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Mull, Iona & Oban
- Glen Coe
- Lochside walk at Kilchurn Castle
- St Conan's Kirk
- Kilmartin Glen
- Scenic tour of Mull
- Iona Abbey and Island
- Hebridean village of Tobermory
- Luss and Loch Lomond
Departing Edinburgh we travel west, past Stirling Castle. This area of Scotland has certainly seen its fair share of fighting and warfare. Stirling Castle was once known as the ‘Key to Scotland’, and it was here that William Wallace (immortalised by Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart) defeated the English army in 1297. After William Wallace’s death it was King Robert the Bruce who continued the fight for independence and we’ll pass the site of his most famous victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
Our first stop is the fantastic medieval stronghold of Doune Castle. Built over 600 years ago for Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, the castle is in great condition and we stop for photos.
You might have seen the castle before – it was made famous by the film ‘Monty Python and The Holy Grail’ and many scenes from ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Outlander’ have been shot here.
After a short coffee stop in Callander we cross the Highland boundary fault line, leaving the rolling farms for the wild mountains and forests of the Highlands. We make a short stop at Loch Lubnaig before continuing over the Braes of Balquhidder, to the final resting place of Highland outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor.
Our journey continues to a stunning viewpoint and photo opportunity at Loch Tulla before crossing the wilderness of Rannoch Moor to famous Glen Coe. Here, on the 13th February 1692, the notorious massacre of the MacDonald Clan was carried out amidst this beautiful and dramatic scenery.
After lunch we take a scenic drive through narrow Glen Orchy and the tough knot of mountains known as Breadalbane (meaning the ‘high country of Scotland’). Our next stop is Kilchurn Castle where we enjoy a short afternoon walk. This magnificent ruin, situated in the middle of Loch Awe, is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland.
Our final stop of the day is St Conan’s Kirk then it’s onwards to Oban, the biggest town in Argyll, where we stay for one night.
Example accommodation: www.dunheanish.com
After an early breakfast we take the short ferry journey to the Hebridean island of Mull and spend the rest of the day soaking in all the wonders this unique and diverse island has to offer.
We travel south to the small hamlet of Fionnphort and take a short ferry ride to the island of Iona. Lapped by glorious turquoise waters Iona is the cradle of Celtic Christianity because of the arrival of St Columba in 563AD.
There is plenty of time to explore the island where you can visit the internationally famous Abbey (including museum of history and Celtic heritage) with its magnificent Celtic crosses and headstones. Alternatively, you can enjoy a stroll along the peaceful sandy beaches.
After lunch we head back to Mull and spend the afternoon touring the more remote areas of the island. We visit the pretty settlement of Dervaig with Kilmore Church and its round steeple. From here we venture to the wild sandy shores of Calgary Bay (Calgary in Canada takes its name from here) and if we’re lucky catch a glimpse of the huge white-tailed eagles which live in this area.
Alternatively you may wish to take a boat to the island of Staffa. Famous for its basalt columns and Fingal’s Cave (‘Nature’s Cathedral’), this huge sea cave is an amazing tribute to the effects of nature which inspired Mendelssohn’s romantic overture ‘The Hebrides’.
In the early evening we arrive in Tobermory, the island’s small capital, and stay here for one night. There will be time to soak up the atmosphere of this pretty town, browse the shops and visit the Tobermory Whisky Distillery. Tobermory, meaning ‘Well of Mary’, is one of the prettiest harbour towns in Scotland with its brightly painted houses overlooking the sea.
Example accommodation: www.westernisleshotel.com
After leaving Inveraray we drive alongside Loch Long and climb 800 feet to the ’Rest and be Thankful’ mountain pass in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. From there we continue down to the shores of Loch Lomond itself.
Fabulous views unfold as we head south along the ‘Bonnie Bonnie Banks’. This is Scotland’s largest loch, taking its name from the mountain Ben Lomond on the eastern shore. We’ll stop at the conservation village of Luss, with its quaint houses and stunning views across the loch, before returning to Edinburgh in the early evening.