We offer whisky trail cruises aboard hotel barges Spirit of Scotland (12 people) and Scottish Highlander (8 people) along the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, with a special itinerary that allows whisky lovers to visit a number of long-established distilleries to find out more about how Scotland’s favourite export is produced, as well, of course, the opportunity to taste it! Whisky Trail cruises can be taken at any time by a group chartering the barge. with the exception of one departure on Scottish Highlander on 5th April, 2020 on which we can sell individual cabins.
There are visits to at least 3 distilleries, each with an impressive pedigree. There is the Benromach Distillery near Forres, a family business founded over 100 years ago and the smallest distillery on Speyside. Here you will be given a guided tour and then enjoy a tutored tasting of the classic Benromach Speyside single malt. On another day, there is a drive through wonderful scenery to the Tomatin distillery, founded in 1897 at the height of the Victorian whisky boom in its beautiful isolated surroundings. Again, a guided tour and a private tasting awaits.
The Dalwhinnie is a very well-known name in the world of the single malt and there will be a visit to the esteemed distillery sited in the Cairngorms National Park. There will not only be an expert to give you a fascinating tour, but the subsequent tasting will match a number of single malts with different chocolates. A perfect combination!
And to offer extra interest on this whisky trail cruises in this beautiful part of the Highlands, there will also be optional visits to historic sites such as Eilean Donan, one of Scotland’s most photographed castles, the famous battlefield of Culloden Moor and the ruins of Urquhart Castle in a spectacular setting overlooking Loch Ness.
The whisky trail cruises is perfect for single malt whisky enthusiasts, whether they taste the liquid nectar at any of the distilleries we visit, or partake of a wee dram or two from the many whiskies available on the barge.
If you’re a fan of a wee dram then this is the ultimate getaway for you, indulge in the finest whisky that Scotland has to offer whilst cruising an atmospheric route through the Scottish Highlands. So get your group together and take advantage of excellent incentives for group organisers/club presidents and on certain departures, discounts for all charter guests!
Have a look at this wonderful itinerary and for further information, email us today!
Scottish Whisky Trail Itinerary
Sunday, Day 1 Muirtown
Guests are met at our designated meeting point in Inverness and transferred by private chauffeured minibus to Spirit of Scotland. Champagne Welcome and if you wish, an early evening stroll to the sea lock with wonderful views over the Moray and Beauly Firths. Then perhaps savour one of the hotel barge’s many single malts before your first dinner on board.
Monday, Day 2 Muirtown to Dochgarroch
Our first cruise will take us up the Muirtown lock flight and through Tomnahurich swing bridge, with an option to walk alongside River Ness to the hamlet of Dochgarroch. 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. Dinner on board.
Tuesday, Day 3 Dochgarroch to Fort Augustus
This morning, 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. After returning to the barge, our afternoon cruise is through Loch Dochfour and down magnificent Loch Ness, with perhaps a chance of spotting “Nessie”, to arrive at Fort Augustus. Dinner on board.
Wednesday, Day 4 Fort Augustus to Cullochy
After breakfast, our cruise takes us up the “flight”, as the locals call it, at Fort Augustus and then on to our pretty mooring at Cullochy. Later, we 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 charming The Glenmoriston Arms Hotel, followed by dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Thursday, Day 5 Cullochy to Gairlochy
Our cruise today can be partially walked as we cross the very scenic Loch Oich and onto the pretty Laggan Avenue. En route, our Highland Piper may greet us with a stirring rendition of traditional Scottish music, before we cruise on across Loch Lochy to our mooring at Gairlochy. After lunch, 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. Dinner on board.
Friday, Day 6 Gairlochy to Banavie
Today, our final cruise will see us pass through Moy Bridge, the last fully hand-operated bridge on the canal, before mooring at Banavie beneath Ben Nevis and a stroll from Neptune’s Staircase leading down to Loch Eil. Later, we enjoy a tour of the Oban distillery, established in 1794 and nestled below the steep cliff that overlooks the town. You will see the whisky-making process up-close and enjoy a tasting of some fine single malt. Time afterwards, perhaps, to explore this charming seaside town before returning to Spirit of Scotland for the Captain’s Farewell Dinner and of course, the opportunity to enjoy another wee dram or two.
Saturday, Day 7 Banavie
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.