Summary : Scotland’s magnificent Highlands are a beautiful region of mountains, lochs, glens and stately castles. Highlands and Islands of Scotland introduces travelers to the wonders of the Highlands from the vantage of the inland waterway that links Scotland’s famed lochs. Plus, explore the remote and beautiful islands of the Inner Hebrides. Voyage through this scenic countryside in spectacular style aboard the 48-guest luxury yacht Lord of the Glens. Bike, hike, kayak, take nature walks and visit atmospheric pubs in Scottish ports—all your senses will be immersed in Scotland’s distinct history and culture.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking
$7,350 to $8,390
Depart the US and fly overnight to Inverness, Scotland.
Arrive in Inverness, and embark Lord of the Glens to the strains of a highland piper. Tonight, enjoy a reception and dinner on board while docked in Inverness.
Following an optional morning walk, visit Culloden, the infamous battlefield where “Bonnie” Prince Charlie’s Jacobite forces were defeated in 1746, and then see the ancient standing stones of Clava Cairns. Set sail this afternoon on the Caledonian Canal, built between 1803 and 1822 to connect Loch Ness with the Great Glen’s three other lochs. Enter Loch Ness, cruise past the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle, and learn about the legendary monster said to inhabit the loch. Moor this evening at Fort Augustus. Back aboard ship, there is a whisky tasting this evening.
Ascend an impressive flight of locks that runs through the heart of Fort Augustus. Glide along the tree-lined canal known as Laggan Avenue, or hike or bike along the towpath and rejoin the ship at the first lock. Depart Laggan Locks and sail into Loch Lochy. Follow the canal to the town of Banavie, nestled in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Great Britain’s highest mountain.
In the afternoon, take the West Highland railway line over the renowned viaduct to beautiful Glenfinnan, surrounded by mountains, where there are fine walking options. Welcome local musicians on board for a lively evening of music and song.
Lord of the Glens descends Neptune’s Staircase, a set of eight interconnected locks, and continues through Loch Linnhe to the town of Oban, set on a picturesque bay on the Firth of Lorn. You'll have time to explore this lively town on foot, visiting a whisky distillery and McCaig’s Tower, a monument on a hill overlooking the town and bay that was inspired by the Roman Colosseum.
This morning, sail to the Isle of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides. Visit photogenic Duart Castle, an impressive fortress (with a dungeon!). Drive across Mull, then cross to Iona by ferry to explore this picturesque island. Visit the medieval abbey ruins and the rebuilt abbey church, and learn about the ecumenical movement based there. Stroll through St. Oran’s Chapel and the royal graveyard where generations of Scottish kings are buried, and enjoy a brief walking tour of Iona. Continue on to the picturesque town of Tobermory, After dinner, staff from the Wings Over Mull Birds of Prey and Conservation Centre visit aboard your ship.
This morning, explore Tobermory’s lively quayside on your own or on a walk led by your staff. Sail north to tiny Eigg, catching glimpses of the islands of the Inner Hebrides along the way. At Eigg you can get a sense of what life is like for the roughly 90 people who live on this island community. Look for marine animals and birdlife, including Atlantic seals, minke whales, dolphins, porpoises and a variety of seabirds. Alternatively, you may visit the Isle of Rum, renowned for spectacular Kinloch Castle. Then sail to the town of Inverie, where you can have a drink at the most remote pub in the British Isles.
Sail from Inverie this morning, and spend the day on the Isle of Skye. At the Museum of the Isles, trace the legacy of the 1,300-year-old Clan Donald, the Lords of the Isles, who once ruled the west coast of Scotland, and take a walk through the woodlands in Armadale. You’ll then take a guided walk in the Cuillin Hills (weather permitting) amid some of Scotland’s most spectacular scenery. Those who prefer not to hike can explore Eilean Donan Castle and the charming village of Plockton. Celebrate your Scottish voyage at a farewell dinner on board.
Disembark in Kyle of Lochalsh and drive to Inverness for homeward bound flights.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Reverse Itinerary: 7/3/2016, 7/31/2016, 8/14/2016 (Kyle of Lochalsh to Iverness)
Optional Extension: Edinburgh is offered as a pre or post-voyage extension. Contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar; all meals aboard ship; coffee and tea with meals; meals on land as indicated; shore excursions; sightseeing and entrance fees; special access permits; transfers to and from group flights; use of kayaks; tips (except to ship’s crew); taxes and service charges; services of a ship physician on most voyages; services of your expedition staff. Subject to change without notice.
Air transportation; some meals; extensions; passport, visa, immigration fees; baggage/accident/travel insurance; items of a personal nature, such as soft drinks and fruit juices; alcoholic beverages other than first and last nights aboard ship; email; laundry; optional extensions; fuel surcharge may apply. Gratuities to ship's crew are at your discretion.
PHOTOS: © Phil Seale (Tobermory); © Stewart Cohen (Iona Abbey); © Shutterstock (Castle Duart); © Clara Natoli (Highland Cow); © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Puffin); © Stewart Aitchison (Skua); © Ralph Hammelbacher (Flowers)