Hiking Scotland: Edinburgh, St.Andrews & the Highlands

Autumn 2024

Duration: 6 Days / 5 Nights


Overview

Embark on an unforgettable Scottish adventure that seamlessly weaves together gentle hikes, cultural discoveries, stunning landscapes, and, naturally, a taste of Scotland’s renowned whisky. Starting in Edinburgh, marvel at captivating city views through an unexpected hiking trail leading to an awe-inspiring vantage point. Explore the coastal beauty of St. Andrews, a picturesque university town immersed in sporting heritage, and boasting stretches of pristine beaches, you will hike on a national trail to enjoy these seaside surroundings. Venture into the expansive Cairngorms National Park, home to diverse wildlife within its dense forests and heather-clad hills. Traverse amidst towering pines, beside cascading waterfalls, and challenge yourself with a summit hike – a local’s favorite peak awaits your conquest. No Scottish escapade is complete without a visit to a castle steeped in seven centuries of family history. Lastly, relish the famed Highland hospitality that embodies the true spirit of Scotland. Come join us – Scotland is far more than a mere destination; it’s an immersive experience that enriches your soul, educates, and astonishes.

Start / Finish – Edinburgh / Edinburgh 

Edinburgh is easily accessible, connected by regular flights from various cities in the UK and Europe, as well-as some direct flights from the US. It is also on the UK mainline rail network, with the sleeper train being an attractive option for the journey to/from destinations in the south of the UK. The airport is approximately 30 minutes from the city center and is connected by tram, bus and taxi.

Highlights

  • Experience Edinburgh from the perfect vantage point
  • Enjoy coastal sea views on a National Trail
  • Savour the warmth of Highland hospitality
  • Hike in the Cairngorms National Park

Day by Day

Day 1 - Edinburgh, and a city hike with a difference

Today marks the beginning of our Scottish adventure, commencing in the captivating capital of Edinburgh. This city holds UNESCO World Heritage status for its remarkable historical and architectural significance, seamlessly blending distinct areas while preserving their integrity. Our journey begins at 11.30am, meeting our guide inside the entrance, West Gate for Edinburgh’s Royal Botanical Gardens. Following lunch, we’ll embark on a unique walking tour exploring the city on foot, including a special hike up Arthur’s Seat—an extinct volcano nestled in the heart of the city. The brisk climb offers an exhilarating experience, rewarded by sweeping 360-degree views from its summit. As the day draws to a close, we bid farewell to Edinburgh and venture northward to St. Andrews, and our charming residence for the next two nights.

Overnight: St. Andrews | Rufflets Hotel
Room Type: Twin share
Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 5 km / 3 miles | 279 m / 915 ft elevation gain | Approx: 2.5 hrs

Day 2 - St. Andrews, hiking the coastal trail

St. Andrews, nestled in the region of Fife on Scotland’s east coast, boasts a rich heritage with its esteemed university and renowned golfing legacy. Its charm lies in stunning coastal views ancient Cathedral ruins, and a lively ambiance—a perfect blend of history, golfing heritage, and the seaside! Today we hike south from St. Andrews, following a segment of the Fife Coastal Trail. This scenic path winds along the rocky coastline, revealing unspoiled beaches, rugged shores, and classic rural Fife farmlands. Our journey culminates in the tiny settlement of Kingsbarns, where a well-deserved coffee break awaits! A short taxi ride back to St.Andrews, where the evening is free to explore the town, grab some fish & chips for dinner or simply relax and unwind back at the hotel.

Overnight: St. Andrews | Rufflets Hotel
Room Type: Twin share
Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch
Walk Details: 14 km / 9 miles | 150 m / 492 ft elevation gain | Approx: 4.5 hrs

Day 3 - Dundee, a city of discovery and journeying north to Dunkeld

After a hearty Scottish breakfast we head for city of Dundee. Dundee, a city that merges historical roots with modern developments, most notably the transformation of the waterfront area, which has undergone significant redevelopment in recent years. It is here where we visit the striking V&A (Victoria and Albert) Museum. The museum is a renowned art and design museum and the only museum of its kind, outside of London. Our journey continues north to Perthshire, where we’ll take the opportunity to stretch our legs and have a bite to eat, in the small village of Blairgowrie. After lunch immerse in nature by visiting a nature reserve. The reserve is a renowned site for observing wildlife, including numerous bird species, in their natural habitat. Afterward, we retreat to the hotel, check-in, and prepare for dinner. There’s no need to travel elsewhere this evening as dinner will be served at the hotel.

