Islands, Islands, Islands
with the Scottish Islands of Mull, Iona, Skye, Barra, South
Uist, North Uist, Beneray, Harris, Lewis,
The Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands
September 2nd - 22nd, 2019
"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.
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.
$9195US per person. $1495 single supplement. All single spots filled.
$500 per person deposit to reserve your. Sold out!
Please read our
terms and conditions.
Our Islands tours are ever changing as ferry crossings may be delayed or cancelled or venues change times or dates. We try to
keep to the itinerary exactly as it is, but sometimes things out of our control happen. If you are not able to easily go with the
flow or have problems with changes that may come up, please do not sign up for this tour! Although we try to provide the very
best level of accommodation available, we are sometimes limited for choice when we are out in the Hebridian, Orkney and
Shetland Islands. We have added 5 days to our regular Highlands and Islands tours making this the longest and most expensive
tour that we do!

Day 1 - September 2nd - You will be met at Edinburgh International Airport this morning before we make our long
drive towards the
Western Islands. Our drive will take us through the Trossachs National Park with a few photo op
stops along the way. We will also stop at
St. Conan's Kirk, spectacularly sited over Loch Awe. You will fall in love with this
wee Romanesque Church! After some exploring we make our way to
Taynuilt where we Stop for Lunch at a local tearoom.
After lunch we make the short drive to
Oban, Oban is known as the Gateway to the Isles and has a lovely seafront, great
shops,
McCaig's Tower and of course, Oban Distillery. We will take some time to explore Oban before getting checked into
our accommodation.
Dinner and Overnight Oban. (L,D)

Day 2 -
Our first stop this morning is Dunstaffnage Castle, one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. Built around 1275 on
a huge rock overlooking the
Firth of Lorn, Dunstaffnage was the mighty stronghold of the MacDougalls. Built around 1220
by
Duncan MacDougall, the son of Earl Somerled, known also as the ‘King of the Isles’, Dunstaffnage Castle was built at
the height of the battle between Scotland and Norway for control of the Hebrides and was even once besieged by
Robert the
Bruce
during the Wars of Independence. Our next stop is Glencoe where we will Stop for Lunch before we visit 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. After thoroughly exploring the area, we return home to Oban where you can find
some dinner on your own.
Overnight Oban. (B,L)

Day 3 -
Today we make our first ferry crossing to the Isle of Mull where we stop at 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 west coast of Scotland. For over 400 years this has been the base of the
Clan Maclean's sea-born power. You
will have some time to wander the grounds and you may want to also visit the
Castle Shop and find some lunch in the Castle
Tearoom.
We then take in Torosay Castle Gardens, a Victorian Mansion and Mixed Style Garden, designed by
David Bryce in 1858. A series of ballustraded terraces descend from the house to a great lawn. There is also a Japanese
garden, a water garden and a woodland garden. We then make our way to lovely
Tobermory and get checked into our
accommodation before meeting up for dinner.
Dinner and Overnight Tobermory, Mull. (B,L,D)

Day 4 -
This morning we drive to Fionnphort on the other end of the island where we catch the wee passenger ferry
across to the small and very beautiful
Isle of Iona where we find the 800 year old Iona Abbey where St. Columba
began his crusade in the year 563. It is said that 48 Scottish Kings are buried in the abbey graveyard. While here you will also
want to visit the
Nunnery and St. Oran's Chapel. We then take a Treshnish Isles Cruise where we search for sightings
of whales, dolphins and basking sharks. We land on
Lunga, the largest of the Treshnish Isles where we will have our packed
picnic lunch. The main attraction there is the large puffin colony but there are also many thousands of other seabirds nesting
there. From Lunga we cruise to the
Isle of Staffa, the most dramatic of all the Scottish islands with its Hexagonal Pillars
and Fingal's Cave
. On the way to Staffa we will keep an eye out for dolphins, porpoises and minke whales which are often
seen during the warmer months. We then return to Tobermory where you can find some dinner on your own.
Overnight
Tobermory, Mull. (B,L)

