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3-Day Isle of Skye, Inverness, Highlands and Glenfinnan Viaduct Tour

    Tour Operator: The Hairy Coo         Travel method: Bus     Region: Edinburgh

Your 3-day Isle of Skye, Inverness and the Highlands Tour, lead by your expert Hairy Coo Tour Guide! You will experience all of the must see highlights of Scotland, including the Isle of Skye, Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, both the Cairngorm and Trossachs National Parks, Eilean Donan Castle and a Scotch Whisky-Distillery! You’ll visit famous filming locations (from Outlander, Harry Potter, James bond & more!) such as the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, Doune Castle, Culloden Battlefield, and Clava Cairns.  This tour allows you to experience more of Scotland in just 3 days, than other tours can show you in 5 days!

Day 1
8.30AM –  Departing Edinburgh, we travel passed Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary ‘Queen of Scots’, towards the historic city of Stirling where you’ll catch a glimpse of Stirling Castle and The Wallace Monument (…weather permitting!). Your Guide will introduce you to our nation’s violent history with tales of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, as we make our way North, before arriving at Doune Castle.

This 14th Century Castle has been a filming location on Outlander (Castle Leoch), Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Game of Thrones. If you venture inside, you’ll see one of the best-preserved medieval Great Halls in Scotland.

Enjoy your first taste of the Highlands as we drive along the banks of picturesque Loch Lubnaig within the rugged ‘Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park‘. Admire the scenery as your tour guide explains the fascinating tribal ‘Clan’ history of the Highlands, and you hear about the most famous Highlander of them all, ‘Rob Rob MacGregor’. 

After a short lunch, you will follow in the footsteps of James Bond (Skyfall) and Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), as you discover the beautiful and haunting ‘Glencoe’, the most magnificent and famous valley in Scotland. The spectacular scenery will stay with you forever. Your guide will recount the tale of the infamous ‘Massacre of Glencoe’ that took place here in February 1692. You’ll go for a short nature walk to take some photos and soak up the eerie atmosphere. 

You’ll then watch as the Hogwarts’ Express (Jacobite Steam Train) crossing the magnificent Glenfinnan Viaduct.  This stunning viewpoint also marks the spot where Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) raised his standard prior to the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Go to the top of the monument for the best views of the Glen, as your guide introduces you to the dramatic story of the ‘Young Pretender’ and how his actions changed the course of European history forever.

We travel through the Great Glen towards the Southern banks of Loch Ness and the charming village of Fort Augustus. Get your cameras ready to get some pictures of the infamous ‘Nessie’ Monster! We drive the entire length of Loch Ness, stopping to take in the views of Urquhart Castle, before arriving in Inverness, the Capital of the Scottish Highlands, where you’ll stay for 2 nights.

You will arrive in Inverness at approximately 6:30pm. The evening is then your own to explore the city. Meet up with your fellow travellers and enjoy a meal in a local restaurant or traditional Highland pub. Inverness has a huge variety of establishments to choose from, whether you’d like to try our national dish of Haggis, Neeps & Tatties, washed down with a wee dram of Scotch Whisky or a Local Organic Beer (try the Black Isle Brewery Bar!). (During peak season, it is advisable to book a table ahead if you’re a larger group). After dinner, head to the world famous Hootenanny’s bar which has traditional Scottish musicians playing every night.

If local beer and whisky aren’t your scene, you can enjoy an evening stroll along the banks of the famous River Ness, where you’ll find Inverness Castle and Inverness Cathedral.

Day 2
The magical Isle of Skye! Today is all about exploring this breathtaking landscape, known by the Norse Vikings as the ‘Winged Isle’ or by Scots, romantically, as ‘The Misty Isle’, it was recently voted the 4th best island in the world to visit by National Geographic Magazine! We believe the Isle of Skye is THE BEST island in the World, and we’re sure you’ll agree once you’ve experienced it on our tour.

