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A Great Romancing the Highlands Adventure in Scotland with the

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Castles, Tearooms,

Gardens and Many Rail and Sail Adventures

August 16th - 30th, 2024

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Stirling Castle.jpg
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Please join us on this great Romancing the Highlands Journey that will take us on the West Highland Jacobite Steam Train also known as the Hogwarts Express from Fort William to Mallaig and a Stathspey Railway Old Fashioned Luncheon Train Journey and then Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway. We will take a Moray Firth Puffin Cruises Wildlife Trip, a Two Hour Private Charter Loch Linnhe Cruise aboard the Elsie, and a Private Charter Cruise around the island of Lismore from Oban.

We will also take in the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Scottish Kelpies, Blair Castle, the House of Bruar, Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier, Glamis Castle, Dunnottar Castle, Huntly Castle, Elgin Cathedral, Sueno's Stone, Culloden Battlefield, St. Conan's Kirk, before opening entry into Stirling Castle, Edinburgh's Georgian House, A Routemaster Vintage Afternoon Tea Bus Tour and it all begins with a Performance of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo on Edinburgh Castle Esplanade!

 

Price includes 15 Nights Accommodation, 11 dinners, 12 lunches and breakfast each morning, all activities, sightseeing and entrance fees as listed in itinerary, all taxes, fees and service charges. Guided minibus travel with airport pick up drop off and luggage handling. As with any tour that includes ferries and boat cruises we are at the mercy of the weather and things can and quite often do change. You must be willing to abide by any and all changes on this tour if you decide to travel with us.

$8795 per person.

Sold Out.

$1295 Single Supplement.

$500 Deposit to book your spot.

Words don't really do justice in describing what it's like to take a trip with Shannon and Mario. My wife and I had always wanted to visit Scotland and Ireland, and we couldn't have picked a better way to do it. Their knowledge and attention to detail is outstanding, and their obvious joy in sharing the places they love with others is infectious. I recommend them highly.

Bill and Carolyn - Shawnee, Kansas

Pre Tour - August 15th - You will have the day to relax at our Edinburgh accommodation and get adjusted to the time change before the tour starts the following morning. Overnight near Edinburgh.


Day 1 - August 16th - Today will be spent taking in the lovely city of Edinburgh. A must see while in the Georgian New Town of the city is Edinburgh's Georgian House, a magnificently restored Edinburgh New Townhouse with fine collections of paintings, costumes and period furnishings. The Georgian era produced some of Scotland’s most distinctive architecture. In the late 1700s, this grand townhouse was at the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town development. The house was designed by acclaimed architect Robert Adam and was a true statement of luxury in an era of enlightenment, for those who could afford it. After a tour of the house we will have Afternoon Tea on a Vintage Red Bus. Combining two Quintessentially British Classics with an afternoon tea aboard a Vintage Routemaster Bus, touring around the Scottish Capital. So whilst you are admiring the beautiful sites of Edinburgh city you can indulge in a gorgeous afternoon tea! Welcoming Dinner followed by a Performance at Edinburgh Castle of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Overnight near Edinburgh. (B,L,D)

 

Day 3 – August 17th - This morning we make our way to the Highlands Village of Pitlochry with a few stops along the way. The first stop will be Hopetoun House, Scotland's finest stately house. The atmosphere of warmth and vitality within the house reflects its status as the home of the Hope Family from its building in 1699 to this day. The magnificent interiors which have remained virtually unchanged for three centuries reflect the elegance of the Georgian era and are decorated with the best period furniture, paintings, tapestries and clocks, with beautifully crafted finishes of carving, gilding and plasterwork. We then make our way to Perth and Scone Palace, the home of the Earls of Mansfield. We will first have afternoon tea and then take a tour of the place that was once the crowning place of Scottish Kings, Scone Palace occupies a unique position in Scotland’s history. A breathtakingly beautiful place of power and mystery and the rightful home of the celebrated Stone of Scone, Scone Palace is regarded as a national treasure and is revered as the historic jewel in Scotland’s crown. From here it is just a short way to our accommodation in Pitlochry where we get settled in to our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L,D)

 

