Join us on a whisky trail that takes us from Scapa Flow in Orkney to the heart of Speyside, with no fewer than seven distilleries involved. The carefully chosen tastings provide a wide variety of styles, from the peaty notes of Highland Park to the honeyed tones of Dalwhinnie, while a series of scenic excursions highlight the best of the Highlands. The tour will appeal both to whisky connoisseurs and those who are just getting to know the manifold delights of the ‘water of life’.

We begin with a long but highly scenic journey up the ‘backbone’ of Scotland, all the way to our hotel in Thurso in Caithness, where the welcome glass of whisky will be very welcome indeed! Next morning we take the ferry across the Pentland Firth to Orkney and the first of our distillery tours and tastings at the Scapa Distillery in Kirkwall. In the afternoon we contrast and compare at Highland Park where we enjoy the evocatively named ‘Viking Soul’ tour and double tasting.

Back on the mainland we turn south and head for the Glen Ord distillery near Inverness for a vertical tasting of three expressions of the Singleton of Glen Ord. The afternoon is a relaxed affair, with a cruise on Loch Ness and a wander round the ruins of Castle Urquhart before we transfer to our Speyside Hotel.

Over the next two we days we criss-cross the Spey valley with distillery tours and tastings at Cardhu, Glenlivet and Strathisla, as well as visit to the Speyside Cooperage and a trip on the Dufftown to Keith heritage railway.

Heading home we soak up the atmosphere of the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore before soaking up our last few drops of the amber fluid at the Dalwhinnie Distillery, not far from the headwaters of the great river that gives its name to this wondrous part of Scotland.

What's included?

  •  Accommodation
  •  Services of a professional tour manager
  •  Comfortable coach travel throughout
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary

Today's Price

Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £125

Tour highlights:

  • Sailing into Scapa Flow on the trail of Orkney’s liquid gold
  • Blind tasting at Cardhu Distillery
  • Rolling out the barrels at the Speyside Cooperage
  • Cruise of Loch Ness and visit to Urquhart Castle
  • Nostalgic train ride of the Keith and Dufftown Railway

Tour details

Dates 9 October 2019 - 14 October 2019
Duration 6 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £100 Single supplement: £125 Balance due by 17 July 2019
Tour code BWWNS19A

Call for availability

9 October 2019: Itinerary

We depart by coach from our local departure points and travel north via the A9 and Inverness, stopping en-route for refreshments (not included).  In the late afternoon we arrive at the comfortable Station Hotel, Thurso, where we are welcomed with a glass of local whisky. Dinner is served in the evening and, as with dinner every night, a glass of wine and a whisky digestif is included.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Station Hotel, Thurso

Following breakfast this morning we depart for nearby Gills’ Bay and catch the 09.30 Pentland Ferries service to St Margaret’s Hope in the Orkney Islands. The crossing takes just an hour but is full of interest as we cross the Pentland Firth, with its eddies and whirlpools. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as porpoises, seals and dolphins as well as the abandoned gun towers and lookout posts that guarded the entrance to the strategically important naval base of Scapa Flow. We drive on to Kirkwall and visit the Scapa Distillery, where we will enjoy a tour which includes three tastings and a dram drawn straight from the cask. Scapa’s whisky is crafted by a team of five dedicated artisans and Master Distiller, using traditional methods perfected over generations. Scapa is a surprisingly smooth and honeyed single malt whisky, a unique tasting profile for an island malt.

Following our tour we have free time to explore Kirkwall at leisure and have lunch (not included).  Places of interest include St. Magnus Cathedral - one of Europe’s greatest architectural masterpieces, its red and yellow sandstone still vibrant after 861 years.

In the afternoon we visit the Highland Park Distillery, which uses the same traditional methods of production as it did 200 years ago. We will join the ‘Viking Soul’ tour, which includes two tastings of Highland Park whiskies, which will be noticeably more smoky and peaty than the Scapa and perhaps more typical of an island malt.

In the late afternoon we return by ferry to the mainland and travel back to our hotel, where dinner will be served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Station Hotel, Thurso

After breakfast we will check out of our hotel and turn south towards Inverness. Our first visit today is to the distillery at Glen Ord on the edge of the Black Isle. Our tour of the distillery includes a tutored nosing and tasting of the 12, 15 and 18 year old Singleton of Glen Ord. A product of the White Burn’s water and the Black Isle’s barley, Glen Ord is a beautifully rich single malt with the vibrancy of dark berries, cherries and blackcurrants.

After some free time and an opportunity (not included) for lunch in Inverness, we enjoy a cruise on Loch Ness, the largest lake in the British Isles by volume, and famous as the home of the monster known as ‘Nessie’. While she is more likely to be a carefully cultivated myth rather than a prehistoric relic, keep an eye out just in case… We will also visit Urquhart Castle, one of the most photographed locations in Scotland.

