Essential Scotland Tour: Highlands History, Scenery & Culture
Be inspired by the beauty and majesty of the mountains, lochs, hills and glens. The mysteries of past legends and romance of the myths that are born from them will be brought to life for you by your helpful and friendly Driver/Guide.
Day 1 - Morning pick up from your hotel – Today you will journey through one of the most beautiful National Parks in Scotland, the Trossachs, on the way to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond where you embark on a scenic Boat trip. Following Loch Lomond, we will journey to an ancient coronation site that was once a Fort in the Iron Ages, over 2000 years ago. More recently from 500 AD the site was a royal power centre of Gaelic Kings and possible coronation site that is believed give rise to some of the Mythology in the legend of King Arthur. Take an easy walk to the site where you can tread in the footprints of history, feel a connection with the ancient past as you stand in the actual footprints were ancient Gaelic Kings also planted there feet over 1 and half millennia ago. We will continue our journey to Oban, overlooking some of the Inner Hebrides, where you will spend the night at one of the finest hotels in the area.
Day 2 - After Breakfast we will continue our journey through the beautiful countryside from marshy Moors into the dramatic scenery of Glen Coe. Scene of the infamous tale of clan warfare and rivalry between the Campbells and MacDonalds, the Glencoe Massacre. You will also see The Study and look out onto 3 mountains known as the 3 sisters, made famous in the TV program Outlander. Now lets get off the beaten track again, literally. There is now an optional unguided walk that will take around 3 hours, moderate to challenging walk that does require fitness and correct apparel as you will take on one of the steepest part of the West Highland Way, ‘The Devils Staircase’ which will open out onto spectacular views. Your guide will leave you to the walk and continue onto Kinlochleven with your luggage and meet you there at the end of your walk. Alternatively you can visit the Glencoe visitors centre and maybe enjoy some time at leisure in picturesque Kinlochleven. Time for a dram or 2 in one of the pubs, then check into your fantastic Heritage style accommodation, a property steeped in history that used to be the home of a Laird.
Day 3 - After an early breakfast we will leave spectacular Glencoe area behind to travel to Fort William, home of the highest peak in the UK, Ben Nevis. From here you will board the Jacobite Steam Train, passing through arguably some of the best scenery so far. En-route you will pass over the Glenfinnan Viaduct or Harry Potter Bridge as it is now known, made famous by the Harry Potter films inspired by JK Rowling. Glenfinnan is also the site of the raising of the Stewart standard by Charles Edward Stewart otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, the catalyst to an ill-fated Jacobite rebellion leading to the final battle fought on British soil, Culloden. Your guide will meet you off the Train and take you on a short ferry crossing, over the sea to Skye, as you arrive in Skye look out for Armadale Castle, visible on your port side. The Isle of Skye is as steeped in history as it is ruggedly beautiful. Every corner you turn and hill you climb the more it will strike you. Check into your luxurious hotel in Skye, some rooms look out onto the harbour out to the sound of Raasay and onwards to the dramatic and atmospheric Cuillin Hills, at the hotel we like to recommend talking to the knowledgeable bar staff and ordering a flight of whiskeys. If you haven’t found your favourite whiskey yet this may be a good way to find out.
Day 4 - In the morning take an optional scenic wildlife watching boat trip out onto the sounds of Raasay, don’t sail too far due north as the next landfall would be the Arctic. Here you will be on the lookout for Golden Eagles as well as any visits from White Tailed Sea Eagles, at certain times of year you may be lucky enough to spot Dolphins or even Orca or Humpback Whale or other Cetaceans. Enjoy a leisurely drive around the rest of the island taking in the beauty and majesty of the island stopping to take in a tour of the famous Talisker Whiskey Distillery and enjoy a wee dram or 2 or 3. In the evening, you may enjoy an optional visit to one of the Michelin rated restaurants on the island, like the Kinloch Lodge or the Three Chimneys (due to popularity of these restaurants please let us know well in advance if you plan to book a table and we will assist you).
Day 5 - After Breakfast say goodbye to beautiful Isle of Skye, feeling suitably relaxed after your island break, you will cross back onto the mainland, stopping to view the astounding Eilean Donan Castle, after which continue onto Inverness and a view of Loch Ness home of the Loch Ness Monster or Nessie as she is affectionately known. From here the next stop will be the site of the final land battle in Scotland and the UK, Culloden. The end of the Jacobite rebellion and the beginning a brutal repression of the highland culture and way of life. The atmospheric battle site is sure to leave an impression. Once you have seen enough you will continue on to your stay in a remote country house in the Cairngorms National Park.
Day 6 - Travel through the Cairngorms taking in the majestic scenery and stop in the picturesque village of Dunkeld where you will have the opportunity to go on a short and easy but magical woodland walk. With the river tumbling past, you reach Ossian's hut go through the door and get taken aback by the roar of the waterfall, you could almost find yourself transported to another time. You will also visit Dunkeld Cathedral, a 750-year-old church set on the banks of the beautiful River Tay. Next you will travel on to Scone, where Kings of Scotland were crowned for nearly 1000 years and originally the home of the Stone of Scone, here you will visit the Palace of Scone a place of immense historical significance. The next stop is St Andrews the home of Golf where you will spend the night at the Fairmont Hotel (if you want to play the old course we advise adding another night in St Andrews – please call or click the link to our website Tailormade - Customised Tours so we may amend this itinerary for you).
Day 7 - Leave behind the Spa and the Greens of St Andrews and venture on towards the gateway of the highlands, the key historically strategic town of Stirling. Visit the castle which dates to the early 12th Century. Stirling Castle has withstood as many as 8 sieges with several of these during the Wars of Independence, with the latest by 1746. Spend some time walking the ramparts to take in the views as well as visiting viewing the halls and armouries with your guide, but make sure to leave enough time for the rest of this busy day. A wee pit stop in the picturesque village of Bridge of Allan before moving on to the Wallace Monument to learn more about Scottish hero Sir William Wallace, where you can also view the sword allegedly wielded by the great man himself and separate some Braveheart myths from the facts. Sadly, now we will be nearing the end of the tour, but where else to end such a tour as the site of Scotland’s most famous victory over the Auld Enemy at Bannockburn, your guide will make sure to arrive in time for the tour to see if you can also lead Scotland’s forces to victory in a digital re-enactment of the famous day. The tour ends here and you will be dropped at any hotel in Glasgow or Edinburgh that you specify or Edinburgh or Glasgow airport if required. (Breakfast Included)
If you would prefer to extend your tour in order to have a 'wee dram' and mull over all you have seen and learned over the course of the tour or perhaps you would like us to arrange a stay in one of Scotland's cities before the tour commences, or for anything else you may want to do, we can Tailor this or any of our other tours to suit you. Simply call us or fill in the Tailormade form by clicking the Tailormade - Customised Tours button. We will then create your own Customised Private Tour to suit your needs. We would love to hear from you to help create your dream vacation to Scotland.
Tour company information
Inspiring Travel Scotland
Inspiring Travel was formed with the belief that the best and only way to see Scotland is by Private Guided Tour. Our ‘wee country’ has so much to see and do, it’s absolutely bursting with exciting history and culture, you really have to get out and explore, to hear all about it from the people who know the country, people who live here and are passionate about Scotland. So that’s what we intend to do for you. You can view & book our tours on our website, where you can also get in touch & we will create your very own exclusive customised Private Driver Guided Tour of Scotland.
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