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Rosa Ramirez Carlson

49 Verano Loop | Santa Fe NM 87508

P: 505-310-1863

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Discovering Scotland
June 2018

Day 1 - June 5, 2018

Overnight Flight to Edinburgh, Scotland

Depart NYC, John F. Kennedy Airport – Overnight Flight

Day 2 - June 6, 2018

Edinburgh

Overnight in Hotel Parliament or similar (B, D)

Welcome to Scotland! After your overnight flight, we will leisurely explore the city, taking in the sights and sounds as we overcome our jet lag. Light dinner included.

Day 3 - June 7, 2018

Edinburgh

Overnight at Hotel Parliament or similar (B)

Our day starts with a half day tour of Edinburgh including the famous Edinburgh Castle, stroll along the iconic Royal Mile and Holyrood Park and enjoy the spectacular views and monuments at Calton Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 4 - June 8, 2018

Stirling

Overnight at Highland Hotel or similar (B)

Today we will head to the historic city of Stirling to learn and admire the country’s rich heritage. There’s really no better place to learn about Scotland’s bloody history than the city of Stirling.

Stirling

Also known as “The Gateway to the Highlands” Stirling used to be the only connection to the Highlands giving it a significant position in Scotland’s history. The magnificently situated, and well-conserved castle stands atop volcanic rock that made it the key to holding Scotland during the Wars of Independence. A significant core of the medieval and Renaissance buildings of this royal “burgh” remain. The Stirling Castle is likely Scotland’s most interesting but we will explore other aspects of Scottish history at both the National Wallace Monument, which commemorates William Wallace, and at the Bannockburn Heritage Centre, close to the site of a significant battle in 1314. The battle all but guaranteed Scotland’s survival, and has been comprehensively revamped for the battle’s 700th anniversary.

Day 5 - June 9, 2018

Stirling

Overnight at Highland Hotel or similar (B)

 

Today we will have a half day tour of the city with enough time to explore and discover Stirling on your own. This afternoon you can leisurely stroll through the many historical sites, museums and parks or do some shopping in the numerous independent boutiques in the historic Old Town and Victorian Stirling Arcade.

Day 6 - June 10, 2018

Fort William

Overnight at Clan Macduff or similar (B, L)

 

Our morning departure will take us to Fort William. Along the way, we will stop at the picturesque island and monastic sanctuary at Inchmahome Priory and lunch at the famous, 300-year-old Drovers Inn before a free evening in Fort William.

Inchmahome Priory

Cross Scotland’s only lake to explore a peaceful, wooded island chosen as a monastic sanctuary. Robert the Bruce sought solace at Inchmahome Priory and Mary Queen of Scots found safety here as a child. Walter Comyn founded the priory for Augustinian canons around 1238. Much later, long after monastic life had ended, Sir Walter Scott revived the island’s popularity. His Romantic novels and a new railway brought tourists flocking to the area in the 1800s.

 

Drovers Inn

The Drovers Inn Hotel, Inverarnan near Loch lomond is probably the most famous inn and pub in Scotland. This 300-year-old inn offers great historical atmosphere and good Scottish food and is a must for anyone visiting Loch Lomond or traveling through. 

Day 7 - June 11, 2018

Jacobite Train Fort William - Mallaig – Portree (Isle of Skye)

We board our morning train from Fort William at 10:15am and arrive in Mallaig at 12:25pm. Overnight at Cuillins Hills Hotel or similar (B, D)

Jacobite Steam Train

All aboard! This morning we embark on a truly unforgettable journey onboard the Jacobite Steam Train for a one-way ride to Mallaig, a small fishing village on Scotland’s Western Coast. The train portrayed as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter Films is actually this vintage steam train. This is one of the world's great train journeys and will take you past Britain's highest mountain, deepest loch, shortest river and most westerly station. You'll cross the viaduct featured in the Harry Potter films and pass the Glenfinnan Monument where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his standard at the beginning of the 1745 Jacobite rising. After we land in Mallaig we will stop for lunch (on your own) before making our way to our accommodations on the Isle of Skye.

