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Island Hopping Scotland: Iona, Mull, Skye, Orkney & Outer Hebrides Small Group

Duration
15 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,565

The charms of small but multifaceted Scotland don’t stop at the shoreline. This Scottish Islands tour takes you through centuries of Viking and Druid history, all amid beautiful surrounds.


This small group experience (maximum 16 participants) gets you off the beaten track so you get a real feel for the country. Our guides are hand-picked for their pride and passion for their country. Transportation is in modern Mercedes Benz mini-coaches and accommodation is in a variety of three star hotels.

This 15-day small group Scotland trip focuses on the islands surrounding Scotland, setting out from majestic Edinburgh.

Make your way to Argyll, via Stirling Castle and Loch Lomond, then board the ferry from Oban to Mull for the start of your island exploration. The islands of Mull, Iona, and Staffa can be done in one day, but are packed with fascinating sights, including a royal Scottish burial ground, the birthplace of Celtic Christianity, and the basalt columns described in Mendelssohn’s famous ‘Fingal’s Cave.’ Return to Oban, and travel along the west coast, in the shadow of Castle Stalker and towering Ben Nevis. Overnight in the lovely fishing village of Plockton.

Spend a day exploring the Isle of Skye at your own pace. Your guide will help you plan an itinerary best suited to your interests. It might include Dunvegan Castle, the Glendale Valley, or the cliffs and lighthouse of Neist Point. There are plenty of cliff and bay views, all ready to cultivate your appreciation for the wilds of Scotland before returning to Plockton. The following day, visit another Scottish icon, Loch Ness. Your route goes via Eilean Donan Castle (of Highlander fame), Loch Duich, the 5 Sisters of Kintail, and Urquhart Castle.

Keep a lookout for Red Deer and Golden Eagles as you journey through the northeast Highlands. Stop in at Gills Bay on your way to the Orkneys. The magnificent Viking Cathedral of Kirkwall gets your sightseeing off to a great start, before visiting the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae, and the prehistoric stone circle of Brodgar. From Orkney, follow the Viking route back to the mainland, and make your way to the northernmost parts of Scotland, admiring Ardvreck Castle and Loch Broom before spending a day in picturesque Ullapool.

Admire the Highlands as you sail along the waters of Loch Broom. Your destination is Stornoway, capital of the Outer Hebrides. Dolphins, seabirds, and even whales have been known to join vessels for part of the journey. Admire the view from the Butt of Lewis, where not a speck of dry land sits between you and the Americas. Lewis Island continues to fascinate, with prehistoric ruins, traditional crofting communities, and dramatic cliffs and windswept beaches.

Visit Harris, where the famous Harris Tweed is produced, then board the ferry for the Isle of Skye once more. This longer trip combines a couple of Scottish island adventures, so while some of your fellow travellers will be enjoying the Island for the first time, this will be your chance to revisit favourite spots, or see any attractions you initially missed. Returning to Edinburgh, you’ll see another familiar sight, Eilean Donan Castle, only this time, you’ll have the chance to visit and explore before your tour disbands.

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At Goway we are experts at designing personalized itineraries to suit your special interests, tastes and budget. Let us arrange your ultimate travel experience today.

Accommodation in Edinburgh

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    Jurys Inn Edinburgh



    Jurys Inn is one of the most centrally positioned hotels in Edinburgh, located just off the famous Royal Mile on Jeffrey Street in the Old Town and surrounded by beautiful architecture. Our hotel in Edinburgh is less than a two-minute walk from Waverly Train Station ...

    Jurys Inn is one of the most centrally positioned hotels in Edinburgh, located just off the famous Royal Mile on Jeffrey Street in the Old Town and surrounded by beautiful architecture. Our hotel in Edinburgh is less than a two-minute walk from Waverly Train Station and a 5-minute walk to Edinburgh Bus Station. Our prime city centre location also means that Jurys Inn guests are a short 15 minute walk from Holyrood Park, which is one of many Edinburgh gems that offers a "unique historic landscape" bursting with heritage and plenty of hills and 'crags' to explore.

