Two Weeks in Scotland
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeCulture, Discovery, Guided Tours, History
Activity Level Fairly Easy
Group Size Small Group
Why Scotland? It’s a place of geological wonders, well preserved neolithic sites, hiking opportunities, misty mountains and lochs, splendid nature, magic and folklore, steeped in history; and all so photogenic. Here are the best reasons for our 2-week road trip around Scotland….
- Walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs from 165 million years ago on beaches of the spellbinding Isle of Skye, a gateway to a world that once was…
- Fingal’s Cave is a gift from Mother Nature with its huge symmetrical basalt columns, unworldly acoustics and a puffin colony above – gazing and photography worthy!
- Not one but two World Heritage Sites to explore, hike about and photograph – On the Island of Orkney the Neolithic stone circle Ring of Brodgar, The Stenness Stones, the 5,000-year-old village Skara Brae, and chambered cairn of Maeshowe make up the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site while Old & New Town of Edinburgh with buildings that remain largely unchanged from how they would have looked centuries ago is the 2nd site
- Enchanting Castles, Palaces and Cathedrals – Remarkable Ruins – Splendid Architecture
- Scotland’s National Animal is actually the Unicorn!
- Maybe we will get THAT photo of Nessie…
- The food is as fresh as can be! From Scottish salmon and hand dived scallops to local organic beef and home-grown veggies, we will enjoy a memorable culinary adventure
- Film locations abound from the hugely popular Outlander, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and so many more
- Small tour group! Only 8 people total including the guide(s)!
All transport from Day 1-17, and drop-off on Day 17 at Edinburgh airport
All accommodations for 16 nights
All meals & non-alcoholic beverages from lunch on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 17
All activity & entrance fees and taxes
Personal tour guide(s) with total of up to 6 guests = 8 total people!
Any activity not described in this itinerary
Airfare to and from Edinburgh, Scotland
Pre or Post-trip activities
Day 1 June 26
Our first meet-up of the Big Chill Adventure group will be at the Glasgow Airport. Mindy will be there to meet you if you arrive in the morning on June 26th. We will travel a short distance to our accommodations for the next two nights. After checking in and leaving our bags, we can all enjoy our first get together in Scotland. We will spend the afternoon at a leisurely pace, visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Park, having lunch and strolling through the Glasgow Botanic Gardens with the lovely Kibble Palace. After dinner we will return to our lodgings to get a good nights’ rest.
After breakfast, we will be visiting some of the best Glasgow has to offer; the Necropolis Victorian Cemetery, Glasgow Cathedral and the People’s Palace & Winter Gardens. We may stop in at West Brewery for a craft beer on our way to the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre for a show at 5 pm. After dinner we will return to our accommodations. If you like you may continue exploring the city on your own after dinner. Lunch and Dinner will be along the way.
- Day 3 Good Bye Glasgow
- Day 4 Isles around Oban
After breakfast we will drive north to Fort William. On the way highlights include: Dunstaffnage Castle & Chapel ruins, Glencoe’s Visitor Center and the West Highlands Museum. After lunch, we will be taking the Jacobite Steam Train, of Harry Potter fame, from Fort William to Mallaig and back, with some spectacular scenery along the way. After dinner, we have time to walk about Old Inverlochy Castle, the Old Fort and Neptune’s Staircase, the staircase lock system along the Caledonian Canal. We will spend the night in Fort William.
Isle of Skye
After breakfast we will be traveling towards the Isle of Skye! Highlights along the way include: Glen Roy Nature Preserve and the elegant Eileen Donan Castle. We will check in to our new lodgings and leave our bags as we head out for lunch and a scenic walk to the Old Man of Storr. Kilt Rock and Mealt Waterfall on Trotternish Peninsula are the next stops to explore. The we will look for dinosaur footprints and fossils on the beach at An Corran, Staffin before a truly enjoyable afternoon of music at the Sunday Ceilidh at the Edinbane Inn.
