Mystical Scotland -
The Western Isles
May 31st – June 9th 2014
The wild spirit of Scotland could not be found to be stronger than in the Hebrides and our 9 days together are going to be focused on that feeling. Here the windswept islands and the haunting stones of the ancient sites evoke mystery and closeness with Nature. Our first destination, Iona, a small island in the Inner Hebrides is like a retreat (no motor vehicles) off the coast of Mull. It's said that Druids once lived here, and in the 6th century, when Celtic Christianity was brought from Ireland, an Abbey was founded. Not only will we be able to explore the restored abbey, holy well, and deserted beaches, but we’ll have a chance to sail to the nearby Isle of Staffa for a visit to enchanting Fingal’s Cave. Then we’ll journey over to the Isles of Lewis and Skye, and our travels will include the best of sacred sites, including Callenish, to be seen at all hours, and many lesser known gems of ancient sites, castles, and spectacular scenery, from heather strewn mountains to amazing coastal panoramas. At the end of our journey will be a special visit to Kilmartin Glen, the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, and the bountiful array of ancient sites there.
Saturday May 31st- Meet at Glasgow International Airport at prearranged time and place, then enjoy our journey north alongside the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond and other gorgeous scenery between lochs and mountains, stopping off for lunch in Inveraray, en route to Oban. After settling in at our lovely Guest House, relax or take a walk by the sea before enjoying our “Welcome dinner” at a special place.
Sunday June 1st - After breakfast, take the ferry across to the Isle of Mull. Our first excursion is to Lochbuie stone circle in its magical setting surrounded by mountains, where sea eagles and golden eagles are often seen, and seals are often spotted on the nearby beach. We leave this idyllic setting to go on through a scenic Pass to Fionnphort where we cross the sea to the Isle of Iona. After checking in to our hotel, if the weather is good, take advantage of a boat trip to the stunning Isle of Staffa where its Basalt columns are a natural architectural masterpiece, inspiring many, including Mendelssohn, whose Hebrides Overture was inspired by the sound of the sea in Fingal's Cave. Also we will have the opportunity to observe the extraordinary puffins that breed on the island.Click to enlarge images above
Monday June 2nd– A day to explore Iona; this beautiful island which has been celebrated as a holy place for millennia. It was inhabited by the Druids until the 6th century, when St. Columba sailed over from Ireland and established the first Christian settlement. The haunting 12th century Abbey now dominates the landscape. Also whilst on Iona, we can take an adventurous trek and a picnic to the south side of the island, where a magical hidden beach reveals its treasures of marble pebbles tumbled naturally by the incessant tides. And where the pebbles meet the grassy banks, someone has carefully built an exquisite labyrinth which provides us with a wonderful meditation tool in the perfect setting.
Tuesday June 3rd - Time to leave the tranquility of our island retreat and take the ferry back to the mainland for our journey north. Travel through Fort William beside Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK, and then along the shores of Loch Ness, taking a short detour to see the Corrimony chambered cairn. Later stop off at the beautiful Corrieshalloch Falls and Gorge on our way to our B&B in Ullapool.
Wednesday June 4th - This morning we take the ferry over to the Isle of Lewis. On arrival in Stornoway, stop for a quick look around and afternoon tea before heading to our B&B not far from Callenish on the west side of the island. After settling in, take our first visit to walk amongst the hauntingly beautiful Standing Stones of Callenish, where we can commune with these wonderful beings. Dinner is provided tonight.
Thursday June 5th - This morning we will have a local guide, Margaret Curtis, to take us around some of the auxiliary Callenish sites; the circles, standing stones and associated mystical places, including Margaret's own exhibit. Here we can see her short, but impressive DVD and observe her research. In the afternoon we will visit Dun Carloway Broch, one of the best preserved in Scotland, take a walk on one of the island's magical deserted sandy beaches, and visit local craft galleries on our drive to the north end of the island, where, Clach an Truiseil, or Trushel Stone, the tallest standing stone in Scotland resides. After dinner, take a last stroll around the Callenish stones. Dinner is provided tonight.
Friday June 6th - After breakfast, drive to Harris to catch the afternoon ferry and on our way, (weather permitting) enjoy a picnic lunch on a gorgeous sandy beach where the impressive Clach Mhic Leoid standing stone presides on the headland above. Catch the ferry at Tarbert and then it’s “over the sea to Skye”, landing at the village of Uig. From here it is a short drive to our accommodation for the next couple of nights in Portree. Maybe this is an evening the Pipe Band practices in the town square, so we can check it out before finding a nice place for dinner.
Saturday June 7th - Today after a quick look around Portree to see the lovely craft galleries and shops where local treasures can be found (and bought if you’re not just window shopping), we’ll spend our day exploring parts of the island like the Quiraing, which offers spectacular scenery and unusual topography. Some of the other sites are the Old Man of Storr, Lealt Falls, Kilt Rock and Fairy Glen and Dunvegan Castle, which flies the Fairy Flag. In the evening, after dinner in Portree, we can search out some fine Celtic music at one of the local pubs.Click to enlarge images above
Sunday June 8th - Today we journey back to the mainland, on the way stopping by “Handspinners Having Fun” in Broadford. Take the ferry over to Mallaig and then enjoy the spectacular scenery on our way back to our B&B in Oban. End the day with our “Farewell dinner” at somewhere special.
Monday June 9th – It’s goodbye to the beautiful west coast, but not before we make a special visit to the amazing Kilmartin Glen. Here is a cornucopia of ancient sites dating from Neolithic and Bronze Age; Templewood stone circle and Ballymeanoch standing stones are two of the best examples of these monuments in this area. At the head of the Glen are the great ruins of Carnassarie Castle, and at the other end of the Glen is Dunadd Fort, capital of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada, and place where kings were anointed. Around this area are the best examples of inscribed rocks and cup and ring mark stones, which we will view also, and then on to Glasgow Airport where we say our goodbyes.Click to enlarge images above
Price - £1955* which includes:
- Pick up and set down at Glasgow Airport
- All accommodations
- All breakfasts and 4 dinners
- All land transportation and ferry fares
- All entry fees
- A multitude of ancient and heritage sites in stunning locations including Iona and Callenish
A deposit of £450 will secure your place.
£100 discount for bookings received before January 14th 2014!
*Cost is based on 2 people sharing. Single rooms may be available at extra cost. Please contact Denni for availability and price.
PLEASE NOTE: tour cost is based on 4 - 6 participants. Less than 4 and it may be necessary to add a surcharge of between £200 - £500, depending on tour and number.
You can pay for the deposit of the tour or the total amount using a debit or credit card using Paypal. However PLEASE check availability with Denni first either by phoning on +44 (0)1288 361782 or filling in the online enquiry form.
91+ days £50
61 – 90 days £300
46 – 60 50% of tour price
31 – 45 days 75% of tour price
0 – 30 days 100% of tour price
"The trip couldn't have been more enlightening for me. In fact, everything was perfect, from the accommodations, the small and friendly group, to the pace. I'm already planning my next trip with Denni."
Mary Lou, Watsonville, CA
"It is so hard to come home after having such a wonderful trip with you. I do hope you realize how special you make the tour. Thank you so much for all you did to make it wonderful."
Elizabeth, Nashua, NH