A Scottish Journey
Edinburgh to Royal Deeside
This morning we depart Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, and travel to the picturesque fishing villages of the East Neuk region including Pittenweem, one of Scotland’s best preserved and most attractive villages, home to brightly-hulled fishing boats and a jumble of red pantiled grey slated houses. We continue to St Andrews, known as the home of golf, which attracts visitors from all over the world. The medieval centre, with its narrow alleys and cobbled streets, leads to the now ruined cathedral and the adjacent church of St Regulus. This afternoon we travel north towards the picturesque Victorian village of Ballater, our base for the night. On arrival we enjoy our first dinner together.
Royal Deeside to Inverness
We leave Ballater and travel through the beautiful Cairngorms National Park to Nairn. It is here we visit Cawdor Castle, a superb fairy-tale castle dating from the late 14th century. You will have time to explore the castle and its gardens before we continue on to Clava Cairns, an exceptionally preserved prehistoric burial site, built about 4,000 years ago. Travelling a short distance we stop at Culloden, the site of the Battle of the same name, where we visit the museum, which brings the battle vividly to life and learn about the events that unfolded here. Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, is our final stop today and this evening is yours to spend at your leisure.
Inverness to Isle of Skye (2 nights)
Today we travel to the mysteriously beautiful Loch Ness, the largest body of fresh water in Britain and known around the world for ‘Nessie’, the legendary Loch Ness Monster. As we enjoy our scenic drive through Glen Sheil you will see some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland. Our next stop is the peaceful village of Stromeferry, where you will have the opportunity to trawl for shellfish with a local fisherman before sampling his freshly caught catch of the day. We then travel to Plockton, a charming little village comprised of neatly painted cottages and a tiny harbour before continuing to the stunning Isle of Skye.
Overnight: Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye Excursion
Today is devoted to the Isle of Skye, renowned for its wildlife, history, geology, and incredible scenery. The north Highlands delivers scenery on a grand scale and today you see examples of this as we enjoy some of Skye’s most startling geological features including the extraordinary Quiraing, the famous Kilt Rock and the spectacular Old Man of Storr. During the day we will explore Portree, the Island’s main town. This lovely, pastel cottage-lined harbour has a thriving culture and a bustling port. No visit to the Isle of Skye would be complete without a visit to a whisky distillery. Talisker Malt Whisky Distillery is the only distillery on the Isle where you can still see single malt whiskey being produced. Enjoy a complimentary dram after your tour to learn about the history of Scotland’s most famous export and how it is produced.
Isle of Skye to Oban (2 nights)
This morning we travel through glorious Scottish highland scenery as we pass Glen Garry, with fantastic views of its loch. We should have time to reflect on the Commando Memorial near Spean Bridge and to see Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, as we follow the Caledonian Canal. We visit historic Fort William and enjoy the splendid isolation of the pass of Glen Coe, where the Campbells tragically massacred the MacDonalds. We will then travel the back roads through the wooded Glen Orchy before arriving in Oban, our base for the next two nights.
Isle of Mull and Isle of Iona Excursion
Today we travel by ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull, the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides. From Craignure we travel to Fionnphort, which means 'Port of the White Sands' in Gaelic. This charming village is home to approximately 100 people and is famed worldwide for its unique red granite which is quarried just north of the village. We take the ferry from here to Iona, a tiny island widely recognised as a spiritual haven attracting many pilgrims and tourists each year. Iona is steeped in history and is renowned for its natural beauty and serenity. It is here, that we visit Iona Abbey and Nunnery, one of Scotland’s most sacred and historical sites. After spending time in Iona we make our way to Duart Castle. This 13th century castle is the oldest inhabited castle on Mull and is dramatically perched on a cliff overlooking the rugged coast. Walk through the dungeons and staterooms or explore its grounds before we return to Oban this evening.
Oban to Edinburgh
This morning we travel to Callander, often referred to as the ‘gateway to the Highlands’, before we continue to Stirling. Known as the heritage capital of Scotland, Stirling boasts the finest concentration of historical buildings in Scotland. This is where the Wars of Independence were fought and won and three centuries of monarchs ruled. Here we wander through the old town and enter the spectacular cliff-top Stirling Castle, one of the largest and most important buildings, both historically and architecturally, in Scotland. We then travel back to Edinburgh where our tour comes to an end.