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Orkney, Western Isles, Isle of Skye & Loch Ness
Go beyond the mainland and discover the remote northern and western fringes of Scotland, Europe’s last great wilderness. Our ultimate trip explores an amazingly diverse range of scenery, history and cultures. From the Viking influenced Orkney Islands and the mysterious Callanish Standing Stones on Lewis to the mountains and legends of the magical Isle of Skye. This is the definitive Highlands and Islands journey.
- Eilean Donan Castle
- Callanish Standing Stones, predating Stonehenge
- Traditional Hebridean blackhouse and tweed makers
- White sandy beaches on Harris
- Party it up in the capital of the Highlands, Inverness
- Orkney Islands’ 9,000 years of history
- Skara Brae Stone Age village
- Isle of Skye’s awe-inspiring scenery
- Overnight on the banks of Loch Ness
- Stunning hikes through remote mountain terrain
- Look out for dolphins and whales on the ferry trips
- Plant a tree in the ‘HAGGiS Grove’
- Go monster spotting on a Loch Ness cruise
- Dance Scottish-style at a Highland Ceilidh
- Taste great fish and chips in Kirkwall
- Learn a ‘peedie’ bit of Orcadian dialect
- Your legendary local HAGGiS Guide
- Transport on one of the famous yellow HAGGiS buses
- All ferry crossings
- Tree planting at the ‘HAGGiS Grove’ *weather permitting
- Ring of Brodgar Standing Stones
- Visit to the Italian Chapel
- Callanish Standing Stones
- Butt of Lewis Lighthouse
- Dun Carloway, Iron Age fort
- FREE Lonely Planet guidebook
Day 1: Edinburgh to Stornoway
Departs 8.15am. From Edinburgh, we pass the famous Forth Bridge and into Perthshire, surrounded by mountains, forests and salmon packed rivers. We stop in Dunkeld, heart of Macbeth country and its mighty cathedral. Then it’s through the Cairngorms National park, past Inverness and onwards to the far north-west coast of Scotland for our ferry over the sea to the outer Hebrides and the Isle of Lewis.
Day 2: Lewis and Harris
We visit the stunning Callanish Standing Stones, Neolithic in age and dating back more than 4,000 years. Their meaning remain a mystery, perhaps an ancient calendar but these are considered to be some of the most impressive and inspiring of any of the ancient stones in Britain. These Hebridean islands are predominantly Gaelic speaking and have an unbroken culture dating back millennia. We visit the Butt of Lewis with its isolated lighthouse and stunning ocean views then a traditional blackhouse and the home of tweed makers, a fabric exclusive to the islands but now considered very trendy!
Day 3: Lewis and Harris to Broadford
In the morning we explore the amazing beaches of Harris, famous for its clear blue waters, magnificent mountain backdrop and traditional crofting culture. These islands are home to the Clan MacLeod who have lived here for centuries. After exploring the wonders of Harris, we leave their homeland and cross by ferry on our journey back to the mainland. We spend the night in Broadford en-route.
Day 4: Broadford to Inverness
Back on the mainland, today we head into the north west Highlands, some of the most remote and most isolated mountain terrain in Europe. First we pass Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most iconic views in Scotland. Then it’s truly off the beaten track and into the wilds! There will be the chance to take a walk through some of this amazing environment led the way by your fearless local Guide before returning to civilisation... Inverness, the capital of the Highlands is our home for the night.
Day 5: Inverness to Orkney
We journey further north passing over the Moray Firth home to bottlenose dolphins and minke whales and on to the tip of the British mainland, John O'Groats. We board the ferry to sail over the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands, home to more archaeological ruins in one area than anywhere else in Europe. We visit the Tomb of the Eagles, a Stone Age chamber that was filled with thousands of human bones and the remains of sea eagles many millennia ago.
Day 6: Orkney
Today we head off to explore Skara Brae, dating from the late Neolithic period and inhabited between 3,200BC and 2,200BC. This incredible stone village is made up of eight dwellings (some still containing original furniture) linked together by a series of low alleyways and is a marvel of ancient building techniques. Then we visit the magnificent standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the Italian Chapel built by 550 Italian POW's in the Second World War.
Day 7: Orkney to Loch Ness
We bid Orkney farewell and make the ferry crossing back to the mainland and a journey south through Scotland’s rugged terrain. We travel through the sparsely populated wilderness of Sutherland and Caithness, via glens left deserted as a result of the Highland Clearances. Our journey takes us through Drumnadrochit and onto Loch Ness. We see the ruins of Urquhart Castle before arriving at Fort Augustus on the shores of the famous loch.
Day 8: Isle of Skye
Today we visit HAGGiS Grove (weather permitting) to help restore our native forest. Then we head on to explore the Isle of Skye, also known as the ‘winged isle’ or ‘Isle of Mist’ with its ruined castles, awesome scenery and home to the legendary MacLeod and MacDonald Clans. Immersed in Celtic myths and Viking legends, hear tales abound with faeries and fights, we explore the windswept landscape and brooding Red and Black Cuillin Mountain ranges.
Day 9: Skye to Oban
We return to the mainland and head for Glenfinnan Monument where Bonnie Prince Charlie began his claim for the throne of Scotland and view the spectacular steam train viaduct featured in the Harry Potter film. We take to the hills for the chance to hike in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. Oban, known as the ‘Gateway to the Isles’ because of its spectacular views over to Mull, is home for the night and this is your chance for a proper Highland Fling with some traditional dancing at a ceilidh!
Day 10: Oban to Edinburgh
We head for eerie Glencoe, some Scotland’s most iconic scenery and setting of the infamous 1692 massacre but more recently a backdrop in the movie ‘Skyfall’. Further south we enter Rob Roy country where the landscape changes from the Highlands to the Lowlands. Our journey back to Edinburgh takes in views of magnificent Stirling Castle and the mighty Wallace Monument. Returns approximately 5.00pm.
"Great trip with fantastic guide, beautiful destinations, the hostels were top quality - can't wait to travel with Haggis again." Antoinette, Australia
"We had such a great guide, Orkney was amazing and the hostel the best ive ever stayed in." Magali, France
"Absolutley amazing experience couldn’t ask for a better tour" Sam, Australia
"The trip was hot, everything was amazing from the guides to the hostels to all the amazing things we saw." Hannah, Australia
"Had such a brilliant time on the 5 day trip I stuck on the bus for 10 days IT WAS THAT GOOD thank you Haggis." Alice, Germany