Day 4 - August 18th - This morning we make our way to Blair Atholl to visit Blair Castle, ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl. Blair Castle is set in extensive parklands, including the recently restored Hercules Garden and Diana's Grove, and with 725 ears of history and over 30 rooms open to the public, an absolute delight to explore! We will have an introductory talk about the castle and then you will have some time on your own in the castle and on the grounds before we Stop for Afternoon Tea. Next we visit the village of Dalwhinnie and Dalwhinnie Distillery. The distillery stands in the Cairngorm National Park at the heart of the Scottish Highlands. From this remote location comes their Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, it is also known as the ‘gentle spirit’. We will have a distillery tour and see how they make their single malt whisky. At end of the tour we will sample single malt whiskies paired with specially selected Handmade Highland Chocolates! The we make our way back home where you are on your own for dinner and to further explore this delightful Highland town. Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L)

Day 7 - August 19th - This morning we head toward my favorite Glen in all of Scotland, Glen Lyon. On the way, we will stop in Fortingall to see the Fortingall Yew standing next to the wee church there. The yew tree which grows there has been estimated to be 5,000 years old and is the oldest living organism in Britain and possibly the world. The churchyard also has grave slabs and incised crosses that are hundreds of years old. The drive through Glen Lyon is mystical and magical with wee villages and breathtaking scenery around every turn. We then head north to the Spectacular Loch Rannoch and along the loch to Kinloch Rannoch where we Stop for Afternoon Tea. We then visit House of Bruar, home of Scottish Country Clothing with an extensive range of high quality products in both the Men’s and Ladies Clothing Halls. You can also find the Finest Country Fayre of Traditional Scottish Food and Drink in the Food Halls and Delicatessen. It also houses the largest collection of Cashmere in the UK. The Country Living Shop carries plenty of choice for decorating your home, or even the perfect gift. This evening we are out to at Highland Night with the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band for an evening of traditional entertainment, full of Scottish music and dance on the Pitlochry Recreation Ground. Dinner and Overnight Pitlochry. (B,L,D)

 

Day 5 - August 20th - Our first visit of the day takes us to the very heart of Angus in Scotland, Glamis Castle. This has been the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372. Once the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Glamis is renowned for its rich history and famous visitors, from Mary, Queen of Scots to James V. Glamis Castle was the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Her younger daughter, HRH Princess Margaret, was born here and was also frequent visitor during her childhood, alongside her elder sister HRH Princess Elizabeth. After lunch at Glamis we make our way to Dunnottar Castle, a spectacularly situated coastal castle with breathtaking views. This dramatic and evocative ruined cliff top fortress was the home of the Earls Marischal, once one of the most powerful families in Scotland. Steeped in history, this romantic and haunting ruin is a photographer’s paradise, a history lover’s dream and an iconic tourist destination for visitors the world over. Oliver Cromwell's Army laid siege to the castle in 1652, but The Honours of Scotland were smuggled out of the castle and taken to Kinneff Church, where they remained until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. Dinner Overnight Moray Firth. (B,L,D)

 

Day 6 - August 21st - This morning we board a boat for a Puffin Cruise Wildlife Trip. On these trips you often see Bottlenose Dolphins, Seals and Harbour Porpoise and sometimes Minke Whale. The bottlenose dolphins of the Moray Firth are the most northerly resident group of bottlenose dolphins in the world and a vital part of Scotland’s natural heritage. On this 3 Hour Wildlife Trip we will sail to Troup Head which is home to 4,000 plus gannets and is the only gannet colony in mainland Scotland. In Summer, approximately 22,000 Guillemots, 2,000 Razorbills, 15,000 pairs of Kittiwakes and 2,000 Pairs of Fulmars are present along with smaller numbers of Puffins and Sags as well as Seals. We will then stop for Afternoon Tea before visiting Huntly Castle. Huntly was the seat of one of medieval and Renaissance Scotland’s most powerful families, the Gordons. The earls of Fife built the original castle, the Peel of Strathbogie, around 1190, to guard the crossing-point where the rivers Bogie and Deveron meet. But it was the mighty Gordons who made the stronghold their own from the 1300s and eventually renamed it Huntly Castle. The surviving remains tell the story of the development of the castle in Scotland, from the motte and bailey of the 1100s, through the tower house of the later Middle Ages, to the stately stone palace of the Jacobean era. Dinner on your own this evening. Overnight Moray Firth. (B,L)

