Western and Northern Isles of Scotland
 
 

August 13 - 27, 2017
14 nights
“Lords of the Isles” and “Viking Treasure” Tour Combination

Follow in the footsteps of Celtic and Viking rulers. Sail to the dramatic and legendary Isle of Skye, the remote and untouched Western Isles of Lewis and Harris, and the rugged Northwest Coast of Mainland Scotland, known as Britain's Last Wilderness. Travel the North Coast 500, the road which meanders across the north to some of the world’s best-known archaeology and a blanket of stunning scenery. Journey to Orkney where it’s been said that if you scratch the surface, it will bleed archaeology. Join us for this adventure to Scotland's most remote, mysterious, well-preserved wonders of the past.

Includes premium tickets to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo!

Departing Glasgow for Fort William, we make stops along the way at Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and the conservation village of Luss, located on the Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond. Luss sits in the shadow of Ben Lomond, the crown jewel of the National Park. See the church which dates back hundreds of years and the graveyard with Viking burial stones. Pass through the magnificent and eerie Glencoe, well-known for both its inspiring scenery as well as one of the most famous and ill-fated events in Scotland's history--the famed Massacre of Glencoe--a stunning breach of Highland hospitality which took place in 1692.

On the Isle of Skye, visit the Museum of the Isles on the traditional lands of Clan Donald, Armadale Castle and Gardens. Trace the history of the Lords of the Isles, the medieval rulers of this Scottish Kingdom. See the Quiraing, a spectacular landslip still in motion on the northernmost summit of the Trotternish Ridge.

See the ruins of Duntulm Castle, the seat of Clan Donald from the mid-1500's until 1730. Tour Dunvegan Castle, mighty stronghold of Clan MacLeod for over 800 years. Explore the stone cottages of the Skye Museum of Island Life for a step back in time and a look at crofting in the early 20th Century.

Sail to the isles of Lewis and Harris; see the 16th-century St Clement's Church at Rodel, the southern tip of Harris, and the burial place for the MacLeods of Harris. Visit a weaver's cottage to watch the making of the authentic Harris Tweed. Walk the lovely white sand beaches at Seilebost and Luskentyre. The unusual landscape in parts of Harris is compared to the lunar surface--barren and rock-strewn to the east, but with magnificent coastal scenery and beaches to the west.

A visit to Lewis is not complete without viewing Calanais Stone Circle. Constructed around 3000 BC, it predates Stonehenge and is a mark of a sophisticated culture, the centerpiece of one of the most remarkable megalithic complexes in the world. Great Bernera, the tiny island kingdom with stunning beaches and Iron Age settlement at Bosta, was connected by bridge to the Isle of Lewis just 50 years ago.

In nearby Carloway we find the best preserved broch in the Hebrides. The broch towers of Iron-Age Scotland are a unique architectural invention, circular drystone fortifications which housed families and livestock against harsh weather and attacking invaders.

Returning to the mainland, spend one night in Scourie and then explore the northwest coast, the dramatic mountain peaks of Assynt, the legendary practice grounds for the mountain-building Norse gods. Mountains with Norse names of Suilven (The Pillar), Cul Mor (The Big Backoff, or Back Drop), Stac Pollaidh (Steep Rock at the Pool), Canisp (White Mountain)--stand like sentinels on rocky landscape.

North of Scourie, Durness is home to the spectacular Smoo Cave--a sea cave reached by foot path from the car park on the cliffs above. Evidence of human occupation has been found which dates back 5,000 years, and archaeology suggests Pictish farming settlements were here for more than 2,000 years.

Ardvreck Castle was built by the MacLeods in 1597. In 1672 it was besieged and captured by the Mackenzies chasing a debt. The Mackenzies built Calda House which, in 1737, was burned down when the Earl of Sutherland was trying to collect a debt from them. These two ruins sit almost side-by-side in remote mystery.

A ferry across Pentland Firth takes you to Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site collectively, for many archaeological wonders.

ORKNEY

Skara Brae, a Stone-Age settlement hit by a massive storm that buried it in sand for about 4,000 years

Ring of Brodgar
- Stone circle with 36 of the original 60 standing, some etched with Viking Runes

Maeshowe
- mysterious and solemn, this is the finest chambered tomb in Western Europe. The entry is aligned so that a shaft of sunlight pierces its 36-foot length into the chamber on Winter Solstice; built before 2700 BC, it was raided by Vikings in the 12th Century. It holds the largest collection of Runic inscriptions in the world.

