Tour Itinerary Oct 2- 11 2018
Tues Oct 2
Gather at Halifax airport. Meet your tour escort Ron MacEachen and others on the tour, who will be travelling companions over the next 10 days. Settle in for the overnight flight to Glasgow, which is just over 5 hour duration.'
Wed Oct 3
Arrive at Glasgow airport at 8 a.m. Clear customs and be escorted to your motor coach.
We will immediately travel towards Edinburgh, one of the most historic cities in Europe. On route we will stop for a full breakfast .We will Arrive in Edinburgh at around 1230 pm. and proceed to -in at the Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel our home for two nights . Check in is at 230pm. This hotel is located in the old town in the famous grassmarket area close to shops ,pubs and historical landmarks. .Be sure glance up at Edinburgh Castle on your way into the hotel.
The remainder of the day is free to rest up, grab some lunch, wander the streets of the city or check out some local markets and shopping. At 5 30 p.m. meet Ron your tour director in the lobby of the hotel .We wlll have a welcome drink followed by dinner at the hotel . Breakfast and Dinner included.
Thurs Oct 4
Your tour of Edinburgh¸ called Dùn-Éideann in Gaelic, begins by meeting your local tour director, Fiona Tompson For many centuries Edinburgh was a center of interest to the Gaelic-speaking population, whether through coercion or voluntary desire to visit. The wider area has strong association with the Celtic saints of the Columbian church.Your tour begins in the New Town of Edinburgh, dating only from 1767, where you will see the most important Georgian urban landscape surviving in Great Britain. Here you will see the house of the novelist Sir Walter Scott, where many Gaelic speakers were welcomed. Close by is Milne’s bar where the Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean met in the 1960s with the likes of Hugh MacDiarmid and Edwin Muir.We then go out to Leith and get a chance to see the Royal Yacht Britannia during a short walkabout .
We then return to Edinburgh to the part of Edinburgh known as Old Town, the Royal Mile and Holyrood Palace. Along the Royal Mile are a number of locations with strong Gaelic publishing associations.Carrubers Close gives access to Old St Paul’s - the Episcopalian church most associated with the Jacobites who supported Bonnie Prince Charlie. In Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped (1886) the exploits of Alan Breck were developed from those of John Roy Stewart who was ‘out’ with the Prince in 1745.
The next location passed is Greyfriars churchyard where rest the remains of Donnchadh Ban (Duncan Ban Macintyre, – the greatest nature poet born near Bridge of Orchy). He was a member of the Town Guard from 1766 and died in the City in1812. Duncan Ban, like so many Highlanders, was forced to come to the city at that time. Edinburgh’s population doubled from 1700 to 1800, when it reached 80,000. His songs are still sung among Gaels in Nova Scotia.A little way down the street one our right is the Lawnmarket where Duncan Ban’s wife Mairi Bhàn Og had her dram shop.
After the Castle Tour concluded around 3pm you have free time for the rest of theafternoon and evening. You will be left on your own to meander through the side streets, shop or have an afternoon pint. Dinner is on your own tonight. Breakfast .included
Edinburg Skyline Sandy Bells Pub
Friday Oct 5
From Edinburgh, travelling north-westwards towards Stirling, we pass by the engineering miracle of the Forth Railway Bridge. Stirling was the pre-eminent stronghold of Scotland and became embroiled in the turbulent times of William Wallace - dramatized in the film Braveheart. It’s where Scotland’s Wars of Independence were fought and won.
We take the road west over the Flanders Moss – once a 12 foot raised bog -- and along the old cattle drove road where once thousands of small black cattle streamed to the great markets Falkirk .
. The picturesque small town of Callander is our destination for lunch and time to wander on your own.
Venturing northward we pass close to Balquidder where Rob Roy was buried and Loch Earn - Ireland’s Loch - so named by the first Gaelic speaking settlers from Eire. We travel through Strath Fillan called after the important Saint whose relics were carried before the Scottish army at Bannockburn. And beyond its lies Beinn Dorain, immortalized in song by Donnchadh Ban Mac an t-Saoir, the finest Gaelic nature poet.
