Outer Hebrides Adventure
Get away from it all with this magnificent adventure to the Outer Hebridean Islands of Lewis and Harris, home to pre-historic stone circles of Callanish, rugged landscapes and the famous white sandy beaches of Harris.
Edinburgh to Loch Ness
We leave Edinburgh behind and travel towards Stirling, passing Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. We leave the motorway behind and make our way towards Doune, famed for its castle (of Monty Python’s Holy Grail fame), then onwards to Callander. Here the Lowlands of Scotland give way to the spectacular scenery of the Highlands.
Our scenic drive takes us along the beautiful banks of Loch Lubnaig then on through "bonnie” Strathyre towards Glen Ogle and Glen Dochart. After climbing the "Black Mount” we reach vast wilderness of Rannoch Moor which stretches out ahead of us.
The sad story of Glen Coe is retold as we stop to view the imposing, yet sinister beauty of Scotland’s most famous glen. After leaving Fort William look out for mighty Ben Nevis, Britain’s tallest mountain before we experience the majestic grandeur of the Great Glen. As we drive through this spectacular scenery there are stories to be told of clan battles, folklore and myths that have been handed down through the generations.
Fort Augustus is our gateway to enigmatic Loch Ness. As we drive towards Drumnadrochit, our home for tonight, keep a close watch just in case "you know who” makes an appearance!
Loch Ness to Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (2 nights)
After breakfast in our highland surroundings we make the short journey to Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands. After a brief panoramic tour we enjoy grandstand views over the Moray Firth as we travel over the Kessock Bridge. After crossing the Black Isle we shall make our way through the rugged landscape of the western Highlands.
We’ll make a stop to visit Corrieshalloch Gorge and see the dramatic Falls of Measach dropping some 150 feet into the ravine below.
The fishing port of Ullapool sits on Loch Broom and is where we board our ferry for the crossing of The Minch to reach Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis. The sailing will take 2 hours 45 minutes and our cruise-ferry boasts extensive lounge and dining facilities.
On arrival in Stornoway it is a short drive to our accommodation for the next two nights.
We start the day with some free time so that you can discover the bustling port of Stornoway. Together Harris and Lewis make Scotland’s largest island. These islands have been inhabited for over 6,000 years and there is a real sense of history as we will discover as we spend today discovering Lewis.
Our first visit of the day is to the Butt of Lewis where a lighthouse stands warning passing ships of the nearby rocks. This is the most northerly point of the Outer Hebrides. Due west from here is nothing but the North Atlantic until you reach Newfoundland, Canada!
The astonishing Callanish Standing Stones is our next visit. Archaeologists believe that these 15 foot (5 m) stones were placed here by Neolithic people sometime between 3,000 and 1,000 BC and the site is rated second in importance only to Stonehenge.
Another point of major historical interest is the impressive Dun Carloway Broch, an Iron Age stone fort known to have been built more than 2,000 years ago. This is one of the best preserved fortified towers in Scotland and it’s beautifully located with wonderful views over Loch Carloway and the sea beyond.
The neighbouring island of Harris is our destination today. The mountainous scenery that we shall experience as we cross from Lewis to Harris was formed millions of years ago and is some of the oldest rock on the planet. The northern section of Harris is almost lunar-like.
Our first stop is to Tarbert, the island’s main town which rises steeply from the pier. We’ll then enjoy the views over the Sound to the little island of Taransay, made famous in the BBC television programme "Castaway”.
Harris is famed for the production of Tweed cloth and there is an opportunity to see the fabric being hand woven in the traditional way when we visit a local weaver – a truly fascinating process.
Luskentyre Beach which appears never-ending is our last stop of the day so you can enjoy some beach combing. Look out for the machairs which sit behind the beach. These green grassy plains are covered in a mass of wild flowers in the summer.
Sadly our island interlude has come to an end and we catch the ferry back to the mainland.
Inverness to Edinburgh
There’s time to explore Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands before travelling the short distance to visit tragic Culloden Moor (optional). It was here that the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie was routed by Government troops in a bloody battle in 1746.
The Cairngorm National Park is Britain’s largest and contains five of Scotland’s six highest peaks. The park provides stunning backdrop to our travels through the Spey Valley then we descend through the Drumochter Pass to reach the pleasant Victorian tourist town of Pitlochry where we will stop for refreshments.
The dramatic scenery of Highland Perthshire gives way to rolling farmland as we reach the "Fair City” of Perth then we join the motorway for our journey through the ancient Kingdom of Fife. The final part of our drive offers wonderful views of the Forth Rail Bridge as we make our way into Edinburgh.