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.
Departing on this Isle of Skye tour from 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 11th century ‘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. After lunch we will continue west to the Glenfinnan Viaduct, now better known as the ‘Harry Potter bridge’ as it’s the route to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You'll have time to take some photos here of the viaduct and also the monument. 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.
Our journey will then continue through Glens Garry, Clunie & Sheil to 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. It's a short drive from here to the village of Broadford which will be home for the next 3 nights.
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. If we don’t fit in a distillery here, we’ll drop in for a dram on the mainland.
Our Scottish road trip continues and we’ll take you off the regular tourist route and take you to Kylerhea, where we'll board the last manually operated turntable ferry in Scotland to Glenelg. Our next stop is for photos of the stunning views over Loch Duich and the Five Sisters of Kintail. From here we continue 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.
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