Scottish Highlands and Islands
with Mull, Iona, Skye, Harris, Lewis,
The Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands
September 8th - 24th, 2017
highlands tour of scotland, scotland highlands tour
"Nothing captures the Romantic wonder of Scotland more than the Highlands and Islands.
If you have never experienced the Isles of Scotland, I cannot do them justice in just words!
I have been doing this tour for as long as I have been doing tours and we almost always
offer it twice a year, once in spring in once in autumn. I am often asked which time of year
that I prefer it and my answer is always the same, whenever I am there! My family comes
from the Islands, which is part of the draw for me, but you can't help but be drawn into the
history and wild beauty that abounds at every turn. Please join me on one of these
amazing adventures" - Shannon McDonald Tate
This tour is designed to accommodate only 12 people for a more personal experience to
allow you to get the most of your Scottish holiday. Keeping the tour size small gives us the
opportunity to veer from the beaten path and take advantage of accommodations,
restaurants and sightseeing venues that would not be available to larger groups. You may
find yourself staying in a delightful city guest house, a small country house hotel, a
comfortable farmhouse and an old coaching Inn all in the same visit. We hope to show you
the real Scots people and some of the wonderful sights to be seen all over this beautiful
country. You will not feel rushed and we spend as little time on the bus as possible.
scottish highlands, highlands and islands
Tour includes all accommodation in 4 and 5 star Scottish Tourist Board Approved
accommodations. Full Scottish breakfast each morning, all meals listed in itinerary.
Porterage of one suitcase per person. Minibus travel including tour guide. Knowledgeable
guide for all tourist venues. All sightseeing as indicated in itinerary including any entrance
fees. All taxes and service charges.
$6495US per person double occupancy.
$995 single supplement.
$500 per person deposit to reserve.
Sold Out!
scotland tour of highlands and islands
Day 1 - September 8th - You will be met at Glasgow International Airport this morning before we make our way
towards the
Western Highlands and Islands. Our drive will take us along the bonny banks of Loch Lomond. We'll
stop alongside the loch before heading northward to
Loch Awe where St. Conan's Kirk is spectacularly sited overlooking
the loch. I could not imagine venturing through this area of Scotland without visiting this romanesque church. After our visit
we continue on to
Oban, which is known at the Gateway to the Isles. You will have some time to explore Oban before
checking into our accommodation.
Welcoming Dinner and Overnight Oban. (L,D)

Day 2
- Today will be spent on the largest of the Inner Hebridian Isles, Mull and the wee island of Iona. Mull offers
rough moorlands, rocky peaks and splendid beaches as well as
Duart Castle, home of the Macleans. Standing proudly
on a cliff top guarding the
Sound of Mull, Duart enjoys one of the most spectacular and unique positions on the westcoast
of Scotland. For over 400 years this has been the base of the
Clan Maclean's sea-borne power. You may want to visit the
Castle Tearoom and Shop before we continue on to the small and very beautiful island of Iona where we find the 800
year old
Iona Abbey. Before visiting the Abbey, we will Lunch at the St. Columba Hotel. St Columba began his
crusade in Iona in the year 563 and 48 Scottish Kings are buried in the abbey graveyard. You will also want to visit the

Nunnery and St. Oran's Chapel.
The end of the day finds us returning to Oban where you can find some dinner on your
own.
Overnight Oban. (B,L)

Day 3 -
This morning we start our journey to the Isle of Skye with our first stop at Glencoe, which was the site of the
1692
Massacre of the McDonalds. Against a backdrop of craggy peaks and the tumbling River Coe, the Glen offers
some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery. We then stop at
Fort William nestled snuggly on the shores of Loch
Linnhe.
Here in  Fort William you  can do some shopping and find some lunch. Our journey then takes us through some
spectacular scenery and several lochs including
Lochy, Garry and Cluanie. When we finally reach Loch Duich we find
Scotland's most photographed castle,
Eilean Donan, originally built in 1220 by Alexander II as a defence against the
Vikings. It subsequently became a stronghold of the
Mackenzies of Kintail who installed the MacRaes as hereditory
keepers
and they rebuilt the castle as you see it today. After our visit we cross the Skye Bridge where we find our
accommodation.
Dinner and Overnight Skye. (B,D)

