A 13-day tour through the heather-clad glens, misty islands and purple-hued mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Wander the Isle of Skye, Staffa, Mull and mystical Iona, walk Culloden Moor, cruise mysterious Loch Ness, sip fine whisky and become re-acquainted with the culture and social fabric of the Highlands. The tour is limited to 18 participants. Your tour leader will be Michael Quinn. This is a second departure of the Sept. 1 trip with a number of modifications to the itinerary. Limited to 18.
Individual evening departures from Toronto to Glasgow. Dinner and breakfast served on board.
Morning gathering at Glasgow International Airport and begin our Scottish tour with a brief drive to Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, for a brief tour including the adjacent Church of St. Michael before our Edinburgh hotel arrival. Opportunity to refresh...perhaps a light lunch and "forty winks" before we walk the Royal Mile: the refurbished John Knox House, the High Kirk of St. Giles and the Palace of Holyroodhouse and faithful Greyfriars Bobby. An early dinner in-house.
A morning tour of Edinburgh Castle, regarded by many as the nation's most famous landmark. Sites will include: the Battlements and Argyle Battery, St. Margaret's Chapel, the Crown Room and Mons Meg. After, a *Hop On/Off city coach offers a late morning full city orientation tour with dialogue and notable site references for afternoon personal visits including our first tasting of Lowland whisky at Glenkinchie Distillery. Highly recommended sites; the National Gallery, Museum of Edinburgh, Portrait Gallery, the National Museum, or even a quick city bus to nearby Leith and tour the Royal Yacht Britannia...how the Royals lived at sea! Evening at leisure.
Morning departure by way of the Tay Bridge and Dundee to Glamis Castle, the ancestral home of the late Queen Mother but inescapably associated with Shakespeare's Macbeth. Lunch in the castle, then on to Fettercairn, for our first Highland nosing at the 1854 distillery... an introduction to the merits of Scotland's principal export! Later a superb photo stop at the Keith ancestral home of Dunottar Castle, precariously perched over the North Sea. We enter the Highlands by way of Stonehaven and the River Dee for an evening arrival at our charming country residence in Huntly. Dinner in-house.
Morning departure for Speyside with its magnificent landscape and clear running streams - an essential ingredient of Scotland’s best known export -whisky! A tour of Strathisla with tastings and the Speyside Cooperage at Craigellachie. On to the waters of the Moray Firth and Inverness. Enroute, lunch and a visit to Cawdor Castle, one of the two legendary residences attributed to Shakespeare’s MacBeth. Still a private residence, it offers a perfect example of Scottish castle architecture adapted to 21stC. living! Before our late afternoon Inverness arrival and dinner in house, weather permitting, we walk the peculiar geometric patterns and burial tombs of the Neolithic Clava Cairns, stark clues to the Stone and Bronze Age inhabitants of the Highlands.
A leisurely breakfast before a short drive to Culloden Moor where, in 1746, the troops of George II destroyed both the Jacobite Rebellion with its Stuart ambitions and the centuries old social fabric of clan life. The memorial cairns and plaques offer mute testament to the last battle on British soil and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s quest for the Throne. Afternoon at leisure …a cruise on Loch Ness, a woolen purchase (or two), a walk in the town or a stroll in the nearby hills. Dinner at leisure.
Leaving the capital of the Highlands, we travel through Drumnadrochit to Urquhart Castle with its unimpeded view of mysterious Loch Ness. Entering the Great Glen, a geological fault bisecting the Highlands through a series of natural freshwater lochs, linked by the Caledonian Canal, we continue on towards Fort Augustus and Invergarry to the quintessential poster castle of Eilean Donan. A photo-op before the Kyle of Lochalsh and the Hebridean Isle of Skye. Hotel registration and dinner in-house.
A full-day tour of the island...the perfect harbour of Portree, the Storr and Quiring Ridges, Kilt Rock, the community of Kilmuir with its Museum of Island Life. Lunch and a tour of Dunvegan Castle, hereditary seat of the Clan Macleod. We return to our hotel by way of Colbost where Talisker is the local distiller (a wee dram here for what ails ye!!) and the Cuillin Hills. Dinner this evening in house.
Morning departure from Skye by ferry to mainland Mallaig where our route, aptly named The Road to the Isles, takes us to Glenfinnan and the ‘45 Memorial to the Stuart’s second attempt to acquire the Hanoverian Crown. Passing Fort William and skirting Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest peak, we approach Glencoe and visit the infamous 17th-century massacre site of Clan MacDonald members. Late afternoon arrival in Oban and our ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. Dinner in our hotel.
After breakfast we cross Mull to the tiny port of Fionnphort to board our motor launch and sail to the Island of Staffa with its hexagonally-jointed basalt Fingal’s Cave, the stunning setting for Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture. For others, like Sir Walter Scott, it was…
“Composed entirely of basaltic pillars as high as the roof of a cathedral, and running deep into the rock, eternally swept by a deep and swelling sea.”
A noon return ensures time for lunch and the afternoon to explore the Holy Isle of Iona, cradle of Scottish Christianity...touched by Columba, fostered by Benedictines, lost in the Reformation, but reborn today as a Church of Scotland spiritual centre. The Isle’s ready serenity so moved the composer Mendelssohn while on his Scottish tour in 1829 such that…
“When in some future time I shall sit in a madly crowded assembly with music and dancing around me, and the wish arises to retire into the loneliest loneliness, I shall think of Iona…”
Late afternoon hotel return and free evening...perhaps to walk into Craignure for dinner or a soothing spa at the hotel!
An early morning ferry to the mainland. We follow the Banks of Loch Lomond to Glasgow. Enroute, a brief tasting at Auchentoshan Distillery before a panoramic coach city orientation tour introduces the highlights: St. Mungo’s Cathedral, Mercat Cross, Kelvingrove Museum and Sauchiehall Street. Afterrnoon hotel registration and orientation walk. Dinner this evening might well be the ubiquitous fish & chips in a "wee poke" with perhaps an evening stroll on Sauchiehall Street and a quick pub visit!
After breakfast, we visit the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery...a superb example of a personal collection transitioned to public pleasure and education that truly underscores the Scottish appreciation for culture, education and achievement. And nearby, Mackintosh House, with its reconstructed principal rooms well furnished with fine original pieces completes the morning. Before beginning an afternoon of personal choices (see below), consider tea or lunch in the delightfully restored Macintosh interior of the Willows Tea Room. This evening our Auld Lang Syne dinner. Personal choices for Glasgow:· Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. A stunning 20thCentury building that offers The Old Masters to the "Glasgow Boys." . People's Palace. The Tenement House . Public transit to Stirling to view the Wallace Monument and Bannockburn Heritage Centre. · Robbie Burn's cottage in Alloway.
A final Scottish breakfast before our morning transfer to Glasgow Airport and individual return flights to Toronto.
• Overland transportation by deluxe private coach; • Accommodation in superior tourist class (3/4 star) accommodation, based on double occupancy; • Daily full breakfast and 7 dinners; • All hotel taxes and gratuities; • Porterage where available; • Full guided visits and sightseeing as itinerary; • Five minimum distillery visits /tastings as specified; • Such activities as determined locally for distillery non-participants; • Fully escorted.
• Beverages & meals other than those outlined above; • All expenses & items of a personal nature; • Coach driver gratuities: approximately £50- $90.00 CAD; • Optional flights on Air Transat • Travel insurance. Please contact the office for premiums.
October 10 - 24, 2023
Tour price from Toronto: $5,295 CAD.
October 14 - 23, 2023
Land only: $3,485 CAD based on double occupancy
November 16 - 30, 2023
$8,895 including air based on double occupancy