Passing over desolate Rannoch Moor we at last reach our day’s destination of Glencoe where in that haunting landscape the massacre of the MacDonald Clan took place in 1692. In the late afternoon we will check in to the Isles of Glencoe Hotel .This property is located the town of Ballachulish. Tonight we will have dinner at the hotel Breakfast and dinner included .
Sat Oct 6
We travel along Loch Linne to the end of the Great Glen and the garrison of Fort William nestling below Ben Nevis, which is Britain's tallest mountain. We move up the A82 and turn of at Spean Bridge, travel to Roy Bridge and then in to Bohuntin/Glen Roy. This region has many connections to Nova Scotia, in particular Mabou and central Inverness County. Glen Roy’s rich heritage and extraordinary natural beauty make it the perfect backdrop for this excursion and a very special experience. Your guide will be local crofter (farmer), Ronnie Campbell, born and raised in Glen Roy. You will be spellbound by Ronnie’s knowledge and tales of the past.
The tour begins with a visit to Cille Choirill, the little church perched high on the hillside overlooking Glen Spean. It was built in the 15th century on a hallowed site dating back to around 600 AD when Cairell, one of St. Columba’s monks, had his cell here. On the hill behind, Tom Aingeal, many generations of Brae Lochaber people are buried. To journey through Glen Roy is to travel back in time. The narrow glen road passes Mulroy Hill (Maol Ruadh) the site of the last clan battle fought in Scotland in 1688. A roadside cairn commemorates the significant event. On to the hamlet of Bohuntin, once a township of some 200 people, but a victim of the 19th century Clearances when so many were forced to seek a new life elsewhere. Bohuntin was the main food growing area, the “bread basket” for the glen. Today it is a tranquil place but the memories and the legends remain. Half hidden in the long grass is the ancient Adamnan’s Graveyard where from time immemorial the Bohuntin people were laid to rest.
A mile or so along the road can be seen the Glen Roy Mass Stone. A fragment of a larger stone, it was used in Penal times when Catholics were forbidden to practise their faith publicly and so gathered at secret locations out in the open to celebrate Mass.As you arrive at the view point, prepare to be amazed at the natural phenomenon that greets you. The dramatic legacy of the Ice Age lies before you – the world famous Parallel Roads. The “roads” appear at three levels on the hillsides and are the gravel beaches of an ice-dammed lake showing the levels of water as the ice receded. The glen takes on a wilder appearance now. Look out for golden eagle soaring above and for deer on the hillside. Discover the smaller treasures of the glen. See the Montrose Stone with its band of abrasive material encircling it. Legend has it that in 1645 as Montrose marched his army through Glen Roy, the troops sharpened their swords on the stone before continuing on to Inverlochy where they won an historic battle. There is a short walk to the Bishop’s well. For centuries the well was highly prized by the people of the glen for the quality of its water. In 1932, Bishop Sandy MacDonald of Victoria, B.C (formerly of Mabou) visited the well in Glen Roy and blessed it.
After the tour all will lunch at a local cafe .After lunch we will do a whisky tour and tasting at the Ben Nevis Distillery . Departing from Roy Bridge we will travel up the A82 to Inverness. Your hotel for the next two nights is Glen Mohr Hotel. This hotel is well situated on the banks of the river and only a short distance from the town centre., shopping,Inverness Castle and Eden Court. Dinner will be at the hotel and you have a free evening afterwards to explore the city . Breakfast and lunch and dinner included .
-Parallel Road Cille Choirill Church
Sun Oct 7
We will depart the hotel and travel to Clava Cairns an ancient prehistoric site on a gravel terrace above the River Nairn .
Next stop is the Culloden Moor Battlefield and Visitor Centre. This area is immortalized as a turning point in the history of Scotland .The interpretive center, with excellent audio visual takes you through the Jacobite rising of 1745 which ended on this moor in April 1746. Walking out on the battlefield can be a moving experience for those who trace their ancestor back to Scotland. Lunch will be taken in the restaurant at the Culloden Interpretive Centre.
