Classic Scotland Tour Itinerary



Below is the basic framework of a Scotland tour which affords the visitor an introduction to Scotland, its long, tumultuous and varied history together with stunning scenery, golf, whisky, food, castles and not forgetting the famous Loch Ness.

Day 1- Edinburgh
 This is a historic city and the capital of Scotland. The city is based on a medieval pattern and therefore quite compact and best seen on foot. There is something for all interests including:
  • Famous castle.
  • The Old Parliament Building
  • New Scottish Parliament building.
  • Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • Royal Mile
  •  Shopping in Princess Street
  • New Town-architecture
  • Wide selection of restaurants.
  • Arthur’s Seat -for the energetic!
  • St. Giles Cathedral
  • Royal Edinburgh MilitaryTattoo and Edinburgh Festival Fringe (August)
Tattoo

Fringe
  • Calton Hill views.
  • Royal Yacht Britannia
Not to be missed, and about 30 minutes south of Edinburgh, is the famous Rosslyn Chapel.This is  a fascinating building dating back 600 years and packed with high quality stone carvings which are open to various interpretations. The Chapel is also connected with the Da Vinci Code and Freemasonry. Nearby are the remains of Roslin Castle.


Overnight Edinburgh

Day 2-Fife Coast, East Neuk and St. Andrews

North, over the new Queensferry Crossing bridge (with view of famous sister Rail Bridge) to Dunfermline, the ancient capital of Scotland where the following heritage sites can be visited:
  • Dunfermline Abbey Church  wherein is buried the hero King Robert the Bruce.
  • Impressive ruins of the former Royal Palace dating from the 16th century.
  • The 12th century Dunfermline Abbey Nave.
  • Andrew Carnegie Birthplace, a 17th century weaver’s cottage where the famous U.S. industrialist and benefactor was born.
After Dunfermline-and perhaps some refreshment move on to the quaint and picturesque fishing villages of the Fife Coast which include:
  • Lower Largo: Birthplace of Alexander Selkirk, the role model for Robinson Crusoe.
  • St. Monans: Visit famous, historic church.
  • Pittenweem: A commercial fishing port with fish market.
  • Anstruther:  (Pronounced ‘Anster’), a working small port with a famous fish and chip shop (not to be missed!)
  • Crail: Archetypal fishing village very popular with artists and photographers.
Finish the day’s tour at St. Andrews, a name synonymous with Scotland’s patron saint. Places to see include the ruined medieval Cathedral, the Castle and of course the famous Old Course-the ‘Holy Grail’ to golfers worldwide. This is a city with a famous university (which dates back to 1410). There are also easy access sandy beaches but beware of cold water temperatures!. Overall, a unique experience combining golf, heritage, the university campus and good shopping.


Overnight St. Andrews

Day 3-To Central Scotland

Relatively low mileage but taking in some interesting sights and scenery including:
  • Meikleour Hedge:Comprised of beech trees and, reputedly, the tallest hedge in the world.
  • Glamis Castle: Archetypal Scottish castle dating from the 15th century and closely connected with the British Royal Family. Was the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. An excellent tour of the Castle is available. The extensive grounds are invariably home to a herd of attractive (and very photogenic) Highland Cattle.
  • Meigle Stones: A unique collection of carved symbol stones dating from the Pictish era in the eighth and ninth centuries AD.
  • Dunkeld and its Cathedral: The cathedral is part ruin and part living parish church which sits in an idyllic location on the banks of the fast flowing River Tay.
  • Ossian’s Hall: A unique 18th century experience on the River Braan. Great for photographs. Look out for sign to the Hermitage.
 Overnight Dunkeld or Pitlochry

Day 4-To Inverness

A lengthy drive taking a diverse range of experiences including:
  • A tour of the small but picturesque whisky distillery, Edradour at Pitlochry.
  • Blair Castle: A long history and a magnificent garden. Home of Britain’s only legal, private army, the Atholl Highlanders.
  • Balmoral Castle: Famous for its Royal connections with extensive parkland and a Highland Garden. (Site open April to July.)
  • Clava Cairns: A 4000 year old Bronze Age site comprising burial cairns and standing stones. Stand and ponder at what drove the people from ancient times to build these impressive structures.
Culloden Battlefield: Site of the last battle on British soil in 1746 and where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s quest to take the Crowns of England and Scotland came to an inglorious end. The battle was very well documented and there is an excellent visitor centre providing details and background to this famous event.

