Popular Locations

Popular locations for Scottish Highland Trails vacations

January 31, 2015

Sample Itineraries

There are so many options for tours in Scotland and Ireland but here is a suggested route through the Highlands and Islands to whet your appetite.  Ideally you would need around 10 days to do this route justice but we can work around whatever time you have to create your perfect tour.

Highlands, Skye, Mull, & Islay

Blair Castle

Departing from Edinburgh head north to Perthshire.  Here you might stop to visit Scone Palace, where Kings of Scotland were crowned in ancient times, or perhaps Blair Castle, ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl.

Then head north over the Drumochter Pass to the Cairngorms National Park, where you have the option of a stop at the Highland Folk Museum or a ride on the funicular railway to the top of the Cairngorm Mountain.  North again you reach Culloden where you can visit the battlefield site where Bonnie Pronce Charlie’s Jacobites were finally defeated by governement troops in 1746.  From Culloden it’s only a short hop to Inverness, the “Capital of the Highlands”.

Ben NevisLeaving Inverness head west along the shores of Loch Ness.  At the village of Drumnadrochit you have the option of a stop at the picturesque ruins of Urquhart Castle or perhaps you prefer the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition, or take a boat trip out onto the loch to try and spot Nessie for yourself! Keep your camera at the ready – one photo of the exlusive beast and you’ll never have to pay for another holiday again :)  Continuing north west you pass through the Kintail area where you might visit the superb Eilean Donan Castle before crossing the bridge to the Isle of Skye.  Here you can explore the mountainous landscapes and deserted coastline, visit Dunvegan Castle, home of the Clan Macleod, or try a drop of the hard stuff at the Talisker Malt Whisky Distillery.

Leaving Skye you head south and take the ferry back to Mallaig on the mainland.  You cross the Morvern Peninsula and take another ferry for the short crossing to the Isle of Mull.  Here you can visit the tiny island capital of Tobermory, discover windswept sandy beaches and visit Duart Castle, ancestral home of the Macleans of Duart.  The island of Iona is a short distance away: a site of Christian pilgrimage for centuries, St Columba founded an abbey here in 563AD.

Iona from the Isle of MullFrom Mull & Iona you cross back to Oban on the mainland and head south through the Kilmartin area.  Kilmartin Glen is home to the highest concetration of Bronze Age and Neolithic remains in Scotland, and you will find many standing stones, a henge monument and burial cairns.  Continuing south down the Mull of Kintyre you reach Kennacraig where you take the ferry to the island of Islay.  This little island is home to eight whisky distilleries and you can take a tour of the likes of Lagavulin, Bowmore or Ardbeg.  You could also take the ferry over to the Isle of Jura for the day or a boat trip to see the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, one of the largest in the world!

Leaving Islay you return to the mainland and turn east to Inveraray where you can stop to visit the 19th century Inveraray Jail or the impressive Inveraray Castle, home of the Clan Campbell.  You turn south along Loch Lomond where you might like to take a trip out on the loch or simply soak up the beautiful scenery, before contiuning south over the Erskine Bridge to the city of Glasgow.

George Square, GlasgowYour tour ends with some time in bustling Glasgow, renowned for its many museums and art galleries including the Burrell Collection, the Kelvingrove Art Galllery & Museum and the excellent new Riverside Museum, which deals with Glasgow’s ship building and industrial heritage.

 

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January 25, 2015

Southern Scotland

Scott's View near Dryburgh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Often overlooked by visitors, southern Scotland is unspoilt and has lots to offer – rolling hills, small market towns, and historic houses.

Some highlights

  • The Border Abbeys. Romantic ruins are all that is left of the four historic Border abbeys at Melrose, Jedburgh, Kelso and Dryburgh. Nonetheless they are architecturally beautiful, fascinating to visit, and give a real insight into monastic life in medieval Scotland.
  • The south west is Burns Country. Discover why the poet Robert Burns is still so popular today, 250 years after his death, and visit his cottage and the places which inspired some of his most famous poems.
  • Like the great outdoors? Southern Scotland has some of the world’s best mountain biking trails, or you can fish world class salmon rivers like the Tweed and the Nith.  Explore the countryside including Galloway Forest Park, a Dark Sky park and one of the best places in Europe to observe the night sky.
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January 25, 2015

Tour Loch Lomond, Stirling & Perth

Robert the Bruce

 

 

 

 

 

Loch Lomond, Stirling and Perth are easily accessible from Glasgow and Edinburgh if you want to do a day tour, but we recommend you spend a lot longer in this beautiful region.

