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    Nikolay and Irima, Stirling Castle and Trossachs
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11 Day Grand Tour of Scotland. Including the Hebrides, and the Orkney Islands.

Take a grand tour of Scotland’s Hebridean and Orkney Islands. And you will discover a landscape of such natural beauty it will simply take your breath away. From the stunning coastline’s and miles of golden sandy beaches of the Western Isles, to the dramatic rugged mountains on the Isle of Skye. On this grand tour of Scotland, you shall experience the wild remoteness of Sutherland, in the far north, to discovering 5,000 years of history on the spectacular Orkney Island’s.

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Day 1- Visit Stirling, and it’s medieval town and castle including the mighty Wallace Monument. Travel through stunning countryside to the final resting place of Scottish folk hero Rob Roy. Enjoy lunch at the Falls of Dochart in the pretty village of Killin. Journey through the spectacular mountains of Argyll, to the impressive 14th century ruins of Kilchurn Castle ancient stronghold of the Clan Campbell. Continue to Oban, ” Gateway to the Isles” your overnight stay for the next two evenings.

Day 2- Board the 9;45 am ferry to Craignure. ( Isle of Mull) We then travel south ( 1 hr) to Fionnphort, and the short ferry crossing to Iona, renowned for its beauty and tranquility. Here you will have free-time to explore the islands magnificent Abbey, a place of pilgrimage for over 1400 yrs. And the ” Street of the Dead” resting place of ancient Scottish Kings. Iona, also has some of the finest golden sandy beaches to explore. In late afternoon we make our way back to Craignure, for the evening ferry.

Day 3- Visit Castle Stalker, and the natural beauty of Glencoe. Continue on past Fort William, and along the Great Glen to the Glen Garry viewpoint. We then journey to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, before travelling to the Isle of Skye ( the Misty Isle) Once on the island we travel north to Talisker Distillery, or perhaps to visit the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle. If you are lovers of seafood we can also visit the Oyster Shed. It’s then on to the pretty town of Portree, for the next two evenings.

Day 4- A full day to explore Skye. Firstly we follow the Trotternish Ridge to visit the Old Man of Stoer, Kilt Rock and the spectacular Quirang, a dramatic series of high pinnacles. We then travel to the Museum of Highland Life, and Flora MacDonalds Monument before heading to the mysterious Fairy Glen. It’s then on to Dunvegan Castle, ancestral home of the Clan McLeod for over 800 yrs. From here we follow the coastal road back to Portree for the evening.

Day 5- We drive to Uig, for the 9;40 am ferry ( 1 40 min) to the islands of Harris/Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Arriving on Harris, we explore the islands dramatic lunar landscape, combined with some of the finest golden sandy beaches to found anywhere in the world. Of course Harris, is best known for it’s weaving of the famous Harris Tweed, which you shall discover on your journey. After a visit to the magnificent 16th century church of St Clement’s we head to the flatter and larger island of Lewis, ( Stornoway) for the next two evenings.

Day 6- A full day exploring Lewis’s ancient historical monuments including the 2,000 yr old Carloway Broch and the 4,000 yr old Neolithic Callanish Standing Stones, a real highlight of the tour. We also visit the evocative blackhouse village at Gearrannan, giving you a real insight into traditional ways of life once common on the island.. We then head to the Lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis, the most northerly point before making our way back to Stornoway for the evening.

Day 7- This morning we board the ferry for the ( 2 hr 50 min) crossing ( watch out for whales & dolphin’s) to the pretty fishing harbour of Ullapool. We then travel north through the remote wilderness of Wester Ross, a truly unique landscape of high mountains and stunning coastline’s. Continuing north passing through the small crofting communities we arrive at Durness, to view the impressive Smoo Caves, and hidden sandy beaches, before heading to the small village of Tongue, for the evening.

Day 8- After a hearty breakfast we travel along the scenic coastal road to St Gill’s Bay, where we sail across Viking waters to the Orkney Islands, boasting the greatest concentration of prehistoric archaeological sites in Europe. Arriving at St Margaret’s Hope, we drive to the Tomb of the Eagles, a Neolithic chambered tomb said to hold thousands of human and bird remains when first discovered . From here we make our way over the Churchill barriers to the fishing port of Kirkwall, for the next two evenings.

Day 9- A full day to discover the island’s dramatic landscape and ancient Viking sites. Firstly we visit Maeshowe, one of the largest Neolithic Tombs in Europe, built around 2,800 BC. Close to Maeshowe we then visit the Standing Stones O’ Stenness, thought to date from around 3,000 BC, and the iconic Ring O’ Brodgar erected around 2,500 BC. From here we travel to Skara Brae, Europe’s most complete Neolithic villages. Moving on we shall explore many more historic sites before heading back to Kirkwall for the evening.

Day 10- This morning you will have time to visit the magnificent 12th century St Magnus Cathedral, before making our way to St Margaret’s Hope,to board the ( 1 hr) ferry crossing back to the mainland. Arriving at St Gill’s we make the short trip to the iconic John O’ Groats, the most northeastern tip of Scotland. From here we follow the stunning coastal road passing through the little fishing villages of Caithness to Dunrobin Castle, a spectacular stately home built by the Duke & Duchess of Sutherland. We then make our way to Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands for the evening.

Day 11- Firstly we visit Culloden Battlefield and the Clava Cairns, before travelling south through the Cairngorm Mountains to the pretty Victorian town of Pitlochry. Here you can enjoy lunch at the 17th century Moulin Inn, or perhaps wander round the towns many gift shops for that last minute souvenir. Continuing on we stop to view the Hermitage waterfall and the magnificent Dunkeld Cathedral, before making our way to Edinburgh, or wherever you are based.

Please note- This tour can be extended to include a tour of the World Famous Whisky Trail, on Speyside.

Accommodation- Over the years I have accumulated a list of excellent B&B/Guest House, Small family run hotels and luxury Hotel/Castles to enjoy. Which I would be happy to book for you based on your budget and sleeping arrangements.

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