Boat of Garten is a small village and post town in Badenoch and Strathspey, Scotland. Lying beside the River Spey, Boat of Garten is located in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. Centrally located in the Highlands of Scotland it is the perfect place from which to explore the Highlands, access the mountains, moorlands and rivers, or simply unwind.
We stayed at the wonderful Boat Hotel which is located right next to the small railway station. During our visit we were lucky to see the luxurious Royal Scotsman train which had stopped at the station to allow passengers to take their road tour.
I was allowed on board the luxury train to take some photographs. The waiter was setting out the dinner tables for the evening meal and looked very elegant indeed.
A walk over the golf course took me down to the River Spey which is important for both salmon fishing and whisky production.
There was an old vintage steam train that came into the station which was a wonderful sight. The Strathspey Railway line was brought back to life in 1978 by a dedicated group of volunteers, this ten mile restored section of the original Highland Railway Line enables you to travel back in time.
The line was opened on 1 July 1863 between Dufftown and Abernethy (later Nethy Bridge). It was extended to meet up with the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway (later the Highland Railway) at Boat of Garten on 1 August 1866. The Strathspey Railway actually met the Highland line at Tullochgorum, some 3 miles north of Boat of Garten, but the two lines ran parallel until reaching Boat, the physical junction being to the south of Boat of Garten station. The same year, 1866, saw the Strathspey Railway become part of the larger Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR).The railway served the numerous distilleries that operated in the Spey Valley, many of these distilleries having their own small tank engines, or ‘pugs’ as they were known.In 1923, the railway became part of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) and through passenger services were advertised from Boat of Garten to the South via Aberdeen. The line became part of British Railways in 1948 and many cost-saving measures were considered, including the introduction of diesel rail buses in the late 1950s.The Strathspey line closed to passengers on 11 October 1965, the same date as the closure of the Highland line between Aviemore and Forres. Grantown on Spey, which had previously been served by two separate stations, was now left without any rail connection.
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