    Whether you're looking for hotels in Edinburgh for business at the International Conference Centre, or touring Edinburgh Castle and the sights of historic Scotland's capital, our Edinburgh hotel ensures all your destinations are within easy - and always interesting - walking distance.

    Facilities

    • Bar
    • Coffee Bar
    • Free WiFi
    • Hairdryers
    • Handicap accessible rooms
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Lift/elevator
    • Meeting Facilities and Planners
    • Public Parking
    • Restaurant
    • Room Service Limited Hours

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    Nira Caledonia



    Nira Caledonia, the boutique hotel in Edinburgh Scotland, blends Bohemian chic with contemporary comfort. Amid the plush pelmets, rich textures and original cornices you will find flat-screen televisions, Nespresso coffee machines and iPod docking stations. You'll find warm, heartfelt service and a cool, quirky style. ...

    Nira Caledonia, the boutique hotel in Edinburgh Scotland, blends Bohemian chic with contemporary comfort. Amid the plush pelmets, rich textures and original cornices you will find flat-screen televisions, Nespresso coffee machines and iPod docking stations. You'll find warm, heartfelt service and a cool, quirky style. The cuisine at the Blackwood's Bar and Grill is natural, fresh and often organic, with ingredients farmed, caught, raised or bred in Scotland. With a friendly touch - and a touch of theatre - the hotel welcomes independent-minded travellers who prefer to go their own way.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Reception
    • 24 Hour Room Service
    • Bar(s)
    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Non-Smoking Property
    • Non-Smoking Rooms
    • Parking Facilities (at cost)
    • Restaurant

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    Hilton Edinburgh Carlton



    Blending perfectly into the historic surroundings of the Royal Mile, Hilton Edinburgh Carlton is an iconic element of the city. The building dates back to 1900s and is part of the impressive North Bridge which links Edinburgh's Old and New town together, giving you easy ...

    Blending perfectly into the historic surroundings of the Royal Mile, Hilton Edinburgh Carlton is an iconic element of the city. The building dates back to 1900s and is part of the impressive North Bridge which links Edinburgh's Old and New town together, giving you easy access to countless shopping, dining and entertainment. Once one of Edinburgh's top department stores, the building was fully refurbished in 2016 to bring the décor back to its stylish best.

    Facilities

    • Baggage storage
    • Bar
    • Concierge
    • Electric Service
    • Elevator
    • Fax
    • Fitness Rooms
    • Laundry Service
    • Lounge
    • Meeting Rooms
    • Multi-lingual Staff
    • Printing Services
    • Room Service
    • Secretarial Services
    • Valet Service

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Duration
15 Days
Prices From:
US$ 2,565

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Edinburgh Train Station to Hotel

Duration1 Hour

Stay Central Hotel

Located in the heart of Cowgate in Edinburgh, Stay Central Hotel offers easy access to several entertainment venues in the lively city. They offer 37 refurbished rooms fit for two to six guests, providing guests a good night's sleep after a long day of exploring the city. Stay Central Hotel guest rooms provide just the right amount of amenities so guests can lay down their heads for a few hours before hitting the pavement again the next morning. A central location near the Royal Mile means all of the best sights of Edinburgh are nearby.

Meal Plan Full Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Stay Central Hotel

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    Stay Central Hotel



    Located in the heart of Cowgate in Edinburgh, Stay Central Hotel offers easy access to several entertainment venues in the lively city. They offer 37 refurbished rooms fit for two to six guests, providing guests a good night's sleep after a long day of exploring ...

    Located in the heart of Cowgate in Edinburgh, Stay Central Hotel offers easy access to several entertainment venues in the lively city. They offer 37 refurbished rooms fit for two to six guests, providing guests a good night's sleep after a long day of exploring the city. Stay Central Hotel guest rooms provide just the right amount of amenities so guests can lay down their heads for a few hours before hitting the pavement again the next morning. A central location near the Royal Mile means all of the best sights of Edinburgh are nearby.

