Final Information - Ann and Candy’s Scotland Explorations (v7)

Saturday 18th May – Saturday 25th May 2024

Number of Travellers: 2
Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights

Overview

From the bright lights of the city to the jagged peaks of the Cuillins, Scotland is the country of magic, mystery, folklore and whisky. Spend time exploring the hidden gems and places only the locals know about with your knowledgeable guides – from the cobblestone streets of Edinburgh to the windswept headlands on Skye. Get a feel for the real Scotland as you get under the skin of this ancient land and take a small part of it back with you in your heart.

Highlights

  • Exploring the magic of the fabled Isle of Skye with your knowledgeable guide
  • Stepping back in time as you walk the walls of ancient castles
  • Taste the famous Uisge Beatha at a charming 'closed door' whisky distillery

Day by Day

Day 1 - Saturday 18th May - Welcome to Edinburgh!

On arrival at Edinburgh airport you will be met by your private transfer driver and taken to your boutique hotel in the city.  You can spend the rest of the night relaxing or exploring more of the city under your own steam.

Overnight: Edinburgh | Hotel Du Vin, Edinburgh
Room Type: Deluxe Twin Room
Meals Included: None

Day 1 - Flight Details Read More +

Airline: Ryanair | Flight Number: FR 891
Departure Airport: Knock - NOC | Departure Time: 2:45 pm
Arrival Airport: Edinburgh - EDI | Arrival Time: 3:55 pm

Day 1 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: Littles Chauffeur Hire
Booking Reference: 2700414
Pick Up Location: Edinburgh Airport | Pick Up Time: 3:55 pm | Approx Duration: 0.75 hrs
Phone: 0141 883 2111

Your private driver will be waiting in the arrivals hall with a sign showing your name.

Transfer Company system will send contact details for the chauffeur as an SMS 30 minutes prior to the reservation taking place, to the mobile number for the travelling passenger. If the client is unable to locate our chauffeur, they must call the mobile number provided, or call the Little’s Office on 0141 883 2111, which operates 24/7.

Day 1 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: The Lookout | Location: Calton Hill, Edinburgh, EH7 5AA
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm | Booking Reference: BTJH24GL - Ann Brooks
Phone: +44 (0) 131 322 1246 | Website: https://www.thelookoutedinburgh.co/

Please note that this is a Table Reservation only. Please pay directly.

Day 2 - Sunday 19th May - Full Day Exploring Historic Edinburgh With Expert Guide

In the morning you will be met by your local city guide who will take you on a tour to discover the highlights of the Old Town, including Edinburgh Castle & St Giles Cathedral. Edinburgh is a labyrinth of cobbled alleyways running off The Royal Mile, which contrast with Georgian townhouses and more modern architecture. Exploring with your expert guide will give you a real insight into the history and character of this amazing city. Visit the Museum of Scotland in the afternoon to discover the wide variety of Scottish history and fascinating artefacts stored here.

Overnight: Edinburgh | Hotel Du Vin, Edinburgh
Room Type: Deluxe Twin Room
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 2 - Private Walking Tour Read More +

Activity: Private Walking Tour
Expert City Guide: Hannah Tait
Start Location: Hotel Du Vin Reception | Start Time: 9:00 am | Approx Duration: 8 hrs

Phone: +44 (0) 7920 408 507

Day 2 - Lunch Details Read More +

Restaurant: The Scran & Scallie | Location: 1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge, EH4 1DT
Reservation Time: 2:00 pm | Booking Reference: BFQD4YWL

Please note that this is a Table Reservation only. Please pay directly.

Day 2 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Auld Hundred | Location: 100 Rose Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2NN
Reservation Time: 8:45 pm | Booking Reference: Confirmation #46940
Phone: +44 (0) 131 225 1809 | Website: https://www.auldhundrededinburgh.com/

Please note that this is a Table Reservation only. Please pay directly.

Live Music will be on in the downstairs of the pub, reserved tables are upstairs.

Day 3 - Monday 20th May - Meet Your Guide & Explore St Andrews

The hallowed green fairways of St Andrews with the crashing waves as a backdrop are a must see on any trip to Scotland. This morning your private guide, who will also act as your driver for your time together, will collect you from your hotel and together you’ll enjoy a day in this famous city.  Explore the cathedral and hear stories about the past & sample some delicious Scottish dishes as you enjoy lunch  in the clubhouse with its amazing views across the Old Course.

