Best of the Highlands
Tour Highlights: Rannoch Moor, Glen Coe, Fort William, The Great Glen, Loch Ness, Inverness, Glen Carron, Isle of Skye, Beach combing, Cuillin Hills, Eilean Donan Castle, The Five Sisters, Pre-historic sites, John O'Groats, Duncansby Head, Wick, Beauly, Cromarty, Dolphin spotting, Spey Valley and Scenic Perthshire
This tour takes you through the variety of Scotland's moods and landscapes, covering the country roads from the far west to the far north. It's the perfect introduction to the beauty of Scotland!
Edinburgh/Glasgow to Inverness (3 nights)
From Edinburgh and Glasgow we will make our way to Rannoch Moor a wilderness that extends over 50 sq miles. Next we'll enter brooding Glen Coe. There is a stop in the heart of the Glen so you can enjoy the spectacular surroundings for ourselves. Our crossing of the Ballachulish Bridge will bring us to Fort William which sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis. The majestic beauty of the Great Glen is next – Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and finally Loch Ness will provide wonderful views at every turn. We'll drive the entire length of Loch Ness stopping so you can visit Urquhart Castle and take a monster spotting cruise (optional). Our tour is based in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, for the next three nights.
The stay in Inverness is unescorted.
The Magical Isle
Today we enjoy a full day excursion to the beautiful island of Skye. From Inverness we travel through Glen Shiel where we will see the "Five Sisters" mountain range. A real highlight is our stop at Eilean Donan Castle, (optional) perched on its island at the head of Loch Duich. Here you have the option of visiting this most picturesque of castles.
Next it's "over the sea to Skye” by way of the road bridge. After a stop for lunch we take the stunningly beautiful road through Glen Suardal which provides breathtaking views of the Red Cuillin Hills. We’ll have an extended stop in Elgol where there are superb views of the Black Cuillin Hills and, if the weather is kind to us, to Rum and the Small Isles.
We return to the mainland and the village of Kyle of Lochalsh the last part of our journey will take us through pretty Glen Carron to Achnasheen from where it is a short drive to Inverness.
Caithness and John O'Groats
We leave Inverness and head across the Black Isle to the Cromarty Firth where, depending on tide conditions, we may see our first seals. We will make a stop in the town of Golspie. High above the town is an astonishing statue, 27m (90') high. This is of the First Duke of Sutherland, whose agents were involved in the most notorious of the Clearances in the Highlands during the 19th century. We'll hear more about this sad episode in the history of Scotland as we head North. There will be a stop in John O' Groats for that "I was there” photograph before making our way to stunning Duncansby Head where, after a stroll along the cliff-top path, there are views of the dramatic sea stacks and seascapes to enjoy. Duncansby is rich in birdlife including Guillemot, Kittiwakes and, the most famous residents, Puffins (until late July). There are binoculars available on-board our mini-coach so you can get a "close up” view.
After our visit to Duncansby we turn southwards for home. Our journey will take us through Wick and there will be a comfort stop along the way before we make journey's end in Inverness.
Inverness to Edinburgh/Glasgow
After breakfast we make the short drive to the Black Isle where we will enjoy scenic views over the Cromarty Firth as we travel to the little fishing village of Cromarty. Next we stop at Chanonry Point, a popular vantage point to spot the community of dolphins that live in the Moray Firth. Our next visit is to Beauly. The monks who built a priory here in the 13th Century called it Beau Lieu or beautiful place. You'll soon discover why! There is a stop at the popular Loch Ness Exhibition and Centre (optional) before you join your motorcoach for our tour south.
The route will take us into the spectacluar Cairngorm National Park and the Spey Valley, for the best views of the Cairngorm Mountains, then through the dramatic scenery of the Drumochter Pass and onwards to Glen Garry - watch out for imposing Blair Castle. We'll make a stop for afternoon tea before continuing through the rolling Perthshire countryside. From Perth its homeward bound to journey's end in Edinburgh or Glasgow.
The order in which excursions are operated may vary.