    Facilities

    • 24 Hour Reception
    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Non-Smoking Property
    • Wakeup Calls Available

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Day 2

Edinburgh to Oban

Please make your own way to the starting point at Rabbie's Cafe (Waterloo Place, Edinburgh) for the 9:00am departure. Ensure you arrive at least 30 minutes early. The first drive takes you past Stirling Castle and the national park around Loch Lomond. Continuing through the town of Inverary into Argyll. You will spend the afternoon in Argyll exploring before heading to Oban, the gateway to the Islands. Overnight in Oban.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Wellpark House

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    Wellpark House



    The Esplanade of Oban retains all the charming character and appeal of its considerable age and history, and represents the premier place to stay when visiting the town and enjoying the wonderful rural landscapes beyond. The perfect location then for Wellpark House, an outstanding Victorian ...

    The Esplanade of Oban retains all the charming character and appeal of its considerable age and history, and represents the premier place to stay when visiting the town and enjoying the wonderful rural landscapes beyond. The perfect location then for Wellpark House, an outstanding Victorian establishment which has great views over the islands of Lismore, Kerrera and Mull and offers within its superb period interiors contemporary accommodation ideal for any stay in this popular coastal town. Enjoy all the town has to offer and return to the comforts, amenities and quiet spaces of Wellpark House.

    Facilities

    • Parking
    • Parking

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Day 3

Mull, Iona and Staffa

Today is an early start crossing on the ferry to Mull and enjoying an island adventure exploring her dramatic coastlines and wild beauty, before taking the small ferry to the peace and tranquility of Iona - birthplace of Celtic Christianity and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings. Here you can visit the historic abbey with its intricate carved crosses in the churchyard or explore the rocky headlands and sandy coves of this island gem. There is also an opportunity to take a small boat out to the island of Staffa and view the dramatic basalt columns immortalised by Mendelssohn in his Hebridean Overture "Fingal's Cave". You then return on the ferry to Oban for your second night.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 4

Oban to Plockton

From Oban you will travel north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker, and Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. You then pass through Fort William nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis which at 1,344 meters is the highest mountain in the British Isles. Continue through the Great Glen a natural fault in the earth's crust that runs through Scotland and on through Ireland. From here you travel north to the picturesque fishing village of Plockton. You are then dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

An Caladh

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    An Caladh



    Anna and Bob introduce you to An Caladh - in Gaelic, the resting place on the shore - a traditional whitewashed house at the centre of the village of Plockton, known to many over the world for its scenic beauty and relaxed Highland ambience. The ...

    Anna and Bob introduce you to An Caladh - in Gaelic, the resting place on the shore - a traditional whitewashed house at the centre of the village of Plockton, known to many over the world for its scenic beauty and relaxed Highland ambience. The house, once a two-storied fisherman's cottage, has been extended and refurbished to provide comfortable and friendly accommodation, with central heating and television in all of the rooms, some of which are en-suite. The views across the bay to the Crags and Duncraig Castle are superb.

    Facilities

    • Garden
    • Heating
    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Non-Smoking Property

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Day 5

Isle of Skye

Today is a flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide will use his/her local knowledge to decide on the best day out for the group. For example: heading west towards the 13th century home of the Clan Macleod - Dunvegan Castle, the emerald green valley of Glendale or the dramatic sea-cliffs and lonely lighthouse at Neist Point. In the afternoon the tour may concentrate on the south of the island. Spend time heading down to Elgol for seascapes and views of the Cuillin, or Talisker and its beautiful bay or perhaps Glenbrittle and its famed waterfalls. You will be returned to your accommodation in Plockton in the late afternoon for you to enjoy a free evening in the village.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 6

Loch Ness

This morning you will be collected from your accommodation for the short drive to the famous stronghold of Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film "Highlander", set at the junction of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. Then you travel east taking in the stunning views over Loch Duich and the 5 Sisters of Kintail. Continue on to Loch Ness for lunch and the possibility of spotting "Nessie". Just south of Loch Ness you will stop in the Village of Spean Bridge and join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Orkney. Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions. With your new crew you will continue north following the Great Glen travelling the entire 23 miles of the famous Loch passing by Urquhart castle. You can expect to arrive in Inverness, the Highland capital, and the place of our overnight stay at approximately 18:30 where you will be dropped off at your pre-booked accommodation.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Craigside Lodge Guest House

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    Craigside Lodge Guest House



    This family run property boasts an unrivalled location right in the heart of Inverness with panoramic views over Inverness Castle and the River Ness, with distant hills and mountains beyond. Craigside Lodge is situated within a quiet residential area but is just minutes away from ...