Day 4 -
This morning we travel to Dunvegan to visit Dunvegan Castle which has been the stronghold of the Chiefs of
MacLeod
for nearly 800 years and it remains their home. Built on a Rock once surrounded entirely by salt water, it is
unique in Scotland as the only house of such antiquity to have retained its family and its roof throughout the centuries. We
will have
Lunch in Dunvegan before we journey round the Trotternish Peninsula with its spectacular coastline. We
will stop at the grave site of
Flora MacDonald at Kilmuir. Flora is best known for her brave act in helping Bonnie
Prince Charlie
escape after the battle of Culloden, We will also visit The Quiraing being one of the most exciting natural
rock formations anywhere in Scotland We will also stop to see some of the other natural rock formations on the island. Next
we visit
Portree, meaning port of the king. You will be able to explore a bit and find some dinner in this delightful harbour
village.
Overnight Skye. (B,L)

Day 5 -
Leaving Skye behind today, we take the ferry from UIg across to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris where we will
visit the
Harris Tweed Shop and Warehouse of Family Weavers. Harris is famed for its beaches, miles of white shell
sands washed by turquoise waves more reminiscent of tropical islands than the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. We will
see several of these beaches on our way to
Rodel on the south end of the Island. At the southern most point of the island we
find
St. Clements Church at Rodel. The church was built in the late 15th century for the Chiefs of the MacLeods of
Harris
and in 1528, Alasdair Crotach MacLeod, 8th Chief, prepared for himself a magnificent wall tomb on the south
side of the choir - possibly the finest medieval wall tomb in Scotland, being crowned by an arch and with ornate carvings of
biblical design. We then start our journey north and cross the
Land Bridge that will take us across the Isle of Lewis.  
Dinner and Overnight Stornoway. (B,D)

Day 6 -
 This morning  our first stop will be the Callanish Standing Stones. Dating back over 4000 years, ranks second
in terms of importance only to Stonehenge and is older. The main monument is an extraordinary cross-shaped setting of
stones, centred on a circle of tall stones. At its heart stands a solitary monolith 15 feet high. Lines of smaller stones radiate
from the circle to east, west and south. From the north runs an avenue 175 feet long, formed by two lines of stones that
narrow as they approach the circle. Within the circle is a chambered tomb. We will also visit the
Arnol Blackhouse
Museum
which tells the story of the original crofters native to this area of Scotland. There is also an attached barn, byre
and stackyard. Beside the Blackhouse, a furnished 1920s Whitehouse can also be seen. We then end the day in back in
Stornoway, the largest city on the island. Overnight Stornoway, Isle of Lewis. (B,L)

Day 7 -
We take the early, early ferry back across to the Mainland at Ullapool this morning. We will take some time to
enjoy this lovely fishing village before we start our drive north to
Thurso. I love the drive through the Assynt
Mountains and Loch Assynt
with its spectacular viewpoint. We continue through the mountains before we travel the
Scenic Coastal Route to Thurso
with some of the most spectacular scenery to be found anywhere in Scotland. Have
your cameras ready as there will be several wonderful photo ops. On this coastline  you will see some of the most amazing

Beaches and Cliffs
you have ever seen! We will find a cozy place to stop for lunch along the way. Much of the coastline is
composed of sea lochs and kyles and including
Loch Laxford, Kyle of Durness, Loch Eriboil, Loch Hope and the
Kyle of Tongue.
Our journey will eventually end up near the town of Thurso where we find dinner waiting. Dinner and
Overnight near Thurso. (B,D)

