Hemphill Scotland Explorations

Ann Hemphill

Tuesday 13th August – Monday 2nd September 2024

Number of Travellers: 2
Duration: 21 Days / 20 Nights

Overview

Absorb the character and history of Scotland while exploring the landscapes of the Highlands and Islands. Discover quiet corners and experience moments of true wonder at the incredible natural treasures that abound in Scotland. With your knowledgeable guide, step back in time to try to uncover the legends of this ancient land, visiting Neolithic sites and prehistoric villages, as well as enjoying some coastal walks with incredible vistas and local wildlife.

Itinerary at a Glance

Highlights

  • Enjoy the energetic Festival Atmosphere in the city streets
  • Spend time admiring the Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis
  • Discover the rich cultural heritage and stunning natural environments of the Scottish Isles
  • Explore the ancient history of Neolithic Orkney

Day by Day

Day 1 - Tuesday 13th August - Arrive in Edinburgh.

Welcome back to Scotland! Your private transfer will meet you at Edinburgh airport and transfer you to your welcoming hotel. Take some time to relax and settle in, enjoying an oasis of calm as the city’s characterful streets buzz and bustle beyond the window. Tonight enjoy a delightful dinner before taking your seats to experience your second performance of the amazing Royal Military Tattoo.

Overnight: Edinburgh | Bonham
Room Type: Townhouse Double
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2 - Wednesday 14th August - Foodie tour.

Spend the morning exploring the city with a local guide who is passionate about the incredible selection of food that this wonderful city has to offer.  Be led through the hidden gems of the city to the places only the locals know about so you can taste some of the local delicacies and sample some of the famous Uisge Beatha as well, of course! The rest of the afternoon is free to explore more of the city.

Overnight: Edinburgh | Bonham
Room Type: Townhouse Double
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Thursday 15th August - Guided city tour in your private Mini Cooper.

This morning you are picked up by a local guide and taken for a wonderful tour of Scotland’s hilly capital by Mini Cooper. As you zip through the city, your Edinburgh guide shares stories of history and culture. Admire Edinburgh Castle overlooking the sea and the spires of St.Giles’ Cathedral. Revel in the ancient exploits of Sir William Wallace (known as Braveheart) and the hometown of actor Sean Connery. If you fancy an afternoon with a twist, head to the Surgeons’ Hall Museums, which holds one of the largest collections of surgical pathology in the world.

Overnight: Edinburgh | Bonham
Room Type: Townhouse Double
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Friday 16th August - Free day to enjoy the Edinburgh Festival atmosphere.

Today enjoy the Edinburgh Festival celebrations,  you may wish to get right into the swing of it or just soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the streets as you discover impromptu performances, or book concert seats. You will be spoilt for choice and there is something for every taste.

Overnight: Edinburgh | Bonham
Room Type: Townhouse Double
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 5 - Saturday 17th August - Meet your guide to visit Stirling Castle and travel onwards to Inverness.

Meet your Guide at your hotel this morning to travel north to Stirling. Here, visit one of the most important castles in Scotland’s history. Have time to also visit the Wallace Monument and its Hall of Heroes. Continue your journey north to the highland capital of Inverness and your accommodation for the evening.

Overnight: Inverness | Glen Mohr
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 6 - Sunday 18th August - Travel to Ullapool and board the ferry to Lewis & Harris.

Take to the road this morning for a scenic drive to Ullapool to board the ferry to one of the wildest and most beautiful islands in Europe. Arriving on Lewis, either spend the afternoon exploring Stornoway with your guide or travel south to your accommodation in Harris.

Overnight: Harris | Hotel Hebrides
Room Type: Classic Double
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 7 - Monday 19th August - Glens and Beaches of North Harris.

North Harris is one of the most spectacular areas of the Outer Hebrides. We spend the day exploring the glens and beaches, perhaps visiting the white sands of Huisinis or hiking into the glens to see the massive cliffs of Sron Uladal. A wonderful day whichever route we choose!

Overnight: Harris | Hotel Hebrides
Room Type: Classic Double
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 8 - Tuesday 20th August - The Machair of Harris and Cycle The Golden Road.

