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sholto250Sholto is our tour expert and has information on something like 30 different tours around Scotland. If you don't want to browse around the site, try giving him a call for some advice.

(BTW: Sholto is ancient Scottish/Gaelic name that means the "sower of seeds" or propagator - people often ask)

Orkney & Inner Hebrides 9 Day Tour

9 Day and 8 Night tour including Mull, Skye, Iona, Orkneys and the best of the Highlands. Tour includes your accommodation in B&B en-suite accommodation. Runs April to October.


  • Day on Mull with Iona and Staffa
  • Glencoe & West Coast Road
  • Day on Skye with Eilean Donan
  • Loch Ness & Inverness
  • Day & Night on Orkney
  • 16-24 seater Mercedes Coach with AC

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This tour operates on: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

Day 1 

We carry you north past Stirling castle, and then west to Scotland's first National Park around Loch Lomond and the bonny banks. You will travel through the impressive mountains of the West Highlands past the magnificent white-washed 18th Century town of Inveraray, home to the Campbell Clan and the Duke of Argyll. The afternoon will be spent in the heart of Argyll exploring the area close to the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada before arriving in Oban, the gateway to the islands, for your first 2 night stay.

Day 2 

An early start crossing on the ferry to Mull to enjoy an island adventure that explores the dramatic coastlines and beauty, before we take the small ferry to the peace and tranquility of Iona - birthplace of Celtic Christianity and ancient burial ground of Scottish Kings. Here you can visit the historic abbey with its intricate carved crosses in the churchyard or explore the rocky headlands and sandy coves of this island gem. There is also an opportunity to take a small boat out to the island of Staffa and view the dramatic basalt columns immortalised by Mendelssohn in his Hebridean Overture "Fingal's Cave". Later we return on the ferry to Oban for your second night.

Day 3

Takes you north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker, and Glencoe, scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. You then pass through Fort William nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis which at 1344 meters is the highest mountain in the British Isles. We continue through the Great Glen a natural fault in the earth’s crust that runs through Scotland and on through Ireland. From here you travel north to the picturesque fishing village of Plockton. You are then dropped off at your accommodation in the early evening.

Day 4 

Is a very flexible day on Skye. There are many possibilities depending on the weather and your driver/guide will use his/her local knowledge to decide on the best day out for the group. For example: heading west towards the 13th century home of the Clan Macleod - Dunvegan Castle, the emerald green valley of Glendale or the dramatic sea-cliffs and lonely lighthouse at Neist Point. In the afternoon the tour may concentrate on the south of the island. Spend time heading down to Elgol for seascapes and views of the Cuillin, or Talisker and its beautiful bay or indeed Glenbrittle and its famed waterfalls. We return you to your accommodation in Plockton in the late afternoon for you to enjoy a free evening in the village

Day 5 

You will be collected from your accommodation for the short drive to the famous Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film "Highlander". The castle is located on the meeting of three lochs and was established as protection against Viking raiders. After visiting the castle we will travel east with stunning views over Loch Duich and then the mountains known as the 5 Sisters of Kintail. We travel on to Loch Ness for lunch and the (remote) possibility of spottingthe famous "Nessie".

Half an hour south of Loch Ness we will stop in the village of Spean Bridge and join a new bus for the continuation of your tour to Orkney. Your guides will help you transfer your luggage and introduce you to your new travelling companions.

With your new colleagues you will continue north following the Great Glen travelling the entire 23 miles of the famous Loch passing by Urquhart castle. We expect to arrive in Inverness, the Highland capital, and the location of our overnight stay at approximately 18.30 where you will be dropped off at your accommodation.

Day 6 

Today is an early start, as we leave behind the 'Capital of the Highlands', to cross over the Black Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie's Skibo Castle. From here you drive along the northeast Highland coast travelling into some of Scotland's most dramatic scenery, and enjoy amazing views of some of Europe's oldest landscapes with the chance to see wildlife such as Golden Eagles and red deer. Onwards through Scotland's most northerly mainland village, John o' Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. From here it is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, Capital of Orkney where you will stay for 2 nights. Whilst here you can visit Kirkwall's magnificent Viking Cathedral and wander its historic winding streets

Day 7 

This is your chance to explore this fantastic, ancient island; a land of contrasts where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by the chilly and often stormy waters of the North Sea and Atlantic ocean. You will visit the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae (older than the Pyramids of Egypt!), the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness. We stop in Stromness - one of Scotland's most picturesque seaboard villages and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions. Then it’s back to Kirkwall for our 2nd night after what is sure to be a memorable day.

Day 8 

We have a relaxed start to the day, as you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of our northern coastline. We then visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. From here we travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where we spent our last night's stay on tour.

