This is a PRIVATE BESPOKE 7 day tour. Join us on this wonderful Scottish tour and enjoy an authentic experience on your Journey through the Scotland.
Day one of your 7 day Highlands and Lowlands tour
We will pick you up in our 16 seater luxury mini-coach to start your 7 day Highlands and Lowlands tour, and head north west, to the Scottish Highlands. Our first stop is picturesque Callander, situated on the banks of the River Teith and nestling below the jagged Callander Crags in the heart of the Trossachs.
This is a popular stop for those travelling both to and from the Highlands – it’s the perfect place to pick up any last-minute walking gear too. The town is full of traditional Scottish tea rooms and quaint cafes, and we will have some time here for coffee and photos.
On to Glencoe, the brooding glen
As we continue north, the mountains and lochs provide a dramatic backdrop for our journey to Glencoe, perhaps the most emblematic of all Scotland’s glens. This narrow and austere valley is where the bloody massacre of the Macdonalds took place in 1692, igniting the later Jacobite uprisings and fuelling the imaginations of authors for generations. More recently, Glencoe’s brooding beauty has caught the eye of location scouts filming Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as well as the Bond movie Skyfall.
Over the sea to Skye
Harry Potter Bridge We continue along the captivating ‘Road to the Isles’ to Mallaig. From here we (and our tour bus!) will take the ferry over the sea to Skye, parting the same waves as did Bonny Prince Charlie in 1746, after defeat at Culloden. When we arrive on Skye, recently voted the ‘4th best island in the world’ by National Geographic, we’ll drive to Portree, the island’s capital, and make this our base for two nights.
We will spend a whole day touring the Isle of Skye. Our day begins with a scenic drive alongside Trotternish Ridge – where a huge and dramatic landslip has created a spectacular ‘backbone’ along the island.
We will get off the bus to see both the tumbling waters of Lealt Waterfall and the Kilt Rock, so named because its vertical basalt columns resemble the pleats of the traditional Scottish garment.
We’ll then take a walk in the Quiraing, whose breathtaking terrain has also been sculpted by landslip, and it’s still moving. Leaving the spellbinding Quiraing behind us, we will drive to the village of Uig, set in a beautifully secluded bay, for lunch. Afterwards, we explore the magic of the Fairy Glen, a unique and enchanting Highland landscape of small, grassy, cone-like landforms. This is a beguiling place – the legendary home of the ‘wee people’!
On to Neist lighthouse
After lunch we’ll board our bus and drive to the most westerly point on Skye. We will walk to Neist Point lighthouse whose commanding clifftop position offers spectacular views to the Western Isles.
These are some of the most dramatic sea cliffs in Scotland, providing unrivalled birdwatching and even the chance even of seeing whales break the waves below. Then on to the world-famous Fairy Pools at the foot of the Black Ciullins. This series of crystal-clear pools on the River Brittle are described by visitors as ‘aqua blue’ and ‘emerald green’, depending on the light and the weather.
You’ll be able to see every pebble in their depths, and even the most reluctant ‘wild swimmer’ will be tempted.
Crossing the graceful arc of the Skye Bridge and returning to the mainland, our tour begins its spectacular journey towards Inverness. Our first stop is Eilean Donan Castle, perhaps the most iconic image of Highland Scotland and used as the backdrop for countless famous movies and advertising.
You may even recognise its silhouette, though you see it now for the time. The imposing castle – whose origins date back to the 13th century – is set on a tiny, tidal island where the lochs of Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh all meet. Accessed by a narrow stone footbridge complete with portcullis, and set in a timeless, evocative landscape, this is a ‘must-see’ Scottish castle!
A Five Sisters drive-past
We’ll then drive past the Five Sisters of Kintail – a high mountain ridge rising steeply from Glen Shiel to a maximum height of 3,501 feet. The five distinctly pointed summits are a well-known landmark and incorporate three Munros.
Mysterious Loch Ness
Next stop is famous Loch Ness – Scotland’s legendary lake. Around 23 miles long and exceptionally dark because of its high peat content, Loch Ness has captured the imagination of people the world over since sightings of a ‘monster’ known affectionately as ‘Nessie’ were first reported in 1933. Current thinking is that Nessie is in fact a very large catfish, but that won’t stop Scots and visitors alike being captivated by this intriguing and beautiful loch.
Lunch by the locks
We will pause our tour to have lunch in the colourful town of Fort Augustus at the southerly tip of Loch Ness. You will have time after lunch to walk the shores of beguiling Loch Ness, or along the canal and lock system.
These locks are part of the Caledonian Canal, built by Thomas Telford in the early 1800s to effectively create a ‘shortcut’ across Scotland that avoided perilous coastal sailing. There will also be time for an optional boat trip on the Royal Scot or the fast ‘Ness Express’ at an additional cost (discounts available)
Photos at Scotland’s largest castle
After Nessie spotting, we’ll make time for photos at 13th-century Urquhart Castle on Strone Point, a triangular promontory on the western shore of Loch Ness. It offers commanding views of the loch’s whole length.
Urquhart is the largest castle in Scotland, and has a rich history of battle, invasion, capture and restoration.
We will return to our mini-coach for the short drive to Inverness. You will be staying close to the city centre; many of the pubs and restaurants offer live traditional music and great value meals. Our favourites include Hootananny, Inverness.