This morning we’ll take a hike around the coast discovering the vibrant colors of the wildflowers found in the Machair plains. This rare habitat is only found on the exposed western coastline of Scotland and Ireland, and is always busy with different birds and insects. Keep a careful eye on the shoreline and the rocky outcrops for the sleek otters that inhabit this area. Your guide will then lead you to explore the many inlets and coves while you cycle on one of the ancient ‘coffin roads’. The Golden Road, named after the high costs of its creation, snakes its way through the lunar-like landscapes providing spectacular views.

Overnight: Harris | Hotel Hebrides
Room Type: Classic Double
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 9 - Wednesday 21st August - Callanish Standing Stones and then journey to Dornoch

After breakfast, we journey north to Lewis, where we visit the 5,000 year old Callanish Standing Stones, which date back to 3,000 BC. Set on a moor with a backdrop of sea and mountains, this is a moving experience for many and a wonderful place to end this island odyssey. Leaving the stones behind, we continue to Stornoway where we take the ferry back to the mainland and transfer to Dornoch for the evening.

Overnight: Dornoch | Dornoch Station
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 10 - Thursday 22nd August - Ferry to Orkney and visit the Italian Chapel.

Your guide will collect you this morning to journey to the Orkney Islands follows the north-east coast of the Highlands and onwards over the Pentland Firth. We reach Orkney in the late afternoon, where we’ll visit the Italian Chapel, two Nissan huts converted into a place of worship by prisoners of war. We’ll then continue on to our hotel to relax and refresh before dinner.

Overnight: Orkney | Lynnfield
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 11 - Friday 23rd August - Skara Brae, Stones of Stenness, The Ring of Brodgar.

Today we visit the Stone Age village of Skara Brae, discovered in 1850 after a storm cleared away the sand dunes that were covering it. Afterwards, visit the Stone of Stenness and the wonderful Ring of Brodgar – a standing stone circle dating back to Neolithic times.

Overnight: Orkney | Lynnfield
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 12 - Saturday 24th August - Hiking on Hoy.

A short drive along the edge of Scapa Flow takes us to Stromness where we catch the ferry to the island of Hoy. Here we walk to the famous Old Man of Hoy and some of Britain’s highest sea cliffs before returning to Rackwick Bay.

Overnight: Orkney | Lynnfield
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 13 - Sunday 25th August - Rousay & Distillery. Overnight Ferry to Shetland.(Departs 23:45 Arrives- 07:30)

This morning you will take a short ferry ride to the island of Rousay. Here you will head out on a short hike to the Midhowe chambered cairn, one of 15 chambered cairns on Rousay. After some good exploring you will head along the coastline to the Midhowe Broch and an opportunity to see a dig that is taking place on the shoreline. On your way back to the ferry you can stop off at some other chambered cairns, learning more about the history of this island. Returning back to Kirkwall, visit the Highland Park Distillery for a tour and tasing. Then enjoy a relaxing evening before boarding your ferry to Shetland.

Overnight: Ferry | Northlink Ferries
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 14 - Monday 26th August - Lerwick History of the Island.

Take some time to explore Lerwick, which is full of character and history. Stop into the Shetland Museum & Archives, visit the Brock of Clickimin and discover the traditions of Shetland wool woven through the fabric of everyday life on the islands. Follow your curiosity and your guide can take you out of town if there is another site you specifically wish to see too.

Overnight: Shetland | Scalloway Hotel
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 15 - Tuesday 27th August - Hike the Dramatic Cliffs of Eshaness.

Enjoy a coastal hike on the dramatic headland of Eshaness. Explore the awe-inspiring coastal scenery around the wonderfully named Villains of Ure, the Grind of the Navir and the Holes of Scraada. The wildlife spotting opportunities are also numerous, with sightings of otters and even orcas reported from here.

Overnight: Shetland | Scalloway Hotel
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 16 - Wednesday 28th August - National Nature Reserve and Viking Heritage.

