Eilean Donan Castle | Scotland | United Kingdom
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FROM: AUD $6,108 pp
Whisky Coast & Scottish Islands  - 12 days map

This comprehensive tour of Scotland uncovers the wild landscapes, wildlife and scenery of Islay, Mull, Iona, Skye and Orkney. On this 12-day escorted group tour you will also enjoy tasting and tours of four whisky distilleries to learn more about this iconic tipple. And you will take in highlights of the mainland including Loch Lomond and Oban. Search for 'Nessie' at Loch Ness, see Britain's most northern village at John o'Groats and stay in the whitewashed fishing village of Ullapool.

Inclusions
Itinerary
Prices & Dates

Trip Highlights

Whisky Coast - Visit four whisky distilleries with the chance to taste the produce, learn about the production process and tour the distilleries
Isle of Mull - Spot eagles and other wildlife on this pristine island, one of Scotland's wildest, and explore nearby Iona
Isle of Skye - Take in the highlights of this beautiful island, with plenty of hiking and sightseeing to enjoy
Scottish Highlands - Uncover some of the UK's best scenery as you traverse coastal roads, pass mountains and native pine forests
Ullapool - Stay in this pretty whitewashed fishing village, on the shore of Loch Broom
Isle of Islay - Uncover the dramatic scenery and highlights of one of the most beautiful Scottish islands, including Dunyvaig Castle
Glencoe - Soak up the stunning mountain views and learn about the tragic and famous massacre that took place here in 1692
Loch Ness - Hunt for 'Nessie', the mythical beast believed to dwell in the dark waters of Scotland's most famous loch
Orkney - Spend two nights in the Viking town of Kirkwall and uncover the ancient history of the archipelago at Skara Brae, Brodgar, Stenness and Maeshowe
Culloden Moor - Visit the museum at this historic battlefield, where the last battle to take place on British soil occurred in 1746

Included

11 breakfasts & 2 lunches
Escorted by a local driver-guide
Admission to Skara Brae
Admission to Culloden Museum and Battlefield
All necessary ferry journeys between Scottish Islands and the mainland
20kg luggage - see Trip Notes for details
11 nights simple guesthouse - (3 nights self-service breakfast provided, 8 nights B&B)
Visits to four whiskey distilleries: Ardbeg, Ardnahoe, Bowmore, Laphroaig including tour & tasting (subject to change)
Admission to Maeshowe
Transportation in 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach with air-conditioning
All road tolls
Note: This tour is operated in conjunction with our trusted partner and you will join travellers from different operators, not solely On The Go.

Not Included

International flights & visas
Meals not specified in itinerary
Entry fees unless specified
Airport transfers (pick up and drop off information can be found in the Trip Notes)
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture!

Itinerary

Day 1

Loch Lomond, Oban & Islay ferry

Edinburgh - Trossnachs National Park - Oban - Islay. Departing Edinburgh this morning, we head west, first visiting Trossnachs National Park. Admire some of the country's famous scenery and perhaps taste some regional delicacies. We then make our way through the mountainous Western Highlands to Oban, a port town once the strategic heartland of great feuding clans.

Modern Oban is known for two things, seafood and whisky. We have the opportunity to taste both, including a dram of locally produced whisky and an optional seafood lunch.

We then make our way through the Kilmartin Glen, home to standing stones and historic fortified strongholds dating back more than 1,500 years. At Kennacraig, we catch the ferry to the island of Islay. The crossing takes around 2 hours, and you can see the Paps of Jura as we sail past the island of Jura. Landing at Islay, we make our way to our accommodation in Bowmore.

Please note: Check-in closes at 08:15 on day 1 (tour departs at 08:30) - Edinburgh Bus Station Pick Up, Gate J and Gate K, inside Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ.

Accommodation: Bowmore Cottages, The Bruce or similar
Overnight: Islay

Day 2

Whisky, whisky & whisky

Tuck into breakfast at the accommodation before we depart on a day of whisky adventures! We are visiting three distilleries today, starting with Bowmore, one of the oldest distilleries in the whole of Scotland. There's an included tour and whisky tasting before we continue to Ardnahoe Distillery, where we can try more whisky and enjoy an included lunch of Scottish specialities. We then travel through the beautiful countryside of Islay to our third distillery. This will either be Bruichladdich or Bunnahabhain, depending on the departure. Bruichladdich specializes in unpeated whisky, whilst Bunnahabhain is the most remote distillery on the island. Feeling slightly light-headed, we then head back to Bowmore, where the evening is at leisure.