Overnight Inverness, 'capital of the Highlands'.
 Day 5-To Isle of Skye

First, travel down the Great Glen (valley) tracking Loch Ness for most its 23 miles. Stop at Castle Urquhart for photographs and monster spotting.


Then on to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle on Loch Duich for more photographs and optional castle tour. This castle has featured in a number of films but actually dates from the 1930s albeit based on design of the original which dates from 1230. Home to Clan McRae.


Across the famous Skye Bridge to the famous and fascinating Isle of Skye.


Overnight Broadford, Kyle of Lochalsh or Kyleakin

 Broadford Harbour

Day 6-Tour Isle of Skye

A tour of the island's key aspects can be undertaken in one (very full) day but some visitors may wish to linger longer to undertake such activities as hiking, climbing and boat trips.

The following outline is predicated on an anti-clockwise tour of Skye starting and finishing at a location at or near Broadford.
Sligachan

Here there is a hotel with extensive whisky bar but the key reason to stop (weather conditions permitting) is to avail of the outstanding mountain views to the west.

Portree.

This is the 'capital' of Skye which is well endowed with shops and accommodation. There is also a very attractive harbour from which small scale commercial fishing is undertaken. Parking can prove a challenge here during the peak summer months of July and August.

Portree Harbour

  Old Man of Storr

A vertical rock pinnacle which, via  a steep climb, can be accessed on foot.

Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls.

A very popular viewpoint located on the east coast, about 15 miles directly north of Portree At peak season parking can be tight. Be careful to secure items such as glasses, phones, cameras and even small pets all of which have been blown off visitors standing close to the sheer rock face.

Quiraing

A spectacular prehistoric landslip coupled with high elevation views. Site is accessed by a narrow, single track road on steep incline. Parking can be difficult at the top.

Uig

This is a ferry port with small brewery and pottery. A good place to avail of refreshment.

Inter-island ferry at Uig

Fairy Glen

About five minute drive from Uig. A one way, single track road through a valley populated with small conical hills.

Dunvegan Castle

Home of the Chief of Clan MacLeod. A very ancient castle adjacent to which is a well maintained Highland garden with waterfall. In season boat trips to a nearby seal colony operate from the castle grounds.





Dun Beag Broch

Remains of high status, Iron-Age ( about 2000 years old) dwelling with design along the lines of a modern-day lighthouse.

 
Talisker Distillery

One of Scotland's top whisky distilleries. Tours are available although it is best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Elgol

Fourteen miles along a slow going but scenic, single track road with return the same way. Sometimes Highland Cows and other farm animals will be encountered on the road. At Elgol there are scenic views together with boat trips.It will not be possible to incorporate Elgol into the preceding itinerary and complete same within one day.

Traffic hazard en-route to/from Elgol

View from Elgol

Broadford

A popular coastal village with fuel station, grocery store and craft shops.


Overnight Broadford, Kyle of Lochalsh or Kyleakin

Day 7-To Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Last day but by no means least. Still some classic sites which include:
  • Morning ferry crossing from Armadale to Mallaig with views of the Knoydart peninsula. (Advance booking of ferry recommended.)
Knoydart Peninsula from ferry.

  •  Stop at historic and picturesque site of Glenfinnan. Possibility of viewing the Jacobite steam train (aka 'Harry Potter Train' ) as it rumbles across the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
  • Glencoe: Rugged scenery and site of a famous 1692 massacre which resonates to this day.
  • Inveraray: An 18th century planned village on Loch Fyne together with famous castle which is the home of the Duke of Argyll and Chief of Clan Campbell.
  • Maybe a spot of lunch at the famous Loch Fyne Oyster Bar?
  • Luss on Loch Lomond: A quaint heritage village right on the edge of this famous loch. Final refreshment stop before destination for night at Glasgow or Edinburgh.
Beach at Luss

Luss Parish Church

© Nigel P Cole/Catswhiskerstours Limited

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