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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.
- Your legendary local HAGGiS Guide
- FREE dram of Highland whisky
- Orkney Islands’ 9,000 years of history
- Skara Brae Stone Age village
- Look out for dolphins and whales on the ferry trips
- FREE day exploring Loch Ness
- Stunning hikes through remote mountain terrain
- Callanish Standing Stones, predating Stonehenge
- Party it up in the capital of the Highlands - Inverness
- Traditional Hebridean blackhouse and tweed makers
- White sandy beaches on Harris
- Isle of Skye’s awe-inspiring scenery
- Plant a tree in the ‘HAGGiS Grove’
- Go monster spotting on a Loch Ness cruise
- Use a free day to hire bikes for the day and get onto the forest trails
- Try the best black pudding in the world in Stornoway, the tastiest fish and chips in Ullapool or even some haggis... lovely!
- Your legendary local HAGGiS Guide
- FREE dram of Highland whisky
- Transport on one of the famous yellow HAGGiS buses
- All ferries
- FREE Lonely Planet guidebook
Day 1: Edinburgh to Inverness
Heading north 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 with its mighty cathedral. Continue north to hear tales of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the tragedy of his defeat on the eerie moor of lonely Culloden Battlefield, scene of the last major battle in Britain. The Highland Capital is our home for the night.
Day 2: Inverness to Orkney
We continue our journey 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 3: 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. There will also be time to visit the magnificent standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar before the chance to head to a whisky distillery to sample some of the local single malt (and a very good drop it is too).
Day 4: Orkney to Inverness
First we visit the Italian chapel. This place of worship was built by 550 Italian POW's in the Second World War. We then 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.
Day 5: Inverness to Loch Ness
Through the remnants of ancient Caledonian Pine Forest we take a walk through some of this amazing environment led by your fearless local Guide who will ensure we make it back to civilisation… 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 6: Free Day at Loch Ness
Get amongst some spectacular Highland scenery and do your own thing. Hire bikes, take a boat trip on Scotland’s most famous loch to try and spot you-know-who, climb a mountain or chill out in Morag’s Lodge with a nice local beer.
Day 7: Loch Ness to Lewis
Today we journey through the wilderness of the north west Highlands, some of the most remote and isolated mountain terrain in Europe. We visit Corrieshalloch Gorge, a breathtaking mile long gorge set amongst the trees then on to the wee fishing village of Ullapool. Grab some of the best fish and chips you will ever have and tuck into them on the pier before we board our ferry this evening bound for the Western Isles.
Day 8: Lewis & 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 a traditional blackhouse and the home of tweed makers, a fabric exclusive to the islands but now considered very trendy!
Day 9: Harris to Skye
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 to the 'winged island', the Isle of Skye. We explore the magical isle with its awesome scenery and Cuillin Mountains while hearing about its many legends and faerie stories.
Day 10: Skye to Edinburgh
Back on the mainland, we stop to view the impressive Eilean Donan Castle perched on the shores of Loch Duich then journey along the Great Glen fault line before passing Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain. We discover the story of the name 'The Weeping Glen' at Glencoe, and the infamous massacre of the MacDonalds. Over the wilds of Rannoch Moor, we pass Stirling with its famous Wallace Monument, where the true story of Braveheart is told, before returning to the capital city of Edinburgh.
"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