Start Date: 23rd May 2024
Duration: 13 nights
Explore Scotland's spectacular coastal and island scenery. Visit our west coast islands to experience our ancient heritage, natural island landscapes and abundant wildlife over 14 relaxing days. Begin your journey viewing Scotland's first National Park and head over to the rugged Isle of Mull to experience a wildlife cruise to view Puffins on the islands of Lunga & Staffa, then on to the magical Isle of Skye and the wild Outer Hebrides, to the dramatic north coast, and come face to face with Neolithic history in Orkney. Explore Inverness, historic Culloden Battlefield and highland Perthshire before venturing south back to Edinburgh. This tour includes carefully selected, quality accommodation.
Day 1 is a fabulous introduction to the Scottish landscape, exploring Scotland’s first National Park & beautiful Loch Lomond. Moving on, we journey west to the wonderful lochside village of Inveraray and its famous Castle and take in the bustling seaside town of Oban "Gateway to the Isles" for some free time in the town. Overnight Oban.
Day 2 we take the morning ferry to the Isle of Mull and tour the north of the island with its rugged mountain scenery and stunning seascapes. We visit home of one of Scotland’s oldest Clans, Duart Castle and the town of Tobermory with its colourful frontage of painted houses and walk the white sand beach at Calgary Bay. Overnight Mull.
Day 3 we travel to south Mull for a wildlife cruise to the Treshnish Isles and Staffa. Enjoy 2¼ hours ashore to observe and photograph puffins, and 1hr ashore on Staffa, where Atlantic waves crash into Fingal's Cave formed from giant basalt columns. After an afternoon witnessing seabirds and seals, we make our way back to Mull. Overnight Mull.
Day 4 we travel by ferry to explore the 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 as we travel up the coast to take the ferry “Over the Sea to Skye”. Overnight nr. Skye.
Day 5 is a tour of the Isle of Skye, passing through Broadford and the Cuillin Mountains, to the island capital Portree. Heading north we take in the fabulous scenery and seascapes of Kilt Rock Falls, the Old Man of Storr and the unusual land formations of the Quiring with other possible options. Overnight north Skye.
Day 6 we take the morning ferry across the Minch to the Outer Hebrides and enjoy the day exploring the dramatic beauty of the Isle of Harris. We’ll head south along the Golden Road to visit 15th century St. Clements Church and then stunning Luskentyre beach for a walk along the sands. We’ll also view a Harris Tweed weaving demonstration. Overnight Harris.
Day 7 we explore the rich history of Lewis which has been inhabited by man for around 5000 years or more. We visit the ancient Calanais Standing Stones, the ruins of Dun Carloway Broch, and a traditional blackhouse village where we will discover the ancient way of life. Overnight Lewis.
Day 8 allows time to explore the town of Stornoway before we head back to the mainland past the Summer Isles and venture through Wester Ross. This is a very old landscape which is well known for its mountain scenery, after taking in Ullapool we visit the ruins of Ardvreck Castle. Overnight Kylesku.
Day 9 we explore the most remote north west coast with views to Hoy Island. Enjoy a beach walk at Sango Sands and learn of the tragic story of the Highland Clearances, the Clan Mackay and the story of crofting life at the Strathnaver Museum. The ancient Pictish Farr Stone is situated nearby. Overnight nr Thurso.
Day 10 we 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 and Highland Park Distillery. Overnight Orkney.
Day 11 we head out to the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae and the Broch of Gurness, one of the most outstanding examples of a prehistoric settlement. On the way, we stop to visit the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Stenness, and the Brough of Birsay. We end the day with an incredible visit to Maeshowe chambered cairn built 2800bc. Overnight Orkney.
Day 12 we head back to the mainland of Scotland and Caithness where we visit Wick Heritage Museum, which has a strong focus on the herring-boom era of Wick's history. Later, we explore the ancient harbour of Whaligoe Haven and then finish the day with an afternoon walk. Overnight Dornoch.
Day 13 takes us south to Inverness ‘Capital of the Highlands’ before we explore Culloden Moor, then the Cairngorms National Park with towering mountain ranges and large tracts of the original Caledonian Pine Forest. Further south, we take in Carrbridge, Aviemore with the opportunity of an afternoon walk at Rothiemurchus Estate. Overnight Pitlochry.
Day 14 explores Highland Perthshire taking in Pitlochry town and Dunkeld village before moving on to Stirling. After lunch, historic Stirling Castle is the next stop for a 2.5hour tour to take in the castle's long and turbulent history. Later, we take in the famous Forth Rail Bridge before making our way back to Edinburgh.