Touring to some of the more remote corners of the British Isles. Out to the edge of Scotland through the Hebrides and way up north to the Orkney Islands. Not a standard ‘touristy’ tour, but something for the more discerning visitor. Including a night in a fine old Scottish Castle crawling into Neolithic burial mounds, bouncing across the sea accompanied by dolphins (can’t guarantee that!) and sampling the delights of Scotland along the way.
Arrive in Scotland at either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport. This first day is set aside for recovery and acclimatisation, so nothing scheduled for today.
North through Argyll to Oban where we take our first ferry crossing onto the island of Mull. An island of rugged coastlines, sheltered bays, mountains and an abundance of wildlife. Also the Tobermory Distillery, the source of one of the best malt whiskies in Scotland.
Stocking up for a picnic and heading off to circumnavigate Mull. Keeping a look out for coos in the road and eagles in the sky.
Along the Ross of Mull to Iona; a small island off the west coast of Mull. It was the cradle of Celtic Christianity and still holds a very special place in the history of Scotland and the Nordic nations. Back to the mainland and up the Great Glen to Inverness, being especially careful not to frighten the Monster on our way past Loch Ness.
North through the spectacular ‘Flow Country’ of Caithness and Sutherland. This is one of the last wildernesses in Britain and taking the back road to Thurso is an excellent way to find out just how remote you can still get on this small island. If time allows we will be able to visit John O’Groats, the Scottish version of Lands End.
Taking the Ferry from Scrabster to Stromness on the Orkney Islands. Always a memorable way to get to the islands. The ship usually takes a route up the west side of Hoy, past the highest sea cliffs in Britain, and the Old Man of Hoy, a 450 foot sandstone stack, which appears to rise up from the sea at high tide. Once past Hoy it turns into the sheltered haven of Scapa Flow and thence to Stromness.
Three days to cram in 5000 years of history. Scara Brae, the most complete Neolithic village in Europe, dating back to around 3000 B.C. Maes How, which is only slightly younger, from around 2500 B.C. This is a chambered burial cairn, aligned in such a way that the setting sun on the winter solstice shines down the 30 foot entrance passage and strikes the back wall of the tomb. This is adjacent to the Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar in an archaeological complex, unequalled in Europe and still being excavated and investigated.
Back to the mainland and Inverness. Our target for tonight is our overnight stay in a magnificent 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 Cairngorms and Glen Garry, into Perthshire and on to the Loch Tay area. Where, in the little village of Kenmore, you will find 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!
Continuing the journey south and on to Edinburgh.
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.
Back home to show off your knees in your newly acquired kilts.
As with all Homemade Holidays tours, this is a suggested itinerary, which can be adjusted, adapted and altered to suit your requirements.