Day 5 -
This morning we start our journey to the South Uist with a short ferry ride from Fishnish across to Lochaline on
the mainland. After we reach Lochaline our journey will take us through spectacular scenery from
Ardtornish, Strontian
and Glenluig
and several lochs including Sunart, Shiel and Morar and along the spectacular coast to fishing village and
ferry port of
Mallaig. We will find a cozy place along the way to stop for lunch and then continue our spectacular journey. The
bustling and thriving port of Mallaig is situated on the north west coast along the famous
Road to the Isles. The town is a
fascinating place where visitors can soak up the atmosphere of a working fishing port. We will take some time to walk around
and explore before we take another ferry ride across to
Lochboisdale on South Uist. As this is a late afternoon ferry, you
will be able to find some dinner on board as we make our way across the water.
Overnight South Uist. (B,L)

Day 6 -
We will spend the day on South Uist with a visit first to the Cladh Hallan Roundhouses, an archaeological
site noted as the only place in Great Britain where prehistoric mummies have been found. In 2001 a team of archaeologists
found the remains of what are believed to be two mummified
Bronze Age bodies, buried under the floor of a Roundhouse at
Cladh Hallan. One of them was a male who had died around 1600 BC and another a female who had died around 1300 BC.
We then visit
Flora MacDonald’s Monument. After the Jacobite defeat at Culloden ‘Bonny Prince Charlie’ faced capture
unless he could escape to France. While British government troops were searching for him, he sought refuge in Uist where Flora
MacDonald helped him escape to Skye and then to France. We will also stop at the
Kildonan Museum Centre, a heritage
and cultural amenity which includes a museum, a craft shop, a Fèis room for ceilidhs, music and dance, a café and
an archaeology room where finds can be cleaned and examined by visiting archaeology groups. We then return to Lochboisdale
for dinner.
Dinner and Overnight South Uist. (B,D)

Day 7 -
This morning we take the ferry to the Isle of Barra this morning where we visit the archaeological monuments at
Allt Chrysal, Bentangaval, which were discovered in 1990 during the archaeological survey which preceded the building of
the
Vatersay Causeway and it’s approach road. Excavations have revealed at least six phases of human occupation of this
‘preferred site’ overlooking the sound of Vatersay, beginning about 4500 years ago. If time permits we will also explore
Kisimul Castle which for many generations Kisimul was the home and stronghold of the Macneils of Barr. On the way
back we stop on the
Isle of Eriskay where on 23 July 1745 the French Ship Du Teillay put ashore a small boat at a beach
on the west side of the island. This is now called
Coilleag a'Phrionnsa, which translates as "the Prince's Cockleshell
Strand".
Out of the boat stepped Bonnie Prince Charlie, the first time he had ever set foot on Scottish soil. On Eriskay,
Charles met with
Alexander Macdonald of Boisdale who urged him to go home. Charles is reported to have said "I am
come home sir" before sailing for the Scottish mainland to raise his standard at
Glenfinnan. Today the beautiful beach on
which he landed is home to the white striped pink sea bindweed, a flower not native to the Hebrides. The seeds are said to have
fallen from Charles' pocket as he removed a handkerchief. After you find some dinner on the Island, we take the land bridge
back across to
South Uist. Dinner and Overnight South Uist. (B,D)

Day 8 -
Today will be all about exploring landscapes and seascapes as we traverse land bridge that connect South Uist
to North Uist to Benbecula and to Beneray.
North Uist is a stunning blend of beaches, machair lands and freshwater
lochs interrupted by rolling dark moorland hills. The island is home to thousands of migrating birds with huge flocks of

Turnstones, Purple Sandpipers, Dunlins and Sanderlings
along the shoreline. Greenland Barnacle Geese,
Dotterels, Ringed Plovers, Skylarks and Oystercatchers on the Machair and Redshanks, Lapwings and Snipe

on the marshy grassland. We then drive across the land bridge to the island of
Beneray with some time to explore
the wild coastline before heading to the ferry dock where the ferry will take us across to
Leverburgh on the Isle of
Harris
where we visit 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.
Dinner and Overnight Harris. (B,D)

Day 9 -
This morning we take some time in Tarbert to visit the Harris Tweed Shop and Warehouse of Family
Weavers.
After some further exploration on Harris, we cross the land bridge onto the Isle of Lewis and then make our
way to 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 then make our way to
Stornoway, the largest city on the island. You can find some
lunch, do some shopping and explore Stornoway before we make our way back to Tarbert to take the ferry across to the
Isle
of Skye. Dinner and Overnight Skye. (B,D)

