20321
Scotland
In the Heart of the Scottish Highlands
Discover what makes the Scottish Highlands one of Europe’s most unique natural wonders, as you learn the history of ancient lochs, clan lands, castles and glens.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20321RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
3,269
Flights start at
875
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13 days
12 nights
31 meals
11 B 9 L 11 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival Day, Orientation
Edinburgh.
D
The Royal Terrace Hotel

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Arrivals continue, with free time for those who have already arrived. At 5pm we will have an Orientation in the hotel. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. This program is staffed with both a Group Leader, who will accompany us throughout the program and deal primarily with logistics, and a Study Leader who will lecture, conduct field trips and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Served three course dinner with tea, coffee and water included. Other beverages may be purchased at the bar.

Evening: After dinner your Study Leader introduces the programme.

DAY
3
Edinburgh Old and New Town
Edinburgh.
B,L,D
The Royal Terrace Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel. Select from a variety of eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, cereals, cold cuts, cheeses, juices, toast, pastries and tea, coffee and water.

Morning: Our local expert takes us by motorcoach on a guided field trip of Scotland’s most beautiful city including the great bastion of Edinburgh Castle (entrance included), the Royal Mile and the Palace of Holyrood House, the winding cobbled streets of the ‘old town’ and the grid Georgian rigour of the ‘new town’ – the model for the grid layout of American cities.

Lunch: Lunch is included today.

Afternoon: The field trip continues with a visit to the Palace of Holyrood House, Her Majesty The Queen's official residence in Scotland. Explore the 14 State Apartments and Royal collections and the ruins of Holyrood Abbey all set against the backdrop of Arthur's Seat.

Dinner: Three course served dinner in the hotel with tea, coffee and water provided.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to walk Edinburgh at night or visit one of the many well known pubs surrounding the hotel.

DAY
4
Transfer to Strathpeffer, The Highland Folk Museum
Strathpeffer
B,L,D
Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and have your luggage loaded onto the motorcoach which heads off for Strathpeffer.

Lunch: Lunch will be taken at the Highland Folk Museum.

Afternoon: The transfer continues, with a visit to the Highland Folk Museum. The Highland Folk museums transports you back in time to witness how human settlements have evolved in rural Scotland, from the 18th Century to the present day.

Dinner: After check-in, a three course dinner is served in the hotel with tea, coffee and water provided. Other beverages may be purchased from the bar.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to explore the village and perhaps drop into the Victorian Spa Pavilion for refreshment.

DAY
5
The Black Isle
Strathpeffer
B,L,D
Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Your Study Leader lectures on the history and effects of the Highland Clearances in the 18 and 19th centuries.

Lunch: Take a light lunch in the hotel.

Afternoon: This afternoon the coach takes you to the peninsula known as the Black Isle where you will explore the architecture and history of 13th century Fortrose Cathedral, the Groam Pictish Museum and Chanonry Point. The Black Isle was one of the first parts of the Northern Highlands to experience the Highland Clearances. Return by motorcoach to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns
Strathpeffer
B,L,D
Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Travelling east to Nairnshire, we visit the historic site of Culloden Battlefield, the last battle fought on British soil in 1746. This was a desperate fight which changed the history of the Highlands forever. It led to the breakdown of the clan system and paved the way for the Highland Clearances and emigration to the New World. Your Study Leader takes you across the exposed heath while describing the famous battle.

Lunch: A two course lunch with tea, coffee and water is taken in the Culloden Visitor Centre.

Afternoon: Field trip to Clava Cairns, three well preserved Neolithic cairns, thought to be ritual burial chambers connected with the Winter Solstice and death, which show evidence of both inhumations and cremations. Two of the cairns are Chambered Tombs with cup marked stones and the third is a Ring Cairn, which is unique to the Moray Firth Area. Field trip to Cawdor Castle and Gardens. Situated close to the East Highland town of Nairn, Cawdor has been the family home of the Thanes of Cawdor since the 14th century. The castle contains a fine example of a 16th century tower house with elegant 18th century additions. Within the grounds of the castle there are extensive nature trails and fine gardens.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Free Day
Strathpeffer
B,D
Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Today is free for you to relax and explore the local area. Your Group Leader will be happy to help you with suggestions and directions.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time continues.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: Enjoy a traditional Scottish bagpiper in the hotel.

DAY
8
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness, Glen Affric
Strathpeffer
B,L,D
Ben Wyvis Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: The motorcoach takes you along the scenic shores of Loch Ness. Loch Ness is world famous for its mighty monster and you won’t be able to resist scanning its waters as we drive along its scenic shores. However, your Study Leader will also tell you about the fascinating natural and cultural history of this enormous lake, so steeped in folk lore. We stop for a visit to the magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on a promontory jutting into Loch Ness. Its ruinous state gives testament to the turbulence of its 500 year history as a medieval fortress. The visitor centre contains a shop, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets. Stunning views of the loch can be obtained from the visitor centre veranda.