Day 8 - June 12, 2018

Portree (Isle of Skye)

FD tour of Skye - overnight at Cuillins Hills Hotel or similar (B, L)

Today our full day tour will include stops to grasp and take in the beautiful scenery and the many sights that Skye has to offer. We will tour the fairy pools, the lighthouse at Neist point, Dunvegan Castle and gardens - the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, the magical scenery at Faerie Glens before stopping at the Flodigarry Hotel for lunch with an incredible view. We will head back after lunch with photo stops at the Quiraing, the Kilt rock and the Old Man of Storr.

Skye

The Isle of Skye (an t-Eilean Sgiathanach in Gaelic) takes its name from the old Norse sky-a, meaning ‘cloud island’, a Viking reference to the often-mist-enshrouded Cuillin Hills, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. It’s the 2nd largest of Scotland’s islands, a 50-mile-long patchwork of velvet moors, jagged mountains, sparkling lochs and towering sea cliffs. The stunning scenery is the main attraction, but when the mist closes in there are plenty of castles, crofting museums and cozy pubs and restaurants; there are also dozens of art galleries and craft studios. Along with Edinburgh and Loch Ness, Skye is one of Scotland’s top-three tourist destinations. However, the crowds tend to stick to Portree, Dunvegan and Trotternish – it’s almost always possible to find peace and quiet in the island’s further-flung corners. Come prepared for changeable weather: when it’s fine it’s very fine indeed, but all too often it isn’t.

Fairy Pools

At foot of the Black Cuillins are the Fairy Pools, beautifully crystal clear blue pools on the River Brittle. These famous pools entice visitors from all over the world, as they make some great ‘wild swimming’ for those brave enough to enter the cold water. For the less adventurous these magical Fairy Pools make some fantastic photos.

 

Neist Point

Neist Point is one of the most famous lighthouses in Scotland. While the walk down is an easy one, the concrete path does get quite steep at times. From the path you will see stunning views of the high cliffs and the lighthouse itself, at sunset the view is made even more spectacular making this a top destination for landscape photographers.

 

Denvegan Castle & Gardens

Built on a rock in an idyllic loch side setting, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. On display are many fine oil paintings and clan treasures, the most famous of which is the Fairy Flag. Legend has it that this sacred banner has miraculous powers and when unfurled in battle, the clan MacLeod would invariably defeat their enemies. Another of the castle's great treasures is the Dunvegan Cup, a unique 'mazer' dating back to the Middle Ages. The O’Neils of Ulster gifted it as a token of thanks to one of our most celebrated Chiefs, Sir Rory Mor, for his support of their cause against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1595.

Fairy Glen

The road to “Faerie” Glen winds around small round-topped grassy hills with lochans (ponds) in between which gives the glen an otherworldly feel. Skye has a long history involving the fairies (Faerie), most of which is related to Dunvegan Castle and their ‘Fairy Flag’. Although the Fairy Glen (much like the Fairy Pools in Glenbrittle) does not have any legends or stories involving fairies, it is easy to enjoy and appreciate its magical essence.

Day 9 - June 13, 2018

Eilean Donan Castle – Loch Ness – Urquhart Castle – Inverness

Overnight at Best Western Palace Hotel or similar (B, L)

 

Our journey today will depart Skye and head towards Inverness with stops at one of the most famously photographed Eilean Donan Castle, the famous Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.

 

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most recognized castles in Scotland, and probably appears on more shortbread tins and calendars than any other. It is, without doubt, a Scottish icon and certainly one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Highlands. When you first set eyes on it, it is easy to understand why so many people flock to its stout doors year after year. Strategically located on its own little island, overlooking the Isle of Skye, at the point where three great sea-lochs meet, and surrounded by the majestic splendor of the forested mountains of Kintail, Eilean Donan’s setting is truly breath-taking.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness is one of Scotland’s largest and most famous lochs, known around the world thanks to its elusive monster Nessie. Just a short distance from Inverness, this impressive stretch of water is 23 miles long and over 700 ft. at its deepest, making it Scotland’s largest loch in terms of volume. Loch Ness runs from Loch Dochfour to Fort Augustus, with picturesque villages such as Foyers and Dores bordering it.