 

Day 7 - August 22nd - On our way to Knockando this morning we stop to visit Elgin Cathedral, the superb ruin of what was perhaps the most beautiful cathedral in Scotland. Elgin Cathedral is Scotland's second largest cathedral behind St. Andrews and was known as 'The Lantern of the North'. If suffered many mishaps and then was rebuilt only to see the Reformation in the 1500's. Even in ruins, it is still one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Scotland. Next we visit Forres where we stop to see the Sueno's Stone, a Pictish Stone that is the most remarkable sculptured monument in Britain. It stands over 20 feet high and dates to the end of the first millennium AD. Forres is a lovely town and while we are here we will take some time for you to find some lunch before making our way to Culloden Battlefield. This desolate stretch of moorland looks much as it did on 16th April 1746, the date of the Last Battle to be fought on British soil. Here Bonnie Prince Charlie made his last stand for the Stewart cause. The battlefield is restored to as close as possible as it was when the two sides marched on that fateful day. We will find out why this battle that lasted only one hour changed the way of life of the Highlands forever. The we get settled into our accommodation before dinner. Dinner and Overnight near Knockando. (B,D)

 

Day 8 - August 23rd - This morning we make our way to Strathspey to join the Stathspey Railway which was one of my family's favourite outings. We have booked the Chairman's Saloon and the Director's Saloon for a special luncheon journey traveling alongside the famous RIver Spey. Originally pulled by its own engine the LMS District Officer would travel around the rail network in style in this Officer’s Saloon Car which was restored by the Watkinson’s Trust. The Saloon Car consists of two Saloon compartments, one for the District Officer the other for his staff and there is also a compartment for the Guard and a galley for the Steward. Wood panelled with late 1940’s style fittings, red carpets and seating for 6 in each compartment, we will have a comfortable journey with excellent views of Strathspey. The Chairman's side of the saloon also allows you to watch people working on the footplate as the locomotive will be in front of the window on the return trip. Starting at the Aviemore Victorian Station there are stops at the other Victorian stations of Boat of Garten and Broomhill during the journey. Dinner and Overnight near Knockando. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - August 24th - This morning we make our way to just outside of Fort William with a first stop at Fort Augustus situated on the most southern tip of Loch Ness on the Great Glen Way. Lying on the impressive 60 mile long Caledonian Canal, halfway between Inverness and Fort William, Fort Augustus offers spectacular views down Loch Ness. To the north the canal enters Loch Ness, and within the village itself is a flight of locks that provide a fascinating place to watch the world go by. You will be able to find some lunch on your own once we reach Fort William and then we take a two hour Private Charter Cruise along Loch Linnhe aboard the ship Elsie. Onboard we will enjoy spectacular views of Ben Nevis and the surrounding areas as we head off towards Corpach and visit the entrance of the Caledonian Canal. We then head down Loch Linnhe to Black Rock which is home to common and grey seals before heading back up Loch-Linnhe. Along the way we will come across a Mussel Farm, a Salmon Farm and a large variety of wildlife including Seagulls, Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, Otters, and many others. Dinner and Overnight near Fort William. (B,D)

 

Day 10 - August 25th - This morning you will board the Jacobite Steam Train, also known as the Hogwart's Express, from Fort William to Mallaig. Described as the Greatest Railway Journey in the World, this 42 mile trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the Highest Mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain's Most Westerly Mainland Railway Station, Arisaig passes close by the Deepest Freshwater Loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the Shortest River in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the Deepest Seawater Loch in Europe, Loch Nevis! The train crosses the 21-Arched Glenfinnan Viaduct (a location made famous in the Harry Potter films) which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite Monument. We will have a packed lunch for a picnic as we make our way to  Oban. After we are fully sated we turn inland and make our way to Salen on the shores of Loch Sunart. We will travel alongside the loch taking in spectacular scenery which includes Loch Linnhe where we take a wee ferry across to Inchree and then follow Loch Linnhe almost all the way to Oban with more beauitufl scenery all the way there. Dinner and Overnight Oban. (B,L,D)