You may also wish to explore Falkland Palace or one of the charming Fife fishing villages before your guide takes you back towards Edinburgh, but this will not be pre-booked to allow you maximum flexibility while you are with your guide. This afternoon your guide will take you to Midhope Castle to immerse yourselves in the history and stories to be found here, before heading back to your hotel.

Driving Notes; Approx 1.5 hrs drive time each way Edinburgh Hotel to St Andrews, depending on traffic

Overnight: Edinburgh | Hotel Du Vin, Edinburgh
Room Type: Deluxe Twin Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 3 - Guide Details - John Hamilton Read More +

Name: John Hamilton
Contact Number: +44 (0) 7496 554 756
Meeting Place: Hotel Du Vin Reception | Meeting Time: 9:00 am

Day 3 - Lunch Details Read More +

Restaurant: Tom Morris Bar & Grill | Location: St Andrews Links Clubhouse, West Sands Road, St Andrews, KY16 9XL
Reservation Time: 1:00 pm
Website: https://standrews.com/dining/tom-morris-bar-and-grill

Day 3 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: The Witchery | Location: The Witchery By The Castle, Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NF
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm | Booking Reference: BKGV4FRM
Phone: +44 (0) 131 225 0974 | Website: http://www.thewitchery.com/

Please note that this is a Table Reservation only. Please pay directly.

Day 4 - Tuesday 21st May - North To Inverness Via Speyside Distillery & Culloden

Leaving the bright lights of Edinburgh behind you will set off north to start your Highlands adventure. Continuing north your guide will show you places of interest as the countryside changes from rolling hills to jagged peaks and barren valleys before you arrive in the beautiful Cairngorms National Park. Start your Highlands adventure in the right way as you take a private tour of a charming ‘closed door’ whisky distillery and enjoy some special tastings guided by an expert.

Your next stop is Culloden Battlefield, the site of the final Jacobite uprising. As you walk along the moorland, hear the tales about the Jacobite uprising and the role this location played during this tragic time in Scotland’s history.

Then visit the nearby unique site of Clava Cairns. This ancient burial ground features some imposing standing stones and is exceptionally well preserved. Hear stories of how the Scottish used to treat the dead as you explore these Bronze Age mounds, dating back over 4,000 years. Your guide will then take you to your unique hotel, the very building which Bonny Prince Charlie acquisitioned as his headquarters during the uprising.

Driving Notes; Approx 2.5 hrs drive time from Edinburgh Hotel to Speyside Distillery, Approx 1 hr drive time from Speyside Distillery to Culloden Battlefield, Hotel only 15 mins from there

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

Overnight: Inverness | Culloden House Hotel
Room Type: Superior Twin
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 4 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Hootananny | Location: 67 Church Street, Inverness, IV1 1ES
Reservation Time: 8:00 pm | Booking Reference: 15258
Phone: +44 (0) 1463 233 651 | Website: https://www.hootanannyinverness.co.uk/

Please note that this is a Table Reservation only. Please pay directly.

Day 5 - Wednesday 22nd May - Transfer to Skye via Loch Ness & Eilean Donan Castle

Departing from Inverness this morning you will make your way along the dark and shimmering waters of Loch Ness where you will stop off to explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle, a proud stronghold that guards the loch and from where you may see the tell tale swish of a tale coming out of the water to show that the monster is still watching and waiting for the right time to emerge.  Continuing on, you can stop off to visit Eilean Donan Castle, standing proud on her island with the impressive Cuillins as backdrop. You will then continue onwards, passing over the graceful arc of the Skye Bridge onto ‘the misty isle’ itself, carrying on to your lovely hotel which enjoys views over the harbour town of Portree.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

 

Overnight: Isle of Skye | Cuillin Hills Hotel
Room Type: Standard Twin
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 5 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Sea Breezes Restaurant | Location: 2 marine Buildings, Quay Street, Portree, IV51 9DE
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm | Booking Reference: Ann Brooks
Phone: +44 (0) 1478 612 016 | Website: https://sea-breezes-skye.co.uk/

Please note that this is a Table Reservation only. Please pay directly.

