Scotland evokes images of historic castles, tartans, highland heather, misty lochs, whisky, bagpipes, and a truly fascinating history. This spring, we are delighted to offer an outstanding journey through this storied land. Our trip is scheduled to coincide with the annual Atholl Gathering so that we can attend their Highland Games held at historic Blair Castle. This unrivalled spectacle will give us the opportunity to witness a unique Highland tradition that has persisted for generations.
We have organized an outstanding team of experts to lead our trip, guaranteeing that this will be memorable experience. Our tour will be led by expert Scottish Blue Badge Guide Ken Hanley, whose passion for Scottish culture and history is contagious. Also accompanying us on this program will be the Honorable Hope Vere Anderson, Chieftan of the Anderson Clan, who was instrumental in organizing several exclusive events just for us. We have also invited Edwin C. Bearss, Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, to join us on this trip as our special guest.
Day 1, May 14 Individual departures from the United States.
STAFF FLIGHTS: Guest Historian Ed Bearss & Tour Manager Marty Gane are booked on British Airways flight # 216 (codeshare with US Airways) departing Washington Dulles Airport at 6:30 pm and connecting in Heathrow to British Airways flight #1434 that arrives in Edinburgh at 9:15 am on May 15.
Day 2, May 15 Individual arrivals from the USA this morning.
The balance of the afternoon is at leisure. This evening, meet our host, Hope Vere Anderson and Ken Hanley, our Scottish Blue Badge Guide at our special welcome dinner at the Society of the Antiquaries Scotland. Both Ken and Hope will accompany us throughout the tour. Overnight Premier Inn, Haymarket, Edinburgh
Day 3, May 16 Edinburgh
Today we will explore Edinburgh Castle, meet a curator on our tour of the National Museum of Scotland, and enjoy a private tour of Scottish Parliament. We have arranged a special guest speaker to discuss Scottish politics and the movement for Scottish Independence. Overnight Premier Inn, Haymarket, Edinburgh
Day 4, May 17 Edinburgh
After breakfast, a member of Scottish nobility will lead us on a private tour of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty The Queen’s Official Scottish Residence. Then we will drive to the world-famous Rosslyn Chapel, where we will be met by Professor Ian Robertson the leading academic expert on Rosslyn for a private guided talk about the history and myths of this unique architectural marvel, made world famous when featured in the film “The Da Vinci Code." We will proceed to Leith Docks for an in-depth tour of The Royal Yacht Britannia followed by afternoon tea on the Royal Deck. Overnight Premier Inn, Haymarket, Edinburgh
Day 5, May 18 Battle of Stirling Bridge
We will travel to Falkirk to see a section of the Roman fortifications constructed in 149 AD and the fascinating "Falkirk Wheel," an ingenious rotating boat lift that connects two canals. Continue to the lovely town of Stirling where we will see the site of the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297) featured in the movie Braveheart. We will also visit the William Wallace Monument and tour the stunning Stirling Castle perched high upon a rocky mount. Overnight Dunblane Hydro, Dunblane
Day 6, May 19 Stirling – Battle of Bannockburn – Fort William
Today we will learn about the Battle of Bannockburn (1314) with a visit to the brand new visitor center. Here in June 1314, Robert the Bruce defeated a much larger English army under Edward II, confirming the re-establishment of an independent Scottish monarchy. We proceed to Fort William for a 3-night stay. Overnight Premier Inn, Fort William
Day 7 , May 20 Island of Iona – Neptune’s Staircase
We will take a full day excursion by coach and ferry to the island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides, where St. Columba brought Christianity to Scotland in 563. According to tradition, 48 early Scottish kings including Macbeth are interred in the monastery’s ancient burial ground and the Book of Kells may have been produced here in the 700s. Members of the Iona community will host a special lunch for us. On return to our hotel, we will see Neptune’s Staircase, comprised of eight locks on the Caledonian Canal, it is the longest staircase lock in Britain. Overnight Premier Inn, Fort William
Day 8, May 21 Glencoe Massacre – Glenfinnan Monument
We begin the day with a visit to Glencoe Visitor Centre where we will hear the heart-wrenching story of the Glencoe Massacre. We will continue to the shores of Loch Shiel to see the Glenfinnan Monument. It marks the site where Bonnie Prince Charlie first raised his standard, initiating the Jacobite Uprising of 1745. It is also the site of the Glenfinnan Viaduct made famous by the Harry Potter movies. Footage of the “Hogwarts Express” (the Jacobite Steam Train) crossing the viaduct was used in several of the films.