    This family run property boasts an unrivalled location right in the heart of Inverness with panoramic views over Inverness Castle and the River Ness, with distant hills and mountains beyond. Craigside Lodge is situated within a quiet residential area but is just minutes away from everything Inverness has to offer. With shops, bars, restaurants, local tour pick-up points, and the train and bus station within easy walking distance, our guesthouse provides the perfect location for a holiday or a business trip and is the perfect base from which to tour the Highlands.

    Facilities

    • Complimentary Parking Based on Availability
    • Complimentary WI-FI

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Day 7

Inverness to Kirkwall

Your day begins with an early start, leaving behind the 'Capital of the Highlands', and crossing over the Black Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie's Skibo Castle. From here you drive through the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery, and enjoy amazing views of some of Europe's oldest landscapes and the chance to see wildlife such as Golden Eagles and red deer. Onwards through Scotland's most northerly mainland village, John o' Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. From here it is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney where you shall stay for 2 nights. Here you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking Cathedral and its historic winding streets.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Royal Oak Guest House

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    Royal Oak Guest House



    The modern custom-built accommodation is about one kilometre from the centre of Kirkwall. All rooms are en-suite and a wide selection of facilities are available to help ensure that your stay in here is an experience that you will treasure for many years to come.

    The modern custom-built accommodation is about one kilometre from the centre of Kirkwall. All rooms are en-suite and a wide selection of facilities are available to help ensure that your stay in here is an experience that you will treasure for many years to come.

    Facilities

    • Garden
    • Laundry Service
    • Non Smoking Property
    • Parking

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Day 8

Mainland Island

Today is your chance to explore this fantastic, ancient island; a land of contrasts where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. You will visit the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae (older than the Pyramids of Egypt!), the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness. Stop in Stromness - one of Scotland's most picturesque seaboard villages and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 9

Orkney to Ullapool

Enjoy a relaxed start to the day, as you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of the northern coastline. Then visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. From here you travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you will spend the next two nights. Once again you will leave the group at this point and on day 10 join your new group, with whom you will stay for the rest of the tour.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Ladysmith Guest House

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    Ladysmith Guest House



    Shetlander Niv and Pauline McRobb would like to offer you a warm Highland welcome. LadySmith Guest house bed and breakfast, is a traditional Highland stone house built in 1888 and situated. The accommodation is extremely comfortable with fresh linen and luxury bathrooms. Relax in the ...

    Shetlander Niv and Pauline McRobb would like to offer you a warm Highland welcome. LadySmith Guest house bed and breakfast, is a traditional Highland stone house built in 1888 and situated. The accommodation is extremely comfortable with fresh linen and luxury bathrooms. Relax in the south facing garden surrounded by some of the largest trees in Ullapool.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access - Wireless
    • Parking Nearby ($)

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Day 10

Ullapool

Spend a day at leisure in Ullapool before joining up with your new crew the next day. There are many possibilities available in this lovely town, Options for your day include enjoying a day just to relax and absorb the highland tranquil pace of life whilst browsing the small craft boutiques nestling through the streets of the town. Or why not take the local boat, the 'Summer Queen' from the pier for an idyllic 'Summer Isles' cruise. Alternatively you could head up Claypool hill for an easy two hour walk offering wonderful views over Loch Broom reaching a maximum height of 900ft. Or for the even more adventurous add to this walk by completing a three hour circuit returning to the town via Rhiddoroch estate (a full detailed of all local walks can be found at the local tourist information centre).

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 11

Lewis Island

This morning you will meet your final tour group, then catch the ferry from Ullapool for the 2 hour sail along Loch Broom, past the Summer Isles then out across the Minch to Stornoway - the main town on Lewis and capital of the Outer Hebrides. Look out for dolphins, whales and seabirds during the crossing. In the afternoon explore the North West coast from Arnol with its historic old "blackhouse", through traditional crofting townships to Port of Ness and the very north tip of the island - the Butt of Lewis. From the lighthouse here there is nothing between you and the Americas!