In mid afternoon we will be back in Inverness where the reat of the day and evening are free . You have many options . A walk along Caledonian Canal and Tomnahurich . Visit the Highland Archives center in Inverness, stroll through the botanical gardens or a visit to the city centre for shopping and sightseeing.
Inverness , Scotland Culloden Battlefield Main walking street , Inverness
Mon Oct 8
We bid goodbye to Inverness and drive along the banks of the Loch Ness. There will also be a short stop at the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre Leaving the A82 we swing on to the A87 heading towards the Isle of Skye . Next stop is at Mac Kenzie’s Cairn where we hear the fascinating story of Roderick MacKenzie who gave his life in an effort to assist Bonnie Prince Charlie to safely escape from Scotland after the defeat at Culloden. We will stop for lunch and a tour of Eilean Donan Castle just before we cross the bridge to the Isle of Skye. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery there is stories falling from its walls.
Leaving Eilean Donan Castle we cross the bridge and arrive on the Isle of Skye and proceed down to Sleat to our hotel Eilean Iarmain our home for the next two nights, Eilean Iarmain located on Isle Ornsay , Isle of Skye .This hotel described as “the most romantic hotel in the highlands,” has some bilingual staff (Gaelic and English) and is nestled on the water is a stunning location. We’ll taste their Gaelic Whiskies in their on-site pub, a popular spot for locals and visitors. This evening you can become familiar with the property, have a meal in the bar enjoy the company.
Breakfast and lunch included
Eilean Donan Castle Isle of Skye bridge Sabhal Mor Ostaig -Logo
Tues Oct 9
Our day starts with a visit to the Clan Donald center. Discover the history of the Highlands and Islands through the story of Clan Donald, its most powerful clan, at this award-winning museum.Six interconnecting galleries, each with their own theme, take you through 1500 years of the history and culture of the area once known as the Kingdom of the Isles. This sea kingdom had its own unique culture and language, Gaelic. The MacDonald’s - or Clan Donald - were the Lords of the Isles and sit at the heart of the history of Gaeldom. We will proceed to Sol Mor Ostaig on the Gaelic College which is a focal point of activity in the south of Skye .We then head north past the town of Broadford and stop at of Portree the largest center on the Skye , for lunch and some free time to either explore the town center with shopping or take a coastal walk along Portree Bay to enjoy a lovely nature setting. At around 3pm after some enjoyable free time in Portree we will return to the south of Skye and Hotel Eilean Iarmain . On offer at the hotel Eilean Iarmain will be tasting of the Gaelic Whiskies on the property . There will be time to relax for several hours before we convene for an enjoyable last dinner in the Highlands of Scotland at Eilean Iarmain’s highly regarded on site restaurant. The merriment will continue in the pub afterwards with music and laughter. Breakfast and dinner inclucded
Your home on the Isle of Skye The Pub at Eilean Iarmain
Wed Oct 10
We head to Armadale where will catch the ferry and a short 30 minute crossing to Mallaig .This region of the mainland holds many ties with numerous Nova Scotians and those of other regions and also people from the U.S.A. who can trace their roots to Morar, Mallaig , and Arisag . . We will hear about the Gaelic history of the area as we enjoy the scenery. We will stop for lunch and then l visit St Finnans Catholic Church where will hear about the survival of Highland Catholicism. Our last stop will be at the Glenfinnan Visitor Center and Jacobite monument. Learn about where Bonnie Prince Charlie came ashore as he started his mission to reclaim the throne for the Stuarts. After a full day we now settle in on our coach for our journey to Fort William and then down for overnight at a convenient Glasgow airport hotel for an overnight.
Breakfast and lunch included
Glenfinnan Monumnet The Harbor at Arisag
Thurs Oct 11
Early Transfer to Glasgow airport for the return flight to Halifax NS. Your memorable tour of Scotland is finished. Breakfast included
Good Bye Scotland .We'll be back