Starting at $32.49
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.
Your 5-day Scotland and Isle of Skye tour from Edinburgh highlights the country’s outstanding natural beauty and rich history. From ancient castles to mysterious lochs, this small-group experience allows you to uncover the best of rural Scotland while receiving personalized attention from an expert guide. Depending on the season, enjoy a scenic ride aboard the Jacobite steam train (May 16–August 29) or a Loch Ness cruise and admission to Urquhart Castle (March 21–May 9; September 10–October 10).Relax with hotel or guesthouse accommodation (depending on option selected) in Oban, Kyleakin and Drumnadrochit, with daily breakfasts included.
Depart Inverness by minivan and travel with your guide to the heart of Scotland’s dramatic Highlands. 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.First 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.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 to the nearby town of Beauly for lunch (own expense) and 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.On the way back to Inverness, there’s one last – and very important – stop 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!
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.
Meet and greet at the pier gates 08:00-08:30am
We will set off towards Loch Ness ahead of the ships own tours.
We start by driving through the Black Isle countryside to the scenic village of Beauly for a photo stop at the ruins of the 12th century Beauly Priory. Just a 10-15 minute stop.
Back on the road again through the highland countryside as we climb through Glen Convinth, before the steep descent toward Drumnadrochit and Loch Ness
You can visit Urquhart Castle ruins on foot, on the banks of Loch Ness, or we can offer a cruise on Loch Ness and see Urquhart Castle from the waters of the Loch, rather than joining the hundreds of others from the ship on dry land. (if you would like to take the cruise, please let us know in advance so we can book seats for you. Tickets are not included in our fare).
After either of the above we have a quick rest stop at the Clansman Hotel for a visit to the gift shop, a refreshment or just the restrooms.From here we will drive up the side of Loch Ness to Inverness, and after a Panoramic tour, we head east 10 miles to Cawdor Castle.Cawdor Castle, magical name, romantically linked by Shakespeare with Macbeth. A superb fairy-tale Castle, and just what every visitor is looking for Scottish history that you can touch and see and sense for yourself. Cawdor Castle is not another cold monument, but a splendid house and the home of the Cawdor family to this day.
The group can have lunch in the Castle restaurant, and then wander round the castle and formal gardens at your leisure before returning to the vehicle at an agreed time, to start our journey back to the ship
On route we pay a visit to Clava Cairns, prehistoric burial grounds which are worth seeing and it’s on route to our last photo stop, Culloden Moor
Culloden Moor is the site of the last battle on Scottish soil. The Jacobite rebellion of 1745 ended here on 16th April 1746, with the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite's.
After all this, its time to head back to the port, so you can re-join the ship.