Day 8
- Our first stop this morning is the Castle of Mey, the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland. The
Queen Mother
renovated and restored it and for almost half a century she spent many happy summers here and shorter
visits at other times of the year. The Castle of Mey was built by
George, the 4th Earl of Caithness, for his second son
William Sinclair in the 16th century. In 1952, HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother saw what was then known as
Barrogill Castle while staying with Commander and Lady Doris Vyner at the House of the Northern Gate on Dunnet
Head, a short distance to the west. Despite its poor condition, she purchased the castle that year and set about renovating
and restoring both the castle and its gardens and parklands. We will also make our way to
Dunnet Head, the most
northerly point on mainland Britain and on a clear day it commands some of the most extensive views you are likely to find
anywhere in northern Scotland. We then take the evening ferry across the
Orkney Islands. Dinner and Overnight
Orkney. (B,D)

Day 9 -
This morning our first stop will be Maeshowe, the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe. Built before 2700
BC, it was raided by the Vikings in the mid-12th century and plundered of its 'treasures'. Maeshowe is interesting because
of the various runic inscriptions carved into the walls.  This is one of the best known collections and includes the
Maeshowe
Dragon
- a very well known Orkney icon. Next we visit Skara Brae a neolithic village dating from 2,500 BC which has
been hidden under sand dunes, perfectly preserved, for thousands of years and was only rediscovered 150 years ago.  We
will also visit the
Broch of Gurness, one of the most outstanding surviving examples of a later prehistoric settlement that
is unique to northern Scotland. The
Vikings who settled in Orkney from around 800 often used the mounds of earlier
settlement sites as burial places, and this was the case at Gurness. Next is the
Ring of Brodgar, a stone ring  built in a true
circle originally containing 60 megaliths. Finally we visit the
Standing Stones of Stenness dating from 3,100 BC making
the stones complex one of the earliest stone circles in Britain. We then make our way to
Kirkwall for you to find some
dinner.
Overnight Orkney. (B,L)

Day 10 -
First thing this morning we will visit the Tomb of the Eagles on South Ronaldsay Island. Perched above
the dramatic
South Ronaldsay cliffs, the Isbister Chambered Cairn - better known today as the ‘Tomb of the Eagles’
- is one of Orkney’s top archaeological sites. Discovered by chance by a local farmer in the 1950s, this
Stone Age Tomb
revealed an amazing collection of bones and artefacts, placed here some 5,000 years ago. Next we stop at
Highland Park
Distillery
. This whisky is made with the same enduring belief and integrity, to the same exacting standards, as it has been
since 1798. We will have a tour of the distillery followed by a wee dram  and then you will have some free time in Kirkwall
dinner and then before boarding the overnight ferry to the
Shetlands. While here you may want to visit St. Magnus
Cathedral
. Begun in 1137 this cathedral built from alternating bands of local red and yellow sandstone is one of the finest
and best preserved medieval cathedrals in Scotland. After dinner we board a ferry that will take us on an overnight voyage
to the
Shetland Islands. Overnight At Sea. (B,D)

Day 11 -
The Shetlands Islands are a natural world where wildlife is truly wild and where you can watch otters and
seals at play and where the air is filled with the sound of seabirds crowding extraordinary cliffs in huge, noisy colonies.  
6,000 years of human history have endowed the islands with some of the finest archaeological sites in Europe. Our journey
today will take us to the very most northerly point in the
Shetlands on the Island of Unst. Our journey will take us
north on Mainland Shetlands to
Toft where we board a wee ferry to cross the Island of Yell. We travel northward to the
top of yell to
Gutcher where we board a wee ferry for the crossing to Unst. We will explore the wilds of the Shetlands and
drive to the most northerly point of Unst where we can look out to
Out Stack, and uninhabited island that is the last land
mass before the
North Pole! After a lovely days outing of exploring and amazing photo ops we make our way to our
accommodation back on Mainland Shetland for dinner.
Dinner and Overnight Shetlands. (B,D)