Overnight: Dunkeld | Dunkeld House Hotel
Room Type: Twin share
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Walk Details: 8 km / 5 miles | 85 m / 279 ft elevation gain | Approx: 2.5 hrs

Day 4 - The Highlands and into the Cairngorms National Park

Blair Castle, situated in Blair Atholl, serves as a historic gateway to the Cairngorms National Park. This renowned castle, with a legacy spanning 700 years, stands as a symbol of Scotland’s heritage. Here we will take a private tour of this iconic site. In the afternoon, we venture deeper into the Cairngorms National Park, stretching over 4,500 square kilometers, it is the UK’s largest national park. This breathtakingly diverse region is characterized by rugged mountains, sprawling forests, heather-clad moorlands, and shimmering lochs, serving as a habitat for various rare wildlife such as red deer, golden eagles, and wildcats. For us outdoor enthusiasts, it’s an ideal hiking haven, offering unparalleled landscapes and a chance to connect with nature which our hike today does exactly just that. And what better way to end the day, with a tour of a whisky distillery and a chance to savor ‘a wee dram’ (or two!)

Overnight: Dunkeld | Dunkeld House Hotel
Room Type: Twin share
Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner
Walk Details: 6 km / 4 miles | 170 m / 558 ft elevation gain | Approx: 2.5 hrs

Day 5 - Summit hike!

Today’s goal is conquering Ben Vrackie, a local’s favourite peak. The name is derived from the Gaelic term “Beinn a’ Bhreacaidh,” meaning “speckled mountain.” This picturesque and moderately challenging hike leads through woodlands, on well maintained trails, before ascending to the summit. Upon reaching the top, the reward is not just breathtaking panoramas of the Scottish Highlands but also a profound sense of accomplishment. On our return if time allows, explore the pretty village of Dunkeld, with its bustling high street of independent shops and eateries. Why not take a stroll along the river or visit the ruins of the 13th century Cathedral, striking remnants of the regions rich history. Tonight marks our farewell dinner, a special occasion to reminisce about our shared experiences and enjoy each other’s company for one last evening.

Overnight: Dunkeld | Dunkeld House Hotel
Room Type: Twin share
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Walk Details: 10 km / 6 miles | 787 m / 2,582 ft elevation gain | Approx: 4 hrs

Day 6 - Return to Edinburgh.

Our final day and almost time to bid farewell to your guide and group, but not without one last hike in a captivating, local, woodland area, known as the Hermitage. The Hermitage, was initially crafted in the 18th century as a pleasure ground for the Dukes of Atholl. Its forest paths are flanked by towering ancient pines, leading to crashing waterfalls, where the River Braan plunges into deep, frothy pools below. Overlooking the falls stands a picturesque folly, a perfect spot to admire the powerful and cascading falls. It is then just a short transfer back to Edinburgh Airport, where we say our goodbyes, marking the end of our Scotland adventure together.

Meals Included: Breakfast
Walk Details: 2 km / 2 miles | 20 m / 66 ft elevation gain | Approx: 1 hrs

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More

Inclusions

The prices above include the following:

  • 5 nights hotels as described in the itinerary, based on twin share rooms
  • 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners
  • Soft drinks with all meals
  • A glass of wine or beer with dinner D1 & D5
  • 2 x social hours
  • Hike snacks throughout
  • The services of qualified and experienced WS guides throughout the trip*
  • Guide expenses for all guides throughout the trip
  • Walking poles (on request)
  • Day 3 – V&A entrance donation
  • Day 3 – Loch of the Lowes nature reserve entrance fee
  • Day 4 – Blair Castle private tour
  • Day 4 – Blair Atholl Distillery private tour
  • All gratuities (covering hotel staff, restaurant staff, local guides but not lead guides)
  • All transfers from Day 1 – Day 6

*1 guide to 7 clients

Exclusions Read More
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals & drinks not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for guide team
Arrival & Departure Read More

Your guide will meet you at Edinburgh City at 11:00 on the first day of your trip.

You will be returned to Edinburgh Airport at 12:00 on the final day of your trip.

Pricing Read More

Pricing for this trip would vary with group size as follows:

  • 1 guest: £6,250pp
  • 2 guests: £3,850pp
  • 3 guests: £3,100pp
  • 4 guests: £2,700
  • 5-9 guests: £2,450pp
  • 10-14 guests: £2,300pp
  • Single supplement: £675 (maximum of 2 requested singles per departure)