 

Urquhart Castle

Discover 1,000 years of drama, experience a glimpse of medieval life and enjoy stunning views over Loch Ness from the ruins of the greatest castle in the Highlands. Climb the Grant Tower that watches over the iconic loch, peer into a miserable prison cell, said to have held the legendary Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn, and imagine the splendid banquets staged in the great hall. A more comfortable view of the iconic ruins, against a backdrop of Loch Ness and the hills of the Great Glen, can be enjoyed from the cafe.

Inverness

Inverness is a city on Scotland’s northeast coast, where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth. It's the largest city and the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. Its Old Town features 19th-century Inverness Cathedral, the mostly 18th-century Old High Church and an indoor Victorian Market selling food, clothing and crafts. The contemporary Inverness Museum and Art Gallery traces local and Highland history.  This compact Scottish city is perfect for exploration by foot — travelers can easily find their way from the lovely River Ness to the city’s sites.

Day 10 - June 14, 2018

Beauly Priory - Elgin Cathedral - Clava Cairns - Culloden

Overnight at Best Western Palace or similar (B, L)

 

Today we will explore some very unique sights throughout the region. We will start with a visit to the beautiful ruins of the Beauly Priory abbey before visiting the amazing ruins at Elgin Cathedral where we will have lunch before heading to see the ancient Clava Cairns and finally Culloden, the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history.

 

Beauly Priory

After breakfast we will have a short drive to the ruined church of Beauly Priory. One of three priories founded in Scotland by monks of the Valliscaulian order, from the Burgundy region of France, in the years following 1230. Although the priory church is roofless now, the walls still stand to their full height in most places, and the ruins are set in lovely grounds and contain 15th-century tombs of the Mackenzie clan.

Elgin Cathedral

Elgin Cathedral, also known as the ‘Lantern of the North’ is a majestic, historic ruin situated in Elgin. It is one of Scotland’s most beautiful medieval buildings, dating back to the 13th century. Elgin Cathedral has a rich history - it was badly fire damaged in 1390 following an attack by Robert III's brother Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, who was also known as the ‘Wolf of Badenoch’. The two towers of the West Front and the Chapter House are intact and open to the public and the climb is rewarded with magnificent views of the town of Elgin. The top of the tower has an open viewing platform with information boards highlighting the visible landmarks. The ceiling of the chapter house is considered to be one of the country’s finest octagonal structures and those with a keen eye may still see traces of gold paint.

Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns is a group of three Bronze Age Cairns located near Inverness. A hugely significant and exceptionally well preserved prehistoric site, Clava Cairns is a fantastic example of the distant history of Highland Scotland, dating back about 4,000 years. The cemetery was used in two periods. At around 2000 BC a row of large Cairns was built, three of which can still be seen today.

Culloden

With over 1,200 dead in just one hour Culloden was a short but bloody battle - the last to be fought on British soil. With the site restored to as close as possible to that seen by the forces on that fateful day in April 1746, Culloden now welcomes visitors with an impressive new visitor center and exciting interactive exhibition.

Day 11 - June 15, 2018

Grantown-on-Spey (Cairngorms National Park)

Overnight at The Grant Arms Hotel or similar (B)

 

Today we will travel to Grantown within the stunning Cairngorms National Park. Once we check into the hotel in the morning we will have the option to take a half day whisky tour to some local distilleries or a half day walking tour within the national park and it’s many trails. Evening is free.

 

Cairngorms

Mother Nature dealt the Cairngorms a hand full of aces. At 1,467 square miles, it is Britain’s largest National Park and located within the heart of the Scottish Highlands. The park has a large upland plateau, and is categorized as a “protected landscape” which allows for limited development within its borders. The park is home to reindeer, ospreys, eagles, wildcats and red squirrels, and boasts an extensive array of activities that range from hiking, skiing, and visiting traditional villages. The Cairngorms National Park is truly a thrilling land of adventure and discovery, and boasts natural wonders such as mountains, gorges, forests and rivers. Also within the park you will find ancient highland communities and whisky distilleries. Five of the UK's six highest mountains lie inside the park, and there are 55 “Munros” – or mountains over 3,000 ft.