 

Day 11 - August 26th - While here in Oban, known as the Gateway to the Isles we will take a Private Charter Cruise which will take us around the Isle of Lismore. This fertile, low-lying island was once a major centre of Celtic Christianity, with a monastery founded by Saint Moluag. Our cruise around the island will reveal wildlife including Sea Eagles, Seals, Porpoise and some seabirds. We will also see the Lismore Lighthouse and make a stop if the tides allow. We then cruise by the Isle of Mull where we will see Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Maclean. We will also see Glensanda Castle on our way to Port Appin. Glensanda is a late 15th century simple, two-storey tower of local granite and originally the stronghold of the Macleans of Kingairloch who emigrated to Canada in the late 1700's. Sited atop a grassy mound looking out to Appin across Loch Linnhe, it was probably abandoned for good around 1780-1790. We will stop for lunch at Port Appin before returning to Oban where you will have some free time to explore oban and to find some dinner from one of the many eateries to be found here. Overnight Oban. (B,L)

 

Day 12 - August 27th - This morning we make our way inland and to Stirling. Along the way we will stop at St. Conan's Kirk, spectacularly sited over Loch Awe. You will fall in love with this wee Romanesque Church! Designed and built by Walter Douglas Campbell, the kirk is unique in having an example of almost every style of church architecture. Highlights include the Norman Doorway, the Gothic Flying Buttresses, a Celtic Cross, the Arts and Crafts Carvings, the Saxon Tower and even a Stone Circle. We then stop in Callander for lunch before we visit Doune Castle, a 14th century stronghold which offers a unique view into the life of the medieval royal household. This a magnificent late 14th century courtyard castle and famous for the filming location of Monty Python's The Holy Grail and more recently, the Outlander TV series as Castle Leoch. This is one of my most favorite places as it gives such a wonderful glimpse into 14th century Scottish castle living. From here it is just a short hop up the road where we get checked into our accommodation before setting down to dinner. DInner and Overnight Doune by Stirling. (B,L,D)

Day 13 - August 28th - This morning our first stop is Stirling and Stirling Castle, one of the finest examples of Renaissance Architecture in Scotland. Mary Queen of Scots was crowned here and the Great Hall and Chapel Royal are wonderful highlights. Here you will be able to step back into the sumptuous world of Stirling Castle’s Royal Court. An ongoing project has returned the six ground floor apartments in the castle’s Renaissance palace to how they may have looked in the mid 16th century. We have arranged for early entry to the castle and will have the whole place to ourselves for an hour! We then stop for Afternoon Tea and then make our way to Alloa where we find Alloa Tower. We will take a whistle-stop tour through 700 years of Scottish history at Scotland’s Largest and Oldest Keep, the ancestral home of the influential Erskine Family, the Earls of Mar and Kellie. As you explore the tower’s four floors, you’ll hear tales of an abbot’s curse, crib ghosts, fortunes and titles lost and regained, and the building’s ruin and restoration. We then make our way back to our accommodation where we will gather for dinner. Dinner and Overnight Doune by Stirling. (B,L,D)

Day 14 - August 29th - This morning we make our way to Bo'ness to board the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway. There's nothing like a departure by steam or the rumble of a mighty heritage diesel locomotive. Enjoy a scenic ten mile return train journey to Manuel along the Forth Estuary, through woodlands, past waterfalls and over the Avon Viaduct. We will be welcomed aboard and invited to soak up the atmosphere of our award-winning heritage railway through the sights, sounds and smells of yesteryear. We will then stop for afternoon tea before we visit Helix Park to see the Scottish Kelpies, the world's largest equine sculptures. We will have a Guided Walking Tour that takes you through the vision of artist Andy Scott and how history and industry impacted on his designing of these breath-taking sculptures. The pinnacle of the tour is that you get to experience a Kelpie from the inside, and see for yourself the breathtaking engineering and design of the Kelpies. After our visit to the amazing sculpters we make our way to our accommodation near Edinburgh where we get settled in before dinner. Farewell Dinner and Overnight near Edinburgh. (B,L,D)

 

Day 15 – August 30th - Return to Edinburgh International Airport for the journey home.

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