Enjoy an adventure to Scotland’s idyllic Outer Hebrides
Enjoy an adventure to Scotland's idyllic Outer Hebrides and The Highlands on a tour that takes in two of the UK's most famous train lines, the West Highland and the Jacobite, as well as time in Stornoway and Isle of Barra.
You arrive in the Scottish city of Glasgow today to meet your fellow travelers and Tour Manager. Although Glasgow itself has a rich and varied history, it truly came into power during the Industrial Revolution, when it overtook Edinburgh as Scotland's largest city, despite Edinburgh being the capital city. Featuring a selection of historic and modern buildings, from the 12th century Cathedral to the unique structure of the Riverside Museum, this city is a delight to explore from all corners.
Enjoy a journey on the magnificent West Highland Line from Glasgow to Fort William today. This spectacular rail journey travels under the gaze of moody mountains and over stone bridges on a route which takes in the best of the wild and dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. This railroad is widely regarded as one of the finest in the world.
On our journey, we skirt the shores of the stunning Loch Lomond, the beautiful Scottish lake that has inspired numerous folk songs and boasts the title of the largest stretch of water in the United Kingdom. Enjoy the glittering mirror of the lake surrounded by the dramatic backdrop of the purple-hued and heather covered hills, getting steeper and craggier as you venture further into the area of the country known as the Highlands.
After passing by the loch, your journey continues on through increasingly wilder views and through to Rannoch Moor. This large area of boggy moorland epitomizes the almost desolately beautiful scenery that is so characteristic of this corner of the world. The station that the train passes through after Rannoch Moor, Corrour, is the highest railway station in the UK, as well as being one of its most remote. The absence of civilization throughout this stretch immerses you more into the lush and natural landscape, making it easy to see why the West Highland Line is so well regarded.
We continue on the West Highland Line from Fort William to Mallaig today. This stunning section provides astonishing views of central Scotland as it passes by Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the UK.
One of the most iconic parts of this already unique rail journey is the trip over the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct. This astonishing feat of engineering was built at the turn of the 20th century by Robert McAlpine, nicknamed 'Concrete Bob' for his use of the building substance, which can be seen in abundance here. Featuring 21 spans and crossing the River Finnan, it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the West Highland Line. The viaduct also has a famous film background, with some eagle eyed travelers noting its use in the second Harry Potter film.
On arrival in Mallaig, we continue by ferry and coach through Skye and by ferry to the Outer Hebrides and, our final destination of the day, Stornoway.
Today is spent on a full day excursion, starting at the Butt of Lewis. The most northerly point of the Isle of Lewis, this beautiful area is known for its heavy storms and fierce waves, all watched over by the 19th century Butt of Lewis Lighthouse. Some of the rocks here at the Butt of Lewis are the oldest in Europe, with some possibly dating back 3000 million years. We have some time here at leisure to explore the rocky terrain, before boarding the coach and heading off to the Port of Ness, a tiny village famed for its stunning sandy beach and clear sea.
After some further time here to explore, we continue by coach to the Gearrannan Black House village, where entrance is included to allow you to learn more about this quaint collection of traditional Scottish houses and customs, including the weaving of Harris Tweed. After a short time, the day's adventure continues, and we continue on to Doune Carloway Broch. A broch is the name given to a type of tower in Scotland that was built between 100 BC and 100 AD, and Doune Carloway Broch is an incredible example of this ancient architecture. There is a short time to explore the Broche, before we commence by coach to our lunch stop, the Callanish Visitor Centre.
After lunch, we visit the Callanish Standing Stones. Placed in a pattern that resembles an upside down cross, with a large stone circle and a chambered tomb, these oldest of these patterns date back well over 4000 years. As such, these mysterious stones have a substantial air of mystery surrounding them, with some experts believing they were built for moon worship, and folklore dictating the stones to be petrified pagan giants.
After time to explore and speculate, we return back to the hotel via the scenic Uig district.
We take the coach driving through Uists today, breaking for lunch at the Stepping Stones Restaurant, before later stopping at the Kildonnan Museum. We continue then to the birthplace of Flora MacDonald, a remarkable woman with a colorful history. She is most famous for assisting Bonnie Prince Charlie in his escape to the Isle of Skye after he was defeated at Culloden in 1746 - something that has been immortalized in the lyrical Scottish folk song, 'The Skye Boat Song'.
This morning we visit Barra Airport, which is eccentrically unique as it is the only airport in the world which has planes landing on a beach. Later we visit Kisimul Castle, a stocky 16th century castle set on a small island just of Barra that was leased to Historic Scotland for the price of £1 and a bottle of whisky for the next 1,000 years by the chief of Clan MacNeil. Following this, we have some time at leisure in Castlebay before transferring back tour our hotel, where we enjoy dinner this evening.
We sail through the lovely Sound of Mull today eventually arriving in Oban where we board the majestic West Highland Line once more, reliving the beauty and splendor of the Scottish countryside for one last time before arriving back in Glasgow, where we enjoy a final farewell meal at our hotel this evening.
Following breakfast this morning you are free to depart at your leisure.
The Outer Hebrides section of the tour is guided by a local specialist guide Chris Ryan. Chris came to live on the Isle of Lewis in 1993, taking up residence in his wife's croft which had been in her family for many generations. Chris was the first professional guide on the Isle of Lewis.
We recommend that for this tour you arrange flights to and from Glasgow Airport (MAN), which is approximately 14 miles from your base in Glasgow.
You may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enjoy an adventure to Scotland’s idyllic Outer Hebrides