Taste of the Scottish Highlands
Your highland adventure commences in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, with its impressive castle and cobbled streets of the ‘Royal Mile’.
Scotland’s capital is a place like no other. Over two days you get to explore. You could climb a volcano before breakfast and end the day with the culinary experience of your life. And if you think that sounds interesting, wait until you hear what else you could fit in!
Probably not many city getaways involve climbing an extinct volcano, but we think the more adventurous of you are going to love it, especially on a clear day! Head to Holyrood Park, located near the bottom of the Royal Mile, and take in the best views of the city from the top of Arthur’s Seat. You’ll get incredible panoramas over Edinburgh and beyond to the majestic Kingdom of Fife.
Or perhaps head up the Royal Mile to pretty Cockburn Street. Pop into St Giles’ Cathedral, a historic place of worship founded in the 1120s. From there it’s time to go underground and into the lost street of the Real Mary King’s Close to uncover the stories of the people who lived there over 400 years ago.
The Royal Mile runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the magnificent castle, perched high on a base of volcanic rock, with the splendorous Palace of Holyroodhouse, resting in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat.
We get our highland fling at the Spirit of Scotland for 4 course dinner and show
After breakfast we head out into the Perthshire countryside, choosing from a selection of walks from Pitlochry or just a 10-minute train ride away in Blair Atholl.
From Pitlochry enjoy riverside strolls, hike to a hillside lochan, or visit Scotland’s smallest traditional distillery. Alternatively, head to Blair Atholl and explore the idyllic Atholl Estates and Blair Castle. Follow paths that meander through woodland and heather-clad hills surrounding the castle, the historic home of the Earls and Dukes of Atholl and dating from the 1200s.
If you want to tackle some good highland hills we suggest:
Queens View – Overlooking Loch Tummel this is one of the most photographed areas in Scotland, Queen Victoria is said to have remarked that the spectacular view was named after her. However, it has also been suggested was in fact named after King Robert the Bruce’s wife, Queen Isabella of Scotland, over 550 years ago.
Ben Vrackie is a great walk. On a good clear day the view from the summit of 2,757 ft (841 m) is tremendous. The walk to the summit of Ben Vrackie can be started in Pitlochry or, nearby in the village of Moulin, and is approximately 10 to 13 km there and back depending on the start point.
Killiecrankie Gorge -discover the site of one of the goriest battles in Jacobite history. Once the main route between the Highlands and the Lowlands, it is now a rich conservation area. A short walk will take you to Soldier’s Leap – the spot where a Redcoat soldier leapt 18ft across the raging River Garry, fleeing the Jacobites. If you continue on the path you’ll reach the southern end of the Pass of Killiecrankie, where a footbridge crosses the River Garry. The views from the bridge are particularly spectacular.
But if your not up for a walk there is plenty to see and do around Pitlochry – including an Outlander tour if you are looking for Jamie!
Inverness is the gateway to the Great Glen and Loch Ness. This afternoon we head to Loch Ness. For a magical cruise, Scotland is hard to surpass. We cruise sedately through the Great Glen navigating beautiful lochs and the engineering masterpiece that is the Caledonian Canal.
Ancient castles perched on the water’s edge, heather-clad hillsides and legends of the past and the mythical inhabitant of Loch Ness all contribute to a magical charm only experienced in the dramatic Highlands.
Today we go deep into Scottish history with a visit to the Culloden Battlefields.
On 16 April 1746, the final Jacobite Rising came to a brutal head. Jacobite supporters, seeking to restore the Stuart monarchy to the British thrones, gathered to fight the Duke of Cumberland’s government troops. It was the last pitched battle on British soil and, in less than an hour, around 1,500 men were slain – more than 1,000 of them Jacobites.
The richly researched, stimulating and sensitive Culloden Visitor Centre, stands as a monument to a pivotal day in history. Discover how a bloody fight that lasted only an hour changed life in the Highlands forever.
Headstones mark the graves of hundreds of clansmen who gave their lives for the Jacobite cause; a 6m-high memorial cairn honours the fallen; and an eerie silence often falls across wild Drummossie Moor – there is no escaping the emotions Culloden evokes.
When then take a walk to Clava Cairns – This ancient site is a well-preserved Bronze-Age cairn and is an incredible example of the historic culture and architecture of the Scottish Highlands, dating back about 4,000 years and is free to enter.
You will find the three cairns that make up Clava Cairns, or the Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Bulnuaran of Clava, which were once used to house the dead. The cemetery remained a sacred place in the area for millennia.
