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Isle of Skye and the Highlands 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

1. Isle of Skye and the Highlands 5-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Experience the dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye on a 5-day tour from Edinburgh. Visit historic sites and discover remote sandy beaches. Marvel at stunning seascapes and enjoy exploring picturesque villages. Travel in comfort in a small group, enjoying personalized attention and accommodation in guesthouses and B&Bs. Detailed Itinerary Day 1 Head north over the Forth Road Bridge to the charming highland village of Dunkeld on the banks of the river Tay, and then into the Cairngorm National Park and to the ancient pine forests of the Rothiemurchus Estate. After lunch you’ll spend time on the shores of Loch Insh and then take a short forest walk to the ruins of Loch an Eilean castle. Panoramic views of Loch Ness follow as you travel down to the banks of the famous loch to village of Dores where you can do some Nessie spotting! Overnight in Ullapool. Day 2 Visit the highlands of the far north-west and marvel the grandeur and expanse of the Mountains of Assynt. This was the first crofting area to be bought by local crofters – the Assynt Crofters’ Trust. See the ruins of the 15th-century Ardvreck Castle, once the stronghold of the MacLeods of Assynt. See some of Europe’s oldest landscapes, from the stunning white sand beach at Achmelvich Bay to the traditional fishing village of Lochinver. Be on the lookout for wildlife throughout the day. Overnight in Ullapool. Day 3 You’ll head south from Ullapool to take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60 meters down into the Corrieshalloch Gorge. Travel past the mountains of the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and along the picturesque coastline of Loch Torridon. The tranquil setting of Applecross is your destination for lunch. Experience a drive on one of the highest roads in Scotland, Bealach nam Bo, known for its jaw-dropping views, hairpin bends, and precipitous cliffs. In the afternoon you’ll stop in Plockton, where you can see palm trees growing alongside Loch Carron. Then it’s over the sea to Skye and the delightful harbor town of Portree. Day 4 Enjoy a flexible day on Skye. Depending on the prevailing conditions you might travel north to the stunning Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk through some of Skye’s extraordinary geological scenery. You might visit the Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns, with water cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below. After lunch you might travel to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse at the most westerly point on Skye. Alternatively your driver/guide might choose a visit to Dunvegan Castle, the ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod. Return to Portree for a free evening and to your overnight accommodation. Day 5 Travel south from Skye, making a stop at the famed Eilean Donan Castle, situated at the head of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. The stronghold was used in the filming of the movie Highlander. Continue eastward through the rugged mountains of Kintail, past Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis. You’ll stop in Fort William for lunch. In the afternoon you’ll explore spectacular Glencoe, scene of the massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692, before stopping in Killin for refreshments beside the Falls of Dochart.

Scotland: Orkney and Northern Coast 5-Day Tour

2. Scotland: Orkney and Northern Coast 5-Day Tour

Drive to the top of Scotland on a scenic 5-day tour, and learn the history of the Highlands at sites such as the battlefield of the Macdonald clan massacre, and Stirling Castle. Spend the day on the Orkney Isles, and travel the northenmost coast of mainland Scotland. The tour is by luxury 16-seat Mercedes minibus for a more intimate experience, while bed and breakfast accommodation is provided in Inverness, the lovely town of Kirkwall, and the whitewashed fishing village of Ullapool at the mouth of Loch Broom. Day 1: Depart Edinburgh, heading west towards Stirling. Pass Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument, and continue to Doune Castle, used for location shoots in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail.” Stop in the small town of Callander for refreshments. Then, marvel at the splendor of Loch Luibnaig, Loch Earn, Glen Ogle, and Glen Dochart on a scenic drive over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor. The views of the extinct volcano will take your breath away, and were also the scene of the infamous Clan Macdonald massacre of 1692. Continue north up the Great Glen to mysterious Loch Ness, with plenty of time to try and spot “Nessie” the Loch Ness Monster. The evening will be spent in Inverness, with free time to explore the “Capital of the Highlands.” Day 2: Depart Inverness early to cross over the Black Isle and past Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle. From here, drive the northeast coastline, traveling into some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery. Enjoy the views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes, and the chance to spot wildlife such as golden eagle and red deer. Close to Scotland’s most northerly mainland village, John O’ Groats, board the ferry to cross the Pentland Firth to the Orkney archipelago. It is a short drive on arrival to the famous Italian Chapel, where you will stop for a quick visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, your home for the next 2 nights. Look inside Kirkwall’s magnificent Viking cathedral, and wander the winding streets of the historic town center. Day 3: Explore the ancient island of Orkney, and discover a land of contrasts, where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands, and washed by the waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. Highlights include a visit to Skara Brae, the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar, the standing stones of Stenness, and Maeshowe, where Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions in the 12th century. Day 4: It’s time to leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here, travel across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains, following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of the northern coastline. Go to the far northwest of the Highlands, and admire the grandeur of the wild Assynt mountains. Stop to view the 15th-century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. Continue to Ullapool at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you will spend your last night. Day 5: Your morning includes visits to Corrieshalloch Gorge, and the ancient Clava Cairns, as well as exploring the more recent bloody history of the Culloden battlefield. Return south through the magnificent Cairngorm National Park, driving past the ancient Caledonian pine forests of Highland Perthshire, before your drop off in Edinburgh.

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What people are saying about Ullapool

Amazing tour of the Highlands and Orkney. Keith, our tour guide was professional and so knowledgeable, kept us entertained with great stories and music, attention to detail, we visited lots of beautiful and places, lochs, mountains, waterfalls and learnt tons of Scottish and British history. Thank you Keith for making this tour such an amazing experience. We will be back!

The trip was just great! We saw loads of stunning scenery and wonderful sights, particularly the Neolithic ones on Orkney, and our guide, Michael, could not have been more informative, helpful and friendly.

Great tour with a great tour guide who also responded to our wishes / needs. The small group was great to be able to fully enjoy each experience.

Wonderful tour in the north western part of the highlands ... including Isle of Skye. Really recommended indeed to be redone.