Some highlights

  •  Historic Stirling. Visit the superb Stirling Castle to see the Great Hall, the Renaissance palace of James IV and the Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries. Later climb the Wallace Monument to learn more about Braveheart himself, Sir William Wallace or head to the Bannockburn battlefield site with its excellent new visitor centre.
  • Loch Lomond – take a cruise on the loch to see some of the islands and learn more about the history and wildlife of this beautiful area.
  • Explore Perthshire, known as “big tree country” – home to some of Europe’s most remarkable trees and woodlands. Visit in autumn to see the fabulous colours of the changing foliage.

 

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January 25, 2015

Fife and the East Coast

The Fife area is within an hour or two’s drive from Edinburgh and is well worth a visit.  Here you will find historic fishing villages, sandy beaches, and of course – golf courses!  Still known locally as the Kingdom of Fife, the area was once a Pictish kingdom and there are lots of historic sites to explore.

Some highlights

  • St Andrews. A wonderful university town with its ancient medieval castle and cathedral, wide sandy beaches and of course the Old Course, renowned the world over as the home of golf
  • Discover the East Neuk and take the scenic coast road through the fishing villages of St Monans, Pittenweem and Crail, not forgetting to stop for fish and chips at the award winning chippy in Anstruther
  • Visit historic Dunfermline Palace and Abbey, founded in the 11th century by Queen Margaret. Dunfermline is the mausoleum of some of Scotland’s great kings and queens.  Margaret is buried here along with her son, David I, and King Robert the Bruce.
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January 25, 2015

Argyll & the Mull of Kintyre

Explore this beautiful part of the west of Scotland, with its mountains, lochs, forests and meandering coastline.

Some tour highlights

  • The scenic village of Inveraray with its white washed cottages, located on the shores of Loch Fyne. Home to the stunning Inveraray Castle, ancestral home of the Clan Campbell. Don’t forget to sample the justly famous local seafood.
  • The port of Oban, gateway to the isles. Climb up the hill to McCaig’s Tower for simply spectacular views to the islands of Kerrera, Lismore and Mull.
  • The Mull of Kintyre. Golf the links course at Macrihanish, take a tour of one of the Campbeltown malt whisky distilleries and enjoy the views – on a clear day you can see the coast of Ireland from here.
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January 25, 2015

Orkney & Shetland Isles

Callanish Standing Stones Isle of LewisTravel to the far north to tour the Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland, a landscape of towering cliffs and sea stacks and windswept beaches.

Some highlights

  • Time your visit to coincide with Up Helly Aa, the midwinter fire festival which takes place every year in Shetlands
  • Discover the traditional fiddle tunes and musical heritage of the islands
  • Step back in time and visit the superb Neolithic sites of Skara Brae, the chambered cairn at Maes Howe and the standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar. These ancient monuments are some of the best preserved in Europe
  • Follow the arts and crafts trail which showcases local producers of textiles, jewellery, pottery, art, woodwork and more.

 

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January 25, 2015

The Hebridean Islands

Morar Scottish HighlandsScotland has over 790 islands, many of which can be found off the west coast.  Ferries ply the routes between these islands, and a few can also be reached by air.

Some tour highlights

  • Flying into the Isle of Barra in a tiny plane and landing on the beach
  • Exploring the clear waters and fine white powder beaches of the island of Iona, a site of pilgrimage since St Columba established an abbey on the island in AD 563
  • Head to the Outer Hebridean island of Lewis and Harris, a place of windswept moorland and deserted beaches. Visit pre-historic sites such as the superb standing stones at Calanais, thought to date from around 3000 BC.
  • The Isle of Skye is always popular with visitors and it’s not hard to see why – stunning mountain scenery, inlets, bays and lochs, tiny villages and thousands of years of history are yours to discover.
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January 25, 2015

Scottish Highlands

applecross Scottish Highland TrailsThe Highlands are located in the far north of Scotland. Sparsely populated, the region is well known for its dramatic landscape of mountains and lochs is perfect for watching wildlife and outdoor activities.  There are miles of beautiful scenery to explore on your tailor made tour as well as castles, battlefield sites and a variety of other attractions waiting to be discovered.

Some tour highlights:

  • Loch Ness for stunning scenery, boat trips on the loch, the spectacular ruins of Urquhart Castle, & Nessie spotting! Keep your cameras ready – if you spot the elusive monster, you’ll never have to pay for a vacation again!
  • Eilean Donan Castle and the unspoilt beauty of the north west
  • Drive the beautiful Road to the Isles…or travel by steam train instead over the 21 arch Glenfinnan Viaduct to the port of Mallaig.
  • Head to the Cairngorms for a day in the mountains – walking, mountain biking, clay pigeon shooting, mini Highland Games – you can do it all here! Finish the day with tour and a dram at a local malt whisky distillery.
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September 14, 2014

Plockton

Plockton is a picturesque settlement on the shores of Loch Carron. It faces east, away from the prevailing winds, which together with the North Atlantic Drift gives it a mild climate allowing the Cordyline australis palm or cabbage tree to prosper.

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