Day 4 of our 7 Day Highlands and Lowlands Tour
It’s then onto Culloden Moor where the Jacobites were finally defeated by government soldiers in 1746, prompting Bonnie Prince Charlie to flee to Skye, the story behind the ‘Skye Boat Song’. As we drive south into the Cairngorm National Park you’ll learn more about this wonderful Scottish wilderness, home to many rare and endangered species including the golden eagle, the red squirrel and the elusive Scottish wildcat.
See how Highland folk lived
From here will we continue our tour to the Highland Folk Museum, where we will gain some real insight into how Highland people lived and worked – from as far back as the 1700s to the more recent years of the 1960s. The Museum comprises 30 historical buildings – from a complete 1700s township, to an example of a working croft from the 1930s. Recently, these authentic buildings have been used for filming scenes from
Outlander – a gift to locations scouts.
Next stop Pitlochry for an overnight stay, a lively Highland town with an elegant main street packed with shops, a thriving arts scene, and good food too.
Back onto our mini-coach we will head for Dundee. Here you can climb aboard the Antarctic expedition vessel, RRS Discovery, the last traditional three-masted ship ever to be built in Britain. Discover the fascinating story of her career, the challenging lives of her crew, and the harsh conditions they faced on board.
Historic St Andrews
We will continue our tour by driving to St Andrews, home of golf and the most ancient Scottish university. You will have over three hours to enjoy this historic city – visit the Cathedral, Castle and University, or shop at leisure.
Walk the long white sands of the same beach that provided the iconic running sequence in ‘Chariots of Fire’. Trace the footsteps of academics at the University, whose famous alumni include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
You’ll find the Old Course nearby; one of the oldest golf courses in the world and frequent venue for golf’s biggest event, The Open. The cathedral is not to be missed either: dating back to the 12th century (some say older), the Cathedral is now in ruins but remains an imposing landmark from both land and sea.
The town that time passed by
Next stop the Royal Burgh of Culross which is a unique survival; a town that time has passed by. It is the most complete example in Scotland today of a Burgh of the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Town House was built in 1626 and was the administrative centre of Culross with a tollbooth and witches’ prison. Some Outlander fans might just recognise the cobbled streets of Culross as Cranesmuir, home to Geillis Duncan and her husband Arthur in the hit TV series.
Then back on our bus and onward to an overnight at Stirling.
Day 6 of our 7 Day Highlands and Lowlands Tour
First stop Stirling Castle. One of Scotland’s grandest castles – due to its imposing position on an ancient volcanic plug, as well as its impressive architecture – Stirling Castle commands the countryside for many miles around. It towers over some of the most important battlefields of Scotland’s past including Stirling Bridge – the site of William Wallace’s victory over the English in 1297 – and Bannockburn, where Robert the Bruce defeated the same foe in the summer of 1314.
The Priory on Scotland’s only lake
Leaving the Castle behind us, we will continue our tour with a visit to Inchmahome Priory on the Lake of Menteith – Scotland’s only ‘lake’. It’s a short ferry crossing on a small boat from the Port of Menteith. Set alone on its island in the scenic lake, Inchmahome Priory provided an idyllic and contemplative home for the Augustinian canons who came to settle here early in the 13th century. Though close to Stirling, the island’s natural seclusion makes it feel much more remote. A perfect ‘bolthole’, the child Mary Queen of Scots was brought here for refuge when an English invasion looked likely. The island’s small woodland offers silence and tranquillity.
A wee dram at Deanston
Then on to the Deanston Distillery in Doune on the outskirts of Stirling for an unforgettable whisky tour. This former cotton mill on the beautiful River Teith has been distilling its distinctively sweet and malty whisky since the 1960s. You’ll also be able to sample of some of their finest malts after your tour and have a chance to buy a bottle of your own too.
Off to bonny Loch Lomond
Suitably refreshed, we will set off for Balmaha on the banks of the bonny Loch Lomond. We’ll have the chance of a gentle walk on the lochside with plenty of photo opportunities. Loch Lomond is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain, and is a key habitat for Scottish wildlife within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Balmaha, an attractive tourist village on the eastern shore of the loch, is one of the first way-points on the West Highland Way, a well-trodden popular Scottish walking route that ends in Fort William.
Then, we’ll return to our bus for a short drive to Glasgow.
Day 7, the last day of your 7 day Highlands and Lowlands tour
We will give you some time to explore this wonderful city and to enjoy, at your leisure, its amazing array of shops, museums and galleries. The city is tall – its buildings are on a grand scale, and its centre combines both historic and modern architecture in largely pedestrianised streets. Glasgow people are welcoming, friendly, and talkative – so if you ask for directions, be prepared to have a chat too!
We will then take you back to Edinburgh on to end your 7 day Highlands and Lowlands tour.
We provide small group tours (no more than 16 passengers) of the Highlands, Isle of Skye and Loch Ness. Experience authentic Scotland with our small family business. We provide 2 separate scheduled tours - a 3 day tour to the Isle of Skye departing from St. Andrews, Dundee and Stirling, and a 4 day tour to the Isle of Skye and Inverness which departs from Edinburgh. We can also create bespoke tours for anyone who comes with the glimmer of an idea they want to make real. An exhaustive knowledge of Scotland also means that we are able to drop the itinerary for that unexpected magical detour.
Departs: Stirling, St Andrews, Dundee
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