Day 9 

Leaving Ullapool behind you, you take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60m down into Corrieshalloch Gorge, before taking in the beautiful Loch Glascarnoch, on the way past the 'Capital of the Highlands' Inverness. You can then visit Culloden Moor, the site of The Battle of Culloden in 1746, one of the bloodiest events in our history and the last battle to have been fought on the British mainland, before taking a short drive to the ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns, made famous by Diana Gabaldon in the "Outlander" books. This prehistoric and stunning Bronze Age burial ground is one of the oldest in Scotland. From here you travel through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, hugging the Cairngorm mountain range. Lunch will be spent in these beautiful surroundings before travelling through big tree country of Perthshire, through the Kingdom of Fife, and back to Edinburgh around 18.30.

Extraordinary 9 Day Tour

I joined the 9-day Highland tour and been to Iona, Skye, and Orkney. Both two guides were awesome. Andrew was so informative and knowledgeable. He explained everything so clearly and he knew so much about the history and stories behind each tourist site. I was extremely happy that he took us to so many stunning places in Skye. I guess he knows much more and better in that area since he was born in that place. Our second guide Dave was so energetic. The way he talked was somewhat cute and funny. You would never feel bored in his tour. He would take you to the cliff, the beach, and the cave!! And you should be prepared to end up having a pair of muddy shoes!! All in all, highly recommend this tour. Although the price is slightly higher, you will get what you pay for. : )

Inclusions

  • Transportation by a top of the range 16 seat Mercedes mini-coach.
  • Forced air ventilation as standard.
  • Services of a professional Rabbie's driver/guide
  • All ferry crossings except optional trip to Staffa.
  • Accommodation in either B&B or hotel accommodation

Exclusions

Meals and refreshments.

Entrance fees to all Visitor Attractions.

The Little Details

  • Minimum Age: Age 5+
  • Min Age: 5 years
  • Tour Vehicle Type: Mini Coach
  • Months of Operation: April, May, June, July, August, September, October
  • Duration of Tour: 9 days
  • Departure Point: Edinburgh
  • Departure Point: Gate J & Gate K, Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square
  • Departure Time: 09:00
  • Expected return Time: 18:30
  • Duration of Tour: 9 days

Rates & Dates

Rates vary across the year.

Standard rate for adults in B&B accommodation (sharing in double or twin) is £1044 including accommodation and breakfast. Child Rates start at £835

Booking Notes

Departing: Mondays (April - October), Wednesday and Saturday (May - September)

Some Places We Will Visit

  • Kirkwall

    Orkney's capital is built around a wide sheltered bay and is the main departure point for ferries to the northern islands.

  • Oban

    Our visitor guide to Oban, the main focal point in the northern part of Argyll in Scotland. A comprehensive list of information including what to see and do, self catering cottages in the area, travel information and history...

  • Isle of Iona

    Iona is a small island - barely three miles long and a little over a mile wide - but its importance to Christianity is out of all proportion to its size.

  • Isle of Mull

    The island of Mull is the third largest of the Hebridean islands and, after Skye, the most popular. Everyone has their own favourite island, but Mull has enough going for it to appeal to most tastes: spectacular mountain scenery; 300 miles of wild coastline; castles; wildlife; a narrow-gauge railway; some of the best fishing in Scotland; and some of the prettiest little villages; all in an area roughly 24 miles from north to south and 26 miles from east to west. It's worth spending time on Mull to fully appreciate its pleasures and to take advantage of the great hospitality of an island where people don't even have to lock their doors at night.

  • Inveraray

    Inveraray is the classic 18th-century planned town (don't call it a village), with its straight wide streets and dignified Georgian houses, and enjoys the most stunning of settings, on the shores of Loch Fyne.

  • Ullapool

    The attractive little fishing port of Ullapool, on the shores of Loch Broom, is the largest settlement in Wester Ross.

Castle Visited

  • Castle Stalker

    Privately owned castle set in splendid isolation in the middle of a loch. Truly a fairytale castle. You expect a damsel in distress to appear at a window.

  • Eilean Donan Castle

    One of the world's quintessential castles: Eilean Donan is familiar from films and stunning in its romantic location. Open daily.

  • Ardvreck Castle

    Ruined castle that stands on its own promontory overlooking Loch Assynt. Not as old as you might expect but with its wonderful position such a romantic castle...

Ancient Sites We Visit or Pass

  • Skara Brae

    The best preserved stone age village in Europe: an extraordinary insight into life 5000 years ago.

  • Standing Stones of Stenness & Ring of Brodgar

    Two Henges (or sets of standing stones) in walking distance of each. Catch them at sunset or early evening when you will virtually have them to yourself. Amazing and so much more exciting than Stonehenge!

  • Maeshowe or Maes Howe

    Maeshowe is a Neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave situated on Mainland. It was probably built in around 2800 BC. It gives its name to the Maeshowe type of chambered cairn, which is only found in Orkney.

  • An Carra Standing Stone

    Very tall standing stone on South Uist that dates to neolithic period. The stone rises almost 17 feet into the air which makes it one of the largest standing stones in the isles. Its history is veiled in a typical hebridean mist.

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