The people of today should be grateful to those 19th century engineers. For it was they who built hundreds of miles of railway track across vast swathes of magnificent countryside, providing today’s travellers with an extraordinary vantage point from which to enjoy some of Britain’s most spectacular scenery.
Whether it’s snow-capped peaks to huge gorges and winding rivers, or poets to filmmakers, the landscape has inspired everyone’s creativity.
Of course, travellers can also take the train. Cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct on the scenic West Highland Line – immortalised by the Harry Potter films – or take the poetic Borders Railway line through the undeveloped countryside south of Edinburgh. All of these conveniences are only possible because of the work that was once done to make the stunning landscape what it is today!
This short 118-mile journey starts from Scotland’s capital and passes through stunning scenery on the western edge of the Cairngorms before heading northwest towards Inverness. At the halfway point, you’ll take the UK’s highest mainline rail pass at Drumochter, and near the end you’ll cross Scotland’s only wooden viaduct at Aultnaslanach near Moy.
But the journey gets even more interesting at Aviemore, with a detour through the Strathspey Steam Railway – a volunteer-run line that this year happens to be celebrating its 45th birthday after a full restoration. This is the northernmost steam railway line in the British Isles, and you can enjoy beautiful views of the Cairngorms on the 1 hour 50 minute round trip. Trolleys The marketing staff even wear uniforms similar to those worn on this line in the 1950s, in keeping with the retro theme; a first class booth upgrade is certainly worthwhile.