Scotlands Highlands & Islands - Private Departure. Self-guided - explore on your own.

Mr & Mrs Steve and Heather Holmes

Sunday 4th August – Wednesday 14th August 2024

Carbon Score: 188Kg
Number of Travellers: 2
Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights

Overview

Trip Highlights

  • Visit incredible historic sites of Orkney, including Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar
  • Explore the West Highlands and the Isle of Skye
  • Hike in Glen Affric, said by many to be the most beautiful valley in Scotland

Introduction

This exciting itinerary takes you on a memorable journey through Scotland’s Highlands and islands. You’ll visit the Norse-influenced Orkney Islands with their incredible historic sites before traveling to the West Highlands, where you will stay in charming fishing villages and explore the mystical Isle of Skye. Then venture into the central Highlands to hike in gorgeous Glen Affric and on the banks of Loch Ness.

In each location, you’ll enjoy outstanding hiking – from the spectacular geology of the Orkney coastlines to the wild glens and lochs of the West Highlands. Staying in carefully selected hotels with a warm Scottish welcome, you’ll experience the famous Highland hospitality and delve into its culture.

Start / Finish – Edinburgh, for 3 x pre-trip nights

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’s 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 just 20 minutes from the city center and is connected by tram, bus and taxi.

Alternatively for finishing, Inverness is accessible from across the UK, connected by regular flights from various cities in the UK and Europe. It’s also on the UK mainline, with the sleeper train being an attractive option for the journey to/from destinations in the south of the UK. The airport is just 20 minutes from the city center and is connected by bus and taxi.

Day by Day

Day 1 - Sunday 4th August - Pre-night accommodation

Additional pre-night accommodation – Arriving late on the evening of Sunday 4th August

Overnight: Bruntsfield Hotel, Edinburgh

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 2 - Monday 5th August - Edinburgh

After yesterdays late evening arrival in Edinburgh, you now have the opportunity to explore at your own pace.

We are happy to make suggestions, or simply have a relaxing afternoon in your hotel before an evening meal in this trendy city.

Overnight: Bruntsfield Hotel, Edinburgh 

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Tuesday 6th August - Experience the buzz of the Edinburgh festival

Enjoy Edinburgh at your leisure and perhaps take a walking tour of Edinburgh’s Old Town, which is one of the main hubs during the Edinburgh Festival.

There will be plenty to see and do, with a real buzz with street performers from all over the world.

Overnight: Bruntsfield Hotel, Edinburgh 

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4 - Wednesday 7th August - Edinburgh to Inverness, then on to the Orkney Isles

Jump on a train from Edinburgh (Waverley) to Inverness.

Relax and enjoy the scenery roll by, with a journey time of approximately 3½ hours. Make sure to grab some refreshments for the journey.

We advise you to pre-book your preferred train departure time HERE.

Perhaps aim to leave Edinburgh no later than c.09:00.

Arrive in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, and collect your pre-booked rental car.

Booking ref. 1565632821 (see below).

Stretch the legs and get some refreshments before driving north to catch the evening ferry to Orkney.

The journey from Inverness to Gills Bay will take approximately 3 hours. Perhaps aim to leave Inverness no later than c.14:30.

18:45 – Ferry Gills Bay to St Margarets Hope – Check-in closes 30 minutes before departure time. The crossing takes about 1 hour.

Booking ref. 0334727.

Stay in Kirkwall, the largest town in Orkney, where there is plenty to see and do, with restaurants, pubs and hopefully some live music.

Overnight: Lynnfield, Orkney 

Meals included: Breakfast

The journey from Edinburgh to Inverness will take approximately 3 1/2 hours.

The journey from Inverness to Gills Bay will take approximately 3 hours.

Day 4 - Car Rental Pick Up Details Read More +

Car Rental Company: Enterprise Trade Direct (WG Ltd - UK)
Booking Reference: reservation 1565632821COUNT
Pick Up Location: INVERNESS (SC14), 4 SEAFIELD ROAD, INVERNESS, IV1 1SG
Phone: +44 1463 235525

Day 4 - Ferry Details Read More +

Operator: Pentland Ferries, Orkney
Booking Reference: 0334727
Contact Number: 01856 831 226

Departure Port: Gills Bay | Departure Time: 18:45
Arrival Port: St Margarets Hope | Arrival Time: 19:55

Day 5 - Thursday 8th August - Coastal Hike and Skara Brae Stone Age Village

Today explore on your own and visit Skara Brae.

