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Scotland Virtuoso Exceptional Experience 2017

Scotland Exceptional Experience


Accommodation Includes breakfast, service & tax:
  • 2 nights Loch Lomond Cameron House – Junior Suite 
  • 2 nights Fort William Inverlochy Castle - Superior
  • 2 nights Nairn Boath House - Superior Lake View
  • 2 nights Edinburgh Prestonfield House - Lord Provost Suite

Transport:
  • 1 Airport transfer on last day
  • 8 full days with a Driver Guide
  • Evening transfers on last day – Charles MacLean Dinner

Activities & Admissions Include:
  • Spa Experience at Cameron House 
  • Dinner at Cameron House on one night
  • Private Seaplane Tour 
  • Segway Safari
  • Wildlife & Scenic tour by local in 4x4
  • Talisker Distillery – Private tour and tasting
  • Ferry to Isle of Skye
  • Private Cruise on Loch Ness – Including lunch and pied piper 
  • Dinner at Boath House on one night
  • Tour of Royal Yacht Britania – can be arranged privately if required 
  • Lunch in the Royal Deck Tea Room
  • Half day tutored tasting and insider access to Glenkinchie Distillery


This is just a taster of what we can offer – everything we do is customised, so this can be tailored to suit your individual requirements.



ITINERARY

Day 1 Arrive Glasgow 

You will be met in the arrivals hall by your driver guide.

An overview of the main attractions of Glasgow. See the red sandstone Victorian buildings and some of the delightful parks. Pass Glasgow Cathedral and the River Clyde, once famous for its shipbuilding industry. Visit the extensive Museum of Transport featuring many Scottish inventions. 

Explore Glasgow City before heading to Loch Lomond
 
On arrival at your hotel, enjoy a relaxing 2 hour spa experience to recover from your flight.

Relax the body and mind with a selection of thermal and hydro experiences, originating from a number of cultures dating back thousands of years, providing ‘hands off’ therapies to cleanse and rejuvenate – Option to add on treatments.

Enjoy dinner at your hotel tonight – drinks payable direct.

Overnights at Cameron House  - Junior Suite DBB


Day 2 Touring with a Difference 

This morning enjoy a private seaplane tour, taking in the really spectacular rugged scenery and the coastal islands of the west.
     
Flying at heights between 500 and 5,000 feet the route will take you down the Clyde Estuary past Greenock and Dunoon then you turn South towards the town of Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, the ancient stronghold of Scottish kings. Look out for Toward Castle with its fascinating second world war history and the 12th century Rothesay Castle with its moat and drawbridge.

Views of Arran and the Mull of Kintyre should be available as you make your way past Loch Striven towards the Kyles of Bute and the village of Tighnabruaich – with great visibility you can even see Northern Ireland!

Your flight will then turn north up the eastern coast of Loch Fyne towards Otter Ferry on the Cowal peninsula and at this point the islands of Jura and Mull can usually be seen to the West. Look out for Minard Castle on the west coast of Loch Fyne.

Approaching Tarbet on Loch Lomond the flight swings southward to give you a magnificent view of Ben Lomond and a low level cruise down the world’s most famous loch towards the islands to the south.

Just a reminder that your Captain may have to vary the route on the day depending on the weather conditions – however, you can cover a great deal of ground in 45 minutes of flying – over 120 miles in fact ! No matter what the cloud base or visibility prepare yourself for a fantastic experience.

After lunch take control of your own exciting Segway and take a ride around the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is a national park in Scotland centred on Loch Lomond, and includes several ranges of hills, the Trossachs being the most famous. The National Park boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the world from the breathtaking mountains and glens of the Trossachs to the vast tranquil beauty of Loch Lomond, mainland UK’s largest body of water.
 
Try your hand at these fabulous, funky off road 2x2 machines - Segways.
Enjoy a 1-hour guided safari and experience the real joy of the Segway.

Overnights at Cameron House  - Junior Suite BB

Day 3 Tour to Fort William

Fort William is the most important town in Scotland south of Inverness, west of Stirling, and north of Glasgow. It forms the natural centre of a very large area and the focus of road and rail routes. Most visitors to the Highlands are likely to find themselves here sooner or later.  The West Highland Museum in the centre of the town is excellent; and a couple of miles miles west at Corpach, on the Mallaig road, you can admire Neptune's Staircase of locks on the Caledonian Canal (and also admire some of the best available views of Ben Nevis while you are at it). Consider stopping at Glenfinnan Station for a coffee - this is the Hogwarts Express line of Harry Potter fame.

This afternoon enjoy a wildlife & scenic tour by a local in a 4x4.
    
