Scotland's Northern Edge

5 Days

From £595pp

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  • The famous Stacks of Duncansby
  • Journey’s End signpost at John o’Groats
  • Summer gardens at the Castle of Mey
  • The magical Smoo Cave
  • Officially the best hot chocolate in the world at Cocoa Mountain

The sweep of Scotland’s northern edge is truly epic, a wildly beautiful frontier shaped by wind and sea over millions of years. We carve a course from east to west, tracing the rugged lines and unearthing the wonders of a breathtaking northern coast; from leaping salmon to the world’s best cup of cocoa — or so we’ve heard — they are manyfold.

Scotland’s extreme northern boundaries are not only a sight to behold, but a treat for all the senses. Imagine isolated hamlets set in rough, beautiful landscapes; harbourside towns soundtracked by the hum of passing boats and the cries of seabirds; warming drams of whisky and cups of cocoa consumed fireside in a Highland pub...

Join us on our tour of Scotland’s northern edge, and you’ll have to imagine no longer. Granted, charming port towns and pubs — not to mention whisky — are thankfully plentiful throughout the land, but go that extra mile, and you’re sure to be rewarded with unforgettable experiences. Beginning with a scenic coastal drive, we make our way to the most northerly point on the mainland: Dunnet Head. We explore the enormous Smoo Cave, and pay a visit to Cocoa Mountain, whose chocolates are as beautiful as their isolated location in the heart of the North-west Highlands Geo-Park. Then, it’s onto Loch Shin, whose falls are considered by many to be the best place to watch for Atlantic salmon making their legendary autumn leaps.

Add to this the history and mystery of Strathnaver, castles and capes, villages and museums, and you’ll soon find that Scotland’s northern edge is unique indeed... 

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Day 1

We depart from our designated pick-up points and head north, stopping en route for refreshments. We continue north by the scenic coastal road to Thurso and our accommodation at the St Clair Hotel.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 2

This morning, we visit Duncansby Head, the north-eastern tip of the Scottish mainland. Along the cliff top there are stunning views south to Thirle Door and the jagged rocks and arches known as the Stacks of Duncansby. Our next visit is to John O’ Groats, the landmark at the “end of the road”, the northernmost corner of Britain, 874 miles from Lands End. We continue to the Castle of Mey, former holiday home of the late Queen Mother. We continue on to Dunnet Head, with some of the most extensive views to be found anywhere in northern Scotland.

We return to the hotel in time for dinner.

Day 3

This morning, we set out on our journey across Scotland’s northern edge, to our first visit - Strathnaver Museum, Bettyhill – the museum takes you on a journey from the mystical past of prehistory to the vibrant culture of today. We travel to Tongue where we will we will stretch our legs and break for a lunchtime stop. The name Tongue has old Norse origins, and although the Norse people probably lived here between the 900 and 1200, nothing certain has been found of their settlement.

We continue to Kinlochbervie on the tip of the north west coastline. 

We arrive at the hotel in time for dinner.

Day 4

This morning, we travel back up the single track road to Keoldale, the starting point for our dramatic journey to Cape Wrath. On the way we pass an old tin schoolhouse, last used in the 1930s, and various buildings used by the MoD. On our return back to the other side of the Kyle of Durness, we move on to the village of Durness itself, where we will visit the beautiful old church graveyard of Balnakeil, home to the grave of the famous Gaelic poet Rob Don. We also visit the nearby Smoo Cave which has the largest entrance of any sea cave in the British Isles.

We return to the hotel in time for dinner.

Day 5

We leave our hotel and begin our homeward journey, travelling via Laxford Bridge, Loch More, Loch Shin and Lairg. In the 1950s a hydro-electric dam was constructed which raised the level of Loch Shin by over 30 feet and it now forms one of the major attractions of the area, complete with a spectacular salmon leap. Continuing via Bonar Bridge and Tain, we return back to our original pick-up points, where we expect to arrive in the late evening.

What's Included

  • 2 nights at the St Clair Hotel, Thurso and 2 nights at the Kinlochbervie Hotel – dinner, bed & breakfast
  • Comfortable coaching throughouts
  • Visits to Duncansby Head, John O’ Groats Museum, Castle of Mey, Cape Wrath, Balnakeil Churchyard, and Smoo Cave 
  • Services of a professional tour manager

Supplements per person

  • Single room supplement: £100.00
  • Insurance: £21.00 (under 65); £42.00 (65–74); £63.00 (75–90)

Rail/air travel and overnight accommodation in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Perth before or after the tour available on request

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Departures

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

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Departure points and times

Depart Return
Glasgow
(Millennium Hotel)
0715 2045
Edinburgh
(Edinburgh Marriott Hotel)
0830 1930
Dunfermline
(Fife College)
0900 1900
Kinross
(Moto Services)
0915 1845
Perth
(Canal Street)
0930 1830
Inverness
(Jury's Inn Hotel)
1430 1530
Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-up will be served by feeder coach and passengers will join/leave in Perth:
()
Montrose
(Railway Station)
0805 1955
Arbroath
(Railway Station)
0825 1935
Dundee
(Discovery Point)
0845 1915
Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-up will be served by feeder coach and passengers to/from Inverness:
()
Aberdeen
(Skene Street)
1130 1830