Day 12 - June 16, 2018

St. Andrew's

Overnight at Best Western Scores Hotel or similar (B, L)

 

We depart this natural place and travel to Ballater and the Royal Lachnagar Distillery for a tasting and tour. We will have lunch along the way.

Ballater & The Royal Lachnagar Distillery

Surrounded by the glorious countryside Ballater is a picturesque Victorian village in the heart of Royal Deeside located in the Cairngorm National Park.  Lying eight miles along the River Dee to the west, its rich history and royal connections are world famous.  Ballater is the nearest town to Balmoral Castle, one of the residences of the Royal Family, which explains the many ‘By Royal Appointment’ signs can be seen on local shops and business. Close by is also Royal Lochnagar Distillery which produces one of Scotland’s most exclusive whiskies. A visit to the distillery is a timeless experience.

 

St. Andrew’s

St Andrews is known worldwide as The Home of Golf, and also boasts Scotland's oldest university. The St Andrews Royal and Ancient Golf Club first met here in the spiritual home of golf in 1754, though it was first played here as early as the 15th century. The Old Course, which you can play (if you’re lucky), is most famous of the town's eight championship courses, and has played host to some of the world’s finest golfers at the British Open Championship over the years.

Day 13 - June 17, 2018

St. Andrew's

Overnight at Best Western Scores Hotel or similar (B)

 

Today you will have a leisurely day in St. Andrew’s to golf or visit some of the many other sites around St. Andrew’s such as the St. Andrew’s Preservation Trust Museum - a lovely little museum with interesting displays and fascinating insight into all things St Andrews, the Museum of the University of St. Andrew’s - traces the classic and storied history of this prestigious school, or the remains of St Andrews Cathedral, which was Scotland’s largest cathedral and most magnificent church.

Day 14 - June 18, 2018

Edinburgh

Overnight in Hotel Parliament or similar (B, L)

 

After breakfast we will head towards the fishing village of Anstruther for some of the country’s best fish and chips. We will also learn some fascinating Scottish history at Falkland Palace and Dumferline Abbey before heading to our final accommodations in Edinburgh.

 

Anstruther

Anstruther is a charming fishing village in the East Neuk of Fife, popular with daytrippers and holidaymakers. Located south of St Andrews, Anstruther is the largest in a string of pretty, old-fashioned fishing villages along the stretch of Fife coast known as the East Neuk. Perhaps the top attraction is simply tucking into a quality fish supper from the Anstruther Fish Bar, which in recent years has won a number of awards including UK Fish and Chip Shop of the year.

Falkland Palace

Set in the picturesque village of Falkland, this palace was the favorite retreat of the Stuart dynasty, especially Mary Queen of Scots who visited for the hunting, hawking and tennis. The Palace is now in the care of the charity the National Trust for Scotland. The Royal Palace of Falkland was used as a country residence by Stuart kings and queens who used to hunt deer and wild boar in the nearby Fife forests. Mary Queen of Scots spent some of the happiest days of her tragic life here, hunting and hawking around the woods and park, which is still beautifully maintained today.

Dumferline Abbey

Dunfermline Palace and Abbey are the remains of a great Benedictine abbey founded by Queen Margaret in the 11th century. Beginning as a priory founded by Malcolm’s wife, Queen Margaret, it was re-established as an abbey by her son in 1128 and is the final resting place of King Robert Bruce, notably minus his heart, along with seven other Scottish kings. Substantial parts of the abbey buildings remain, including the vast refectory. The foundations of Queen Margaret’s church are under the present superb nave, built in the 12th century in the Romanesque style.

Day 15 - June 19, 2018

Transfers out - International departures

Today we will be transported to the airport for our international departures back to the US.

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SCOTLAND 2018

ITINERARY

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