Perhaps hike along the spectacular coast, then visit Skara Brae. Although this Stone Age village was occupied for around 600 years between 3200 BC and 2200 BC, the settlement was only discovered by chance in 1850 when a winter storm battered Orkney and stripped grass and sand away revealing the incredibly-preserved structures below.

You are able to pay the admission fee at the entrance and there should be no need to pre-book.

Round off the day with a visit to Highland Park Kirkwall Brand Home for a wee dram.

Hike: We can’t provide route notes for the trips regular hike and the trail is not very well marked, so today you would explore on your own. Eg. HERE

Overnight: Lynnfield, Orkney 

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6 - Friday 9th August - The island of Hoy

After a short drive past Scapa Flow, a world-renowned historic wreck site, arrive in Houton to catch the pre-booked ferry to the island of Hoy.

10:15 Houton to Lyness – Check in closes 20 minutes before departure time. Booking ref. 2869196. The crossing takes about 3/4 hour.

A good option for today would be to hike to the famous sea stack called the “Old Man of Hoy”. This towering sea stack is 449 ft (137m) and was first climbed in 1966 in the world’s first live TV broadcast climb, led by famous mountaineers Sir Chris Bonington and Dougal Haston!

Hike: We can’t provide route notes for the trips regular hike and the trail is not very well marked, so today you would explore on your own. Eg. HERE

Overnight: Lynnfield, Orkney 

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6 - Ferry Details Read More +

Operator: Orkney Ferries
Booking Reference: 2869196
Contact Number: +44 (0)1856 811397

Outward Journey Departure Port: Houton | Outward Journey Departure Time: 10:15
Outward Journey Arrival Port: Lyness | Outward Journey Arrival Time: 11:00

Return Journey Departure Port: Lyness | Return Journey Departure Time: 16:40
Return Journey Arrival Port: Houton | Return Journey Arrival Time: 17:15

Day 7 - Saturday 10th August - Orkney to the West Highlands

Leave Orkney and take the pre-booked ferry back to the mainland.

11:30 – Ferry St Margarets Hope to Gills Bay – Check in closes 30 minutes before departure time. Booking ref. 0334727. The crossing takes about 1 hour.

When you disembark the ferry, make sure to visit the famous signpost at John O’Groats.

Then wind your way through the Highlands towards the picture-perfect village of Plockton. There are lots of opportunities for a leg-stretching walk and photos along the way, but perhaps stop for a lovely cafe lunch at River Bothy, Berridale Braes.

If timing allows, you could maybe stop at the Singleton Distillery, Muir of Ord.

Arriving in Plockton, there is time to explore the waterfront, popular with artists, before checking into the Plockton Inn.

The Inn boasts comfortable accommodation, award winning seafood and a friendly pub where, if you’re lucky, you can listen to traditional music played by local musicians.

Overnight: Plockton Inn, Plockton 

Meals included: Breakfast

The journey from Gills Bay to Plockton will take approximately 4 hours.

Day 7 - Ferry Details Read More +

Operator: Pentland Ferries
Booking Reference: 0334727
Contact Number: 01856 831 226

Departure Port: St Margarets Hope | Departure Time: 11:30
Arrival Port: Gills Bay | Arrival Time: 12:40

Day 8 - Sunday 11th August - Exploring the Isle of Skye

Today take inspiration from The Skye Boat Song and speed ‘over the sea to Skye’ to the tiny settlement of Elgol.

Here you take a pre-booked boat trip to the remote bay of Loch Scavaig, which is surrounded by the spectacular Black Cuillin Mountains. There is plenty of time ashore to enjoy some low level hiking.

10:45 – Boat trip, Bella Jane, Flexi pass. Board by 10:30. Return time can be flexible (1.5 to 4.5 hours ashore).

Hike: We can’t provide route notes for the trips regular hike and the trail is not very well marked, so today you would explore on your own. Eg. HERE

Overnight: Plockton Inn, Plockton 

Meals included: Breakfast

The journey from Plockton to Elgol will take approximately 1 hour.

