A grand round-tour of breathtaking views and fascinating places throughout the Highlands of Scotland, from the ancient forests of the Cairngorms, vibrant Inverness - capital of the Highlands, to the majestic splendour of the mountains of Assynt, the romantic beauty of the Isle of Skye and the awe inspiring Glen Coe.
Day 1 takes you north over the Forth Road Bridge to the charming highland village of Dunkeld on the banks of the river Tay. From here you head into the Cairngorm national park and the ancient pine forests of the Rothiemurchus estate. Lunchtime will be spent on the beautiful shores of Loch Insh before a short forest walk takes you 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 and the village of Dores where you can do some “Nessie” spotting! Then it’s on to the shores of Loch Broom where you spend two nights at Ullapool. (*on some tours it may be necessary to stay in Inverness in which case the itinerary will be subject to slight changes)
Day 2 visits the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wildness of the mountains of Assynt with its abundance of wildlife. This area is historically famous as being the first crofting area to be bought by the local crofters, the Assynt Crofters’ Trust. You will be immersed in the history of the area and visit the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle, once the stronghold of the MacLeods of Assynt. The day is full of amazing views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes from the stunning white sand beach at Achmelvich Bay to the traditional fishing village of Lochinver. With the chance of seeing wildlife such as whales and red deer as well, this is sure to be a memorable day.
Day 3 leaves Ullapool heading south to take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60m down into the Corrieshalloch Gorge. From here you 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 before taking one of the highest roads in Scotland, Bealach nam Bo (meaning the Cattle Pass), with its jaw-dropping views, hairpin bends and precipitous cliffs. In the afternoon you stop in “tropical” Plockton where you can see palm trees growing alongside Loch Carron and take time to enjoy its sheltered serenity. Then it’s over the sea to Skye and the delightful harbour town of Portree with its friendly welcome.
Day 4 is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide's knowledge will come to the fore in developing the best day out for you. For example you might travel north to the stunning Quiraing mountain pass and enjoy a spectacular walk through some of Skye's extraordinary geological scenery or visit the Kilt Rock, composed of basalt columns (reminiscent of the pleats in a kilt) with its waterfall cascading over the cliffs and down into the sea below. After lunch you can travel to Neist Point for a walk out to the lighthouse at the most westerly point on Skye. Alternatively a visit to Dunvegan Castle, ancient ancestral seat of the Clan McLeod, may be possible. Talisker Distillery is also on Skye, as are the famous Cuillin Hills. We return you to your accommodation in Portree in the late afternoon for you to enjoy a free evening in the village.
Day 5 takes us south from Skye stopping first at the famous stronghold Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film “Highlander”, set at the head of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. Continuing east through the rugged mountains of Kintail including the splendour of the Five Sisters, you drive down through Glen Garry past Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, then onto Fort William for lunch. In the afternoon you will explore spectacular Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692, before stopping in Killin for refreshments beside the Falls of Dochart, arriving into Edinburgh at 1900 approx.
Photography Credits: Visit Britain, Visit Scotland, Britainonview, Mike Hasted, Luke Sheppard, Ingrid Rasmussen, Pawel Libera, Tony Pleavin, Craig Easton, David Angel, Martin Brent, Bob Berry, Paul Watts, Dorcas Sinclair (Lochinver), Wojsyl (Plockton).