Day 12 -
This morning we take in the multi-period Jarlshof Prehistoric Norse Settlement. Jarlshof lies at the most
southernly tip of Mainland Shetlands and provides an insight into the way of life of the inhabitants at particularly interesting
periods – the late
Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish era, Norse era and the Middle Ages. It includes oval-shaped
Bronze Age houses, Iron Age broch and wheelhouses, Viking long houses, medieval farmstead and 16th century laird’s
house. We will have a tour of the site before we make our way to
Lerwick, the largest town in the Shetlands. After you find
some lunch we will visit the
Shetland Textile Museum where you can watch demonstrations of spinning and knitting
and admire the extensive collection of over 500 knitted or woven items at this one of its kind museum dedicated to the
islands’ textile heritage. You will then have some free time to wander around Lerwick where the harbour is an excellent
location to seal watch and where we will board the overnight ferry back to the mainland at
Aberdeen. After boarding the
ferry you will be able to find some dinner on board.
Overnight at Sea. (B,L)

Day 13 -
We dock this morning in Aberdeen and then make our way west up and then along the Moray Firth to Elgin to
visit Elgin Cathedral.
This superb ruin of what was perhaps the most beautiful cathedral in Scotland is Scotland's second
largest cathedral behind St. Andrews and was known as
'The Lantern of the North'. If suffered many mishaps and then
was rebuilt only to see the Reformation in the 1500's. Even in ruins, it is still one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Scotland.
This is a good place to find some lunch and we will take some time in Elgin before we then drive a bit further up the road to

Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth
. This is a lovely seaside village where we can find some great ice cream before a stroll
on the beach. We will continue our coastal route taking is through
Forres and Nairn where we will stop for the night.
Dinner and Overnight Nairn. (B,D)

Day 14
-This morning we make our way to Culloden Moor and Culloden Battlefield first. A desolate stretch of
moorland, Culloden looks much as it did on 16 April 1746, the date of the last battle to be fought on British soil. Here
Bonnie Prince Charlie made his last stand for the Stewart cause. The battlefield itself is now restored to as close as
possible that two side marched on that fateful day. We will find out why this battle that lasted only one hour changed the
way of life of the
Highlands forever. Then on to Cawdor for Lunch at the Cawdor Tavern before a visit to the 4000
year old
Clava Cairns, one of Scotland’s most evocative sacred prehistoric sites. The cairns are dominated by a line of
three exceptionally well-preserved burial cairns, each enclosed by stone circles. We know little about who the cairn builders
were, for they left no written record. The actual remains of those buried within the cairns no longer survive because of
overzealous archaeological digging in the early 20th century. We then make our way to another delightful Highland town,
Pitlochry. Dinner on your own and Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L)

Day 15 -
Today our first stop is Blair Athol and Blair Castle. Blair Castle is set in extensive parklands, including the
recently restored Hercules Garden and Diana's Grove, and with 725 years of history and over 30 rooms open to the public,
an absolute delight to explore! We then stop at
The Queen's View named after Robert The Bruce's wife Isabel but
made popular by
Queen Victoria. This is one of the most breathtaking sights in Scotland and will become a favorite of
yours. We will have lunch once we are back in Pitlochry before we visit
Blair Athol Distillery, which is one of Scotland's
oldest working distilleries. From the water of the
Allt Dour Burn comes a 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, with a mellow
deep-toned aroma.
After a Wee Taste and a Tour of the Distillery, we return to Pitlochry for you to explore this
delightful town before dinner and then a performance at the
Pitlochry Festival Theatre. Dinner and Overnight
Pitlochry. (B,L,D)

Day 16 -
On the way to Glasgow today we stop in Perth to visit Scone Palace, the home of the Earls of Mansfield.  
Once the crowning place of
Scottish Kings, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in Scotland’s history. A breathtakingly
beautiful place of power and mystery and the rightful home of the celebrated
Stone of Scone, Scone Palace is regarded as
a national treasure and is revered as the historic jewel in Scotland’s crown.
Our next stop is Stirling and Stirling
Castle
for a guided tour. Stirling Castle is  one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Scotland. Mary,
Queen of Scots
was crowned here at Stirling Castle and the Great Hall and Chapel Royal are wonderful highlights. An
ongoing project has returned the six ground floor apartments in the castle’s Renaissance palace to how they may have
looked in the mid 16th century
. Farewell Dinner and Overnight near Glasgow. (B,D)

Day 17 - September 24th -
This morning we return to Glasgow International Airport for our journey home. (B)