We travel by ferry to the islands of Yell and Unst in the very far north of Shetland. On Unst, we will walk at Hermaness National Nature Reserve, which is one of the largest breeding colonies of Bonxie in the world. This is a superb and wild spot to gaze out across the sea to the sensationally placed lighthouse on the island of Muckle Flugga, and the tiny rock of Out Stack, the most northerly point of land in the United Kingdom.

Overnight: Shetland | Scalloway Hotel
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 17 - Thursday 29th August - Explore south Shetland and the Island of Mousa. Overnight Ferry to Aberdeen. (Departs 19:00 Arrives 07:00)

Head south and board the boat to Mousa and enjoy an afternoon exploring the island as well as the famous Broch of Mousa, the tallest broch still standing in the whole of Europe as well as one of the most well preserved. Admire how this incredible building has stood the test of time and then climb the winding staircase to enjoy the views from the top. The broch is also home to hundreds of Storm Petrels that nest in the walls, so keep your eyes peeled for them flitting in and out. Later, enjoy dinner before boarding your overnight ferry to the east caost of Scotland, the granite city of Aberdeen.

Overnight: Ferry | Northlink
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 18 - Friday 30th August - Morning tour of the City. Afternoon Highland Cow Farm.

Arriving into the port of Aberdeen, stop to enjoy breakfast before you set out on a tour of this characterful city. Later, stop off at a local Cattle Farm to meet some gorgeous Highland Cows. Explore the farm, meet the animals and enjoy some snacks while you learn about these animals and life as a farmer in Scotland. Later on you will continue to the village of Aboyne and your accommodation base for the next 2 nights.

Overnight: Abderdeenshire | The Boat Inn
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 19 - Saturday 31st August - Hiking in Ballater and Balmoral Castle.

Today hike a superb circular route, exploring Glen Muick, which lies in the shadow of the famous peak of Lochnagar. It takes us through ancient pine forest, past one of Queen Victoria’s hunting lodges and beneath towering cliffs as we circumnavigate beautiful Loch Muick. It’s also a great place for spotting wildlife – look out for red deer and golden eagles. This afternoon visit the beautiful Balmoral Estate. This residence has been part of the British Royal Family since it was bought for Queen Victoria in 1852.

Overnight: Aberdeenshire | The Boat Inn
Room Type: Double Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 20 - Sunday 1st September - Private transfer from your hotel to Edinburgh. Free Day in Edinburgh.

A private transfer will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Edinburgh this morning. The rest of the day is free for you to spend at your leisure.

Overnight: Edinburgh | Bonham
Room Type: Townhouse Double
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 21 - Monday 2nd September - Private departure transfer to Edinburgh Airport.

A private driver will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Edinburgh Airport to catch your onward travel. Waving farewell for now but taking with you many special memories of unique moments of your explorations on the islands and in the capital city.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • All accommodation from Day 1 to Day 21
  • Most meals, as stated in the itinerary above
  • Services of an experienced and knowledgeable UK qualified guide from Day 5 to Day 19
  • All transfers in a private vehicle driven by our guide on guided days
  • Airport Transfer on Arrival day
  • Day 20 – transfer from Aberdeenshire hotel to Edinburgh Hotel
  • Airport Transfer on Departure Day
  • All ferries mentioned in the itinerary
  • All guided hikes and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees and activities specified in the itinerary, specifically:
    • Edinburgh Tattoo Tickets (Dinner included)
    • Private Edinburgh Foodie Tour
    • Private Mini Cooper tour of Edinburgh
    • Stirling Castle & Wallace Monument Admission
    • 1/2 day Bike hire (Day 8)
    • Italian Chapel Admission
    • Skara Brae Admission
    • Distillery tour and tasting
    • Private Aberdeen City tour
    • Private Highland Cow Farm tour
  • Personalised trip design and delivery
  • 24 hour in-country support from the Wilderness Team
Exclusions Read More
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for the main driver guide
Notes Read More
  • All suggested accommodations and services are subject to availability at the time of booking
  • A 15% deposit is required before any accommodation and services will be confirmed
  • This quote is valid for 14 days from the date quoted, after this time pricing may be subject to revision
  • Please see our Custom Partner Terms & Conditions HERE