Isle of Skye
We are off to Talisker Bay to enjoy some amazing views and a distillery tour, if we desire. This will be followed by some unique off-the-beaten-path small local museums: the Giant MacAskill Museum and the Colbost Folk Museum, before we make a stop for lunch and a visit to Raven Press Galleries, the working studio of a wood engraver and a photographer. Then we will be on our way to the spectacular vistas to be seen at the Neist Point Lighthouse. We will drive by Castle Dunvegan, as we continue our exploration of the off-the beaten-path on the Isle of Skye with visits to Claigan Souterrain, the ruins of Trumpan Church in Waternish and Dun Beag.
On to Fort Augustus
We say farewell to the Isle of Skye after breakfast and drive towards Fort Augustus. Our stops along the way include spectacular Plodda Falls, and the Beauly Priory. Lunch will be either before or after our visit to the magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness. Then we will wander through the mysterious Boleskine Burial Ground. A day full of history and nature, which will end after dinner with an evening cruise on beautiful Loch Ness.
Culloden and Coopers
Today, after breakfast, we will be visiting Fort George and the Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Center, both very significant sites in Scottish history. We will then take a tour of the Speyside Cooperage. Still using many traditional methods, their Coopers are busy shaping, shaving and charring casks for what is an integral part of the whisky industry. We will take a journey through the lifestyle of the cask and perhaps even try a dram of their homegrown whisky. We will end our day of touring at Elgin Cathedral before our overnight in Findhorn.
Head to the Highlands!
Today takes us on a journey through the Scottish Highlands. Highlights include the Clava Cairns, the exquisite Dunrobin Castle and gardens on our way to the stunning views of the Stacks of Duncansby. We will also stop at Whaligoe Haven and Steps and Castle Sinclair Girnigoe. We will end our day with a visit to the Castle of Mey, its gardens and animal center. We end the day in Thurso.
After an early breakfast we will be taking the Ferry from Scrabster to Stromness, on the Island of Orkney. Its 10:15 am arrival time gives us an entire day of exploring the fascinating prehistoric sites all around this small island. We start with the four sites in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site: Maeshowe Chambered Cairns, the Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones, the Stones of Stenness and Skara Brae Prehistoric Village. After lunch we will visit the Brough of Birsay, if the tide allows us to, and if not we will go to the Earl’s Palace of Birsay before going to the Broch of Gurness. When we arrive in Kirkwall we will explore Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces. After dinner in Kirkwall, we will be able to walk around the town, until we are called to board the overnight Ferry to Aberdeen, with sleeping accommodations, which departs at 10:45 pm.
Aberdeen to Findhorn
We arrive in Aberdeen at 7 am, after breakfast. After unloading from the Ferry we will drive to the dramatic Huntly Castle, known for its splendid frontispiece, double height oriel windows and a great round tower.
We will be spending the rest of the day at the Findhorn Eco Community. We can visit the gardens, the housing, the weaving and pottery studios, the Kitchens, attend a lively presentation on how the community became sustainable after being told it wasn’t possible many years ago, and enjoy lunch and possibly dinner with the folks who live there.
Belted Galloways and Sculptured Stones
Our morning will be filled learning about the behind the scenes workings of a certified organic farm, which raises Belted Galloway Cattle in addition to Hebridean Sheep and vegetables of all kinds. Our tour includes some time with the animals and a tasty lunch of pies, salad and dessert!
Then, we will visit the Meigle Sculptured Stone Museum, home of the permanent exhibition of 27 carved Pictish stones, before taking a tour of Scotlands only wooden ship, the HMS Unicorn.
One of Scotland’s finest Renaissance palaces, Falklands Palace, is part of the town that is our next stop, and the village itself is a great place for a stroll and dinner.
- Day 14 In Edinburgh
All Around Edinburgh
We will be driving out of town for a look at the Prestonpans Battle Viewpoint before going to the Chain Bridge Honey Farm. We can tour their farm and Visitor Center and enjoy lunch in their double decker bus! Robert Smail’s Printing Works is our next look into history. After driving back to Edinburgh and parking the car, we will experience our last great meal in Scotland. Our last Edinburgh Experience will be at The Real Mary King’s Close, buried deep under the Royal Mile. We shall go back to our lodgings to pack and get ready to leave in the morning.
Day 16 July 11
We will leave for the Glasgow Airport after breakfast – the time will depend on all of our flight times.