Blue Planet Journeys
Heart of Scotland Walking Tours


Islands and Highlands Tour
8 days 7 nights
Glasgow - Mull - Iona - Ben More - Loch Moidart - Skye - Glasgow

Our walking tour takes you through the the most scenic areas of the Western Isles and the West Coast of Scotland. You discover the romantic wildness and peace of the islands and the open spaces of the Western Highlands on foot; and stay in small, quality hotels with personal service and good food. Experience the fascinating monuments of Scotland's eventful past and round off your holiday with a coach or minibus trip through the mountains and past the lochs of Scotland's western mainland. It includes idyllic island walks through wild glens, past picturesque lochs and empty white beaches. You discover fishing villages and walk along cliffs with magical views of the Hebridean island seascapes. Enjoy many boat trips and picnics at deserted beaches.

Day 1:
Arrival in Glasgow
Arrive in Glasgow, journey by coach or minibus through spectacular Highland scenery through the Western Highlands, taking in Loch Lomond, Loch Awe, Kilchurn Castle and Loch Etive, to Oban. One hour ferry trip to the Isle of Mull and transfer to your hotel for the first four nights. Getting to know each other, free drink, and dinner.

Day 2: Walk Mull
The first walking day starts with a beautiful coast-to-coast walk through both forested and open country with wonderful views. Small and gentle ascents and descents ensure an easy start to the
walking holiday on this five-hour exploration. With a little luck on this first day you will see seals, eagles and rare seabirds. Individual participants can extend the walk: for example to prehistoric sites or to the summit of Beinn Bhuidhe. (5 hours, 6 miles, total ascent 300 meters).

Day 3: Walk Iona and Coach or Minibus Trip to Mull
First by tour bus and then by small passenger ferry over clear blue water we go to Iona, the cradle of Christianity in Scotland. We walk around the island and experience the spiritual tranquility of the island, with magical views of the Hebridean islands. Our walk takes us along empty white beaches, through dramatic rock scenery and over smooth green hillocks. We see impressively carved Celtic crosses and romantically situated ruins and visit historic Iona Abbey. From here St Columba sent out his missionaries and warriors to convert the natives. In the oldest graveyard in Scotland, Scottish, Irish and Norwegian royalty are buried - amongst others, Macbeth and Duncan. Alternatively on this day you can take a boat trip to Staffa, famous for its spectacular rock formations and Fingal's Cave. The eventful day's program is made complete with a wonderful bus tour of south-eastern Mull. We stop at Duart Castle, ancient seat of the Macleans. Depending on the time left, you can visit Duart Castle or the nearby Torosay castle. (5 hours, 6 miles, total ascent 300 - 350 meters).

Day 4: Walk Ben More
Ascent of the highest mountain in Mull, Ben More. During the ascent and especially on the summit you will be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views. In good conditions you can see the Western Highlands and virtually all the Hebrides. (5-6 hours, 4-5 miles, 966 meters). Less demanding alternatives for this day are walks along the coast, or through the beautiful Salen forest, or a visit to the little island capital, Tobermory. The colorfully painted fishermen's homes lining the harbour and the friendly inhabitants give Tobermory a welcoming character. Here islanders and visitors alike have time to enjoy the relaxed pace of Hebridean life. You might take a guided tour of the Tobermory Distillery with a tasting of Scotland's 'water of life', eat lunch in a traditional pub, or you might prefer to enjoy a traditional British afternoon tea. Small shops sell Celtic jewelry and the work of local artists and craftsmen. Also available are interesting tours of the Tobermory chocolate factory or of the cheese farm at Sgriob-Ruadh. Both chocolate and cheese are excellent. A walk round the harbour or in the beautiful Aros park ends a rewarding day.

Day 5: Walk Loch Moidart
We leave Mull on a small ferry, and embark on a coach or minibus which takes us north through marvelous scenery to Morvern. Here we go for a short walk through one of the last great wildernesses in Europe. Our round trip starts from the picturesque ruin of Castle Tioram and
leads us among graceful pines along the craggy hillside of tranquil Loch Moidart and then continues through open country to Beinn Brach from where there are wonderful views. (3-31/2 hours, 4 miles, total ascent 250-300 meters) Continuing our journey along what is said to be Britain's most beautiful road, we approach our hotel for the next two nights in the Mallaig/Arisaig
area and, for those who wish, there is the chance of another walk. On the way, we enjoy views over the famous white beaches of Arisaig to the Inner Hebridean islands of Muck, Eigg and Rhum. We pass Loch Morar, Europe's deepest freshwater lake, home of the monster, Morag. Finally we see the jagged outline of the Cuillin Mountains of Skye.

Day 6: Walk Skye
In the morning we sail 'over the sea to Skye'. The final walk of the holiday will be tailored to the interests and abilities of the group. Usually we visit the Quiraing in North Skye, with its fantastic rock pinnacles and cliffs and views over the Outer Hebrides. ( 3 hours, 4 miles, total ascent 150 meters). Lonely lochs in fairytale glens, and the breathtaking Cuillin range - which is reckoned to be the most beautiful in Britain - make this day the climax of our Scottish journey. The headquarters of the Macdonald clan, Armadale Castle, with its beautiful gardens is another attraction which well repays a visit.

Day 7: Coach Trip to Glasgow
We drive south along the Road to the Isles past historic Glenfinnan to reach Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, and then along the banks of Loch Linnhe to the superb mountain scenery of the 'Glen of Weeping', Glencoe. The journey continues across the western end of Rannoch Moor below the Black Mount and reveals unforgettable views. Numerous photo-stops and strolls take in Kilchurn Castle and, briefly, the eighteenth century town of Inveraray where you may visit the castle or the museum in the old jail. After a stop at a fish smokery we go on to experience the beauty of Loch Lomond, celebrated in the famous song. The last night is spent in the city of Glasgow which offers many choices of entertainment for the last evening - from ghost tours to pub crawls.

Day 8: Glasgow and Departure or Transfer to the Second Week's Tour
This tour can ideally be booked in combination with our walking and sightseeing tour in the Western Highlands - In the Footsteps of Rob Roy.


Departures:
"Spring walks" May 17-24; June 7-14
"Summer walks" July 26 - Aug 2; Aug 23-30
"Autumn walks" Oct 4-11

Tour includes:
All sightseeing visits, entry fees, guides, ferry crossings, railway journeys and transfers described in the program; experienced walking and tour guide; seven nights in good small hotels with en suite rooms and full Scottish breakfast, four dinners, airport transfers, luggage transfer, maps as needed and a welcoming drink

Prices per person:
$1323 in double room, $1323 in triple room, $1544 in single room
 

Last Modified 08/05/03

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