Day One (Monday, September 15)
Arrive in Edinburgh and join us for an afternoon trip to Rosslyn Chapel, built by the Knights Templar and made famous in The Da Vinci Code. Or spend the afternoon exploring the city on your own. In the evening, meet the members of our Group at a special Cocktail Reception just for tour members.
Day Two (Tuesday, September 16)
In the morning we start at The Writers’ Museum on the Royal Mile where we’ll learn more about Scotland’s favorite authors Robert Louis Stevenson, Josef Conrad and of course, Robert Burns. Then we’ll tour Edinburgh Castle, home to Scotland’s ancient kings, the Scottish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Scone.
During your free lunchtime grab a bite in one of the many Scottish pubs along the Royal Mile including the infamous Deacon Brodie Tavern. Then stroll down the Royal Mile toward Holyrood House, home to British kings and Scottish rebels, where we will be led on a special tour with a Scottish historian who will divulge the palace’s dark secrets.
For the hardy, there will be an optional trip to Arthur’s Seat for a spectacular evening view of Scotland’s most beautiful city.
Day Three (Wednesday, September 17)
We depart Edinburgh for Stirling, the first capital of Scotland. There we will visit Stirling Castle, home to Scotland’s medieval kings including Robert the Bruce. Gaze across the plain to see the Wallace Monument. Then we’ll enjoy a hearty lunch in one of Stirling’s quaint pubs.
Afterwards, we head for Kilmartin, a little known corner of the country jam-packed with ancient history going back to the stone age. In Kilmartin we’ll tour Kilmartin Church where the tombs of medieval knights bear Celtic markings and visit the Stone Circle just outside the village that is the same age as Stonehenge.
We end our day in Oban, one of the major ferry ports for Scotland’s outer islands. There you will have free time to stroll the quay and dine in one of Oban’s romantic port side restaurants on delicious venison, lamb or deepwater fish caught that day by one of the local fishing fleets.
Day Four (Thursday, September 18)
Today we take in some of Scotland’s most breathtaking scenery on the road to Glen Coe, the site of one of Scotland’s most horrific moments in history, when over 75 members of the Clan McDonald were massacred by the British in 1692. And today, the site of some of Scotland’s most beautiful vistas, and challenging hiking and outdoor sports thanks to nearby Glen Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles.
Later we tour Eilean Donan, Scotland’s smallest, newest, loveliest and most photographed castle. In the evening we arrive on the magical Isle of Skye.
Day 5 (Friday, September 19)
Morning finds us daring ourselves to walk to the edge of Kilt Rock, the rocky 344 foot high granite and basalt cliffs challenging the frigid seas off Skye’s northern coast. Afterwards, we will tour Dunvegan Castle, home to the Chief of the real-life Clan McLeod.
Early afternoon finds us at the other end of the island tromping through the moors to the enchanted Fairy Pools, where it is said the Fairies still bestow charms on those they fancy.
At 4:00 we meet for High Tea at Kinloch Lodge, Skye’s most luxurious small hotel and home to Lord and Lady McDonald, High Chief of the Clan McDonald. Evening in Kylochleachan is free and those who wish can gather at the local pub for group readings of the work of tour participants.
Day Six (Saturday, September 20)
Rise early and ready to learn in our information packed class, Gaelic for Romance Writers. Or join us for an optional tour of the romantic ruins of the original Castle McDonald. After lunch in Kylochleachan, we head across the Highlands to Scotland’s most famous inland lake, Loch Ness. There amid the dramatic ruins of Urquhart Castle, you can search the horizon for signs of Loch Ness’ most famous resident, the Loch Ness Monster.
Late in the afternoon, we arrive in Inverness. In the twilight walk along the River Ness. Then come together one last time with all the Group for a Special Dinner that includes readings of Robert Burns poetry and whiskey toasts.
Day Seven (Sunday, September 21)
In the morning we visit one of Scotland’s most moving places, Culloden Battlefield, the bloody site of the Clans’ last stand against British rule.
Then we head across some of the highest peaks in Scotland, the Cairngorms, on the way to Pitlochry, a picturesque Victorian oasis surrounded by evergreen forests. After lunch along Pitlochry’s quaint thoroughfare, we tour Edradour Distillery, the smallest and best single malt distillery in the country. Buy your Scotch there. You won’t be able to order it outside Scotland!
Then we make one last stop to experience the sunset at the place Queen Victoria thought was the most beautiful in all her realms, Queen’s View. In the evening we arrive in Edinburgh where you will have your evening free to enjoy the best of Edinburgh at night.
Day Eight (Monday, September 22)
We enjoy one last delicious full Scottish breakfast before we reluctantly depart Edinburgh.