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The Highlands & Inner Hebrides - Sea Loch Itinerary

On 26 May 2014, 'The Highlands & Inner Hebrides Cruise' operates a different itinerary to that advertised in the brochure and on our tour page. This alternative itinerary, which explores some of the secluded Scottish Highland sea lochs, is described below.

Day 1 - Meet in Inverness

Following your individual travel to Inverness, your Tour Manager meets you at the Palace Hotel, where we stay for tonight. After checking in, you could explore Inverness before dinner this evening. (D)

Day 2 - MV Lord of the Glens

Today we enjoy one of the most breathtaking railway journeys in Europe, the Kyle Line (Standard Class). This incredibly scenic line takes us across Scotland from east coast to west, crossing the Caledonian Canal as we leave Inverness and skirting the shores of crystal-clear lakes. Countless photo opportunities present themselves as we wind through wooded hillsides and over sparse moors, climbing over the highlands and past charming loch-side and sea-side towns. The tracks rise and fall over hills and valleys, travelling at low speed throughout most of the journey, giving you time to soak up the terrific views that accompany the entire experience. The train sweeps one way and the next, wild deer grazing beside the tracks that follow a route dictated by politicians and powerful landowners as much as by civil engineers. During the final part of the journey we pass the picturesque white-washed houses in the village of Plockton, location for the BBC Television series 'Hamish Macbeth'. We arrive at Kyle of Lochalsh, the end of the line, located across a short stretch of water from the Isle of Skye. The commanding Cullin Mountains rise sharply from the island's shoreline, towering over the railway station at Kyle of Lochalsh. After some free time to explore Kyle of Lochalsh, and perhaps to walk over the Skye Bridge onto the Isle of Skye, we return to Inverness, enjoying another fabulous journey through the incredible scenery of the Kyle Line.

On our return to Inverness, your Tour Manager bids you farewell as we board the luxury MV Lord of the Glens. After settling in to your cabin, we enjoy the Captain's Welcome Reception and dinner on board. (B,D)

Day 3 - Loch Ness and Laggan Avenue

This morning we set sail for the first time, travelling along a man-made section of Telford's canal until we reach the first of the inland sea lochs on our cruise - Loch Dochfour. We then enter tranquil, mystical Loch Ness, famous for its 'monster' and its outstanding beauty. We pause at Urquhart Castle, still an impressive sight on the shores of Loch Ness despite its ruinous state. We reach Fort Augustus, where we negotiate the impressive flight of locks that run through the heart of the town. We then travel through some of the man-made sections of the Caledonian Canal. We also cross beautiful Loch Oich and travel along a picturesque, tree-lined section of canal known as Laggan Avenue. We reach Laggan Locks and moor here for the night. This evening you could enjoy an interesting walk to a nearby settlement and pay a visit to a unique floating pub. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Neptune’s Staircase & the West Highland Line

After making our way through Laggan Locks we enter Loch Lochy - Scotland's third deepest loch. We cruise across the entire length of the loch to Gairlochy Locks, before continuing through the village of Gairlochy to the town of Banavie, which lies in the shadow of mighty Ben Nevis. We continue along this endlessly intricate section of canal until we reach Neptune's Staircase - an incredible flight of eight inter-connected locks operated by a team of at least three lock keepers. After two further locks we reach sea level at Corpach, located at the entrance to the Caledonian Canal. We disembark the Lord of the Glens for a fantastic excursion on the West Highland Line to Glenfinnan, a glorious journey that provides a breathtaking snapshot of the wonderfully scenic highland region. We retrace the route to Corpach, where we remain moored for the night. (B,L,D)

Day 5 - Loch Linnhe and Glencoe

This morning we begin our first sea-loch foray as we cruise into Loch Eil, which has the tracks of the West Highland Railway tracing the loch shore. We then double back into Loch Linnhe, Scotland's longest sea loch, pass the town of Fort William and sail through the Corran Narrows, where Loch Linnhe is only 200 yards wide. We then sail into Loch Leven, which enjoys marvellous mountain views towards Glencoe. We circle the picturesque Glencoe Islands and re-enter Loch Linnhe. Finally we reach Lismore Island, where we more overnight. We enjoy a tour of the island and visit Port Appin, made famous by Robert Louis Stevenson in his novel 'Kidnapped'. (B,L,D)

Day 6 - Loch Etive and Barcaldine

This morning we sail under the Connel Bridge, which stands guard at the entrance to Scotland's most beautiful sea loch - Loch Etive. The loch is one of the least explored due to its particularly difficult navigation. We sail through the loch and into Loch Crerran, where we moor for the night in Barcaldine. We leave the ship for a visit to the fascinating Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary in Barcaldine. (B,L,D)

Day 7 - The Sound of Mull to Tobermory

This morning we sail past Lochaline and along the Sound of Mull, which separates the Isle of Mull from mainland Scotland. We explore Loch Sunart before returning to the Isle of Mull for an overnight mooring in Tobermory, the capital of the island. The fishing port of Tobermory is most recognisable for the gaily painted houses that line the waterfront. (B,L,D)

Day 8 - Arduiane Gardens and Oban

This morning we retrace our route along the Sound of Mull, hugging the rugged coastline all the way to Loch Melfort. Here we pause for an excursion to the attractive Arduiane Gardens. We return to the ship and sail to Oban, where we moor for the night. We enjoy a visit to the Oban Distillery for a tour and tasting. This evening we enjoy the Captain's Farewell Reception and dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - The journey home

After breakfast on board MV Lord of the Glens, we disembark the ship for the final time. From Oban you are free to begin your independent journey home at your leisure. (B)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
These meals, where shown, are included in the price of your holiday



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