Kyleakin, Isle of Skye
Eilean Donan Castle
Jacobite Steam Train
Our three day tour to the Isle of Skye – recently voted the 4th best island in the world – gives you time to relax and enjoy the islands natural beauty, its unique culture and vast array of wildlife.
Guests taking our summer tour can even enjoy a trip on the Jacobite Steam Train (15th May to 15th September) as seen in Harry Potter and often described as one of the world’s great train journeys.
From our meeting point just yards from the iconic George Square in Glasgow, we make our way to the picturesque highland village of Luss, sitting peacefully on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.
After a short stop to look around, it’s on to spectacular Glencoe; setting for one of the most shameful episodes in Scottish history: The Glencoe Massacre. We make a stop here to allow guests to enjoy the stunning beauty and uniquely haunting atmosphere.
Next it’s on to Fort William which sits in the shadow of Britain’s highest peak: Ben Nevis. The perfect spot for some lunch.
Fort William is the departure point for those wishing to make the next leg of the tour (15th May to 15th September only) on the Jacobite Steam Train. It runs over the 21-arch Glenfinnan Viaduct of Harry Potter fame to Mallaig, where your Tour Leader will meet the train. (NB if for any reason the Mallaig to Skye ferry is not operating, the Jacobite Steam train trip will be unavailable).
For those deciding not to take the train, our route takes us to Glenfinnan where not only will we take in views of the Glenfinnan Viaduct, but you’ll also see Loch Eilt – another ‘Potter’ location where Hagrid was seen skimming stones. Glenfinnan is also where, in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his Standard in an ill-fated attempt to reinstate the exiled Stuarts to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland.
We then make a short stop at the Sands of Morar where guests are treated to views over perfect turquoise seas to the islands of Eigg and Rum and north to our destination: Skye.
There’s a short ferry crossing from Mallaig to Armadale (weather dependent) on the Isle of Skye followed by a 30-minute drive to Kyleakin; where an early evening stroll around this traditional island village and your accommodation awaits.
After a hearty (or healthy) breakfast we embark on a full-day tour of this wonderful island.
Guests can choose to enjoy a leisurely 1.5hr boat trip from Elgol or a more exhilarating, wind-in-your-hair, RIB ride (RIB ride has limited availability; please reserve in advance). Either way, you’ll see the jaw-dropping Cuillin Mountains up close as well as a rich variety of sea birds including, if you’re lucky, majestic Golden and Sea Eagles. There are regular sightings of dolphins, porpoise, and sometimes whales especially in the summer months and the large resident colony of harbour seals near to Loch Coruisk is guaranteed. (NB in circumstances where the Elgol boat trip is not operational, your Tour Leader will suggest an alternative attraction).
From Elgol, we make our way to Portree – the largest town on Skye – where we take a break for lunch and some exploring (time permitting) before heading north to the Trotternish Peninsula, famous for its breath-taking scenery and unique geology.
The Skye Museum of Highland Life is our next stop. Here you get a fascinating insight into life on Skye including an opportunity to see the type of thatched cottage prevalent on the island around 100 years ago.
The awe-inspiring scenery never seems to stop on Skye. Next it’s the Quiraing where guests disembark just to soak up the beautiful landscapes and vistas. Then it’s to Kilt Rock – a spectacular 90-metre-tall column of basalt. And finally, the tour passes The Old Man of Storr, created by a massive ancient landslide, on our route back to Kyleakin and an evening at your leisure.
As we bid farewell to Skye, we cross the bridge (opened in 1995) to the mainland where our first stop is at the iconic Eilean Donan Castle made famous in films such as Highlander, The World is Not Enough and the Bollywood blockbuster Kutch Kutch Hota Hai. The castle sits on an island where three great sea lochs meet and is surrounded by glorious highland scenery.
From here we make our way to Fort Augustus at the southern tip of Loch Ness. There’s plenty of time for lunch and a one-hour monster-spotting trip if you’re feeling lucky. Alternatively, just spend some time wandering around this charming village.
Our journey continues over the Laggan and Grampian mountains, past Blair Castle (the ancient seat of the Dukes of Atholl and home to Europe’s only remaining private army) to Pitlochry.
After a stop for refreshments in this bustling Victorian town, we return to Glasgow. When there are Edinburgh passengers on board we return via the Firth of Forth, marveling at the engineering masterpiece that is The Forth Rail Bridge, and the City of Edinburgh – Scotland’s Capital City. The alternative route takes us via Stirling, it’s beautiful castle and the imposing Wallace Monument.