The Islander tour is for those who enjoy wonderful coastal scenery, old ruined castles and intact ones, memorable boat trips and pretty small towns.
Included in The Islander Tour
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Departing from your accommodation in Edinburgh or elsewhere at 0845, we proceed directly to Stirling Castle, stopping here to marvel at this impressive defensive structure and take in the breath-taking views.
The charming village of Luss on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond shall be our next stop, with its attractive 19thC cottages, fine local church and great views to the highest mountain in sight, Ben Lomond.
We continue our journey to our lunch stop, Inverary, where you could choose to spend your time in Inverary Castle, home of the Duke of Argyll and the Chief of the Clan Campbell, or simply enjoy some lunch and take a look at the local shops. There is also the very interesting Old Town Courthouse and Jail to visit.
After lunch, we visit Kilchurn Castle, an old 16th C ruin on Loch Awe, which belonged to the Campbell’s of Glen Orchy. Perhaps one of Scotland’s most dramatic ruined castles and well worth the short walk to gain access.
We then drive to the attractive, colourful harbour town of Oban, with its interesting seascape, delicious seafood and stunning views to the Isles of Kerrera and Mull.
An early start on the second morning of The Islander tour will allow us to catch the first ferry to Mull. Enjoy your breakfast on the boat and after disembarking, we proceed to the south of Mull to catch another ferry onto the Hebridean Isle of Iona.
Iona is a magical small island with its white sandy beaches and wild flower meadows. Saint Columba brought Christianity to Iona in the 6thC and from here, it spread to the rest of Scotland. The restored Abbey is well worth a visit and to this day, the island is a site of pilgrimage.
You could choose to take a boat trip to Staffa with its impressive geology, including Fingles cave, made famous by Mendelssohn’s Hebridean Overture. Staffa is surrounded by a huge array of wildlife including puffins, seals, dolphins and whales, some of which are seasonal visitors.
After enjoying your day on Iona and Staffa if you choose, we meander northwards to meet the evening ferry, stopping for some photographs along the way.
An alternative to Iona and Staffa would be to spend time in the North of the island and include a visit to the capital of the island, Tobermory, with its interesting harbour, excellent local seafood and whisky distillery, surrounded by colour washed houses.
We depart on day three at 9am and take the scenic drive to Glencoe. Steeped in history and adorned with glorious landscapes, we have a short walk around Glencoe Lochan, a glorious small Loch. Alternatively, we could take the chairlift at Glencoe Mountain Ski Centre, allowing some wonderful views from the top.
After lunch, shopping and perhaps the free West Highland museum in our largest town of the Highlands, Fort William, we proceed to the Glenfinnan Monument and viaduct, made famous in recent years by Harry Potter books and films. This is an interesting historical site, being the place where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his Royal Standard declaring himself to be King, effectively starting the 1745 uprising.
If you wish, you can spend time in the visitor centre and the cost of admission allows access to the Glenfinnan Monument, from the top of which there are fantastic views.
We take a ferry over the sea to Skye, and either have an overnight stay at Portree or return to the mainland via the Skye Bridge and stay at pretty Plockton village. This will depend on your preferences and availability.
A flexible day on Skye, we could drive to Elgol for a scenic boat trip to the base of the Cullin Mountains. Few things come close in terms of experience on a clear day.
If walking is your thing, we could walk to the Faery Pools, Neist Point Lighthouse or the Coral Beach, all lovely places to explore. These walks could be combined with Talisker Whisky distillery or a visit to Dunvegan Castle with its Faery Flag. Dunvegan is the oldest continuously occupied castle in Scotland and has been the seat of the Clan Macleod for 800 years. Some of the group could walk while the others visit Talisker or Dunvegan.
There are many good places to stop for lunch on the Island, Portree, the capital, could be a good lunch stop with its colourful harbour and bustling island charm. Best selection of shops here too.
We could also spend some time in the far North of the Island, the Trotternish Peninsula. There is so much to see here, including The Kilt Rock viewpoint, the mountain pass of the Quiraing, Flora Macdonald’s grave and the Museum of Island Life.
So, let us know what you are into and we will tailor your day around Skye to your requirements.
We leave Portree or Plockton at 9am and make for Eilean Donan Castle, often described as Scotland’s most photographed castle. It has featured in many films including Highlander and Maid of Honour. If we are lucky there will be a bagpiper.
We continue our journey to Fort Augustus, on the banks of the atmospheric and beautiful Loch Ness. A great place to stop for lunch and explore the locks of the Caledonian Canal, it is possible to take a one hour long Loch Ness boat trip from here.
After lunch, our journey takes us into the Cairngorm National park, stopping for refreshments and photographs along the way, making our last stop of the tour in the Victorian town, Pitlochry, returning to Edinburgh at 715pm.
If you are looking for a mixture of the best that Scotland has to offer, The Islander tour is hard to beat.
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The Islander Photo Gallery
To give you a taste of what to expect on The Islander tour, here are some photographs which show just a few of the magnificent sights you can enjoy on your tour. Click on the thumbnail image to see a larger version.
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