Accommodation: Bowmore Cottages, The Bruce or similar
Overnight: Islay  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3

Exploring Islay

Today we are exploring the southern half of Islay, one of the most beautiful of the Scottish Isles. First we visit the distillery at Ardbeg, owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy! There's an included tour and tasting here, plus we enjoy lunch in the vibrant restaurant.

The final distillery of our tour is Laphroaig, a 200-year-old distiller known to be a favourite of the British Royal Family.

Throughout the day, we will also stop at some of the island's main highlights. See the historic ruins of Kildalton church and Dunyvaig Castle, which was once held by the chiefs of the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg. We then return to Bowmore for our last night on Islay.

Accommodation: Bowmore Cottages, The Bruce or similar
Overnight: Islay  |  Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Islay to Oban

Islay - Inveraray - Oban. This morning we take the return ferry back to the mainland and replace the smell of whisky with the crisp air of the Scottish Highlands. We pass through the pretty village of Inveraray on the shore of Loch Fyne. There's a stop here as we change minibuses and guide. Some of your group will be returning to Edinburgh, but we are continuing our Scottish adventure! Meet the rest of the group before we continue to Oban for the evening.

Accommodation: Kathmore, Altavona or similar
Overnight: Oban  |  Breakfast

Day 5

Mull & Iona

Oban - Mull - Iona - Oban. It's an early start this morning as we take the ferry to the Isle of Mull. Take in dramatic coastlines and wild natural beauty, and keep your eyes on the skies for majestic white-tailed eagles, the UK's largest bird of prey.

We then take another ferry to Iona, the birthplace of Celtic Christianity and home to the ancient burial grounds of famed Scottish kings. We can see the historic abbey and take in more of the windswept coastline of the Scottish Isles.

There's an optional small boat trip to the uninhabited island of Staffa to see the basalt columns of Fingal's Cave. We then return to Oban on the ferry.

Accommodation: Kathmore, Altavona or similar
Overnight: Oban  |  Breakfast

Day 6

Glencoe, Ben Nevis & Plockton

Oban - Glencoe - Fort William - Plockton. Driving north along the coast, we pass Castle Stalker and visit Glencoe, a truly beautiful location haunted by the 1692 Glencoe Massacre. Around 30 members of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were slaughtered here for failing to pledge allegiance to King William III and Mary II.

We then pass through Fort William and past Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Great Britain. Continuing through the Great Glen, we arrive in Plockton, a small fishing village known for its palm trees! We overnight here.

Accommodation: Sabhal na Mara, Hillview, Haven Guest House or similar
Overnight: Plockton  |  Breakfast

Day 7

Exploring the Isle of Skye

Plockton - Skye - Plockton. Today we will be exploring the remote Isle of Skye, but there is no fixed itinerary for the day. The weather can be unpredictable, so your guide will choose the best highlights to show you in accordance with the conditions and any events that may be happening on the island during your visit. We are likely to be hiking, in order to enjoy the dramatic scenery of the island. Options include The Quiraing hill walk and the Old Man of Storr Walk, probably the most famous trail on the island. We can also see the Neist Point Lighthouse. Spend the day taking photos, sampling the view and enjoying everything this pristine environment has to offer. In the late afternoon, we return to our accommodation in Plockton.

Accommodation: Sabhal na Mara, Hillview, Haven Guest House or similar
Overnight: Plockton  |  Breakfast

Day 8

Loch Ness to Inverness

Plockton - Loch Ness - Inverness. Today we visit Eilean Donan Castle, a 13th century fortress, located on an island. We then drive to Loch Duich and the Five Sisters of Kintail, taking in more of Scotland's dramatic scenery. There's a stop for lunch at Loch Ness, so keep your eyes peeled for 'Nessie', the Loch Ness monster!

