22674
Scotland
Scotland’s Highlands: A Stay at the Aigas Field Center
Experience the very best of the Scottish Highlands as you stay in historic home of renowned naturalist Sir John Lister-Kaye.
Rating (4.76)
Program No. 22674RJ
Length
11 days
Starts at
2,479
Special Offer
Flights start at
850
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11 days
10 nights
27 meals
9 B 9 L 9 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Glasgow, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Glasgow.
L,D
Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m.

Morning: After clearing customs and passport control, walk 300 yards from the arrival terminal to the hotel. A program representative will be on hand in the hotel to provide any assistance you may need checking in. When you have your room, take some time to freshen up and relax.

Lunch: In the hotel dining room for those arriving by lunchtime, we’ll have a light lunch with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Arrivals continue, with free time for those who have already arrived. 5:00 p.m. Orientation: A program representative will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. This program representative who will accompany us on our journey to Aigas and provide educational commentary en route. The program is staffed with an Aigas representative who will function as the Group Leader, accompany us throughout the program, and deal primarily with logistics. Rangers will lecture, conduct field trips, and serve as an information resource on program-related topics. Travel and transportation for Aigas field trips will be via minibus unless noted otherwise. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow Road Scholars. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll have a plated and served meal with coffee, tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Transfer to Aigas, Glencoe
Aigas.
B,L,D
Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas

Activity note: The drive to Aigas is about 160 miles (257 kilometers), approximately 4 hours, with short rest stops at convenient and interesting places.

Breakfast: In the hotel, the full Scottish breakfast buffet include choices such as eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, yoghurts, cereals, porridge, toast, jams and marmalade, milk, juices, coffee, team water. A representative from Aigas Field Centre will meet us at breakfast and offer insights into Scottish history and landscape.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel, board a motorcoach, and depart Glasgow for Aigas. We'll travel through the Trossachs National Park, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, and Fort William, enjoying some of Scotland's finest views. Our onboard expert will provide commentary along the way.

Lunch: At the Glencoe Visitor Centre, we’ll have a light 2-course lunch with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our journey continues through the spectacular Highland landscape, with arrival at Aigas Field Centre in time for a British tradition, afternoon tea. Then settle into your room and freshen up before a welcome meeting where we''ll meet Aigas family and staff and hear about procedures.

Dinner: In the Baronial Hall, we’ll have a 3-course dinner with coffee, tea, water amid family portraits and Victorian artifacts.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to find something in the extensively stocked library featuring human and natural history. You may also purchase drinks beside a roaring log fire.

DAY
4
Balmorality, Aigas Estate and Grounds
Aigas.
B,L,D
Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas

Activity note: Walking 1-2 miles; woodland paths and around gardens at Aigas.

Breakfast: In the Baronial Hall, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as cereals, toast, marmalade, jams, fruit and pin-mill porridge as well as milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will gather for a presentation by Sir John Lister-Kaye — noted naturalist, conservationist, author, and owner of Aigas — on the history of the Highlands and its clans that will provide the context for our explorations. “Balmorality” refers to an idealization of Scottish traditions and culture. We’ll learn the authentic story. We’ll then explore the Aigas grounds and loch (lake) where we will see infrastructure dating back to the mid-19th century, Bronze Age archaeological remains, Aigas restoration ecology projects, and an enchanting trail through woodland.

Lunch: In the baronial hall, we’ll have a 2-course buffet lunch with coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Lady Lucy Lister-Kaye will show us around her garden, a much admired labor of love. The House of Aigas is set amid beautiful gardens, with rockeries, a large pond, and an extensive arboretum. Most of the trees were planted by the Victorians more than 100 years ago, including exotics such as Giant Sequoia and Western Red Cedar that have now reached considerable heights, with some native trees dating even farther back. The garden is Lady Lister-Kaye's creation, a blaze of color throughout the year, hosting a rich array of species from miniature maples to azaleas and rhododendrons and the blooms of heathers, lilies, honeysuckle, and clematis.

Dinner: In the Baronial Hall.

Evening: We’ll visit a wildlife “hide” (known as a “blind” in America) with an Aigas Ranger to observe.

DAY
5
Clava Cairns, Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle
Aigas.
B,L,D
Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas

Activity note: Driving between sites approximately 3 hours during the day; walking outdoors at sites; steep staircases at Cawdor.

Breakfast: In the Baronial Hall.

Morning: Our focus today is on archaeology and history. We’ll begin with an introductory talk on the importance of the Bronze Age and the Picts. We’ll then set out by Aigas minibus to see aspects of the long history of the Highlands dating back to the Neolithic age, when an ancient burial site at Clava Cairns was built. The Clava Cairns are about 4,000 years old. What we see today is only part of what was once a larger complex. As we explore, an Aigas ranger will provide expert insights. We’ll then explore Culloden Battlefield and the new and immersive Culloden Battlefield Interpretation Centre. Culloden was the last battle fought on British soil, between forces of the British crown — the recently installed Hanoverians — and Jacobites— those seeking to restore the Stuart dynasty. It divided families and set clan against clan. On April 16, 1746, British forces routed the Jacobites. It was a short but bloody fight, leaving some 1,500 dead. We’ll then move on to Cawdor Castle near Nairn.