It’s time to take your seat aboard the Jacobite steam train. Relax as the ’Hogwarts Express’ winds its way past pristine beaches and mountain panoramas, passing over the Glenfinnan viaduct with views of the Jacobite monument to arrive at the loch-side town of Fort William.
Described as one of the great railway journeys of the world starts near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Scotland’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch , Loch Morar and the shortest river , River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis!
Today you have two choices- to tackle the highest mountain in the UK or to stroll around a part of the Great Glann Walk where you visit the impressive Commando Memorial, one of the UK’s best- known monuments, offering outstanding views of Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr.
The Way begins at the ruins of the Old Fort, Fort William and runs the entire length of Scotland’s longest glen, following the Caledonian Canal, forest tracks and drove roads. It passes beside three major lochs: Lochs Lochy, Oich and Ness. This will take around 3hrs.
Scotland’s largest mountain was once a massive active volcano which exploded and collapsed inwards on itself millions of years ago. Ben Nevis starts with a steep climb to the halfway lochan’, or Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe, and then the ascent features snaking zig-zag paths up to the summit.
At the summit, there’s a cairn that marks the highest point and your reward on a clear day will be the incredible 360° panoramic vistas which can stretch as far as Northern Ireland. From the top, see if you can point out other peaks including the Torridon hills, Ben Lomond and Morven at Caithness.
A unique feature of the summit is the Old Observatory, which was opened in 1883. It provided hourly meteorological data for almost 20 years, recording some of the UK’s most useful information about mountain weather to date. It closed in 1904 and it now lies in ruin.
This will take up to 7 hrs to ascent and descent so an early start is needed if you plan to be down in time for afternoon tea!
Afternoon tea – Inverlochy Castle
Select your choice of tea leaves from our very own tea menu and enjoy savoury sandwiches, freshly made scones and selection of sweet delicacies.
Afterwards you get the opportunity to explore the area surrounding Inverlochy Castle. Rich in landscape and history – the falls at Glen Nevis, the monument at Glenfinnan and the mountains of Glencoe to name a few. Nestling in the foothills of the mighty Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle sits amidst some of Scotland’s finest scenery.
Today we jump onboard for our transfer to Skye. The journey between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh is one of Scotland’s finest rail journeys. Sit back and relax as you speed past serene lochs, remote glens and imposing mountains, enroute to the tiny seaside station of Kyle of Lochalsh. Travel coast to coast across the Highlands, in the shadows of mountains and forests, beside bright lochs and wide open moors.
The Kyle line draws a wide arc from Inverness to the shores of Loch Alsh, taking in spectacular Highland scenery – and finishing with magnificent views of Skye.
Keep an eye out for one of the most distinctive mountain ranges in Scotland, the Torridon Peaks, looming out of the north. On the final stretch of the journey, the train picks its way along the coast south to Loch Alsh.
A Legendary Landscape, today we undertake a private tour of the Isle of Skye. The scenery is truly beautiful. A roller-coaster of cliffs and mountains take your vision on an unforgettable ride. The tightrope country roads make you feel you’re far from the busy cities and the quaint towns are bustling arcades of culture and tradition.
Our private tour will take us beyond the main show with our guide revealing the mythical castles, lets you in on the local legends, and takes us on a search for the mythical fairies that live in Skye.
From spectacular natural scenery such as the Curillin mountains, Kilt Rock and the Sleat peninsula, to cultural attractions including the Skye Museum of Island Life and Dunvegan Castle.
An island of epic landscapes, Skye is full of magical experiences just waiting to happen.
Today we undertake a private transfer to Glasgow – a port city on the River Clyde. It’s famed for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, a rich legacy of the city’s 18th–20th- century prosperity due to trade and shipbuilding.
Today it’s a national cultural hub, home to institutions including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland, as well as acclaimed museums and a thriving music scene.From dawn to dusk and into the night, there are a huge range of things to do in Glasgow during every hour of your trip. Glasgow is home to some of Scotland’s best cultural attractions and best of all, most of them are completely free!
You could easily fill your time exploring the different neighbourhoods, and enjoying the amazing shopping, dining and attractions in Glasgow. Maybe you’ll explore Glasgow’s music scene on a city walking tour, or uncover countless treasures inside its fantastic museums and art galleries.
Tonight we have our group farewell dinner as all good things must come to an end eventually!
Our tour finishes today and from Glasgow is where you can make your onward journey.