B&R Butterfield & Robinson - Scotland's Wild North - v3

Summer 2025 - 2 departures

Number of Travellers: 12
Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights

Overview

This carefully crafted itinerary takes travellers well off the beaten path to explore the wild far north Highlands of Scotland, and beyond to the wonderful Orkney islands. Along the way, they will enjoy a combination of coastal and (small) mountain hikes, visit a striking castle and a renowned whisky distillery. They’ll explore a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Orkney, and enjoy stunning, wild landscapes at every turn. Each day they’ll uncover history, heritage and incredible scenery as they journey with our guide, staying in characterful accommodations and enjoying fabulous dining experiences in each location.

Highlights

  • Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Neolithic Orkney
  • Enjoy guided hikes exploring a variety of wild landscapes in the mountains and on the coast
  • Relax in carefully selected hotels, enjoying the famous Highland hospitality in each destination

Day by Day

Day 1 - Meet Inverness - Loch Ness - Travel to North Coast

Meeting in Inverness, we take a short transfer to nearby Loch Ness. At a small beach, we have our welcome briefing against the backdrop of the full 22-mile length of this famous loch, and take a short walk out to a headland. We then begin our journey by heading to the far north, looking out at the wild, wind-swept moors, dark rivers, and lonely tors that characterise this remote part of Scotland. Upon arriving in the tiny settlement of Tongue, take some time to relax and settle into your stunning accommodation. A former church manse with views of the sea, the hotel combines contemporary comfort with stone floors, large shuttered windows and exposed brick.

Total transfer time: Less than 3 hours

Suggested meeting time: 1pm in central Inverness

Arrive at hotel in Tongue at approx 5.30pm

 

Overnight: Tongue, North Coast | Lundies
Meals Included: Dinner
Walk Details: 4 km / 2 miles

Day 2 - Hiking the North Coast

We start the day with a stunning walk exploring the local coastline and crofting villages. The rocky foreshores of the Highlands are full of legends about gold-laden ships which floundered with their cargo never traced. This coast is no different so keep an eye open for ancient gold coins as you hike to the headland at Portvasgo, as a Jacobite ship is said to have been wrecked here in 1746. Our route takes us in a loop, passing secluded beaches, moors with wide-open vistas, and lots of tiny crofts. The views are a visual feast every step of the way.

Later in the afternoon, join an optional extra 3km hike to Caisteal Bharraich (or Castle Varrich), a ruined castle in a prominent position overlooking the Kyle of Tongue. There are numerous theories as to the origin of the building, from it being an 11th-century Viking stronghold to the seat of medieval bishops. A beautiful walk; make sure to climb the iron staircase at the top to give you the best views of the surrounding landscape. Take a stroll along the beach before sitting out in the soft dusk as orange tongues of flame cast flickering shadows against the old stone walls.

Very short transfers in local area.

Overnight: Tongue, North Coast | Lundies
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 10 km / 6 miles

Day 3 - Travel to Orkney

Leaving Tongue, we transfer east, passing into the region of Caithness. Here, we stop for a short windswept walk at beautiful Dunnet Bay. Afterwards, visit the striking Castle of Mey, formerly owned by the late Queen Mother. Early afternoon, we board the ferry to venture further north, away from the Scottish mainland. Landing in the Orcadian port of St Margaret’s Hope – named after a child princess who died in Orkney on her way to inherit the Scottish crown – we visit the incredible Italian Chapel before arriving in Kirkwall, a small town but the largest settlement in these islands. Wander through the flagstone-paved streets to explore before settling down to dinner in our accommodation, with its renowned restaurant.

Transfers: 1 hour 30 mins to ferry terminal via Dunnet Bay & Castle of Mey

1 hour and 10 mins ferry crossing to Orkney

30 min transfer to Kirkwall from St Margarets Hope, with stops en route

Overnight: Kirkwall, Orkney | The Storehouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 3 km / 2 miles

Day 4 - Discovery Neolithic Orkney

Today we explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site which covers a large part of Orkney’s mainland, including visits to the iconic historic sites of Maes Howe, the Ring of Brodgar standing stones, and Skara Brae pre-historic village. Later, we take a hike at Yesnaby, with its wonderful coastline of cliffs and sea stacks. Back in Kirkwall, enjoy some free time to explore and dine on your own. As we explore, keep an eye out for the island’s iconic wildlife inhabitants, including guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes, and – in early summer – puffins!

Local transfers on the mainland, less than 30 mins per transfer. Less than 2 hours of transfer time in total.

