Our four day tour to the Isle of Skye from Edinburgh gives you the time and space to sit back and fully absorb the colours and textures of the Highlands and the wonder of Scotland’s most romantic island.
Departing from Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh, we call into Glasgow before heading for the idyllic Highland village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond. In summer the villagers deck their gardens and streets with fantastic floral displays but the colour and scents of the conservation village today belie its brutal past when the Vikings raided this area. Evidence of their lawless legacy can be seen in the 11thcentury ‘hogback’ Viking grave, a striking stone-carved sculpture.
From Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park our Highland road trip continues to Fort William via Glencoe, Scotland’s most infamous glen. As the mountains seem to close in on the road it’s not difficult to imagine the sights and sounds of a shameful episode in Scottish history, the massacre of the MacDonalds by the Campbells in 1692.
Ben Nevis, Great Britain’s highest peak at an eye-watering 4413 feet, heralds our arrival in Fort William where we’ll have lunch. This is where you can jump aboard the Jacobite Steam Train to our next destination of Mallaig. The route takes in the Glenfinnan Viaduct, now better known as the ‘Harry Potter bridge’ as it’s the route to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This two-hour, one-way journey is often described as one of the world’s most beautiful. (Please note the Jacobite Steam Train is only an optional extra on limited tour dates, these can be viewed on our website)
There are magical sights to enjoy from the train. The Glenfinnan Monument at the head of stunning Loch Shiel is a breath-taking view loved by painters, film-makers and photographers for over 200 years. And it’s the location of a famous chapter in Scottish history as it marks the spot where, in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie gathered his supporters in a vain attempt to reinstate the exiled Stuarts as Great Britain and Ireland’s monarchs. The monument was erected in 1815 as a poignant reminder of the clansmen who lost their lives to the Jacobite cause.
Another poignant location to take in is Loch Eilt, often a backdrop in the Harry Potter movies. Its island was chosen as the final resting place for Dumbeldore and its waters are where a sad Hagrid is seen skimming stones in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
For those of you opting not to take the train, why not enjoy Fort William for a spell before continuing to Mallaig in our luxury mini coach where we’ll all meet up. There, we board the ferry that transports us to the Isle of Skye and after a 30-minute drive we arrive in the small village of Broadford where we’ll spend the next three nights.
Please note: Subject to it operating, we take the ferry to the Isle of Skye from Easter onwards.Days 2 & 3
We offer a flexible itinerary for your two full days on the romantic Isle of Skye so that you can enjoy the best of this stunning island while taking the weather into account. But whatever the conditions, you’ll be enchanted by the natural wonders, wildlife and culture of Scotland’s most famous isle. Skye never disappoints.
One of Skye’s defining vistas is its mountain range the Black Cuillins and at nearby Glenbrittle you can trek to the bright blue waters of the Fairy Pools. These sparkling ponds offer magical photographs and you can even swim in them if you’re brave enough! In good weather we’ll try to get to Elgol where you can take a leisurely boat trip or a more exhilarating, wind-in-your-hair ride on a RIB. Either way, this is one of the best ways to see the Cuillins up close. You might even spot basking sharks, minke whales and dolphins.
You’ll have time to explore Skye’s largest town Portree, a busy port and cultural centre.
While the south of Skye is lush and fertile, the north is defined by a peculiar geological landscape that’s on the wish-list of travellers and explorers the world over. We’ll stop at another magical location, the Faerie Glen, a curious collection of little grassy hills. Try counting them and see if the legend is correct – it’s said there are 365 but 366 in a leap year!
As we head into the craggy landscape of the Trotternish Peninsula we’ll stop at the Quiraing, a natural wonder created by a geological landslip. Your friendly driver-guide will point out Kilt Rock, a basalt column 90 metres high that looks like our national dress! You can also capture stunning photographs of Mealt waterfall and the Old Man of Storr, a rocky pinnacle also created by a massive landslide.
Skye is the location of one of Scotland’s most celebrated lighthouses and it’s worth the drive along narrow, winding roads to reach Neist Point where you’ll feel like you’re teetering on the edge of the world.
We may visit one of Skye’s distilleries for a dram of Scotch whisky or call in at Dunvegan Castle or Armadale Castle Gardens & Museum.Day 4
Our Scottish road trip continues over the Skye Bridge which controversially replaced the more traditional ferry crossings in 1995. Our first stop is at Eilean Donan Castle and it’s easy to see why it adorns paintings, photographs and calendars as it sits atop its own little island where three sea lochs meet. This is also an iconic film location from movies such as Highlander, James Bond favourite The World is Not Enough and the Bollywood blockbuster Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
For breath-taking views of Loch Duich and the mountain ridge known as the Five Sisters of Kintail, we’ll take you off the regular tourist route and visit Glenelg viewpoint. From there our road trip continues to Fort Augustus on the Caledonian Canal and lunch.
You can have a stroll and learn more about the construction of the Canal, said to be one of the great waterways of the world. Or, if you didn’t go boating on Skye, you might fancy hunting for the legendary ‘monster’ Nessie on a one-hour cruise on Loch Ness.
From there we traverse the Grampian Mountains and Laggan, countryside made famous by TV’s ‘Monarch of the Glen’, to land in Scotland’s ‘Big Tree Country of Perthshire’.
Our final break is in Dunkeld where we’ll take a closer look at the ancient Cathedral that’s part picturesque ruin and part functioning church. In the 9th century the first King of Scots, Kenneth MacAlpin, built a church here and made Dunkeld head of the Celtic Church and capital of Scotland. The present church dates from 1318 and was partly destroyed during the 16th century Reformation.
Our journey back to Edinburgh sees us crossing the Firth of Forth and taking in three of its famous bridges. We’ll drive over the £1.3 billion Queensferry Crossing which opened in August 2017. It’s the longest bridge of its type anywhere in the world at 2.7km and Britain’s highest at 210m. Next door is the former main road, the Forth Road Bridge, and just left is the iconic Forth Bridge, a UNESCO world heritage site. Its three red cantilevers are monument to a major achievement in modern railway engineering and the bridge still holds the record as the longest cantilever bridge on earth.
Discover Scotland Tours 1 day trips and Multi-Day tours take you to some of the most beautiful, historic and inspiring places in Scotland. Our guests enjoy guaranteed departures, our unique hotel pick up service and a modern fleet of small luxury Mercedes coaches.
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