You will be taken through Achnacarry estate, along the side of Loch Arkaig in a 4x4 vehicle where your guide will tell you about local points of interest. The area is steeped in history, with connections to the Clan Cameron, Bonnie Prince Charlie & The Commandos.

If you want to gain a closer look at the wildlife, we can also arrange a camera stalking tour where you will be taken up the hill in an Argo, then walk the ridges until some deer, are spotted.  The professional stalker will take you in closer (which usually requires crawling and\or sliding) so you can get the perfect photograph without the deer ever knowing you were there.

Overnight Inverlochy Castle - Superior BB


Day 4 Explore Isle of Skye

Explore the Isle of Skye and the very scenic road to the Isles through Maillaig. Follow the coast north from Arisaig to Mallaig - "The Silver Sands of Morar" - is one of the most attractive in the country and provides great views down Loch Shiel. 

The ferry from Mallaig lands you at Armadale, on Skye's Sleat Peninsula, a fascinating area, which comes complete with the Clan Donald Centre. 
 
Head up to The Talisker Distillery and lunch in The Old Inn at Talisker (lunch payable direct), followed by a private whisky tour and tasting. 

The only distillery on the Isle of Skye, it is set on the shores of Loch Harport with dramatic views of the Cuillins. This alluring, sweet, full-bodied single malt is so easy to enjoy, and like Skye itself, so hard to leave.

Back to the mainland via the new bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh and follow the north shore of Loch Alsh before crossing the arm of Loch Long and following the shore of Loch Duich. On the shore of Loch Long you find the tiny settlement of Dornie with, nearby, Eilean Donan Castle: one of Scotland's three most photographed castles (with Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle).   Return to Inverlochy for the night.

The day will be an hour to drive to Mallaig, a 30 minute ferry ride out to Skye and then just under 3 hours back to Inverlochy.  This does not include stops.  
Overnight Inverlochy Castle - Superior BB

Day 5 Tour to Nairn by way of Fort Augustus and Loch Ness

Fort Augustus. Situated on the most southern tip of Loch Ness on the Great Glen Way, this historic and scenic village is a popular tourist destination.

Lying on the impressive 60 mile long Caledonian Canal, halfway between Inverness and Fort William, the village offers spectacular views down Loch Ness and is a paradise for keen walkers and cyclists with many beautiful walks around the town and the most popular of them, the Great Glen Way, passes right through the village.

No trip to the Scottish Highlands is complete without a visit to the beautiful and mystic Loch Ness and there is no better way to see the Loch than on a boat trip.

Enjoy a private cruise on Loch Ness with Lunch 
    
Whether you cruise to the more popular tourist destinations such as the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle or some of the lesser known but equally beautiful spots such as Dores Bay, you will enjoy the best of Highland hospitality from beginning to end.

A good piper brings something special to any event and Dougie is an excellent piper. An ex-Scots Guardsman who takes immense pride in his turnout and bearing, Dougie is will play his bagpipes and talk about their history and manufacture. 

He will pipe you aboard and join us for a cruise to play for you and tell you a little about his craft.

Loch Ness is Scotland's most famous lake. It runs for 23 miles (37 km) along the natural geological cleft that stretches from Fort William in the west of the Scottish Highlands, to Inverness in the north. 

About a mile wide at most places it is the purported home of the Loch Ness monster, a mythical creature, which dwells in the Loch and is occasionally spotted by locals and passers-by. The sightings claimed lend credence to the remote possibility of a group of survivors of the long-extinct plesiosaurs (which lived up to around 65 million years ago).

Enjoy dinner at your hotel tonight – drinks payable direct

Overnight Boath House –  Superior Lake View DBB

Day 6 Explore Inverness

There are various walking trails from Inverness, one of the most popular is the Dava Way from Grantown-on-Spey which finishes in Forres and is 24 miles long. This trails Victorian highland railway origins are seen in the impressive 7 – arch viaduct over the River Divie and the former trackside buildings along the route. A new lease of life has been breathed into the site of the railway sidings at Dunphail, which is now a community greenspace, and picnic site. Close by the path, is the Dallas Dhu Distillery – built in 1898 and mothballed in 1983. It is owned by historic Scotland. For further information, go to: www.davaway.org.uk 

Nearby sites to Inverness includes the battlefields of Culloden and Cawdor Castle. Shakespeare's Macbeth has ensured that the name of Cawdor Castle is almost universally known. Shakespeare tended not to let historical detail get in the way of a good story, so the fact that Cawdor Castle was built more than 300 years after Macbeth died has not stopped the two forever being tied together in popular imagination.    The magnificent castle stands on the east bank of the steep-sided valley of the Allt Dearg about five miles south west of the town of Nairn. The castle itself has an unusual layout and a remarkable depth of character: and following recent renovation is in superb condition.    

