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Meet at a central location in Edinburgh and head toward the Scottish Highlands on a comfortable coach to begin your daylong adventure. On the way, see the impressive new Queensferry Crossing and the Forth Railway Bridge (UNESCO Heritage Site), a red cantilever bridge connecting Edinburgh to the countryside. Stop in the picturesque town of Pitlochry for a cup of tea or some home-baked cakes (own expense). Make your way through Britain’s highest mountain range in Cairngorms National Park, taking in sensational panoramas at every turn. Then, arrive at Loch Ness, where you will have time to have lunch at a nearby restaurant or enjoy a picnic (own expense). If weather conditions permit, hop on a boat with your guide and enjoy a cruise and tour the famous ruins of Urquhart Castle (own expense) around this world-famous loch. Keep your eyes peeled for the legendary Loch Ness Monster, a dinosaur-like creature who some believe lurks deep beneath these waters. Have your camera ready – even if you don’t spot ‘Nessie,’ the atmospheric Loch Ness area is beautiful. Should you choose not to take the boat and castle tour - free time to explore the charming highland village of Drumnadrochit. Continue your drive to Glen Coe, a lushly rugged glen formed by an ice age glacier. Learn how this breathtaking place was the site of a terrible massacre in 1692 that took the lives of scores of members of the MacDonald clan. On the way back to Edinburgh, pass by Stirling, an ancient Scottish city known as the ‘Gateway to the Highlands.’ Admire the town’s magnificent cliffside castle as you hear tales of William Wallace, a medieval Scottish war hero who was immortalized in the Oscar-winning film Braveheart. Your tour concludes in central Edinburgh.
Depart Inverness by minivan and travel with your guide to the heart of Scotland’s dramatic Highlands. The first stop of the day is at the banks of Loch Ness to try and catch a sight of the fabled Loch Ness monster. As you stroll through the village of Drumnadrochit and around the gorgeous shores of this famous loch (lake) surrounded by flora and fauna, you’ll soon realize that there’s more to Loch Ness than just a monster! Next you’ll head to the nearby town of Beauly for lunch (own expense) and to have a look around. The name of the town comes from the French beau lieu meaning ‘beautiful place,’ and you’ll find it to be just that while you explore its charming streets at leisure. The town is home to the legendary Glen Ord Whisky Distillery, and you’ll visit this next with your guide. While touring the cellars and distillery itself, you’ll see the whisky workers creating their flagship product – a 12-year-old single malt whisky – and you’ll be given a wee dram to sample before leaving. Our next stop of the day is in Cromarty, a picturesque village where time feels like it’s truly standing still. Enjoy a leisurely walking tour around its quaint streets, seeing cute fisherman’s cottages and houses with typical Scottish crow-stepped gables.
Heading west, you’ll venture along a stunning stretch of the Highlands known as the Black Isle, an area of land that’s actually a peninsula and named for its association with the dark arts during medieval times. Hear tales like this and more from your friendly guide as you journey deep into the Black Isle’s beautifully barren countryside.
Continue traveling by minivan through the pretty villages of Rosemarkie and Fortrose, and then stop for a walk along a ridge known as Chanonry Point. Jutting out into the sea at Moray Firth, the ridge is widely acknowledged as the best place in Britain for see dolphins – home to a community of some 130 bottleneck dolphins. After dolphin spotting to your heart’s content, your tour continues back to Inverness.
On day one we’ll head west through the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and on towards Kilmartin Glen. You’ll get lost in Scotland’s incredible nature before spending the evening in the incredible coastal town of Oban: Seafood capital of Scotland!
Your second day takes you through some incredible mountain landscapes at Glencoe. At Fort Wiliam, where the highest mountain in the UK lies - Ben Nevis - you jump aboard the Jacobite Steam Train, to enjoy one of the greatest train journeys. Taste the best seafood at Mallaig and cross over the sea to the Isle of Skye on the ferry for your second night.
Departures 01 April 2019 - 13th May 2019 and 32d September 2019 - 15 October 2019 DO NOT include the Jacobite Steam Train. These departures
include Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle instead.
Day three is all about Skye! You’ll get the chance to enjoy Sligachan, unforgettable views of the Black and Red Cuillin Mountains. You’ll then head to explore the Misty Isle and for great photographs of the Old Man of Storr, the Trotternish Peninsula and visit the colourful harbour town of Portree. We’ll spend the second night on Skye.
On our fourth day we’ll leave Skye and head straight to one of Scotland’s most photographed castles, Eilean Donan* which you’ll have ample time to explore. You’ll stop at the pretty Lochside village of Drumnadrochit for lunch, before having the option to cruise on Loch Ness, look out for Nessie and visit Urquhart Castle ruin. We’ll then head to the south end of the Loch for our overnight stop in Fort Augustus.
Our final day begins with a Loch Ness cruise (entrance fee not included, except 21st March - 9th May & 5th September - 10th October) and and visit to Culloden Battlefield (entrance fee not included). You will then visit a whisky distillery (entrance fee not included), pass through the Cairngorm Mountains National Park and the picturesque town of Pitlochry as we journey south back to Glasgow.
On day one we’ll head west through the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and on towards Kilmartin Glen. You’ll get lost in Scotland’s incredible nature before spending the evening in the incredible coastal town of Oban.