Day 6 - Thursday 23rd May - Exploring the Misty Isle

From the Fairy Pools to the Fairy Glen, this incredible island has so many myths and legends about these magical creatures that you may find yourself feeling like you are being watched from hidden hidey holes by inquisitive eyes. Spend time exploring the island, getting off the beaten path and visiting the “hot spots” at times when it will be less busy.  Your guide will regale you with what life used to be like for the islanders, about the history behind the Highland Clearances and of course, about the magic that is woven into the very fabric of this island.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

Overnight: Isle of Skye | Cuillin Hills Hotel
Room Type: Standard Twin
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 6 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: Dulse & Brose | Location: Bosville Terrace, Portree, IV51 9DG
Reservation Time: 7:00 pm | Booking Reference: B6RGWNM3
Phone: +44 (0) 1478 612 846 | Website: https://perlehotels.com/the-bosville/restaurant/

Please note that this is a Table Reservation only. Please pay directly.

Day 7 - Friday 24th May - Return to Mainland, Steam Train & Transfer East

After taking the short ferry back to the mainland you’ll travel along the stunning Road to the Isles, this is frequently listed as one of the most beautiful drives in the world and it is easy to see why. However, you will be enjoying a special perspective as you step aboard the Jacobite Steam Train (known as the ‘Harry Potter Train’) after lunch. It will puff its way over the Glenfinnan Viaduct and through the wonderful scenery all the way to Fort William. On arrival you will be met by your guide and continue onwards to arrive at your luxurious hotel.

Note: Your guide will not take the train with you, but will transfer your luggage in the vehicle while you enjoy the train journey. They will meet you in Fort William on arrival.

Driving & Travel Notes; Approx 1 hr drive from hotel to ferry, Approx 45 mins ferry crossing, Approx 2 hrs train journey (Departs Mallaig 14:10, Arrives Fort William 16:03), Approx 2 hrs drive from Fort William to Pitlochry, so please note that estimated arrival time at hotel is after 18:00.

IMPORTANT – Please see below notes on Steam Train.

Your guide will arrange a meeting time with you the night before.

 

Overnight: Pitlochry | Fonab Castle Hotel
Room Type: Loch View Hotel Twin Room
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch

Day 7 - IMPORTANT NOTE - Steam Train Ride Read More +

Activity: IMPORTANT NOTE - Steam Train Ride
Start Location: Mallaig Train Station | Start Time: 2:10 pm
End Location: Fort William Train Station | End Time: 4:03 pm

IMPORTANT

Please note that this service is currently still planned to run as scheduled. However services up until the end of April have been suspended pending an agreement over the implementation method of a modern safety feature on this historic service.

IF the train does not run, then you will travel the same route with your guide (and be able to stop along the way). In that instance the train tickets would of course be refunded in full.

We sincerely hope that this will be resolved by the time of travel but will update you as soon as we have any further updates.

Day 7 - Dinner Details Read More +

Restaurant: 1892 on the Loch | Location: Your Hotel
Reservation Time: 7:30 pm | Booking Reference: 3N9VPD4G - Ann Brooks

Al Fresco dining has been requested & your table will be outside if the weather is clement.

Please note that this is a table reservation only. Please pay directly

Day 8 - Saturday 25th May - Depart

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and take you to Edinburgh Airport to make your onward connections. Waving farewell for now but taking with you special memories and wonderful stories of your explorations.

Drive Time Approx 1.5 to 2 hrs from Pitlochry Hotel to Edinburgh Airport, depending on traffic

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8 - Transfer Details Read More +

Supplier: East Coast Chauffeur Drive
Booking Reference: 118811
Pick Up Location: Fonab Castle Hotel Reception | Pick Up Time: 8:30 am | Approx Duration: 1.75 hrs
Phone: +44 (0) 131 370 1555

Day 8 - Flight Details Read More +

Airline: Delta Airlines | Flight Number: 5926
Departure Airport: Edinburgh - EDI | Departure Time: 1:20 pm
Arrival Airport: Orlando | Arrival Time: 5:15 pm