Day 10
- This morning we journey 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 before we find some dinner in this delightful harbour
village.
Overnight Skye. (B,L)

Day 11 -
Leaving Skye behind today, we take the Skye Bridge back across to the mainland to 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
hereditary keepers and they rebuilt the castle as you see it today. We then make the short journey to
Plockton. This peaceful
Highland community in the Gaelic heartland was once based on fishing and crofting but now draws artists and photographers
from all over the world
. We often see Highland Cows traveling through town and they are often a favorite. We then continue
into the
Applecross area, one of the most beautiful areas of Scotland. With amazing panoramas to the Outer Hebrides and
South to the
Kintail Mountains you will understand why they call it "the Sanctuary". This afternoon we make our way to
Loch Ewe at one of the most dramatic and remote locations on the north-west coast of Scotland, with breath-taking views
across the
Minch to the Isle of Skye, the Shiant Isles and the Outer Hebrides. We then make our way to Ullapool.
Dinner and Overnight near Ullapool. (B,D)

Day 12 -
This morning we 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 you can find
dinner on your own.
Overnight Thurso. (B,L)

Day 13
- 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.
Dinner and Overnight Thurso. (B,D)

Day 14 -
After our Ferry Across to Orkney our first stop is 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 3,100BC making the stones complex one of the earliest stone circles in Britain.
Dinner and Overnight Orkney. (B,D)

Day 15 -
This morning we will take the short journey to the Isle of Hoy. Synonymous with the world famous sea stack the
Old Man of Hoy, Orkney's second largest island rises dramatically from the sea. With mountainous moorland and glacial
valleys, you will encounter a dramatic highland landscape. Hoy is unlike anywhere else in Orkney. Once on Hoy we visit
Dwarfie Stane, a huge block of sandstone in which a Neolithic burial chamber has been cut. It is believed to date from around
3000 BC and the tomb was formerly sealed by the blocking stone which now lies in front of the entrance. Hoy is also famous for
its birdlife. 10,000 acres of moorland and dramatic sea cliffs form an
RSPB Nature Reserve which attracts large numbers of
migrating and resident birds, including the much loved
Puffin! The viewpoint overlooking the Old Man is said to be the best
place to spot them. After thoroughly exploring the island, we return to the mainland for dinner where you can find some dinner.

Overnight Orkney. (B,L)

Day 16 -
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 before  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
Shetland.
Overnight At Sea. (B,D)

Day 17 - Shetland,
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 Shetland. (B,D)

Day 18 -
This morning we travel to Eshaness and the Eshaness Lighthouse in the area of Northmavine. Eshaness
boasts one of the highest energy coastlines in the world. Blasted by the full force of the North Atlantic it displays a stunning
array of stacks, blowholes and geos (narrow inlets). The area of Northmavine boasts a wonderful range of wildlife and habitats.
Seals, Otters, Porpoises and occasionally Dolphins and Whales can be seen from the shore. Inland expanses of peat
and heather are home to
Mountain Hares, Rabbits, Polecats and a multitude of birds, including the elegant Red-throated
Diver which can be seen on many lochs. The lighthouse, which is visible for miles, is perched on the rim of fabulous volcanic
cliffs where the full Atlantic fury has shaped some of Shetland's most dramatic cliff scenery. You can walk along to the head of
Calder's Geo, where the sea has gouged out a deep inlet along a line of weakness in the rock. Fulmars float on air currents
above the surging waves and nest among the crannies of the vertical rock faces, which are transformed into hanging gardens.
We then return home for dinner.
Dinner and Overnight Shetland. (B,D)

Day 19 -
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 20 -
We dock this morning in Aberdeen and then make our way south to Glamis and Glamis Castle, the childhood
home of
The Queen Mother and the legendary setting for Shakespeare's Macbeth. Home to the Earls of Strathmore
and Kinghorne
, Glamis Castle has witnessed over 600 years of history. Glamis is also reported to be the most haunted castle
in Scotland and is a true fairy tale castle! You can find some lunch at Glamis and then explore the gardens before we make our
way to
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.
Farewell Dinner and Overnight Edinburgh. (B,D)

Day 21 - September 22nd -
We return to the Edinburgh International Airport for the journey home.