Day 8 - Bella Jane Boat Trips, Elgol, Skye Read More +

Activity: Bella Jane Boat Trips, Elgol, Skye

Start Location: Elgol, IV49 9BJ
Booking Reference: Wilderness Scotland
Phone: 01471 866 244 | Website: https://www.bellajane.co.uk

Day 9 - Monday 12th August - Plockton to Loch Ness

Today from your base in Plockton there are many opportunities for hikes to enjoy views towards the Torridon mountains, the Isle of Skye and the Applecross Peninsula.

After your hike you could visit Eilean Donan Castle, sitting proudly on its own island. The castle has been made famous by many appearances on TV and movies. You are able to pay the admission fee at the entrance and there should be no need to pre-book.

Afterwards make your way to your hotel in the village of Fort Augustus, on the banks of Loch Ness.

Hike: We can’t provide route notes for the trips regular hike and the trail is not very well marked, so today you would explore on your own. Eg. HERE

Overnight: Lovat Hotel, Fort Augustus 

Meals included: Breakfast

The journey from Plockton to Fort Augustus will take approximately 1.5 hours.

Day 10 - Tuesday 13th August - Magnificent Glen Affric

Today is one of the most scenic days, in Glen Affric, widely regarded as one of Scotland’s most beautiful valleys.

Blanketed by Scots pines, the glen’s slopes reach up to resplendent peaks that overlook the pristine waters of Loch Affric.

There are countless options for great hikes in this glen, so you’re spoiled for choice.

Hike: We can’t provide route notes for the trips regular hike and the trail is not very well marked, so today you would explore on your own. Eg. HERE

Overnight: Lovat Hotel, Fort Augustus 

Meals included: Breakfast

The journey from Fort Augustus to Glen Affric will take approximately 1 hour.

Day 11 - Wednesday 14th August - Loch Ness and return to Edinburgh

After a relaxed breakfast, return towards Inverness to drop off the rental car.

En route perhaps stop to monster-spot on Loch Ness and also visit Urquhart Castle, once a stronghold of Robert the Bruce.

You have options for the trip to end in Inverness, where the airport is only 20 minutes from the city center, or jump on a train and return back to Edinburgh.

If you are travelling back to Edinburgh via train, we advise you to pre-book your preferred train departure time HERE.

16:00 – Hire Car drop off in Inverness no later than 16:00

Meals included: Breakfast

The journey from Fort Augustus to Inverness will take approximately 1 hour.

Day 11 - Car Rental Drop Off Details Read More +

Car Rental Company: Enterprise Trade Direct (WG Ltd - UK)
Booking Reference: 1565632821
Drop Off Location: INVERNESS (SC14), 4 SEAFIELD ROAD, INVERNESS, IV1 1SG
Phone: +44 1463 235525

Trip Details

Inclusions Read More
  • 10 nights accommodation in 3-4 star small hotels and inns, on double room basis (including 3 x pre-trip nights in Edinburgh)
  • NB. Pre-night (Sunday 4th August) – Superior double room also added at an additional charge of £225pn.
  • Breakfast each day
  • Car rental costs
  • All ferry travel costs
  • The following visits and activities:
    • Day 7 – Boat trip on Skye
  • Trip design and delivery
  • 24/7 in-country support
Exclusions Read More

● Travel to and from Edinburgh

● Travel insurance

● Meals each day, other than those listed above

● Fuel and insurance supplements for the rental car

● Activities and entrance fees not mentioned in the inclusions above, such as:

○ Day 4 – Entrance to Skara Brae

○ Day 4 – Entrance to the Whisky Brand Home

○ Day 8 – Entrance to Eilean Donan Castle

○ Day 10 – Entrance to Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness

Important Contact Numbers Read More

Wilderness Scotland Office

(9:00 am – 5:30 pm)

UK: +44 (0)1479 420 020
US: 866 740 3890

Out of Office Hours

(5:30 pm – 9:00 am)

On Call Phone: +44 (0)7766 794 640

Emergency Services

999

Pricing Read More

The NET price based on 2 clients (rooming as per the itinerary) is:

£2,500 GBP per person

2 x Travelers @ £2,500 ea = £5,000

1 x Pre-night – 4th August (Superior double room) @ £225pn.

TOTAL = £5,225

£1,000 deposit already received (November ’23).

Balance due pre-departure (£4,225).

Important Additional Information Read More
Terms & Conditions Read More

Please see our booking terms here.

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