Overnight: Kirkwall, Orkney | The Storehouse
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 4 km / 2 miles

Day 5 - Hiking The Old Man of Hoy

A short drive along the edge of Scapa Flow takes us to Houton where we catch the ferry to the island of Hoy. Here we hike to the famous Old Man of Hoy sea stack and some of Britain’s highest sea cliffs before returning to Rackwick Bay. This is the essential hike on Orkney and will be a real highlight of the trip. Returning to Kirkwall, we enjoy our evening meal together at a local restaurant, with a focus on local produce.

Local transfers and 30 minute ferry crossing to Hoy (and return)

Overnight: Kirkwall, Orkney | The Storehouse
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 10 km / 6 miles

Day 6 - John o'Groats & Dunscansby Head

After a last walk around Kirkwall, we take a ferry back to the mainland, arriving soon after midday. Our first stop is John o’Groats, famously the most northerly settle on the UK mainland. Nearby are the striking Duncansby Stacks, so we enjoy a fantastic coastal hike with wonderful views all the way. As well as the coastal scenery, the bird life is fantastic and you’ll spot many species swopping from their cliff-bound perches to head out to see. Our transfer south follows the ‘North Coast 500’ driving route. If the weather is fine, we know the best place to stop for an ice cream along the way!

Transfers:

30 mins from Kirkwall to St Margaret’s Hope

1 hour, 10 mins ferry crossing back to mainland, arriving at 12.40pm (based on 2024 timetable)

Transfer to Tain (via John o’Groats) is 2 hours and 15 mins.

Overnight: Tain, Highlands | Glenmorangie House
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles

Day 7 - Local Hike - Whisky Distillery Experience

We hike up a small hill which is very much a local’s favourite. It is topped by an unusual monument, built over 200 years ago by a laird to provide work for a destitute local population. The monument is fabulous but the open views steal the show. Later, being based at Glenmorangie, we enjoy a memorable experience to learn about and fully appreciate one of the Scottish Highlands’ most celebrated malt whiskies. Our final night’s dinner will no doubt be followed by a dram or two of whisky!

Transfers to/from trailhead: Less than 30 mins each way

Overnight: Tain, Highlands | Glenmorangie House
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles | 274 m / 900 ft elevation gain | Approx: 3 hrs

Day 8 - Depart Inverness

After a final breakfast together, a short transfer of less than 1 hour takes us back to Inverness. We can drop off at the city centre or at the nearby airport (code INV).

Edinburgh and Glasgow are less than 4 hours away by train, and there are also flights from Inverness Airport to London, Amsterdam and other European destinations. Airport drop offs are also available.

We suggest a finish time of 10am. Flights to London often depart from INV at 11.45pm and 3pm; and flights to Amsterdam depart around 1.30pm. There are trains to Edinburgh and further south on a regular basis, typically departing every 2 hours (journey time is approx 3.5 hours).

 

Meals Included: Breakfast

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • 7 nights accommodation, as stated in the itinerary above
  • Most meals, as stated in the itinerary above
  • Arrival drink on return to the hotel each day, and wine with 6 evening meals (1/2 bottle pp)
  • The services of a qualified and experienced guide(s) from Day 1 to Day 8 inclusive
  • All transfers in a private vehicle(s) driven by our guide(s), including optional airport transfer on Day 8
  • All ferry fares
  • All guided hikes mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees and activities mentioned in the itinerary, specifically:
    • Day 3 – Visit Castle of Mey and Italian Chapel
    • Day 4 – Orkney sites including Skara Brae and Maes Howe
    • Day 7 – Glenmorangie Whisky Experience
  • T-Shirt Drop Moment – FOC
  • £100 Per Person Hosting & Enhancement Budget
  • Personalised trip design and delivery
  • 24/7 In-Country Support from the Wilderness Team
Exclusions Read More
  • Day 1 airport transfer (optional extra, along with pre-nights)
  • Lunch on D1, D6 or D8
  • Evening meal on D4
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for your main driver guide
Notes Read More
  • All suggested accommodations are subject to availability but would be held when the itinerary and pricing is agreed
Optional Upgrades Read More
  • Airport transfer at the start of the trip
  • Pre or post night stays at Inverness or Edinburgh
  • End of trip airport transfers for those departing later
Pricing Read More

The NET price for this itinerary can be found in the separate pricing breakdown document. Pricing in 2025 will range from £4,305 to £5,203pp, depending on group size (based on 4-12 travelers).

Conservation & Community Contribution

We have not included this optional charge in our pricing. This voluntary donation of £12 per person goes towards conservation & community projects in the locations we operate.  If you would like to add this onto the trip pricing, let us know and we can arrange this, and also share information with you to share with your clients about some of the positives which come from choosing this itinerary.

Click here for more information.

Terms & Conditions Read More

Please see our booking terms here.