Orkney and the North Coast 500 Tour Itinerary from Edinburgh
See spectacular views of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge as we travel north through The Kingdom of Fife.
Wander among beautiful grounds and ruins of the romantic 12th century Dunkeld Cathedral. Here you can and enjoy a tranquil woodland walk to stunning Hermitage Waterfall.
For lunch, we will visit the picturesque highland village of Pitlochry. We’ll then continue north through the Cairngorm National Park. Followed by a stop at the award-winning Highland Folk Museum.
If time permits, you can experience the excellent Sheep Dog demonstration. We’ll then make our way to the Highland capital of Inverness for the evening.
Starting the second day of your NC500 tour, we travel north over the Kessock Bridge. We then follow the scenic northern coastline to Dunrobin Castle. A spectacular fairy tale castle and family seat of the Earl of Sutherland for over 700 yrs.
From here we make the short drive to Carn Liath Broch, a beautifully preserved Iron Age Broch.
Continuing on, we follow the dramatic coastal route to John O’ Groat’s, the most northerly village in the UK. We then board the 50 min ferry crossing over the Pentland Firth to Orkney.
Arriving at St Margaret’s Hope in Orkney, we cross the Churchill Barriers. Here we visit the beautifully ornate Italian Chapel. This chapel was built in Orkney during World War 2 by Italian prisoners of war.
We then travel on to Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney. Here we visit the magnificent Viking St. Magnus Cathedral. You’ll get to wander the towns’ narrow cobbled streets and stay the night here in Kirkwall.
On Day 3 of your Orkney tour, you’ll get to spend a full day exploring the islands’ ancient Neolithic wonders. These include:-
Maeshowe, a Neolithic chambered cairn dating back from early 3rd millennium BC.
Stones of Stennes & Ring of Brodger – henge and stone circles dating from 3rd millennium BC.
Skara Brae, Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village dating back 5,000 yrs.
Brough of Birsay, 8th-12th AD Viking settlement.
Broch of Gurness, which dates from the 1st century BC through to the 9th century AD. Reflecting the long Pictish and Viking eras.
There will be many more sites to visit on the day before making our way back to Kirkwall for the evening.
We end the Orkney leg of the tour with an early morning ferry crossing over the Viking Sea back to the mainland.
Our journey then takes us west along the very top of Scotland where we’ll see some stunning views – Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains, combined with golden sandy beaches.
Passing through the pretty villages of Bettyhill and Tongue we arrive at Durness. Here we’ll visit the mysterious Smoo Caves. (Please note- the path leading to the caves is downhill and a rough path in places. Appropriate footwear is recommended).
Journeying south from Durness, we take our time to soak in the incredible scenery in this part of Scotland. We will stop off to view deep-sea lochs, endless sandy beaches and towering mountains as we travel.
To end the day we arrive at the beautiful whitewashed fishing village of Ullapool. Here you can get a wonderful meal, drink and rest for the evening before beginning day 5 of your NC500 tour.
Leaving Ullapool behind. We follow the shores of Loch Broom to the impressive Corrieshalloch Gorge viewpoint.
It is then onto the Culloden Battlefield. Here you can explore the battlefield and hear its fascinating and tragic story. The ending to the brave Highland Jacobite’s 1745 rebellion.
From here we make a stop at the evocative Clava Cairns, to view the 3,500 yr old burial cairns and stone circles. We then head to the mysterious Loch Ness, home of “Nessie” our resident sea monster.
Continuing our North Coast 500 trip we travel on to the Great Glen. We follow the shores of Loch Ness where we can stop off along the way to view some impressive 13th-century ruins. Urquhart Castle and the Caledonian Canal at Fort Augustus.
We end the day by heading to the highland town of Fort William for the evening.
Our final day is no less exciting. We’ll start by setting off into the spectacular natural beauty of Glencoe – Scotland’s most dramatic and infamous valley.
It was here in Glencoe, a massacre under the orders from King William in 1692 took place. Scottish soldiers lead by Captain Robert Campbell slaughtered 38 people as they slept. All men, women, and children of the MacDonald clan.
As we leave the “Glen of the Weeping” we descend into the unique landscape of Rannoch Moor. A vast wild tundra of heather-covered moorland and peat bogs.
From here we will then travel through the scenic Bridge of Orchy and on to the Falls of Dochart. We then make our way through the Trossachs National Park to the imposing Stirling Castle.
Here you can choose to take in the spectacular views from the castle esplanade. You also have the option to explore the castle grounds.
Many historic buildings including the Royal Palace and The Great Hall can be found here.
Leaving Stirling we then make our way to your accommodation, where we sadly say our farewells.
Orkney and the North Coast 500 Tour from Edinburgh highlights:
- Highland Folk Museum.
- Carn Liath Broch
- Smoo Caves
- Corrieshalloch Gorge
- Stirling Castle