Skye and the Summer Isles 2018
Can any two place names evoke the joys of Scotland’s great outdoors more succinctly than Skye and the Summer Isles? The former, where mist-wreathed mountain peaks punctuate the landscape, is pure drama. The latter? Pure charm. Join us on tour and get to know them both.
To think of Skye and the Summer Isles is to conjure up visions of vast and open landscapes, welcoming locals, blossoming gardens, and an almost limitless clarity of light. But the beauty of these destinations goes well beyond anything words alone can describe: for a real taste of the sublime, you simply must come and visit them for yourself.
Calming coastlines, remote reserves, brilliant black mountains and romantic boat rides are all there for us to enjoy first-hand, creating extraordinary experiences and memories to last a lifetime.
Take, for example, a sunlit morning cruise aboard the fittingly regal ‘Summer Queen’, with the chance of spying a shy grey seal at the surface. The breathtaking scenery of Corrieshalloch Gorge, and the thunderous Falls of Measach, the dramatic culmination of the river that carved it. The lush sub-tropical eden of Inverewe Gardens, where we are at leisure to admire plush rhododendrons and constellations of olearia.
With a population of just five people between them, the Summer Isles can feel wild, isolated, and utterly thrilling to the first-time visitor. Skye, while the largest of the Inner Hebrides, still revels in the sense of being far-flung from the rest of the world. Bring both together, and you have the makings of an unforgettable trip.
We depart from our designated pick-up points, passing through some magnificent scenery as we approach Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach. The breathtaking mile-long gorge where the River Droma plunges over the falls is quite spectacular. There are two footpaths, one which takes a gradual climb down to the suspension bridge and over to the viewing platform. The other is a circular walk along the top of the reserve offering stunning views along Strath Broom towards Ullapool, descending to join Lady Fowler’s Fern Walk towards the suspension bridge.
We continue to the Royal Hotel, Ullapool where dinner will be served in the evening.
This morning, we depart for Tarbet to catch a ferry to Handa Island which we will be free to explore at leisure. As we walk round the island, look out for seabirds such as guillemots, razorbills, great and arctic skuas to name but a few. In addition to the birdlife, there are also the archaeological remains of an old village which was inhabited until 1847 and a profusion of interesting wild flowers. After spending around three hours on the island, we will catch the ferry back to Tarbet to join our coach and return to our hotel.
Dinner is served at the hotel in the evening.
After breakfast, we head out on a Summer Isles Cruise. As we head out of Ullapool sailing down the centre of Loch Broom, keep a look out for Mussel Bay where you can often see a colony of Atlantic Seals basking on the rocks. Sailing to the Summer Isles themselves, we will visit Cathedral Cave where we can see the shags and cormorants nesting inside. Passing through the islands, we will arrive at Tanera Mhor, the only inhabited island within the group. We then weave our way back to Ullapool, where the afternoon is leisure.
We return to our hotel in time for dinner.
This morning, we check out of the hotel and head toward our next stop, Skye. Along the way we visit Inverewe House and Gardens, unquestionably one of the most outstanding gardens in the country. The northern road into Inverewe is spectacular — famous gardens do not always live up to their reputations but it would be hard to imagine anyone failing to be excited by Inverewe, providing colour and interest throughout the year. After lunch, we continue our journey passing the beautiful Loch Carron and Plockton and arrive at Skye in time for dinner at our Hotel.
After breakfast, we take a short ferry crossing from Sconser to the island of Raasay. We begin with a tour to the northern end of the island: highlights include the picturesque ruin of 15th century Brochel Castle, once an impressive structure which was impregnable from the sea. We take the ferry back to Sconser, before stopping in Kyleakin where we are met by a key holder to Eilean Ban, the last home of author and naturalist Gavin Maxwell – is now a museum with many interesting mementoes of his time spent there.
Dinner is served in our hotel this evening.
After breakfast, we depart for Dunvegan Castle, the ancient home of the chiefs of the Clan MacLeod. Following our visit here we take a scenic drive around Trotternish, Skye’s most northerly peninsula, which contains within its narrow confines a barren, haunting environment studded with fantastic basaltic formations and ancient settlements. We then spend some time in the island’s chief town and port, Portree. White and colour-washed houses ring the harbour to create the epitome of a Hebridean port. We also visit the Aros Centre, an arts and heritage centre with information, shops and forest walks.
We return to our hotel this evening where dinner is served.
After breakfast we depart for the Sleat peninsula, the ‘Garden of Skye’, with a gentler, more verdant landscape than the wilder north of the island. We visit Armadale Castle and the Museum of the Isles, set in the heart of a 20,000 acre Highland estate. Afterwards, we take the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig, and enjoy sea air and views of the neighbouring Small Isles of Rum, Eigg and Muck. Travelling through the rugged countryside of Lochaber, we travel past famous landmarks including the viaduct at Glenfinnan. Then, we carry on through bleak Glencoe, arriving back at our original pick-up points this evening.
- Six nights’ dinner (with wine), bed and breakfast: three nights at the Royal Hotel, Ullapool and three Cuillin Hills Hotel, Portree
- Three lunches included
- All coaching and ferry transfers in Scotland
- Visits to Handa Island, Inverewe Gardens and House Staffa, the Isle of Raasay and Dunvegan Castle
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Porterage at the hotels
- Gratuities (driver and tour manager)
- Bottle of mineral water each day
Supplements per person
Single room: £195.00
Travel and overnight accommodation before or after the tour available on request
2018 Insurance Prices
As part of our booking conditions, our travellers must have adequate insurance protection for any holidays overseas but we strongly recommend that you are covered for any of our tours. Our travellers are welcome to take out their own insurance policy, providing that we have the details of this before departure. Alternatively, we can provide our own recommended single-trip travel insurance for all holidays, please see the most upto date prices below:
Under 65, from £18.00 | 65-74, from £35.00 | 75 and over, from £52.00
Under 65, from £32.00 | 65-74, from £64.00 | 75 and over, from £96.00
Prices on application