We then stop in the village of Spean Bridge. Here our group splits once more, as some travellers will be returning to Edinburgh, whilst we continue north to Orkney. Our guides will be on hand to help you move your luggage and introduce you to the new group for the remainder of our trip. We then complete our journey to Inverness, travelling up the entire 23-mile length of the Great Glen.

Accommodation: Dalmore, Pine Guest House, Aye Stay or similar
Overnight: Inverness  |  Breakfast

Day 9

John o'Groats & Kirkwall, capital of Orkney

Inverness - John o'Groats - Kirkwall. Departing Inverness early, we head past Dunrobin Castle and along the coastline of the northeast Highlands, taking in some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery. If the ferry timetables allow, we will enjoy a stop at John o'Groats, on the north-eastern tip of Great Britain. Arriving in Gills Bay, we board the ferry to Orkney, crossing Pentland Firth. Landing on the archipelago, we stop for a visit to the colourful Italian Chapel before arriving in the former Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney Islands. The evening is free, we recommend paying a visit to the magnificent Viking Cathedral of St Magnus, dating back to the 12th Century.

Accommodation: Bellavista Guest House, Heatherlea B&B, Hildeval B&B or similar
Overnight: Orkney  |  Breakfast

Day 10

Exploring Orkney

Today we explore Orkney, taking in the stunning nature of green pastures and windswept sandy beaches alongside Orkney's past. We take in the 5,000-year old village of Skara Brae, A Neolithic settlement older even than the Pyramids of Giza or Stonehenge! We also take in the prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones at Stenness. Each of these sites is UNESCO-listed as part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

We also visit Maeshowe, home to a number of well-preserved Viking runic inscriptions, dating back to the 12th century. We then return to Kirkwall for the night.

Accommodation: Bellavista Guest House, Heatherlea B&B, Hildeval B&B or similar
Overnight: Orkney  |  Breakfast

Day 11

Back to the mainland

Kirkwall - Ullapool. This morning after breakfast, it is time to depart Orkney, as we take the return ferry back to the mainland. We then take a spectacular drive along the northern coast of Scotland, taking in the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben hope mountains and a picturesque coastline. We stop to admire Ardvreck Castle in the far north-west mountains of Assynt before reaching Ullapool, a pretty whitewashed fishing village located at the mouth of Loch Broom. The evening is at leisure.

Accommodation: Foinaven, Ullaviews, The Sheiling Guest House or similar
Overnight: Ullapool  |  Breakfast

Day 12

Return to Edinburgh

Ullapool - Edinburgh. Today we make our way back to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, but we have a number of fascinating stops along the way. We see where the River Droma plunges 6o metres over a cliff into the Corrieshalloch Gorge and we enjoy views of Loch Glascarnoch as we pass Inverness.

We also make a short stop at Culloden Moor. This was the site of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the last stand of the Jacobites who suffered a crushing defeat by the troops of the Duke of Cumberland. Interestingly, this was the last battle to have been fought on the British mainland.

Next we see the ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns, made famous by Diana Gabaldon in the ‘Outlander’ books. We then journey around the edge of the Cairngorm mountains, past lush pine forests and make our way back to Edinburgh, where our tour ends.

Please note: This tour ends at 19:00 - Edinburgh Bus Station Drop Off, Gate J and Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3DQ.
Breakfast

Prices & Dates

Departure dates are guaranteed with 2 travellers. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to all solo travellers, or if your booking party cannot reach the minimum of 2 persons in a room. Single Rooms can also be booked by any other person wanting the comfort and privacy of their own room.

2024
Twin Share
Single Room
11 Oct - 22 Oct 20% off
AUD $7,635
AUD $6,108
AUD $9,235
AUD $7,388
18 Oct - 29 Oct 20% off
AUD $7,635
AUD $6,108
AUD $9,235
AUD $7,388

At a Glance

Range
Trip Type
Starts
Edinburgh
Ends
Edinburgh
Departs
Fridays
Group Size
Min 2 / Max 16
Hotel Rating
Simple guesthouses
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Meals
Breakfast: 11, Lunch: 2
Countries
Minimum Age
18
Arr. Transfer
No
Dep. Transfer
No
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