Overnight Premier Inn, Fort William
Day 9, May 22 Isle of Skye
We will spend the day on the beautiful Isle of Skye. Following the defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie made a narrow escape to Skye with the help of 24-yr-old Flora MacDonald. A local guest guide will lead us on a private tour of Dunvegan Castle. The stronghold of the Chiefs of the MacLeod Clan for 800 years, it is the longest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. We will visit the picturesque village of Portree and make a photo stop at Eilean Donan Castle. Overnight Inverness Thistle Hotel
Day 10, May 23 Battle of Culloden – Clava Cairns
Today we study the famous Battle of Culloden, the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Uprising. The Hanoverian victory at Culloden decisively halted the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and restore the House of Stuart to the British throne. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil. Later we will visit one of Scotland’s most evocative prehistoric sites, the 4,000-yr-old Clava Cairns. The site features three remarkably well-preserved burial cairns, each enclosed by circles of standing stone. They played an inspirational role in the popular "Outlander" book/TV series. This afternoon, we will take a cruise of Loch Ness and visit a whisky distillery. Overnight Inverness Thistle Hotel
Day 11, May 24 Atholl Highland Gathering & Highland Games – Blair Castle
Today we will attend an authentic Highland Gathering at historic Blair Castle. The Highland Games will officially open with a "March On," by the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s last remaining private army. They will parade on the castle grounds to the accompaniment of their pipes and drums. Following the March On, men from around Scotland will participate in traditional events such as tossing the caber, putting the shot, and throwing the hammer. Highland games date back many centuries, with most of the events tracing their roots back to ancient Scottish battle weapons and fighting techniques. Other attractions will include highland dancing, tug o' war, and solo piping. Later, at the award-winning Scottish Crannog Center, we will see what life was like during the Iron Age at this reconstructed prehistoric loch-dwelling. Overnight Dunblane Hydro, Dunblane
Day 12, May 25 St. Andrews - Royal Yacht Britannia- Edinburgh Airport
We will spend this morning touring the coastal town of St. Andrews, the home of golf and Scotland’s oldest university (founded in 1410.) We will see the ruins of the St. Andrews Castle atop a cliff north of town and walk among the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, the largest church ever built in Scotland. Dating back to 1158, as the ecclesiastic center of Catholic Scotland, it was abandoned and fell into ruin after the 16th-century Scottish Reformation. We will toast our Scottish adventure at a gala farewell lunch hosted by the Laird of a private 14th-century castle in the ancient Kingdom of Fife. We will have the opportunity to meet members of the castle household, including their piper, and discuss castle life and Scottish history with those who still live it every day. We will proceed to our hotel at the Edinburgh Airport. Overnight Premier Inn, Edinburgh Airport Hotel
Day 13, May 26 Individual departures from Edinburgh. (B)
Staff are departing Edinburgh on BA#1445 at 1:45 pm on May 26, connect in Heathrow to
BA# 293 arriving in Washington Dulles May 26 at 8:35 pm.
OUR SCOTTISH HOST:
We are delighted to announce that our host in Scotland is Hope Vere Anderson, Chieftan of Clan Anderson of Barbeth and Wyseby, Lord of Sheriffhales. Hope has assisted us in the design of this itinerary. In particular, he has arranged several exclusive events for our group including guest speakers and meetings with a museum curator and local Scots in several unique venues including the Grand Hall of a medieval castle. Hope maintains homes on the Scottish Borders and in Murfreesboro, TN. He will bring a very personal touch to our tour, helping to make this a trip of a lifetime.
EXPERT BLUE BADGE GUIDE: Native-born guide Ken Hanley is scheduled to lead our adventure through the beautiful Scottish countryside. A prestigious Blue Badge Guide, Ken has been leading tours of his beloved Scotland for over 25 years. Author and PBS television host Rick Steves enlisted Ken's assistance in writing the Rick Steves' guidebook on Scotland. His passion and knowledge of Scotland’s heritage, people, landscape and culture will ensure that you are left with lasting memories of a country seeped in history and legend, magnificent scenery and above all hospitality.
GUEST EXPERT GUIDE:
Edwin C. Bearss is a National Treasure. Author, lecturer and one of our nation's preeminent historians, Ed's encyclopedic knowledge and unflagging energy are legendary. A native of Sarpy, Montana, Ed is a decorated WWII Marine Corps veteran from the Pacific Theater. Ed has enjoyed a 41-year career as an historian for the National Park Service. In 1981, he was named Chief Historian Emeritus of the National Park Service, a position he held until 1994. Ed has led many WWII tours from Normandy to the Rhine River; the Battle of Crete, and the Italian Campaign.
TOUR INCLUDES (13 days/11 nights):
* Scottish Host: Hope Vere Anderson is scheduled to accompany the entire tour
* Guest Historian Guide: Edwin C. Bearss, has been invited to join the tour as our guest
* Historian Guide: Blue Badge Guide Ken Hanley is scheduled to accompany the entire tour
* Services of a professional tour director: Marty Gane is scheduled for this tour
* 11 nights in hotel accommodations
* Private, air-conditioned, motor coach for all sightseeing
* 11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners and a gala, private farewell luncheon in a 14th-century castle
* All admissions, tours and excursions as described in the itinerary
* All taxes, baggage handling (one bag per person), & gratuities
* Pre-trip notes, reading list and map book
What is Not Included:
Airfare; transfers between airport and hotel; trip cancellation/interruption and baggage insurance; personal items such as wines, liquors, a la carte orders, room service, valet/laundry charges; and meals and other items not specifically mentioned as included.
Price does not include airfare, however, we are happy to help with flight arrangements.
Special guest historian Ed Bearss and tour manager Marty Gane plan to depart Washington on May 14. We will post flight details shortly in case you would like to book seats on the same flights.
Pre-tour arrangements: We are happy to organize extra hotel nights and airport transfers for an additional cost.
COST: 13 DAYS/11 NIGHTS
Double Occupancy: $5,795 per person
Single Occupancy: $6,475
Please note: Tour prices are based on a minimum of 30 participants.
Tour prices are based on exchange rates at time of publication. If enrollments fall below 30 or currency fluctuations occur, we reserve the right to levy a surcharge and will notify participants of such increase, if it is necessary to do so, at 90 days when the final payment is due.
For our 2015 brochure call us at (301) 988-1852, toll free at 1 (866) 914-1862 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.