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Compass Buster

Rating
Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands, Orkney & Western Isles
Departs Edinburgh
Go beyond the mainland and discover the remote northern and western fringes of Scotland, Europe’s last great wilderness. Our ultimate trip explores an amazingly diverse range of scenery, history and cultures. From the Viking influenced Orkney Islands and the mysterious Callanish Standing Stones on Lewis to the mountains and legends of the magical Isle of Skye. This is the definitive Highlands and Islands journey.

From
GBP
519
pp

DAY 1: EDINBURGH TO STORNOWAY

Departs 8.15am. From Edinburgh, we pass the famous Forth Bridge and into Perthshire, surrounded by mountains, forests and salmon packed rivers. We stop in Dunkeld, heart of Macbeth country and visit its mighty cathedral. Then it’s through the Cairngorms National park, past Inverness and onwards to the far north-west coast of Scotland for our ferry over the sea to the outer Hebrides and the Isle of Lewis.

DAY 2: LEWIS & HARRIS

We visit the stunning Callanish Standing Stones, Neolithic in age and dating back more than 4,000 years. Their meaning remains a mystery and these are considered to be some of the most impressive and inspiring of any of the ancient stones in Britain. These Hebridean islands are predominantly Gaelic speaking and have an unbroken culture dating back millennia. We explore the Butt of Lewis with its isolated lighthouse and stunning ocean views. Then onto a traditional blackhouse and the home of tweed makers, a fabric exclusive to the islands but considered very trendy worldwide!

DAY 3: LEWIS & HARRIS TO SKYE

In the morning we explore the amazing beaches of Harris, famous for its clear blue waters, magnificent mountain backdrop and traditional crofting culture. These islands are home to the Clan MacLeod who have lived here for centuries. After exploring the wonders of Harris, we leave their homeland and cross by ferry on our journey back to the mainland. We spend the night on Skye en-route.

DAY 4: SKYE TO LOCH NESS

Today we explore the magical Isle of Skye. Mountainous, rugged and stunning beautiful, you won't want to leave. Back on the mainland we pass Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most iconic views in Scotland then it’s truly off the beaten track and into the wilds! We drive through the stunning north west Highlands, some of the most remote and most isolated mountain terrain in Europe.

DAY 5: LOCH NESS TO ORKNEY

Today we journey to the tip of the British mainland where a ferry carries us from John O'Groats to St Margarets Hope in Orkney. Home to more archaeological ruins in one area than anywhere else in Europe, first we visit the Tomb of the Eagles, a Stone Age chamber that was filled with thousands of human bones and the remains of sea eagles many millennia ago

DAY 6: ORKNEY

Today we head off to explore Skara Brae, a stone age village dating from the late Neolithic period and inhabited between 3,200BC and 2,200BC. This incredible village still has some original furniture! Then the magnificent standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the Italian Chapel built by 550 Italian POW's in the Second World War.

DAY 7: ORKNEY TO LOCH NESS

We bid Orkney farewell and make the ferry crossing back to the mainland and a journey south through Scotland’s rugged terrain. We travel through the sparsely populated wilderness of Sutherland and Caithness, via glens left deserted as a result of the Highland Clearances. Our journey takes us past the ruins of Urquhart Castle along the length of Loch Ness whilst we monster spot! We return to Morag's Lodge, get ready for a party at Mo's Bar!

DAY 8: FREE DAY AT LOCH NESS

You have a free day to explore the charming village of Fort Augustus on the banks of Loch Ness and take advantage of one (or more) of the many activities the area has to offer. From canoeing on Loch Ness - an excellent way to get closer to the unique wildlife in the area (Nessie!), to mountain biking along the Great Glen way and Caledonian Canal, to an exhilarating rib trip on the Loch, there is something for everyone!

DAY 9: LOCH NESS TO OBAN

We leave Loch Ness for the chance to travel on the famous Jacobite Steam train also known as the 'Hogwarts Express'. We take the 'Road to the Isles' to view Glenfinnan Monument where Bonnie Prince Charlie began his claim for the throne of Scotland back in 1745 . From Fort William we pass under the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain and on to Oban. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’ because of its spectacular views over to Mull, Oban is home for the night and this is your chance for a proper Highland Fling with some traditional dancing at a ceilidh!

DAY 10: OBAN TO EDINBURGH

We head for eerie Glencoe, home to some of Scotland’s most iconic scenery and the setting of the infamous 1692 massacre and used as a backdrop for many movies. Further south we enter Rob Roy country where the landscape changes from the Highlands to the Lowlands. We pass Doune Castle, setting for Outlander and Game of Thrones and our journey back to Edinburgh takes in views of magnificent Stirling Castle and the mighty Wallace Monument. Returns approximately 5.00pm.

HIGHLIGHTS

Beautiful Isle of Skye
Jacobite Steam Train (aka the 'Hogwarts Express')
Clava Cairns and Culloden as seen in Outlander
Loch Ness free day with adventure activity options
Traditional Hebridean blackhouse
Eilean Donan Castle
Eerie Glencoe, the ‘Weeping Glen’
Callanish Standing Stones
Skara Brae Stone Age village
Visit an Island whisky distillery
Orkney and Tomb of the Eagles
Ceilidh dance in Oban

INCLUSIONS

Your legendary local HAGGiS Guide
All ferry crossings
Callanish Standing Stones
Butt of Lewis Lighthouse
Dun Carloway, Iron Age fort
Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

Jacobite Steam Train journey
Island whisky distillery visit
Skara Brae Stone Age Village
Tomb of the Eagles
Gearrannan Blackhouses
Entrance to the Italian Chapel

ACCOMMODATION

9 nights hostel multi-share ('Pre-Pay Bundle' or 'Pay as you go')

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