Start Date: 1st October 2022
Duration: 13 nights
This is a fabulous introduction to the Scottish landscape as we explore Scotland’s first National Park. Enjoy a relaxing walk around the village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond before we travel into the Cowal Peninsula. Here, we’ll visit Kilfinan Church housing the Lamont vault containing interred remains of the clan’s chiefs, and the ruins of Ascog Castle (fitness and walking shoes required). Overnight Strachur.
Today is spent soaking up the history of Clan Lamont of Cowal. We will seek to meet Mary Lamb, curator of The Clan Lamont Society museum, at Inverchaolain Manse overlooking Loch Striven. We will also visit the ruins of the Lamont strongholds of Dunoon Castle and Toward Castle, which will help to string all the stories together. Overnight Strachur.
We head west for the wonderful lochside village of Inveraray and its famous Castle. Later, we will visit Auchendrain village and enjoy an incredible archaeological treat to see Kilmartin Glen with its ancient standing stones and burial cairns, often referred to as the birthplace of Scotland. We tour through to the bustling seaside town of Oban, ‘Gateway to the Isles’, before taking the ferry to Mull. Overnight Mull.
This morning we wake to the splendour of the Isle of Mull with its rugged mountain scenery and stunning seascapes. We visit the home of one of Scotland’s oldest Clans, Duart Castle, and the main town of Tobermory with its colourful frontage of painted houses. We will spend the afternoon touring the north of the island enjoy a walk at the white sand beach at Calgary Bay. Overnight Mull.
After breakfast, we head out to explore south Mull and look for some of the island’s wildlife before taking a short ferry crossing to the small isle of Iona renowned for its tranquillity. A short and easy walk takes us to Iona Abbey which has been a vibrant centre of Christian worship since Columba arrived here in AD 563. Later we travel back to the Mull for the evening. Overnight Mull.
Today we travel by ferry to explore the sparsely populated Ardnamurchan Peninsula by way of single-track road where the relics of ancient volcanic activity are conspicuous features. This is an area ideal for wildlife watching opportunities. After lunch, we make our way into Lochaber for the afternoon and explore the magnificent sights around Glencoe. Overnight Fort William.
This morning you’ll step aboard the Jacobite steam train, now famous as the Harry Potter “Hogwarts Express”, and travel part of the West Highland Line, built in 1901 to help open up this remote part of the Scottish coast. You will have wonderful views across the Sound of Arisaig to the Small Isles. After lunch at the fishing village of Mallaig we cross “Over the Sea to Skye” and tour through South Skye. Overnight Uig, Skye
Today is a tour of the Isle of Skye, passing through Broadford and the Cuillin Mountains to the main settlement on the Island, Portree, with colourful houses and traditional harbour. If desired, take a tour of Dunvegan Castle. Later, we explore the north of the island and admire the scenery and views at the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock Falls, Lealt Falls and the strange landscape of the Quiraing. Overnight Uig, Skye
After breakfast, we travel by ferry from Skye to the Outer Hebrides (1hr 45min crossing) and we will spend the afternoon exploring the dramatic beauty of the Isle of Harris. On arrival, enjoy a Harris Weaving demonstration before we head off to discover today’s highlights including the twisting coastal track the ‘Golden Road’ and take a walk along stunning Luskentyre beach. Overnight Stornoway.
Today we explore the rich history of Lewis which has been inhabited by man for around 5000 years or more. Visiting the ancient Calanais Standing Stones dating from 2900-2600 BC; Dun Carloway Broch, one of the best preserved in the Hebrides dating back over 2000 years; and a traditional blackhouse village we will discover the ancient way of life. Overnight Stornoway.
This morning allows more time to explore Stornoway town or more of Lewis before we board the ferry for the mainland. Keep your eyes open for dolphins, whales, and seabirds as we travel past the Summer Isles and into Ullapool harbour. Arriving in Wester Ross, we will head for Inverness and if desired, enjoy an afternoon walk at the Rogie Falls. Overnight nr Inverness.
We head into the ‘Capital of the Highlands’, Inverness, to enjoy some free-time exploring the city before we travel south along the banks of Loch Ness with fabulous scenery and picturesque villages along the way stopping at the picturesque village of Fort Augustus for lunch. We head back along the opposite shores of Loch Ness to spend the afternoon at the whisky distillery for a tour and tasting. Overnight nr Inverness.
After breakfast, we head out for a scenic trip through the Cairngorms National Park to the east coast. We will visit Carrbridge village, Grantown-on-Spey, and stop at Ballater for lunch. On the way, we will visit nearby Crathie Kirk, best known for being the regular place of worship of the British royal family when they are in residence at the nearby Balmoral Castle. Overnight nr Aberdeen.
Today we begin our journey back to Edinburgh. We tour south along the east coast with beautiful seaside vistas over the North Sea and we will stop to visit the medieval market-town of Montrose, 12th century Abroath boasting an attractive old harbour and long sandy beaches, and the quaint village of Falkland known for its Outlander series connection. Crossing the Forth Bridge takes us back into Edinburgh.