4 Day tour that encompasses the isles of Mull and Iona as well as the glories of the Western Highlands. Departs from Edinburgh on Tuesdays through summer with 3 nights in Tobermory. (see dates) Accommodation included!
Depart Edinburgh and travel north past Stirling Castle to the small town of Callander the shadows of the Trossachs. From here you continue through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park and the bristling terrain of the Trossachs, before reaching the wide and remote expanse of Rannoch Moor, one of the largest and most barren wildernesses in Europe. After a thirty drive across this largely uninhabited moor we arrive in Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of Clan MacDonald in 1692, before we take a short ferry ride across Loch Linnhe, where you then meander through the impressive mountains of Morven. At the little port of Lochaline we take another ferry to the Hebridean island of Mull where a short drive brings us to the charming little fishing port of Tobermory, the island’s capital, for your 3 night stay. Tobermory, which means "Well of Mary", is one of the prettiest harbour towns in Scotland with its brightly painted houses overlooking the sea.
This is a leisurely day, with a meandering drive to the more remote areas of the island. We visit the pretty settlement of Dervaig, with its own festival theatre, and Kilmore Church, with its round steeple. From here we will venture to the wild sandy shores of Calgary Bay. (By the way, Calgary in Canada takes its name from here). If you are lucky you might see the sea eagles or golden eagles that live in this area and build their eyries high on the rocky cliffs. An early afternoon return to Tobermory will allow us the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of this pretty town, with a chance to peruse the small shops, and perhaps take a visit and enjoy a dram at the local Tobermory Whisky Distillery.
Today we will bask in the highland landscape of Mull, as we head south to Fionnport, where we take a passenger ferry to the small Island of Iona. Iona is an island of quiet charm, lapped by glorious torquoise waters. It is the cradle of Celtic Christianity, with the arrival of St Columba in 563AD. Plenty of time will be given to explore the island where you can visit the Abbey and its museum of history and Celtic heritage. Visit the magnificent Celtic crosses and headstones, or enjoy a stroll along the peaceful sandy beaches.
In the afternoon there is the opportunity to take a small boat to the Island of Staffa, where nature enthusiasts may be able to spot the abundant marine life. Staffa, with its basalt columns of 5 and 6 sided hexagonal stepping stones, and Fingal’s Cave is the most amazing tribute to the effects of nature and has been called "Nature’s Cathedral". After a day in the great outdoors you return to Tobermory for the night.
Departing Tobermory we head south to Craignure, the main ferry terminal for a short crossing to Oban, the biggest town in Argyll. From here we head to Kilmartin Glen, and a chance to explore an area known as "the valley of ghosts" with its standing stones and Neolithic burial chambers. Continuing west, we arrive in the white washed 18th century town of Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne. Inveraray Castle is a mixture of Scots Baronial and Neo Gothic architecture and is the seat of Clan Campbell and home to the Duke of Argyll. The castle also featured in a recent episode of ‘ Downtown Abbey’. After leaving the town you arrive in the National Park of Loch Lomond and climb up more than 800 feet to the’ Rest and Be Thankful’ pass, before hugging the shores of Loch Long and Loch Lomond itself. You continue to drive East towards Stirling, with opportunities for impressive photos of the castle, before we return to Edinburgh in the early evening.