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Orkney & Scotland's Northern Coast 5-Day Tour

Highlights / General details Day 1: Depart Edinburgh heading west towards Stirling, passing Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. You also pass Doune Castle (set of Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”) before stopping in the small town of Callander for a refreshment stop. We now drive along the splendour of Loch Luibnaig, Loch Earn, Glen Ogle and Glen Dochart, as you travel north over the wild and remote Rannoch Moor into Glencoe. The stunning views and spectacular landscapes of our own super (extinct) volcano and scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. We continue north up the Great Glen to the mysterious beauty of Loch Ness, travelling the whole 23 miles of the famous Loch - plenty of time to try and spot “Nessie!” The evening in Inverness will be free for you to explore the ‘Capital of the Highlands’. Day 2: Today sees an early start, crossing over the Black Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle. From here you drive through the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery, with views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes and the chance to see wildlife such as Golden Eagles and red deer. At Scotland’s most northerly mainland village, John o’ Groats we board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago. It is a short drive to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall, where we stay for 2 nights. Visit Kirkwall’s magnificent Viking Cathedral and its historic winding streets. Day 3: Is your chance to explore this fantastic, ancient island; a land of contrasts where fertile green pastures are fringed by shores of golden sands washed by waters of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. You will visit the 5000 year old village of Skara Brae (older than the Pyramids of Egypt!), the mystical prehistoric stone circle at Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness. You stop in Stromness - one of Scotland’s most picturesque seaboard villages and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th Century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions. Then its back to Kirkwall for your 2nd night after what is sure to be a memorable day. Day 4: Is a relaxed start to the day, as you leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of our northern coastline. You then visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th Century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. From here you travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where you spend your last night’s stay on tour. Day 5: Leaving Ullapool behind you, you take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60m down into Corrieshalloch Gorge, before taking in the beautiful Loch Glascarnoch, on the way past the ‘Capital of the Highlands’ Inverness. You can then visit Culloden Moor, the site of The Battle of Culloden in 1746, one of the bloodiest events in our history and the last battle to have been fought on the British mainland, before taking a short drive to the ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns, made famous by Diana Gabaldon in the “Outlander” books. This prehistoric and stunning Bronze Age burial ground is one of the oldest in Scotland. From here you travel through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, hugging the Cairngorm Mountain Range. Lunch will be spent in these beautiful surroundings before travelling through big tree country of Perthshire, through the Kingdom of Fife, and back to Edinburg. Inclusion Transportation by top of the range Mercedes minicoach for a more personal experience with a maximum of 16 passengers on tour. Air Conditioning as standard. Services of a professional Rabbie's driver/guide. All ferry and bridge crossings. Rabbie's Discount Card - money off restaurants, shopping and attractions. Exclusion Gratuities, Meals and refreshments, Entrances to all Visitor Attractions. Hours of operation Wednesdays: May 4 - September 28. (Except June 22) Fridays: April 8 – October 14.(Except June 17) Sundays: May 1 – September 25.(Except June 19) Location This tour will depart from 6 Waterloo Place, Edinburg and will return to Waverley Bridge. Additional Information Clothing: Because we believe in time off the bus and give clients the opportunities to take nature walks, we recommend to bring suitable clothing and footwear on the tours. Scotland can be a wet place! Winter can be a spectacular time to travel around the Highlands. Sometimes the routes we take are altered a little depending on the conditions and tours may return about half an hour earlier. In winter (November to March), some castles are not open but can be viewed from outside. Participant restrictions No children under 5 are allowed in this tour. Policies If you are reserving for a single passenger, you must reserve a Single room. Double room can be booked ONLY if you are reserving for 2 or more. Child rate applies to children ages 5-15, based on 1 child sharing a room with parent(s) or 2 children in a twin room. **All information requested must be supplied or booking is subject to automatic cancellation**