Lunch: In the field, we’ll have packed lunches provided by Aigas plus coffee and tea.

Afternoon: Our field trip continues as we proceed by mini-bus to fairy tale Cawdor Castle, the 14th century home of the Thanes of Cawdor. Linked with Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” it remains the home of the Cawdor family today. The castle, while presenting a strong and severe exterior, is a surprisingly intimate building that radiates a friendly, family atmosphere through its interior. With our expert Aigas Ranger, we’ll explore its stately rooms, as well as its verdant grounds. We’ll return to Aigas late afternoon.

Dinner: In the Baronial Hall.

Evening: We’ll visit another wildlife hide with an Aigas Ranger.

DAY
6
Caledonian Forest
Aigas.
B,L,D
Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas

Activity note: Walking approximately 1-2 hours; woodland paths, steep and uneven in places. 2 hours driving over the day.

Breakfast: In the Baronial Hall.

Morning: Today we’ll focus on history of the ancient Caledonian Forest, beginning at Aigas with an introductory talk on crofting and Caledonian pinewoods. We’ll then board the minibus and visit some of the most scenic glens in Scotland, with landscapes redolent of the last Ice Age. We’ll learn about conservation efforts that are bringing life back into this region. The ruins of a huge country house await us, Guisachan, where Winston Churchill learned to drive and the first Golden Retriever was bred. We’ll also take a short walk to the spectacular Plodda Falls.

Lunch: In the field, we’ll have packed lunches.

Afternoon: Our next field trip is to Cougie, a unique and very remote family croft and working farm. Return to Aigas, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: In the Baronial Hall.

Evening: We’ll enjoy a “Book at Bedtime” — a literary reading with our host, Sir John Lister-Kaye.

DAY
7
The West Coast
Aigas.
B,L,D
Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas

Activity note: Driving 4-5 hours during the day; walking on beach/headland.

Breakfast: In the Baronial Hall.

Morning: We’ll take a scenic drive to the dramatic west coast of Scotland, where towering mountains drop to convoluted coastlines with ribbons of settlement along the shorelines. These crofting communities are unique in Britain and a special part of Highland heritage. The west is wild, dramatic and stunning — an iconic highlight of Scotland.

Lunch: In the field, we’ll have packed lunches.

Afternoon: Our exploration of the West Coast continues. We’ll return to Aigas with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the Baronial Hall.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Crofting
Aigas.
B,L,D
Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas

Activity note: Morning walking and standing 1-2 hours on farmstead. Forest walk 2-3 hours on woodland paths. Motte and Baily standing and walking up to an hour on a woodland hillock. Walking and standing about 1 hour at distillery.

Breakfast: In the Baronial hall.

Morning: An Aigas ranger will talk about the history of crofting and what modern day crofters do. We’ll then ride to have an exclusive behind the scenes look at the home of a local crofter who is a friend of the Lister-Kaye family. As well as the small croft we’ll see her special little garden, a hidden gem!

Lunch: In the Baronial Hall.

Afternoon: We’ll have a choice of three field trips. A walk in Aigas Community Forest will introduce a community operated project to restore an old woodland and balance nature conservation with profitable enterprise. A field trip to Erchless Motte. At a local whiskey distillery we’ll learn about its processes and sample its delights.

Dinner: In the Baronial Hall.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local expert on whisky who will lead a whisky tasting. When done, we’ll also know why Scots call it simply whiskey and not Scotch.

DAY
9
The Black Isle
Aigas.
B,L,D
Aigas Field Centre and House of Aigas

Activity note: Driving approximately 3 hours driving interspersed with short stops at historical sites; walking on lawns and garden paths.

Breakfast: In the Baronial Hall.

Morning: We’ll take a field trip by minibus to key sites on the Black Isle, a large fertile peninsula that protrudes into the North Sea. It is a region where many different historical influences can be traced. We’ll visit 13th century Beauly Priory and 12th century Fortrose Abbey. We’ll also look for bottlenose dolphins at Chanonry Point.

Lunch: At a local pub.

Afternoon: Our next field trip features a Black Isle brewery and a family bee garden. When we return to Aigas, the remainder of the afternoon will be free.

Dinner: In the Baronial Hall, enjoy our last dinner together in these special surroundings.

Evening: Enjoy folk music with a popular ceilidh (traditional Gaelic) band. Then prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
10
Transfer to Glasgow, Blair Castle
Glasgow.
B,L,D
Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport

Activity note: Driving approximately 4 hours interspersed with short rest stops at convenient and interesting places.

Breakfast: In the Baronial Hall.

Morning: We’ll check out and depart Aigas. En route to Glasgow, we’ll stop at Blair Castle at Blair Drummond that dates back to 1269 with exploration led by our onboard expert.

Lunch: In the field, we’ll have packed lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our ride to Glasgow and check into our hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have our plated and served 3-course farewell dinner and recount our favorite experiences of the program with our new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 11:00 a.m. Walk 300 yards to Glasgow Airport.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Walk from the hotel to the airport. This concludes our program. 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!






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