Lunch: Take a light lunch in the Urquart Castle Café.

Afternoon: We then drive west for to the mountains and forests of Glen Affric. The last 6,000 years have witnessed the destruction of the native forests of Scotland, to the extent that there are now only small remnants of old Caledonian Pine Forest left. Glen Affric is one of the most beautiful glens in the Highlands and is managed as a National Nature Reserve

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Beinn Eighe National Park
Kyle of Lochalsh
B,L,D
Tingle Creek Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: The motorcoach drives through Beinn Eighe National Park, home to some of the most dramatic mountain and moorland scenery of the Highlands to get to the west coast. Your Study Leader will stop along the way to regale you with tales of turbulent clan history, details of historical and modern land use and we keep an eye out for golden and white-tailed eagles.

Lunch: Packed lunch.

Afternoon: We continue our gentle drive and arrive at our hotel overlooking the Isle of Skye the misty isle to which Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped after the Battle of Culloden and the impenetrable stronghold of the Lords of the Isles for centuries. Check-in to the hotel late afternoon.

Dinner: A three course dinner with tea, coffee and water is served in the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
North Skye, The Cuillins
Kyle of Lochalsh
B,L,D
Tingle Creek Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Journey by motorcoach to the North of Skye where the majestic peaks of the Red and Black Cuillins loom in front of you as they lead down to sandy shores. We will make a stop at Portree, where you will have time to explore this picturesque town.

Lunch: Taken out in Portree.

Afternoon: The field trip continues to Dunvegan Castle, built on a rocky outcrop, on the Isle of Skye. Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. The castle is home to a magnificent art collection and artefacts associated with clan history. The formal gardens lead down to the banks of Loch Dunvegan and their lush variety of plantings stands in contrast to the foreboding landscape of Skye's moorlands.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
South Skye, Armadale, Eilean Donan
Kyle of Lochalsh
B,L,D
Tingle Creek Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: We journey by motorcoach to the South of this the most famous of the Hebridean islands. The soil in this area is lime rich, leading to the most diverse habitats on the island, a rich mixture of woodland, open moorland and jagged coastline. The dominant land use is crofting and there are many typical crofting and small fishing communities scattered throughout the peninsula. Sleat is in the territory of the MacDonald Clan and we visit their clan seat at Armadale Castle, which has an excellent interpretation centre and gentle walks in the extensive castle grounds.

Lunch: Taken at Armadale.

Afternoon: This afternoon we'll visit one of the most famous sights in Scotland, Eilean Donan, a castle surrounded by three sea lochs. Although the castle was first inhabited in the 6th century, feudal fighting have led to it being repeatedly rebuilt. Your Study Leader will outline the important moments of Scotland's history as you visit its many rooms.

Dinner: In the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Fort William, Glencoe
Edinburgh.
B,L,D
The Queensferry Hotel

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Today we transfer by motorcoach to Edinburgh, travelling via Eilean Donan Castle, Fort William and Glen Coe. One of the most famous sights in Scotland, Eilean Donan, is surrounded by three sea lochs. Although the castle was first inhabited in the 6th century, feudal fighting have led to it being repeatedly rebuilt. Your Study Leader will outline the important moments of Scotland's history as you visit its many rooms. Stopping at Fort William, the second largest settlement in the Highlands, nestles between Loch Linnhe and the mountains of Ben Nevis. You will have some free time here to explore the picturesque town. The motorcoach continues southwards to Glen Coe, part of the National Scenic Area of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe. The spectacular and, at times, grim glen features high mountain peaks, ridges, rushing rivers and waterfalls. At the National Trust for Scotland's Visitor Centre you will learn more of the dark and turbulent history of the area. A Viewing Platform gives photographic opportunities over this area created by millions of years of geological processes. Your Study Leader will describe the infamous Glencoe massacre that took place in 1692 as the government troops and Campbells fought the Macdonalds..

Lunch: A light lunch is taken in Glencoe Visitor Centre.

Afternoon: Our journey continues through bleak Rannoch Moor and down to Stirling Castle where your Study Leader will point out the important historical and architectural features of this strategically significant Castle. Guided tours are included in the entrance price and there are audio guides if you prefer to go at your own pace. Stirling Castle symbolises Scottish pride and independence and was home to many 15th century Renaissance Kings and Queens. Continue on to Edinburgh for late afternoon check-in.

Dinner: Three course served dinner with tea, coffee and water in the hotel.

Evening: Prepare for departure in the morning and get a good night’s rest.

DAY
13
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Breakfast: Full Scottish breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Private transfer to Edinburgh Airport. This concludes our programme. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!