Start Date: 30th September 2022
Duration: 9 nights
Scotland has a rich and fascinating history in producing the Water of Life or 'Uisge Beatha'. Take a trip to the Isle of Islay and Speyside - Scotland's best known areas for famous Single Malt Whiskies. On this 10 day tour, taste world famous whiskies directly from their source, experience first-hand the spectacular locations of the distilleries, meet the local experts who have had whisky making in their families for generations, and even try exclusive and rare drams only available from the distilleries. Along the way, visit spectacular castles each with their own bloody tales and clan rivalry that is sure to stir the soul.
After pick-up from Glasgow, we head for the highlands and begin the tour with a tour and tasting of Glengoyne distillery, often described as Scotland's most beautiful distillery. We head for Scotland’s first National Park and visit the quaint village of Luss on the ‘bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond. After a look around the village, we make our way to the lochside town of Inveraray for a tour of the castle which is home to the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. Overnight Kintyre.
This morning we travel to the ferry port for our morning crossing to the Isle of Islay. This is Scotland’s fifth-largest island and has an impressive 130 miles of coastline. There are nine working distilleries here, best known for their peaty, smoky flavours and we start our tastings at Laphroaig distillery before making our way to nearby Ardbeg for lunch at the Old Kiln Café. Later, we tour along the coast to the island’s main town, Bowmore, for a look around followed by some island sight-seeing. Overnight Islay.
Wake to the splendour of "The Queen of the Hebrides". After breakfast, we head out to visit more of Islay’s famous distilleries, with their heavy peat-smoked flavour the Islay malts really are in a class of their own. We will take a walk at Gruinart Bay where we hope to spot some birdlife at the Nature Reserve before visiting nearby Kilchoman distillery. After lunch, we take the small single-track road to Bunnahabhain before boarding the afternoon ferry back to the mainland. Overnight Crinan.
Today we explore Scotland’s west coast with a wonderful tour through Kilmartin Glen, often described as the “Birthplace of Scotland”, rich in standing stones, ancient burial cairns, and a fortified hill fort. Later, we tour onwards to visit the bustling seaside town of Oban with a distillery tour of one of the oldest whisky distilleries in the country. After a tour and tasting, and a spot of lunch in the town, we move on to view Castle Stalker on our way to the beautiful landscape of Glencoe. Overnight Glencoe.
We head out on the spectacular ‘Road to the Isles’ providing wonderful views across the Sound of Arisaig to the Small Isles of Eigg and Rhum. The journey takes us through Scotland’s largest highland town, Fort William, which has its own distillery, and past ‘Neptune’s Staircase’, the longest staircase lock in Britain completed in 1822 as part of the Caledonian Canal. We view the famous 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct on our way to the fishing village of Mallaig and the ferry “Over the Sea to Skye”. Overnight nr Skye.
Today we tour the magical Isle of Skye, passing through Broadford and the spectacular Cuillin mountain range which dominates this island. We stop for a tour and tasting at the oldest working distillery on the Isle of Skye, Talisker, for a tour and tasting of this award-winning single malt. Later, we tour to the main settlement on the Island, Portree, for look around and some lunch before heading to Dunvegan for a tour of the castle and gardens. Overnight nr Skye.
We start the day with a visit to Eilean Donan Castle, which is perhaps Scotland’s most photographed castle due to its stunning location. We move on along the shores of Lochcarron and Achnasheen to the Victorian spa town of Strathpeffer for lunch. Nearby is the only remaining single malt Scotch whisky distillery on the Black Isle, Glen Ord, and we take a tasting here before arriving in Inverness, also known as the ‘Capital of the Highlands’. Overnight nr Inverness.
Today we tour through Speyside, Scotland’s best-known whisky region. We take the famous Malt Whisky Trail, the only trail of its kind in the world, to our first distillery stop, Benromach, which is home to the world's first organic single malt. Our next stop is Glenfiddich Distillery, the only distillery in Scotland to use a single source of water throughout the entire whisky-making process. Later, we take a tour of the oldest operating distillery in the Highlands, Strathisla. Overnight Speyside
We travel south along the main whisky smuggling route from the Highlands to the Lowlands through the Cairngorms National Park with heather-clad mountains and vast swathes of Caledonian Pine Forest. Here we will visit the highest distillery in Scotland at 1,073 feet, Dalwhinnie, and spend the afternoon at Blair Castle & Gardens. The Castle has had a diverse history, witnessing both turbulent and peaceful times, over its 700-year lifespan. Overnight Pitlochry
Today begins with an enjoyable walk around the highland village of Dunkeld with its historic Cathedral and quaint 18th century ‘little houses’. Touring south, we arrive at Deanston Distillery for a tour and tasting of the wonderful, fresh, honeyed sweetness that Deanston is known for. Nearby is our final stop of the tour, Stirling Castle, for a 2-hour visit to take in the castle's long and turbulent history. We now head for the famous Forth Rail Bridge and into Edinburgh to end the tour.