Skye and the Scottish Highlands
In three days we'll show you the highlights of Scotland - Glen Coe, Eilean Donan Castle, Skye, The Cuillin Hills, Loch Ness, Inverness, Culloden Moor and much, much more. You'll spend a night on the Isle of Skye too!
Lochs and Glens
Our journey starts with a real highpoint as we drive the entire length of the "bonnie, bonnie banks" of Loch Lomond. Along the way we cross from the Lowlands and into the Highlands.
As our coach climbs the "Black Mount" there are wonderful views of Loch Tulla below. Soon we are amidst the remote beauty of Rannoch Moor. This unspoilt landscape extends over 50 square miles and is one of the great wildernesses of Europe!
Glen Coe is quite simply awesome! We will make a photo stop in Scotland's most famous glen. No matter the weather you are sure to be inspired by this very special place. After crossing the Ballachullish Bridge we travel along the banks of Loch Linnhe to reach Fort William. On the outskirts of the town we should be able to enjoy wonderful views of Ben Nevis, Britain's tallest mountain.
Our journey takes us into the Great Glen, which was formed many millions of years ago. The result of this activity has left us with an impressive landscape of lochs and mountains. We'll travel along the banks of Loch's Lochy and Oich to reach the village of Invergarry. As we drive through this small community watch out for the "Well of the Seven Heads", a monument with a very bloody tale to tell!
Now we are heading across Scotland and heading for the west coast. Glen Shiel is home to the "Five Sisters", a range of five mountains of which 4 are over 3,000 feet high. Soon picturesque Eilean Donan Castle will come into view. This is, without doubt, one of Scotland's most iconic sights. The castle stands on a little island situated at the confluence of Loch's Alsh and Duich. We'll have time to discover the castle for ourselves during our stop here.
Finally we travel "over the sea to Skye" by the modern road bridge and make for nearby Kyleakin, our home for tonight.
Overnight: Kyleakin (Isle of Skye)
Magical Isles and Kilt Rocks
After breakfast we board our coach for a wonderful day of exploration. From the little villages and gentle scenery of the southern part of the island the views will change dramatically as the Cuillin Hills come into sight. Considered by many to be amongst the finest hills in Britain the Cuillins present a vista that is simply unforgettable.
Set round its natural harbour the picturesque town of Portree is the island's largest community. The name of the town means the "King's Port" following a visit by King James V in 1540. Today the pretty painted houses which surround the harbour give Portree an old fashioned appeal. During our stop there will be time to explore the town and browse the interesting shops that surround Sumerled Square.
The next part of our excursion is to the famed Trotternish Peninsula. From Portree we travel northwards to the little port of Uig from where ferries sail to the Outer Herbrides. At little Kilmuir there is a monument to Flora MacDonald who, famously, assisted Bonnie Prince Charlie escape from the troops that were hunting him by sailing him "over the sea to Skye" disguised as her maid.
We'll stop to explore The Quiraing, a dramatic terrain formed by a massive landslide. Here you can walk through a landscape that dates from Jurassic times and as you do see if you can identify the rock formations whosedescriptions are the "Needle", "Table" and "Prison". A short drive brings us to Kilt Rock, so named because the basalt columns of this rock fall to resemble the pleats of a kilt - it's well worth the effort to snap an "I was there" photograph!
Our tour will return us to Portree then we retrace our steps back to the mainland and through scenic Glen Shiel, once more. Our home for tonight is by the shores of mysterious Loch Ness.
Overnight: Drumnadrochit (Loch Ness)
Monsters and Queens
After breakfast we spend time discovering Scotland's most famous lake.Why notvisit the nearby Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition or to enjoy a cruise on the loch to discover Urquhart Castle? The castle sits overlooking the deepest part of Loch Ness, so it's a popular place with "Nessie" spotters!
We follow the banks of the loch to Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands. On the outskirts of this fast growing city lies notorious Culloden Moor. It was here in 1746 that Bonnie Prince Charlie's dreams of capturing the Crown for the Stuart dynasty came to a bloody end. His Jacobite army was routed by the Government troops under the command of the Duke of Cumberland. The aftermath was particularly brutal such that it changed life in the Highlands forever.
After our visit to Culloden we turnsouthwards. The majestic Cairngorm Mountains will be the backdrop as we make our way through the gentle Spey Valley. Soon we pass remote Dalwhinnie before making our descent of the Drumochter Pass, which has linked the Highlands to the Lowlands since the earliest of times.
We'll stop in the Victorian tourist town of Pitlochry, which sits on the banks of the River Tummel. Queen Victoria stayed at nearby Blair Castle and enjoyed visiting Pitlochry very much. Her favourable comments ensured a steady flow of visitors who came to this charming town to see what pleased the Queen so much. Today Pitlochry retains much of its period atmosphere, as we will discover!
The last part of our time together will take us towards the "fair city of Perth" then onwards to journey's end in Edinburgh or Glasgow.