Standing Stones of Stenness
- a small circle dating from the third millennium BC

Ness of Brodgar, an archaeological site covering over six acres which is currently undergoing extensive research. A comprehensive guided tour walks you through what is believed to have been the Neolithic capital of Europe.

A tour of eastern Orkney includes the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, built in 1064 in the oldest part of the town

Earl's Palace - 16th-century ruin built for Earl Robert Stewart, one of Orkney's true villains

Bishop's Palace where King Haakon of Norway died after his defeat by Alexander III at Largs

The Italian Chapel - built from scrap by Italian prisoners of war during World War II

Scapa Flow and the Churchill Barriers--a series of four causeways built in the 1940s as naval defenses to protect the ships in Scapa Flow during World War II.

Sheila Fleet Jewellery, world-famous local designer, private tour of the workshop

Highland Park Distillery--the northernmost distillery in the world and an award-winning whisky, it was named the "Best Spirit in the World" twice by Spirit Journal.

Back on the mainland and down the coast lies the isolated village of Dornoch, with its old-world charm and a history that dates back as far as 1000 BC. This is where the last witch in Scotland was burned in 1727 and where the northernmost first class golf course in the world is located. Dornoch has miles of sandy beaches, a 13th-century cathedral, and the previous Bishop's Palace.

Spend two nights near Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, in the historic 18th-century Culloden House Hotel, awarded by Conde Nast the distinction of being among the top 50 country manor houses in the world.

Nothing can bring you more of Scotland's history than a private tour of Culloden Battlefield with a local historian. Listen as he recounts the events of April 16, 1746, a date that was to be the end of the Highland way of life. Coast along the entire length of Loch Ness, the watery result of a melting glacier. Loch Ness runs for 23 miles along the Great Glen Fault which is over 400 million years old.

The tour concludes in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh with a performance of the world-famous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a music and cultural extravaganza on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. The "Tattoo" was conceived and first performed in 1950 as the Army in Scotland's contribution to Edinburgh's International Festivals. Today with its unique blend of music, ceremony, entertainment, and theater set against the magnificent backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, it is without question one of the world's greatest shows.

Tour begins in Glasgow and ends in Edinburgh. It is suggested that you arrive one day early (August 12) to avoid flight delays and cancellations. A block of rooms is reserved at a 4-star Glasgow hotel for your convenience. Tour extensions in Edinburgh are also available at group rates. If not extending your stay, flights home would be scheduled for August 27.

Includes:

  • Transfer from Glasgow Airport to hotel on the day of arrival
  • En suite accommodations in 4-star properties
  • Full Scottish breakfast daily (Continental breakfast in Edinburgh)
  • Six three-course dinners
  • Premium tickets to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
  • Private tour of Culloden Battlefield
  • Private tour of the Ness of Brodgar with Historic Environment Scotland Ranger
  • Deluxe motor coach transportation
  • Ferry transportation throughout (five sailings)
  • Professional Blue Badge Guide
  • Entrance fees into all sites listed
  • Tax of 20%

Price:

  • $5,995.00 per person, double occupancy (two sharing one room). Balance due June 13, 2017.
  • Single supplement is $1.050.00. Single travelers have the option of sharing a room with other singles (if available) to offset this supplement, but this is solely at the discretion of the travelers and not the responsibility of Celtic Journeys.

More information:

  • Reservations require a non-refundable deposit of $500.00 per person. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, and checks are accepted forms of payment. Balance is due 60 days prior to departure.
  • Airfare is not included; Celtic Journeys can make your arrangements for you with no booking fees.
  • Tour begins in Glasgow and ends in Edinburgh; additional hotel nights at the beginning and end of the tour are available at reduced rates; booking service is complimentary.
  • To book your space or for additional information, contact Judy Lowstuter at judy@celticjourneys.us or
    call (703) 941-6455 .
  • Tours are limited to 18 guests. All tours operate unless there is a natural disaster, airline strike, or travel warning of imminent danger.

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellation insurance is available to protect against cancellation penalties:

  • 60 days or more prior to tour date full refund less deposit
  • 59-30 days prior to tour date 50% refund less deposit
  • 29-15 days prior to tour date 25% refund less deposit
  • Cancellations of 14 days or less, no refund
 
   
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