Arrive in Scotland at either Glasgow or Edinburgh. We always leave Day 1 without any firm plans, so that we can make things up as we go along, according to consciousness levels after your flight.
Edinburgh. The capital city of Scotland and one of Europe’s greatest cities. Dominated by the Castle and Arthur’s Seat. With elegant Georgian streets and gardens contrasting with the intriguing alleyways and ancient buildings of the old town. Edinburgh has some of the finest museums in the country and a range of shops and restaurants as befits a cosmopolitan city such as this.
A second day to explore Edinburgh. We could take the opportunity to drive just out of the city and visit Roslyn Chapel. One of the most enigmatic churches in Scotland, with connections to the Templars, the Knights of St. John and the Gypsies. This is one of the few churches to have survived the ravages of time, iconoclasts and changes in forms of worship. It abounds with extraordinary decoration, legends, myths and possibly the Holy Grail!
Out of Edinburgh and north through the Trossachs. The route takes you via Stirling with its impressively sited Castle and The Wallace Monument standing high on the Abbey Craigs above the River Forth. The views from the top over what is now known as ‘Braveheart Country’ are magnificent. However the climb should only be attempted by the very fit, the insane and mountain goats. Also possible on this day would be Doune castle. The castle was largely built at the beginning of the 14th century by Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany, brother of King Robert III. Finally we cross the bleak expanses of Rannoch Moor to your overnight stay in an authentic country inn deep in the atmospheric setting of Glencoe. This is an “off the beaten track” sort of place favoured by mountaineers, walkers and local musicians who often treat the guests to a sample of real Celtic music.
Along the scenic “Road to the Isles” before boarding a ferry to the Isle of Skye. Your base on Skye is a lovely harbour-side hotel in the island’s ‘capital’ Portree, with an excellent restaurant serving some fine examples of the local seafood.
A day to explore this fascinating and geologically spectacular island. You may also like to call in at the Talisker distillery to sample its characteristically smoky single malt whisky.
Over the Skye Bridge and back onto the mainland. This route takes you past Eilean Donan Castle. Reputedly the most photographed castle in Scotland and the compulsory location for every film ever based in this fair land! Our destination for today is a splendid Baronial castle, where we will arrive just in time for afternoon tea in the Drawing Room. This is a 17th century Scottish castle, complete with secret panels, hidden rooms and of course, a ghost! It is right by Culloden, and has many links with the Battle and the Jacobite/Stewart cause.
South through the Grampians. You might like to take a little time to call in at the tranquil setting of the Clava Cairns before we head for the hills. These are three bronze age burial chambers, hidden away in an atmospheric birch grove to the south of Inverness. Your next base is a splendid country house hotel in and unspoiled and peaceful Scottish Glen.
Exploring the Loch Tay area. You may just like to take a quiet stroll along the Glen, or take a scenic drive around Loch Tay. If you have a liking for history and archaeology you might like to visit the Scottish Crannog Centre. This is where archaeologists have been excavating in the Loch, and based on their findings, have recreated a crannog. One of the ancient Celtic lake dwellings which used to be found all over northern Scotland and the Islands. This is an experimental archaeology centre, where they are trying to discover how the people lived and used the simple technology of the times. Your chance to make fire by rubbing sticks together!
Heading back towards the airport, to be in place for your return flight on the following day. This is the final day and one on which we can see whatever we did not get chance to see on the outbound leg of the adventure.
Back home to irritate friends and relations with ‘when we were in Scotland’ stories.