The Outer Hebrides & Isle of Skye
- Dunkeld Cathedral
- Corrieshalloch Gorge
- Fishing villages of the North West Highlands
- Ferry to and from the Outer Hebrides
- Beaches of Lewis and Harris
- Callanish standing stones circle
- Isle of Skye day tour
- Eilean Donan Castle
- Glen Coe
- Both of Scotland's National Parks
Our first stop is Dunkeld, a delightful Highland village with a history stretching back to the 8th century. Time for morning coffee and a visit to the ancient cathedral grounds, beautifully situated in mature woodlands beside the mighty River Tay. We stop for lunch in the Spey valley before continuing to nearby Ruthven Barracks for sweeping views across the Cairngorms National Park.
After passing through the Highland capital of Inverness we stop for a walk at the impressive Corrieshalloch Gorge and hair-raising suspension bridge. Our overnight stay is the west coast fishing port of Ullapool.
Example accommodation: www.theceilidhplace.com
After breakfast we board the CalMac ferry and sail past the Summer Isles across the Minch to the Hebrides. There are wildlife spotting opportunities en-route – look out for dolphins, whales and seabirds.
In the afternoon we explore the north-west coast including Arnol with its historic old ‘blackhouse’, several crofting townships and the northern tip of the island, known as the Butt of Lewis. From here there’s nothing between Scotland and the Americas. Our overnight stay (2 nights) is Stornoway, the main town on the Isle of Lewis and capital of the outer Hebrides.
Example accommodation: www.royalstornoway.co.uk
Today is spent exploring some of the prehistoric remains on Lewis as well as its beautiful beaches. The fascinating circular stone fort, or Broch, at Carloway is our first stop followed by traditional crofting communities such as Gearrannan and Shawbost.
After lunch we visit one of Scotland’s most iconic and sacred sites, Callanish and its world famous standing stone circle. In the afternoon we travel to the remote district of Uig with its fine, sandy beaches at Bhaltos, dramatic sea cliffs and rugged hills. This is the wilderness of the Western Isles at its finest.
We travel south today, from the wild moorlands of Lewis to the more mountainous Isle of Harris. Made famous by its locally produced cloth, Harris Tweed, it is also home to the highest mountains in the Outer Hebrides and the stunning white sands of Luskentyre.
After a morning exploring South Harris we’ll stop for lunch in the small port of Tarbet. From here the late afternoon ferry takes us to the Isle of Skye and our base for two nights; the island’s little capital of Portree.
Example accommodation: www.pinkguesthouse.co.uk
Today is spent touring the Isle of Skye and, depending on weather conditions, the itinerary is flexible and at the discretion of your driver/guide. We enjoy a half-day scenic drive along the dramatic Trotternish Ridge with its spectacular cliffs and rock formations. Stops can include Lealt Waterfall, Kilt Rock sea cliffs, the Old Man of Storr rock pinnacle and a walk at the Quiraing mountain pass.
One of our favourite stops is the Fairy Glen, a delightful miniature Highland landscape and legendary home of the ‘wee people’! Other highlights of the island include a drive to the most westerly point on Skye and a walk to Neist Point lighthouse for spectacular views to the Western Isles. Another popular stop is the emerald green valley of Glen Brittle, nestled under the mighty Cuillin Mountains.
Our return to Edinburgh takes us back to the mainland to visit Eilean Donan, iconic image of the Highlands and arguably Scotland’s most famous castle.
At the picturesque village of Fort Augustus you will have time to take a stroll at Loch Ness and along the canal and lock system built by Thomas Telford in the early 1800s.
We continue through Fort William to perhaps the most famous of all Scotland’s glens, Glen Coe. This narrow valley is where the bloody massacre of the MacDonalds took place in 1692, one of the most notorious acts in Scotland’s long and violent history.
Travelling through the Central Highlands our last stop will be in the lovely village of Killin beside the Falls of Dochart. As we leave the Highlands and drive past the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle you’ll hear about Scotland’s great patriots William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Their names have resounded throughout British history for 700 years – a fitting conclusion to a wonderful trip!