk Level 2

October 11-17 2020

October 10-16 2021

Aboard the Spirit of Scotland

COVIC 19 and Safe Travel

The safety and welfare of our guests and our team is our number one priority.

A hotel barge cruise is the ideal holiday for the “new world” of travel which we are all now facing. With small numbers of passengers (usually 8 to 12) on board, we cruise through rural areas only a few feet from the bank and offer regular opportunities to disembark to walk or ride the towpaths. Excursions are mostly private and exclusive and able to be adapted to everyone’s needs.

Our partners at European Waterways, which operates the Spirit of Scotland have put in place a number of measures including a pre-boarding questionnaire and a contactless temperature check at the meeting point before guests are permitted to join the cruise.

On-board cleaning, guest and crew hygiene protocols and food and beverage service will also operate under safety guidelines, which are under constant review.

To find out more contact us, or see our Wayfaring and COVID 19 page on the website.

Dream now, visit later

Macbeth 2015

From the Academy Award winning producers of The King's Speech and acclaimed director Justin Kurzel, the 2015 movie Macbeth is a visceral and visually breath-taking retelling of the classic tale about an ambitious Scottish lord who seizes the throne with the help of his wife. Michael Fassbender stars.

Loch Ness 1996

In Loch Ness (1996) Ted Danson stars as Dr. Dempsey, a sceptical American scientist who has been sent to Scotland to (dis)prove the existence of the Loch Ness monster. He finds the locals less than willing to help.


Culloden, available on YouTube, is quite something. Written and Directed by Peter Watkins for the BBC in a quasi-newsreel style and with nonprofessional actors, it first aired in the UK in December 1964. It is a highly detailed and authentic reconstruction of the Battle of Culloden in 1746 - the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. It was the last pitched battle fought on British soil. The documentary was unique at the time as it broke the “fourth wall” with historical participants commenting as if modern TV cameras were present.

Ben Nevis hikers

Join a group of mountaineers as they head up the UK’s highest mountain – without moving from your couch. Standing at 4412 feet, the summit of Ben Nevis offers an enticing challenge. Thanks to 360 degree photography, we can virtually set off from Glen Nevis, pass the cascading Red Burn and approach the peak, pausing to click and drag the video to drink in those views!

For Readers

From Montrose to Culloden by Sir Walter Scott

The Monsters of Loch Ness: The History and the Mystery by Malcolm Robinson. In this sophisticated day and age where satellites in space can read the print of a newspaper held by a man in the street we still don’t know what secrets are held in this deep Scottish loch. UFO and paranormal researcher Malcolm Robinson takes a look at one of Scotland’s biggest mysteries, that of the Loch Ness Monsters.

Thicker than Water by JD Kirk. When a badly mutilated body washes up on the shores of Loch Ness, DCI Jack Logan's dream of a quiet life in the Highlands is shattered. While the media speculates wildly about monster attacks, Jack and the Major Investigations Team must act fast to catch the killer before they can strike again.

From Montrose to Culloden, Bonnie Prince Charlie & Scotland’s Romantic Age by Sir Walter Scott. The final instalment in the history of Scotland by the iconic Scottish writer.

Catch up with the Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. A time-travel mystery set in 18th century Scotland.

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