We then continue to our hotel in Nethybridge in Speyside, where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Nethybridge Hotel

Following breakfast we set out on the first of two full days in Speyside, arguably the heart and soul of the Scottish whisky industry. Our first visit is to Cardhu Distillery where the customary tour of the distillery is followed by a chance to demonstrate your whisky tasting skills and participate in a nosing and tasting of three whiskies. To add to the experience you will be provided with a scorecard to smell and taste the whiskies blind (don’t worry, you won’t actually be blindfolded!). The winner who guesses all three whiskies correctly will win bragging rights and be added to the hall of fame. You will also receive a complimentary Cardhu dram glass.

We continue to Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens. Home of the Macpherson-Grants since 1546, the castle is filled with their family memorabilia and set in magnificent grounds between the Spey and the Avon. The superb rock garden, with its tumbling spring water, was laid out in 1937; the walled garden was redesigned to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the castle in 1996. Lunch is available here (not included).

We conclude today with a visit to the home one of the great names of Speyside whisky, The Glenlivet, at its remote location in Strath Avon. We will learn how the founder, George Smith, established the first licensed distillery in the parish of Glenlivet and defended it from smugglers, see the unique lantern stills that help shape the spirit’s flavour and taste the single malt straight from the cask.

We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Nethybridge Hotel

This morning, after breakfast, we discover the secrets behind one of the key components of whisky production as we visit the Speyside Cooperage. Since 1947 the cooperage has produced the finest casks from the best American oak, using traditional methods and tools. Each year it produces and repairs nearly 150,000 casks used by distilleries in Speyside as well as throughout Scotland and the rest of the world. Our tour takes us through the life cycle of the cask, before watching the highly skilled coopers at work.

In days gone by whisky was transported by rail from Speyside and we will enjoy as taste of these days as we take a ride on the heritage railway line from Dufftown to Keith. They used to say “Rome was built on seven hills; Dufftown was built on seven stills” and at one time the rail traffic in and out of Dufftown would have been considerable. The line between Keith and Elgin closed under the Beeching cuts but the Keith and Dufftown Railway operates an 11 mile stretch of track using DMUs dating from the late 1950s.

On arrival in Keith there will be an opportunity for lunch (not included) before we visit the nearby Strathisla Distillery, the oldest operating distillery in the Highlands and the home of ‘Chivas Regal’. The tour includes a tasting of four whiskies and reveals the intricate relationship between the single malt and the world famous Chivas Regal blends.

Dinner is served back at our hotel in the evening.

Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner

Hotel: Nethybridge Hotel

After breakfast we check out of our hotel and begin our homeward journey, travelling up the Spey Valley. Our first stop is at village of Newtonmore where we visit the Highland Folk Museum, which brings to life the domestic and working conditions of earlier Highland peoples. Visitors to this open air living history Museum learn how our Scottish Highland ancestors lived, how they built their homes, how they tilled the soil and how they dressed, in a friendly and welcoming environment. An award winning visitor attraction, the Museum not only encapsulates human endeavour and development in Highland life from the 1700s to the present day, but offers an opportunity to explore a beautiful natural setting, home to red squirrels and tree creepers. Part of the museum was used as a location in the TV series Outlander. Lunch is available here (not included).

In the afternoon we enjoy for the last time the sights, sounds and smells of a working distillery as we visit Dalwhinnie Distillery, set high in the hills (1164ft above sea level) not far from the source of the Spey. The site of the distillery was chosen for its access to clear spring water and abundant peat from the surrounding bogs. The famous Highland Single Malt Whisky is renowned for its gentle flavours accentuated with notes of heather honey, citrus, vanilla and sweet malt. Our tour includes tastings of two single malts together with some specially selected chocolate which combines beautifully with the whisky.

So with the last lingering taste of whisky and chocolate in our mouths it is time to head for home, with arrival at original departure points due in the afternoon and evening.

Meals include: Breakfast

9 October 2019: Additional Info

9 October 2019: Accommodation

Station Hotel serves fine Scottish meat cooked in a traditional style. There is a good selection of drinks including several whiskies. Full English breakfast is included in your room rate.

The hotel has welcoming, friendly staff.


This traditional highland manor hotel is set amidst the scenic splendour of the Cairngorm mountains. An excellent base for sightseeing and touring the Highlands of Scotland. Activites on the doorstep include Golf, Fishing, Climbing, Cycling, Water Sports, Walking, skiing, Horse Riding, Bird Watching, Tennis & Bowling.

9 October 2019: Enquiries

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