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • 7 nights accommodation, as stated in the itinerary above
  • Most meals as indicated above
  • Services of an experienced and knowledgeable UK qualified guide from Day 3 to Day 7 inclusive
  • All transfers in a private vehicle driven by your guide on guided days
  • Private airport transfer on arrival and departure
  • All Ferry Travel mentioned in the Itinerary
  • Full day Expert City Guide in Edinburgh
  • Entry to Edinburgh Castle
  • St Giles Cathedral donation
  • Entry fee to St Andrews Cathedral
  • Entry to Midhope Castle
  • Private tour of Speyside Distillery
  • Entry to Culloden Visitor Centre
  • Entry to Urquhart Castle
  • Entry to Eilean Donan Castle
  • Jacobite Steam Train (First Class), Mallaig to Fort William (Please see notes on this activity!)
  • 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

Notes On Weather & Flexibility

Weather in Scotland can be very changeable. Suitable clothing and footwear is essential, as well as a flexible attitude. Plans may have to be changed to accommodate Mother Nature, and your guide will have back-up plans that they will discuss with you if required.

 

Essential Packing List

  • Waterproof jacket with hood
  • Waterproof over-pants
  • Sturdy hiking boots/shoes (sneakers or tennis shoes are not suitable for any hiking in Scotland)
  • Day pack 20-30 litre for carrying water and extra layers
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Warm layers
  • Warm hat, gloves and a neck gaiter
  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Smart casual attire for dinners

Note: If you would like us to provide trekking poles for your use then please just let us know and we will ensure these are available for you.

 

Luggage Notes

Please note that we expect travellers to bring an average of One Large Holdall or Suitcase and up to Two smaller day-bags or hand-luggage sized pieces. If you expect to bring more than this then please let us know well in advance of arrival so that we can ensure there is capacity for this (additional charges will apply if separate luggage transfers are required).

 

Useful Contacts

24 hour in-country support (Wilderness Scotland):  +44 (0)1479 420 020, or out with regular office hours +44 (0)7766 794 640 (urgent calls only)

Emergency services:  999 or 112
NHS 24 (24 hour free medical advice):  111

Tipping Guidelines

For tipping our guides – We don’t generally recommend a set amount as tipping is not expected in the same way that it is in North America. However, similar North American travel companies generally suggest something along the lines of £10-30 per person per day for your guide, which is a wide range to choose from. Generally, we would encourage you to ask yourself what you were expecting from your guide, and then think about how they have exceeded those expectations and choose an amount you are comfortable with.

For local services such as restaurants again tipping is not expected but if you receive great service then 10-15% of the bill is normal.

Important Additional Information Read More
  • Scotland - General Information General Info - PDF: View Now
Terms & Conditions Read More

Please see our booking terms here.


Accommodation

Hotel Du Vin, Edinburgh

11 Bristo Place | Edinburgh |
EH1 1EZ | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)131 285 1479
Web: hotelduvin.com/locations/edinburgh

Culloden House Hotel

Inverness |
IV2 7BZ | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0) 1463 790461
Web: cullodenhouse.co.uk

Cuillin Hills Hotel

Portree | Isle of Skye |
IV51 9QU | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)147 861 2003
Web: cuillinhills-hotel-skye.co.uk

Fonab Castle Hotel

Foss Road | Pitlochry | Perthshire |
PH16 5ND | Scotland
Phone: +44 (0)1796 470140
Web: fonabcastlehotel.com


Meet Your Guide

John Hamilton

Contact Number: +44 (0)7496 554 756

Me In Three: Enthusiastic | Passionate | Outdoors

I am an individual entirely committed to the outdoors through adventure. I have a passionate appreciation of remote locations via active travel such as kayaking, ski mountaineering, canoeing, mountain biking, walking, etc – especially through sharing experiences with others. I am completely committed to introducing others to the outdoors and all that the outdoors has to offer. I take my partner and two spaniels everywhere I can and take them canoeing and have even taken my 15-year-old spaniel on the ski chair lift often. I play guitar and have supported some of Scotland’s best known traditional musicians. I love Correlejo, Fuerteventura, and have been there 14 times. I love the excitement of paddling white water. I love the snow!

“I am happiest when I have travelled to a remote area, am camping, enveloped in nature and with great company.”

Place to Play

Paddling, skiing, walking and Biking ‘anywhere’ in Scotland.

Not a lot of people know this

I own a book that was owned by Robert Burns, Scotland’s greatest poet. His signature is on the inside cover. It has been passed down to me from my Grandfather and Father. Every year I host a Burns supper at my house and sing Burns songs in respectful memory.