Day 1: Following your home taxi collection, we travel north to the Gretna Hall Hotel for our overnight stay, arriving in plenty of time to settle in before our 3 course meal.
Day 2: After breakfast we travel through ever changing scenery into the highlands for our one night stay at the Royal Hotel in Ullapool. Newly renovated, the hotel offers a combination of modern and historic, providing all the contemporary necessities in a unique location.
Day 3: We board the mid-morning Caledonian Macbrayne ferry at Ullapool, for the crossing to Stornoway, which takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. On arrival in Lewis we will transfer the short distance to our comfortable accommodation at the Cabarfeidh Hotel for our two night stay on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis.
Day 4: Full-day tour of Lewis with an experienced island guide. We will travel to the west coast of Lewis for a visit to the 5,000 year old Standing Stones of Callanish. Undoubtedly the most remarkable antiquity in the Western Isles, this collection of almost 50 stones forms a well-marked megalithic avenue, comprising 19 monoliths, ending in a circle of 13 stones, with a great cairn at the centre. Entry to the Visitor Centre is included. From here we move on to the Black Houses at Gearrannan, typical of the crofting settlements which until relatively recently were found throughout the Western Isles. We will also see the imposing Carloway Broch, a fortified tower dating back over 2,000 years. (The coach for
this excursion will be provided by a third party as our driver is on rest day.)
Day 5: After breakfast we check out of the hotel and travel south to Harris, which in contrast to the rolling moorland of Lewis is more mountainous – this is apparent within minutes of crossing the ‘border’ into Harris with a magnificent mountain vista to the right as the road climbs over the hill. We visit Tarbert, home to the Harris Tweed Shop and the Isle of Harris Distillery There are further outstanding views as we travel along the coast, including the island of Taransay of ‘Castaway’ fame and the wonderful beaches at Horgabost, Borve and Scarasta. Continuing to the southern end of Harris we visit St Clement’s Church at Rodel, built on top of an earlier structure in the 16th century by Alasdair Crotach, 8th chief of the Macleods of Harris and Dun Bheagan. The church tombs are among the most spectacular in Scotland. We then take the ferry from Leverburgh to Berneray on North Uist, and continue over a series of causeways (keeping a careful eye out for otters) to Benbecula, the ‘stepping stone’ between the Uists. We are based for the next two nights at the Dark Island Hotel.
Day 6: After breakfast today, we cross the causeway to South Uist, the second largest island in the Western Isles and a stronghold of Gaelic culture and traditions. Included here is a visit to the Kildonan Museum. The museum has at its heart a collection of items from and about South Uist collected by a local Parish Priest, Father John Morrison, during the 1950s and 1960s. It also sets out the background to an island that is incredibly rich in archeological remains dating from the bronze age to the Viking era. Some of the exhibits are set out thematically: tools from a blacksmith's shop for example. Others are contained within the rooms of a recreated croft house. We continue to the little island of Eriskay, just three miles long and two miles wide, with a great sandy beach known as Prince Charlie’s Bay – Bonnie Prince Charlie having landed here in July 1745.
Day 7: After breakfast we make our way to the ferry terminal in Lochmaddy for our 1 hour and 45 minute to Uig. Wonderful scenery unfolds today, with high mountain tops and sweeping terrain as far as the eye can see as we head for Fort William; one of the major resorts of the Highlands, set on the shore of Loch Linnhe and in the shadow of the mighty Ben Nevis. We stay for one night at the Ben Nevis Hotel in Fort William itself. Dinner this evening will be a three course meal, followed by tea/coffee.
Day 8: We travel to our next hotel, the Gretna Hall Hotel in Gretna Green for our 1 night stay. Built as a manor house in 1710, and later that century converted to a coaching inn it became a haven for aristocratic runaways desperate to take advantage of Scotland's lenient marriage laws. This majestic manor building, over 300 years old, sits up high overlooking the village of Gretna Green: a modern hotel with a historic twist.
Day 9: We travel homeward bound to Norfolk, where our door to door service will be waiting to return you home.
Single Supplement £107pp
Tour Reference AWE4001