A mile to the south east lies a very different link with the past, every bit as evocative as Culloden and in many ways more tangible, despite dating back to around 2000BC.  The route to Clava Cairns takes you down some very minor roads and close to a spectacular railway viaduct en route to the car park for what are properly called the Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Balnuaran of Clava.  They are part of a line of seven dotted along the south side of the valley of the River Nairn.    

Other local sites include The Highland Aviation Museum which is for anyone interested in post-war military aviation. One of the particularly nice things about the Highland Aviation Museum is that visitors are actively encouraged to get "hands on".

Overnight Boath House –  Superior Lake View BB

Day 7 Tour to Edinburgh

North of Pitlochry is the Killiecrankie Heritage Centre with stunning forest walks to the Tay River. You can view 'soldiers leap' dating from the Battle of Killiecrankie which is nearby. 
   
Pitlochry, home of the Eradour Distillery, has a lovely main street with many shops and many nearby places to visit.  Eradour is a privately owned single Highland malt whisky (the others almost all belong to the conglomerate Diageo) and Scotland's smallest distillery, producing a mere 90000 litres per annum, and yet one of the most highly regarded whiskies in Scotland.  

To Scone Palace at Perth.  Scone is a name that has a deep resonance for anyone with any interest in Scottish history. With a story that dates back the better part of 2000 years, Scone has served as the capital of a Pictish Kingdom, a religious centre, and the site of the coronation of a series of Scottish monarchs. Scotland's story is an incredibly turbulent one, and much of that story featured Scone in one way or another.

Then finally on to Edinburgh city

Welcome to Edinburgh, the inspiring capital of Scotland, where centuries of history meet a vibrant, cosmopolitan city in an unforgettable setting. 
 
The Palace of Holyroodhouse - This is the official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty the Queen and was once home to Mary Queen of Scots. The Palace stands at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. The Royal apartments are used by the Queen for state ceremonies and official entertaining. The new Queen’s Gallery was opened recently by Her Majesty. The Gallery provides a state-of-the-art facility to enable exhibitions of the most delicate works of art from the Royal Collection to be seen in Scotland for the first time.  As the palace is a working royal palace, opening arrangements may change at short notice. 

A striking addition to the Old Town Skyline, The Scottish Parliament is architecturally stunning, set among beautiful public gardens.

The Royal Mile is the famous cobbled street linking the Castle with The Palace of Holyroodhouse and passing St. Giles High Kirk, John Knox House, The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, Camera Obscura and many other museums and historic buildings of interest.

Edinburgh Castle. Scotland's top visitor attraction, stands high upon an extinct volcano. See the Scottish Crown Jewels and Stone of Destiny in the Castle's Royal Apartments. Birthplace of James VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, he became the first Stuart King of England after the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Look for the tiny St. Margaret's Chapel, Edinburgh's oldest building. Listen for the One O'clock Gun, fired daily from Mills Mount Battery. 

Overnight at Prestonfield House - Lord Provost Suite BB

Day 8 Special Last Day 

Kick start your last day with a tour of Royal yacht Britania (can also be done privately). Walking on board Britannia is like stepping back into the 1950’s.  Discover what life was like on board The Queen's floating Royal residence. You can follow in the footsteps of world leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Rajiv Gandhi.

You'll receive a truly warm welcome at Britannia's Visitor Centre in Ocean Terminal, which has free parking. Before you step aboard, learn about the history of Royal Yachts, view displays and historical photographs of Britannia's fascinating past.
   
Enjoy delicious, and freshly prepared, home-made food, stunning views and a warm welcome at The Royal Deck Tea Room for lunch.

Previously where the Royal Family enjoyed drinks receptions, sumptuous buffets, or played deck games. Now you can treat yourself with speciality teas, coffees and lunch in spectacular surroundings.

Later meet with Charles MacLean for a half day tutored whisky tasting

Your host, one of the founders of The Scotch Whisky Society, is the top world expert on Scotch whisky, about which he has published eight books to date, including the standard work on whisky - The Gazetteer of Scotch Whisky. He is also cousin of The MacLean chieftain, and international ambassador for the Scottish Distillers.

He will take you for a very special insiders access tour of the Glenkinchie Distillery. Glenkinchie is a classic lowland distillery, set in an idyllic landscape of rolling barley fields. The local Lammermuir Hills provide the water for our distillery, producing the light, fruity, dry Edinburgh Malt.
 
Then you will be taken to his home for a tutored whisky tasting, where you will have the chance to sample some of the world’s rarest whiskies. 

Enjoy dinner tonight with Charles, at the members only Scotch Malt Whisky Society - drinks payable direct

Overnight at Prestonfield House - Lord Provost Suite

Day 9 Depart - Private Transfer to Edinburgh Airport

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