Departing Inverness you will cross the Kessock Bridge over the Moray Firth (…look out for Dolphins!) and begin our journey to Skye, via The Black Isle. Travelling through some of the most remote areas of mainland Britain, you will marvel at the spectacular scenery of Achnasheen and Loch Carron* (summer only) . 

We stop at the Kyle of Lochalsh for morning coffee, and photographs of the famous Skye Bridge. Opened in 1995, this bridge has a remarkable history. With views of Skye’s Cuillin Mountain range in the distance, it’s a beautiful backdrop.

The Sligachan River flows majestically from the Black Cuillin Mountains, a truly magical location for your guide to introduce you to the local folklore of the island’s Faeries and Giants!

Enjoy lunch in the picturesque harbour town of Portree, the largest settlement on Skye. It has cosy pubs, restaurants and bakeries for you to try seafood and other local foods. Enjoy Fish and Chips by the harbour as the fishing boats deliver their latest catch!

We explore the dramatic Trotternish Peninsula, with iconic rock formations which have made this area the perfect backdrop for recent movies such as B.F.G, Prometheus and Stardust. Highlights this afternoon will include the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock, The Quiraing and Uig.

Having explored Skye, we head back towards the mainland, arriving at Eilean Donan Castle, which is thought to be the most beautiful castle in Scotland! Built upon a rocky island at the head of three Sea Lochs (similar to Fjords), you will be struck by this iconic Scottish landmark and the beautiful mountains and glistening waters that surround it. Your guide will show you the best spot to get that ‘postcard-perfect’ photograph! Our journey continues Glenshiel, past the Five Sisters of Kintail before arriving back into Inverness at approximately 7:00/7:30pm, just in time for dinner.

Day 3
You depart Inverness to begin your journey south, and on this day you’ll see waterfalls, visit the site of one of the most important battles in Scotland’s history, some bronze-age standing-stones, experience a  working Scotch Whisky-Distillery, and journey through the stunning Cairngorms’ National Park.

Your guide shows you the fields of Culloden Moor, and you’ll hear the story of the infamous battle which took place here in 1746, the very last battle to be fought on British soil. This marked the end of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hopes of becoming King. This battle changed Scotland, Britain and Europe forever. Walking on the site where many thousands of Highlanders died, one of the most sombre sites in the country, for many Scots, this is where “…the old Scotland died”.

It is then a short journey to Clava Cairns, where Diana Gabaldon found inspiration for ‘Craig Na Dun’ in the Outlander series. These fascinating Bronze-Age Standing-Stones, and burial chambers are thought to be over 4,000 years’ old! Walk between the stones, and hear from your guide about who built this intriguing place, and why.

You’ll then experience Highland life in the 18th century, and visit authentic Highland blackhouses, at the ‘Highland Folk Museum’ (free entry) in Newtonmore. You’ll see the simple homes people lived in 300 years ago, the clothes they wore, and how they went about their daily lives. The folk museum also has an on-site cafe where you can have lunch during our 90-minute visit. Also used as a filming-location for Outlander, this place gives you a unique insight into the lives and struggles of the Highland people.*(summer only) 

After lunch, we travel to the Dalwhinnie Whisky-Distillery, set almost 1,200ft above sea-level in the heart of the Cairngorms’ National Park. This picturesque distillery in beautiful surroundings produces one of the Classic Single-Malt Whiskies of Scotland. You’ll have the option of taking a 45-minute tour around this working distillery, followed by a short whisky-tasting experience.

The final stop on our 3-day adventure is in the Highland village of Dunkeld, which sits on the longest river in Scotland, the River Tay. You’ll take a short walk to the town’s beautiful Dunkeld Cathedral. This cathedral, with a history stretching back over 1,200 years, provides a final chance for photographs, before we depart for Edinburgh, arriving back in the city-centre around 6.00pm.

  Meeting Point Information

Departure: Deacon’s House Cafe, 304 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, Postcode: EH1 2PS. Check in for your tour will begin at 8:15am with your Driver Guide at the Bus Stop located outside the Deacon’s House Cafe, 304 Lawnmarket, and the bus will depart PROMPTLY at 8:30am.

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