Located off the far northern tip of mainland Scotland, where the Atlantic meets the North Sea, few people get the chance to make the journey to these remote and sparsely inhabited islands. With over 9,000 years of history there are Neolithic villages, tombs, stone circles and many reminders of its Viking past. A place unlike the rest of Scotland and proud of it!
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Departs 8.15am. We leave our capital city and head north past the mighty Forth Bridge. We enter the Kingdom of Fife and visit the university town of St Andrews where the game of golf was invented and Kate and Wills first met. Then, it’s off to the mountains of Cairngorms National Park to sample a wee dram of Scotland’s favourite national drink at a Highland whisky distillery and see how this fine drop is made. Inverness, capital of the Highlands is our home for the night.
We continue our journey north passing the Moray Firth, home to bottlenose dolphins and minke whales. We travel right to the tip of the British mainland at John O'Groats where we board the ferry to sail over the Pentland Firth to Orkney. Home to more archaeological ruins in one area than anywhere else in Europe, first 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.
Today we head off to explore Skara Brae, a stone age village dating from the late Neolithic period and inhabited between 3,200BC and 2,200BC. This incredible village still has some original furniture! Then the magnificent standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and the Italian Chapel built by 550 Italian POW's in the Second World War.
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 past the ruins of Urquhart Castle along the length of Loch Ness whilst we monster spot! Get ready for a party at Mo's Bar in Fort Augustus on the shores of the famous Loch.
We head south to mysterious and haunting Glencoe also known as the ‘Weeping Glen’. Stunningly beautiful, it has been the backdrop for movies including ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Braveheart’, ‘Rob Roy’ and more recently ‘Skyfall’. We cross the wilds of Rannoch Moor and on past historic Stirling, arriving back in Edinburgh approximately 5.00pm.
We know you’re travelling on a budget so you should spend your cash how you want to. Pay for your accommodation with our ‘Pay Now’ service or just ‘Pay As You Go’ directly to suppliers on arrival, subject to availability. The choice is yours.
Pre-Pay Bundle –Pay for your accommodation at the time of booking. Faster check in, easier to budget on tour and exclusive tour t-shirt.
Pay As You Go – Pay for your accommodation directly to the establishments on arrival each day. Dorm accommodation is guaranteed.
No stress, your accommodation is booked in the best hostels available!
Whether you chose to ‘Pre-Pay’ or ‘Pay As You Go’, we book hostel multi-share accommodation in small dorms (generally 4 to 6 bed dorms).
Private Room Upgrades can be selected under our ‘Pay Now’ service, and are subject to availability. The majority of private rooms are of the same standard as the hostel dorms. Some private rooms have en-suite facilities, whilst others have shared bathrooms.
Private rooms are generally accommodated within the same building as the rest of the group. Where this is not possible, you may be required to make your own way to your accommodation, which is normally located a short walk away from the main drop off point
No trip to Orkney is complete without a visit to Skara Brae Stone Age Village, part of a World Heritage site. A Neolithic settlement dating back 5000 years which gives a fantastic insight into prehistoric living.
Included in Pre-Pay Bundle
A unique ‘hands-on’ experience! Perched above dramatic cliffs, the Isbister Chambered Cairn is better known today as the ‘Tomb of the Eagles’! Discovered by chance by local farmer Ronnie Simison in the 1950s, the Stone Age tomb revealed an amazing collection of bones and artefacts. More than 50 years after Ronnie Simison came across these remarkable sites, his family invite you to come and enjoy these well-loved visitor attractions.
Included in Pre-Pay Bundle