Spend 2 days on the Isle of Skye and visit Dunvegan Castle, Neist Point Lighthouse, the iconic Old Man of Storr and enjoy the culinary delights at the celebrated The Three Chimneys restaurant.
Duration: 4 days (starting in Edinburgh or Glasgow).
Day 1: Edinburgh or Glasgow to Fort William - overnight Fort William
Day 2: Fort William to Skye - overnight Skye
Day 3: Tour Skye - overnight Skye
Day 4: Skye to Edinburgh or Glasgow
Travel north to Stirling, once known as the 'Key to Scotland', with its imposing position in the centre of the country, to Stirling Castle. For centuries this was the most important castle in Scotland and the views from the top make it easy to see why. Stirling Castle played an important role in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. Continue west over Rannoch Moor to reach the most scenically beautiful of all the glens, Glencoe, stopping at the visitors centre. This area is steeped in history, and you will hear about the infamous 1692 massacre of Clan MacDonald. Travel over the Ballachulish bridge and on through Fort William to your accommodation.
Inverlochy Castle nestles in the foothills of the mighty Ben Nevis. Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy sketching and painting where she wrote in her diaries 'I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot'.
Your destination today is Skye or in Scots Gaelic 'Eilean A Cheo' meaning Misty Isle. It has a wild mountainous interior where the peaked, ridges and pinnacles of the Cuillin Hills are among the most breathtaking in Europe and the coastline, with all its coves and inlets, is said to stretch a thousand miles. Glenfinnan Monument stands proud at the head of Loch Shiel, where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in 1745 and to commemorate the Jacobites who subsequently fought and fell during the 1745 uprising. At your back and in the distance you can see the Glenfinnan viaduct which was famously used for the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films. Pass the White Sands of Morar and into Mallaig to catch the ferry to Skye.
Once on the island you will travel north to Broadford and set off for the west coast of the island to enjoy lunch at The Three Chimneys, a Michelin-starred Restaurant situated on the shore of Loch Dunvegan at Colbost. Accomplished head chef, Scott Davies, has won numerous awards and accolades and the restaurant has held 3 AA rosettes continuously for 18 years. The Restaurant is housed within the bare stone walls of an original crofter’s cottage around 120 years old. With 3 small dining areas covering the whole of the ground floor, it has an intimate atmosphere.
The Cuillin Hills is set within fifteen acres of mature private grounds overlooking Portree Bay with magnificent views over the Sound of Raasay to the Cuillin Mountain range. Try the fabulous a la carte dinner from a freshly designed menu offering a variety of fresh seafood.
After lunch you can visit Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and the stronghold of the Chiefs of MacLeod for nearly 800 years. Take a tour to see important clan relics such as the famous Fairie Flag of Dunvegan which was given to the Clan who helped a Fairy Queen. It is said to help the Clan in times of need if waved but can only be used three times. So far it has been used twice. Another of the castle's great treasures is the Dunvegan Cup, a unique ‘mazer’ dating back to the Middle Ages. It was gifted by the O' Neils of Ulster as a token of thanks to one of the clan's most celebrated Chiefs, Sir Rory Mor, for his support of their cause against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1596. Your final destination is Portree, the capital of the island, where you may wish to take a wander down to the harbour or visit the shops or cafes in Somerled Square before settling in at your accommodation.
Spend the third day exploring this magical island travelling northwards past the The Storr the highest point on the Trotternish Ridge, the longest geological landslip in Britain which has exposed the innards of an ancient landscape sculpted by volcanic activity. Below The Storr is The Sanctuary, home to the extraordinary rock pinnacles the Old Man of Storr and Needle Rock. See if you can identify the rock formations that are known as the "Needle", "Table" and "Prison".
Travel further around the coast where in Autumn, Spring and the wet season the Mealt Waterfall drops 300 feet into the sea often never reaching the ocean, but getting blown away by the wind. The spot is also a popular viewpoint for the Kilt Rock where columns of dolerite form what appear to be pleats, like a kilt, in the cliff.
Just north of Staffin turn inland to reach the Quiraing, a dramatic terrain formed by a landslide. We'll stop so you can walk through a landscape that dates from Jurassic times! Visit the Skye Museum of Island Life where a township of thatched cottages has been preserved, depicting the conditions on the island at the close of the nineteenth century.
Your final day will return you to the mainland via the Skye Bridge stopping at Eilean Donan Castle, situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery. This iconic Castle has a turbulent past which left it in ruins for 200 years. Travel through Glenshiel passing the Five Sisters of Kintail, some of the most stunning mountain scenery, to reach Invergarry. Continue eastwards along the banks of Loch Laggan and into Perthshire to the House of Bruar. Visit Queens View, generally believed to be named after Queen Victoria who took tea here in 1866. The viewpoint actually commemorates Queen Isabella, wife of Robert the Bruce who ruled Scotland between 1306 and 1329.
Continue into the Highland resort town of Pitlochry to Blair Athol Distillery, established in 1798 and one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. Join them for a distillery tour and see how they make their ‘uisge beatha’ or ‘water of life’. Finally travel past Perth and over the Forth Road Bridge to the south of the capital and Dalhousie Castle a magnificent 13th century fortress set within acres of wooded parkland on the picturesque banks of the River Esk for your last nights accommodation.
If you do not find the accommodations mentioned suitable then please do enquire about alternative choices.
This itinerary is only a guide as other historical sites can be incorporated into a tailored sightseeing tour of your own making. The Tour price does not include your entrance fees unless stated, lunches, dinners or the drivers gratuity.