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Quest for the Hebrides

Quest for the Hebrides

Summary : The Inner Hebrides comprises the great swathe of islands lying off the western coast of Scotland. You sail through the scenic Caledonian Canal to reach and enjoy the beauty of these rugged and spectacular Atlantic islands.

Travel through the Scottish Highlands on one of the world’s most scenic waterways, the Caledonian Canal. From Inverness the Origo takes you into the canal crossing Loch Ness where you keep a lookout for the famous Loch Ness Monster. You continue toward the picturesque village of Fort Augustus. From here, you venture out toward the Hebrides and visit the wild and beautiful island of Rhum, explore the cathedral-like caverns on Staffa Island, and try some of the world’s most renowned malt whisky on Islay. Enroute, you will be accompanied by seabirds such as Gannets and Manx Shearwaters and hope to catch sight of the White-tailed and Golden Eagle.

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Itinerary
Day 1
Edinburgh

Arrive to Edinburgh independently and check into the Thistle Edinburgh Hotel. Explore Scotland’s beautiful capital.

Day 2
Inverness

This morning, you travel the scenic route to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The city is beautifully situated on the shores of Moray Firth. You embark the Origo and start your voyage through the Caledonian Canal in the afternoon.

Day 3 – 8
The Caledonian Canal and the Inner Hebrides

During the following six days you will travel through the Scottish Highlands on the Caledonian Canal and out to the Hebrides. The following are some of the places you will visit during your time here:

Caledonian Canal
After 22 years of construction the scenic Caledonian Canal was opened in the fall of 1822. This waterway is 60 miles long in total and as you sail through its 29 locks you admire the beautiful landscapes surrounding you.

Loch Ness
Loch Ness is scenic in its own right, with rugged hills rising steeply from its wooded shores. During the crossing, you will look out for its legendary inhabitant, the Loch Ness Monster.

Urqhart Castle
Perched on a rocky cliff on the edge of Loch Ness, lies the castle Urqhart. It was built in the 14th century to guard the Great Glens during the long wars of independence and from here you have a magnificent view of the loch and surrounding hills.

Fort William
As you sail along the canal you pass Fort William, beautifully located at the head of Loch Linnhe, with the snow-topped Ben Nevis towering behind.

Islay
Islay is a whisky connoisseur’s heaven. No less than seven single malt whisky distilleries are located here, producing a very distinctive, peaty malt. As you explore the island you visit at least one of these, be it Laphroaig, Lagavulin or Ardbeg, all enjoying the most stunning settings. The island is also home to a rich variety of sea birds and the rare Golden Eagle.

Iona
The lovely little island of Iona is known as the Cradle of Christianity in Scotland. In 563 AD a monastery was founded here and since then Iona has been the most sacred religious site in Europe and a place of pilgrimage. You will spend ample time here to soak up the islands unique spiritual peace.

Staffa
The tiny and uninhabited island of Staffa is one of the world’s most spectacular sights. Its immense, hexagonal basalt pillars, looming out of the sea like a giant pipe organ, have inspired artists and composers for centuries, including Mendelsohn, who composed his Hebrides Overture here. With Zodiacs, you will explore the huge cathedral-like cavern Fingal’s Cave, carved by the pounding sea for millennia.

Rhum
Rhum is the largest of the inner Hebrides and the wildest and most mountainous. It is a haven for wildlife and perhaps its most notable resident is the magnificent White-tailed Sea Eagle, which we hope to see. You pass by the world’s largest colony of Shearwaters, nesting on the island. You also pay a visit to the extraordinary late-Victorian Kinloch Castle, built by the island’s owner in the early 20th century.

Mull
Whales and dolphins thrive in the waters around Mull and you may encounter some of them as you approach Tobermory, Mull’s main village, beautifully set below steep hills. You stroll among the brightly painted houses on the harbour front, dating from the late 18th century, before you set off exploring this wild and spectacular island.

Day 9
Oban to Glasgow

You dock in Oban in the early morning and transfer to Glasgow along the rugged and spectacular Scottish west coast. After a tour of Glasgow, you check in to the Jury’s Glasgow Hotel.

Day 10
Glasgow

Transfer to the airport or train station for the journey home.

Notes

Prices per person, double occupancy.

Included:
7 nights on board the vessel; 1 night at Thistle Edinburgh Hotel; 1 night at Jury's Glasgow Hotel; all transfers; all meals; an experienced expedition leader and a knowledgeable guide; a lecture program on board and guided excursions; all excursions by Zodiac.

Not Included:
Connecting air or train to/from Edinburgh and Glasgow; travel insurance; alcoholic beverages; the customary gratuity to the ship's crew; supplement for single accommodation at the hotel.

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