Your journey takes you through the magnificent mountains at Glen Coe where you will hear the terrible massacre of the MacDonald Clan. Then you will jump aboard the Jacobite Steam Train (included 16th May - 29th August 2016*) and go on one of the most famous train journeys in the world. You will get to Mallaig for an early dinner (own expense) before taking a short ferry ride (included) to the Isle of Skye, where you will spend your second night.
Day three is all about Skye. You’ll get the chance to enjoy unforgettable views of the Black and Red Cuillin Mountains and the colourful harbour town of Portree. Take in the spectacular views of the Old Man of Storr, the Kilt Rock waterfall and the beautiful Trotternish Peninsula. Your third night is also on Skye.
On day 4 we’ll leave Skye and head straight to one of Scotland’s most photographed castles, Eilean Donan* which you’ll have ample time to explore. You’ll stop at the pretty Lochside village of Drumnadrochit for lunch, before having the option to cruise on Loch Ness, look out for Nessie and visit Urquhart Castle ruin. We’ll then head to the south end of the Loch for our overnight stop in Fort Augustus. Day five begins visiting Dunrobin Castle (entrance fee not included), where you can enjoy a falconry display and walk in its beautiful gardens. You will drive then through the Sutherland area, towards Knockan Crag Nature Natural Reserve and see one of the oldest landscapes in Europe. Then we catch the ferry to the Isle of Lewis and Harris (included in the price). Overnight: Stornoway
Here we’ll visit a Black House village (entrance fee not included) where you can step back in time and experience the history and heritage of crofting life. You’ll also see a Traditional Harris Tweed Weaver at work (entrance fee not included) and Carloway Broch, a prehistoric circular stone tower and Callanish, home of the most complete historic stone circles in Europe. Overnight in Stornoway.
Day seven takes you to the most northerly point of the Western Isles, the Butt of Lewis, a great spot for bird and seal watching, and with its spectacular cliffs this part of the coastline is a must see! Then it’s time to take your ferry back to mainland, spending the night in Inverness.
On your final day we stop by the battlefield of Culloden (entrance fee not included), the site of the defeat of the Jacobite forces. We’ll also travel though the dramatic Cairngorms National Park, visit a whisky distillery (entrance fee not included) and have the chance to explore the picturesque town of Pitlochry before returning back to Edinburgh.
The starting point for the excursion is Inverness, the Highland Capital. Collection can be arranged from your hotel, airport, rail and bus terminals. Transport from other areas can be arranged and would be priced separately.
South Side Tour
Heading towards the small village of Dores, we experience the sheer expanse of Loch Ness flanked on either side Scottish Bens (Scots for Mountains). Travelling south along the shoreline we arrive at the Falls of Foyers, a smoking waterfall that thunders 165 ft. down the rocks before escaping into Loch Ness. We advise a level of fitness should you wish to take the walk down to the falls as it is quite steep.
Onward now to Suidhe Viewpoint, at a height of 1,200 ft. above sea level we offer another photo opportunity where you can capture this stunning landscape nestled above peat clad heather moors.
North side Tour
Again we travel along the shoreline of Loch Ness, through the village of Drumnadrochit , a chance to photo “Nessie”perhaps, before heading towards the ruins of Urquhart Castle, the second most visited castle in Scotland enveloped in 800 years of Scottish History, and famous for its part in The Wars of Independence.Close to here is the memorial to Sir John Cobb , who was killed on the loch in 1952 while attempting to break the world water speed record in his Speedboat Crusader.
Either tour takes us the entire length of the loch, (some22 miles) before arriving at Fort Augustus.
We are now in the Highland Region of Lochaber and drive along the shoreline of Loch Lochy, the third deepest Loch in Scotland, flanked by mountain slopes dropping into its waters.
Soon we arrive at The Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge and ahead of you is the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis towering 4,406 ft. above sea level.
After a possible photo stop at the memorial we proceed to Fort William. Here you have the opportunity to visit the ruins of Inverlochy Castle, a site of many bloody battles in Scottish History. Leaving Fort William our drive takes you along the shores of Loch Linnhe towards Glencoe, one of the most haunting and forbidding glens in Scotland. An area drenched in the treachery of the Glencoe Massacre which took place on the 13th February 1692 .
We then return towards Duror and stop at Glencoe Woods our Highland Estate Nature Reserve.
Returning to Inverness we travel the same route to Fort Augustus and reverse our journey (whatever your choice) to allow you to have a full scenic tour of the Great Glen.
See the Highland Capital, its Castle and Cathedral.Learn some of its fascinating history and visit the hill where Saint Columba made pilgrimage to the Pictish King, preaching “new Christianity” to the warrior Brude in his hill fortress around 550AD.Appreciate the strategic significance of the town to the sea and understand the various fortifications by Oliver Cromwell, and in turn the British Army, whose government forces have garrisoned the town from Jacobite times to the present day.
Motor past Tomnahurich Hill then down the mouth of the Great Glen to Loch Ness. Visit Urquhart Castle steeped in history, myth and monster legend. Take the opportunity, if so inclined, to do a bit of “Monster Spotting.”
Wonder at the geographic fault that divides the Highlands and glimpse the remarkable engineering feat of the Caledonian Canal, enabled by the Lochs that host its coast to coast passage.
At this point you have the option of returning to Inverness via Fort Augustus and the South shore of Loch Ness, taking in the impressive Falls of Foyers, or continuing Northwards from Drumnadrochit over Culnakirk Hill down into Beauly with its 13th Century Priory.