In the north and west of Scotland lie the Highlands with their moody mountains, Celtic mists and legends, heather-clad hills, sparkling lochs, and a unique mixture of scenic splendor and profound tranquility.
And off-shore lie the Hebrides, a myriad of magical islands which beckon you ever-westward to follow the arc of the setting sun as it slides unhurriedly into the Atlantic.
In addition to 5 scenic and fully guided hikes and expert talks focusing on Scottish history, you will enjoy these highlights:
- Views of Ben Nevis- Britain’s highest mountain
- Moidart – a not-to-be-missed remote and wild region of the Scottish Highlands
- Eilean Donan Castle- one of the most iconic images of Scotland, surrounded by majestic scenery
- Quiraing- unique and enthralling rock features formed by lava with immense views
- Dunvegan castle – oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and ancestral home of the Chiefs of MacLeod
- Standing Stones of Callanish – prehistoric stone monument
- Great Bernera – an island in Loch Roag with a fishing heritage and an iron age village
- Walk an ancient footpath that travels through the mountains between the tiny villages of Rhenigadal and Urgha on the Isle of Harris
Two nights are spent on the Isle of Skye and three on the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis. See the finest prehistoric site in Britain apart from Stonehenge, enjoy the peace and quiet of the sandy beaches, and walk through miles of unspoilt natural beauty…. always with the comforts of modern accommodation and fine food waiting at the end of the trail.
Walks cover from 4 to 7 miles daily, with one 10-miler. Elevation gains are modest –- 400′ to 1500′.
Arrive at our hotel in Fort William, which nestles at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. An orientation meeting in the early evening is followed by our Welcome Dinner. (B)
We start with an exploration of the Moidart region of the Scottish Highlands. This beautiful area to the south west of Fort William has especially close connections with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 1745 Jacobite uprising, and we retrace his route from his first landing point on the Scottish coast to Glenfinnan, where he raised his banner and declared himself king. The day includes an isolated coastal walk to Smirisary, the setting for Margaret Leigh’s evocative book Spade Among the Rushes. We return to Fort William for a second night. (B, L, D) 4 Miles
The time has come to depart for our Hebridean adventure, but before leaving the mainland we stop by the shore of Loch Duich to enjoy a short walk amidst the verdant scenery of Glen Croe. This is followed by a visit to Eilean Donan Castle, the ancestral seat of the MacKenzies of Kintail. Then it’s over the bridge to the Isle of Skye and our next hotel, on Skye, where the following two nights are spent. (B, L, D) 5 Miles
The day is spent on Skye, and starts with a short visit to Portree, the largest town on the island, for routine shopping. We then drive to the northern end of the island, where our circular walk leads us past two scenic upland lochans amidst the spectacular rock scenery of the Quiraing, where the contorted basalt outcrops and pinnacles seem to be frozen in time. In poor weather conditions it may be necessary to offer an alternative walk. Return to the hotel for a second night. (B, L, D) Variable – 4 to 6 Miles
In the morning we visit Dunvegan castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Macleod, who also held extensive lands in the Outer Hebridean Islands of Lewis and Harris. We then drive to Uig, the embarkation point for the Western Isles, and take the ferry to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris. Lunch will be onboard. After arrival at Tarbert we drive to our hotel in Carloway, on the north west coast of the Isle of Lewis, our home for the next three nights. Before dinner, or on Day 6, your tour leader will give a talk on the early history and prehistory of Scotland. (B, L, D) No Walk
Our exploration of the Isles of Harris and Lewis begins with a visit to the famous Standing Stones of Callanish, one of the most important prehistoric sites in the whole of Britain. We then drive to Great Bernera and enjoy a picturesque walk taking in stunning coastal scenery, an iron age village and one of Lewis’s finest beaches, with time to browse and admire the view across the northern Ocean. Return to our hotel for overnight. (B, L, D) 5 Miles
Our walk for the final day is along the dramatic north west coast of Lewis, finishing with a visit to the recently restored blackhouse of Gearrannan. The day will include a visit to the amazing Carloway Broch, one of the best preserved of the mysterious 2000 year old brochs which occur widely in the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Return to the hotel at Carloway for a well-earned Farewell Dinner, and overnigh.t (B, L, D) 9 Miles with a 5 Mile option
For your return to the mainland you have the choice of a taxi transfer to Stornoway Airport, to catch a direct flight to Inverness, Edinburgh or Glasgow (with connections to London), or a return to the mainland by our minibus, using the same route by which we arrived. You may be dropped off at Kyle of Lochalsh for a late afternoon train to Inverness, or at Fort William, or may continue in our minibus to Glasgow; arrival in Glasgow by this means cannot be before 8.30 p.m., and may be later depending on traffic conditions. (B)
- 5 scenic guided hikes
- 7 nights’ lodging in congenial Scottish hotels
- Double-occupancy room with private bath
- All meals included. Dinner on Day 1 and Breakfast on Day 8
- 7 lunches including one onboard the Western Isles ferry
- All sightseeing visits and admission fees
- Luggage transported between hotels