Start Date: 19th September 2022
Duration: 9 nights
This wonderful 10 day tour takes you on a journey across the Scottish Highlands to the remote islands on the edge - the Outer Hebrides. We tour rugged Lewis and moutainous Harris to the south before touring along Scotland's north coast to visit the fascinating neolithic sites on Orkney. Enjoy an island-hopping experience with visits to Single Malt Whisky & Scottish Gin Distilleries thrown in for good measure. This tour begins in Inverness and after an exhilerating tour of our Highlands & Islands, we head south through the Cairngorms National Park to end in Edinburgh.
After pick-up, we head for nearby Culloden and begin with a tour of Culloden Battlefield 1746 to learn all about the last battle to fought on British soil and the Jacobite Rising. Then we travel south along the banks of Loch Ness where we enjoy lunch in Drumnadrochit village and visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle overlooking the loch. We end the day with a tour and tasting at Glen Ord distillery, the last surviving distillery in the ‘Black Isle’. Overnight Inverness.
We travel to Ullapool and take the ferry crossing to the Isle of Lewis, a land that has been inhabited by man for around 5000 years. The isle of Lewis boasts wonderful coastal scenery, ancient stone monuments, castles, traditional turf-roofed ‘blackhouses’ and the famous Harris tweed. We begin with visiting a traditional blackhouse village and see how Harris Tweed is made at the island mill, then experience Dun Carloway Broch before ending the day at the ancient Calanais Standing Stones. Overnight Stornoway.
Today we explore the rugged scenery of the Isle of Harris. We will visit the main town, Tarbert, and the popular Harris Gin distillery here. Moving on, we’ll enjoy a scenic drive along the winding ‘Golden Road’ that takes in the bays of Harris to St. Clements Church, built in 1520 for the Chiefs of MacLeod of Harris. After lunch, we will explore the beautiful beaches of the west coast and enjoy a walk at arguably the most stunning of them all, Luskentyre beach. Overnight Stornoway.
This morning allows more time to explore Lewis perhaps exploring the shops, Lews Castle and grounds, or driving out of town to walk a nearby beach, before we board the ferry back to the mainland. On the ferry crossing, look out for seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales. We arrive in Wester Ross, a very old landscape known for its spectacular mountain scenery, especially the Torridon Hills. After taking in Ullapool, we visit the ruins of Ardvreck Castle before retiring for the evening. Overnight Kylesku.
Today we tour to Durness taking in the fascinating Smoo Caves, Britain's largest sea cave and walk the sandy beaches at Sango Bay or Rispond Beach. Later we learn of the tragic story of the Highland Clearances, the Clan Mackay and the story of crofting life at the Strathnaver Museum. When we are ready, we head for Dunnet Head which is the most northern point in mainland Scotland. If desired, enjoy a visit to Dunnet Bay Distilleries that produce ‘Rock Rose’ Premium Scottish Gin. Overnight nr Gills Bay
This morning we board the morning ferry and cross the Pentland Firth to Orkney. This archipelago of 70 islands and skerries has beautiful beaches, heritage, culture and wonderful wildlife. We cross the Churchill Barriers to visit the Italian Chapel, St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall and Kirkwall town itself - a settlement shaped by the Vikings who settled here over 1,000 years ago. End the day with a visit to Highland Park Distillery where they have been producing award-winning whisky here since 1798. Overnight Orkney.
Today we head out to visit the Broch of Gurness - one of the most outstanding examples of a prehistoric settlement and then on to the stone-built Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae also called the "Scottish Pompeii". After lunch, we visit the Ring of Brodgar, Stones of Stenness, and the Brough of Birsay to walk out and explore the Pictish, Norse and medieval remains. End the day with a visit to Maes Howe chambered cairn where a guided tour gets you inside this fascinating ancient structure. Overnight Orkney.
Enjoy a free morning to relax and explore the last of Kirkwall’s streets before we head for the ferry and back to the mainland of Scotland. We land in Caithness where we take a tour of the Castle of Mey, built between 1566 and 1572 by the 4th Earl of Caithness and walk the magnificent gardens here. We will make the short journey to Scotland’s most northerly village at John ‘O Groats – a great place for a photograph. Later, we tour south along the east coast to the fishing town of Wick. Overnight Wick.
This morning we head south and start the day with a visit to the two large Neolithic chambered cairns at Camster, amongst the oldest structures in Scotland, dating to about 5,000 years ago. We will visit the little-known ancient harbour of Whaligoe Haven and if you’re keen enough, take the 365 steps that descend to the naturally formed harbour between two sea cliffs. Later, we visit Dunrobin Castle to experience the museum, spectacular gardens, and a fascinating falconry display. Overnight Dornoch.
After breakfast we make our transfer to Edinburgh. Crossing the Dornoch Firth, we tour south through the Cairngorms National Park, with heather-clad mountains and vast swathes of Caledonian Pine Forest. We stop at Loch Morlich for a short walk, Pitlochry town for lunch and a look around, and nearby Dunkeld village to view the Cathedral here before travelling south for Edinburgh. End of Edinburgh.