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Hebridean Guest House

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    Hebridean Guest House



    A warm welcome awaits you at the newly refurbished Hebridean Guest House. Their rooms and facilities will ensure you a pleasant and comfortable stay. It is situated in Stornoway overlooking the Lews Castle grounds and golf course. This Guest House is located within walking distance ...

    A warm welcome awaits you at the newly refurbished Hebridean Guest House. Their rooms and facilities will ensure you a pleasant and comfortable stay. It is situated in Stornoway overlooking the Lews Castle grounds and golf course. This Guest House is located within walking distance to the centre of town.

    Facilities

    • Bar/Lounge
    • Meeting Rooms Available
    • Non-Smoking Rooms
    • Restaurant

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Day 12

Lewis Island

Today will be spent exploring some of the prehistoric remains on the island as well as its finest beaches. The fascinating circular stone fort, or Broch, at Carloway will be your first stop followed by more traditional crofting communities such as Gearrannan and Shawbost. Then its on to Callanish with its mysterious ancient stone circle. In the afternoon you will head for the remote district of Uig with its fine, sandy beaches at Bhaltos, dramatic sea cliffs and rugged hills. This is the wilderness of the Western Isles at its finest.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 13

Harris

Travelling south today from the wild moorlands of Lewis to the more mountainous Harris - almost but not quite an island on its own. Famous for the locally produced cloth, Harris Tweed, it is also home to the highest mountains in the Outer Hebrides and the stunning white sands of Luskentyre. After a morning of exploring South Harris you will stop for lunch in the small port of Tarbet. Here you will catch the late afternoon ferry to Skye and continue on to the harbour town of Portree, your base for the next two nights.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Highfield Bed and Breakfast

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    Highfield Bed and Breakfast



    Highfield is only a five minute walk from Portree town centre. Located in a elevated position the bed and breakfast captures some unique views of beautiful scenery, including sea views and the Cuillins, one of Scotland's famous mountain ranges. Located by Portree Bay, Highfield sits ...

    Highfield is only a five minute walk from Portree town centre. Located in a elevated position the bed and breakfast captures some unique views of beautiful scenery, including sea views and the Cuillins, one of Scotland's famous mountain ranges. Located by Portree Bay, Highfield sits in a beautiful and quiet location. Boasting a beautiful and busy harbour, great for seafood lovers. Portree is Skye's largest town and is situated 36 miles from the only road from the mainland, via the Skye Bridge.

    Facilities

    • Coffee/Tea
    • Free Parking
    • Free WiFi
    • Guest Lounge

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Day 14

Isle of Skye

Today is a free 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. Or, after lunch you could 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 15

Departure from Edinburgh

Departing from Portree the return journey to Edinburgh has many highlights - a visit to Eilean Donan Castle, Fort William and the dramatic scenery and dark history of Glencoe. Travelling back south through the Central Highland the last stop of the day will be in Killin beside the Falls of Dochart before returning to Edinburgh. The tour ends upon arrival back in Edinburgh around 7:00pm at Rabbie's Cafe, and you are free to make your own arrangements from here.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

2018: Sunday: Apr 1 - 29; Sep 30 - Oct 28; Sunday & Friday: May 4 - Sep 28*
*Tour does not operate: Jun 15, 17; Jul 8

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 14 nights' accommodation
  • Touring transportation in a Mercedes mini-coach with a maximum of 16 passengers
  • Services of a professional driver/guide
  • Breakfast daily
  • All road tolls.

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

OTHER INFORMATION:

Please make your own way to the departure point for the tour on Day 2. Ensure you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure time.

This is a combination tour. This itinerary is made up of individual tours which are scheduled to link up en route without having to come back to their starting point. You will be able to enjoy the individual styles and stories of the different driver/guides as well as a different group of travelling companions on each part of your trip.

Because we believe in time off the bus and give you opportunities to take nature walks we recommend you bring suitable clothing and footwear for your tour. Scotland can be a wet place! If you have mobility problems or special requirements please let us know when booking.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

DP EDITPK15DGB1
22 Apr 2018
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