Experience the BEST of the Scottish Highlands on this quintessential 2-day tour – an awesome overnight escape! Admire the unrivalled scenery of eerie Glencoe, stroll through the pretty streets and across the Old Course at the Home of Golf in St Andrews, tuck into the BEST Highland fayre and whisky in Inverness, be spellbound by the magical Glenfinnan Viaduct and monster-hunt on the mighty Loch Ness.
A whirlwind two day trip – with a bumper itinerary – that will introduce you to the spectacular scenery and culture of the Scottish Highlands and have you desperate to explore more…
STROLL ACROSS THE 18TH FAIRWAY & POSE FOR A PHOTO ON THE SWILKEN BRIDGE – THE MOST ICONIC LOCATION IN WORLD GOLF
KNOWN AS THE CAPITAL OF THE HIGHLANDS, INVERNESS IS OFFICIALLY A CITY, ALBEIT A VERY SMALL AND COMPACT ONE
WHERE THE LAST JACOBITE REBELLION WOULD COME SO NEAR TO CHANGING HISTORY ONLY TO END IN BITTER DEFEAT SOME 7 MONTHS LATER
WHERE DIANA GABALDON FOUND INSPIRATION FOR ‘CRAIG NA DUN’ IN THE OUTLANDER SERIES. THESE FASCINATING BRONZE-AGE STANDING-STONES AND BURIAL CHAMBERS ARE THOUGHT TO BE OVER 4,000 YEARS OLD
ENJOY A SHORT WALK AMONG THE RIVER BRANN TO OSSIAN’S HALL OF MIRRORS. YOU’LL SEE SOME OF SCOTLAND’S TALLEST TREES, A CASCADING WATERFALL AND MAYBE EVEN LEAPING SALMON!
SCOTLAND’S AND THE UK’S TALLEST MOUNTAIN IS A SHORT DRIVE FROM THE COMMANDO MEMORIAL TO THE CHARMING VILLAGE OF FORT AUGUSTUS
SEE THE 5 LOCKS OF THE CALEDONIAN CANAL LINKING THE ATLANTIC OCEAN AND THE NORTH SEA – WITH VIEWS OVER LOCH NESS (BEST PLACE TO SPOT NESSIE)
LOCH NESS BOAT CRUISE
FROM HERE YOU CAN SEE THE WHOLE 24 MILE (38KM) LENGTH OF THE LOCH – THERE REALLY IS NO BETTER PLACE FOR A BIT OF NESSIE SPOTTING
SITUATED IN AN AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY ON RANNOCH MOOR AND OFFERS STUNNING VIEWS OF THE ICONIC BUACHAILLE ETIVE MOR
THERE ARE THREE BRIDGES CROSSING THE RIVER FORTH. THE MOST ICONIC, FORTH BRIDGE (THE RED ONE), WAS VOTED SCOTLAND’S GREATEST MAN-MADE WONDER IN 2016
The Glenfinnan Viaduct has become very well known among Harry Potter fans as the bridge crossed by the Hogwart’s Express!
ST ANDREWS CATHEDRAL
STROLL ACROSS THE 18TH FAIRWAY & POSE FOR A PHOTO ON THE SWILKEN BRIDGE – THE MOST ICONIC LOCATION IN WORLD GOLF
Departing from Edinburgh we make our way across the Queensferry Crossing towards the Kingdom of Fife, enjoying fantastic views of the Forth Bridge as we pass. St Andrews is known to many as The Home of Golf – there are 4 courses in town including most famously of all – The Old Course, which has hosted more British Open tournaments than any other. If you are very serious about golf, you might want to visit the British Golf Museum, located just behind the Old Course Clubhouse.
There is more to St Andrews than golf – much more. This medieval walled town is home to St Andrews University, the oldest in Scotland and the third oldest in the English speaking world. Wander the university buildings at your leisure and imagine the scene when a certain Prince William met his future wife, Kate Middleton, when they were both students here in the early 2000’s.
Entry to the town’s famous Cathedral grounds is free but for those of you with a real interest in Medieval Religious Architecture (or if you simply want the best view of St Andrews and love to climb tall towers), visit the Cathedral Museum and climb St Rule’s Tower – you won’t be disappointed by either (£5 per adult, £9 per adult joint ticket with Castle).
St Andrews Castle sits on the edge of the sea and, if you want to appreciate just how brutal life in prison could be 500 years ago take a look at the Bottleneck Dungeon which is filled with freezing salty sea water at high tide. Another fascinating feature of this castle is the subterranean mine and countermine, hewn out of the base rock during the siege of 1546-47. These dark passages are not suitable for people suffering from claustrophobia, but are great fun for kids of all ages (£5 per adult, £9 per adult joint ticket with Cathedral Museum and St Rule’s Tower).
Our route into the Highlands takes you across the ‘silvery’ Tay and through the vibrant and creative city of Dundee. Well worth a visit in itself for those of you with more time available during your Scottish adventure, you will enjoy views of the incredible new V&A Museum before rising into Perthshire.
Your first stop in Highland Perthshire is The Hermitage, a magical woodland nature reserve set deep in the forests once owned by the Duke of Atholl, but now cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. Enjoy a short walk among the Douglas Firs, the tallest trees in Scotland, and along the River Brann to Ossian’s Hall of Mirrors. Built in honour of an 18th century blind Bard, it offers the best views of the spectacular cascading waterfall, the Falls of Brann. Often the scene of leaping salmon, keep your eyes peeled for all kinds of wildlife here.
Treat yourself to some traditional Highland fare for lunch in the picturesque Victorian village of Pitlochry. Sitting at the gateway to the Highlands and the Cairngorm National Park, your guide will tell you about Queen Victoria and Sir Walter Scott’s absolute fondness for this area, subsequently leading to the world-famous popularity of the Scottish Highlands. There are many nice pubs, delis, cafes and bakeries in Pitlochry to sit and enjoy a meal or to pick up a quick light snack. For those who opt for a quick lunch, you may wish to walk to the curious Pitlochry Fish Ladder on the River Tummel that allows salmon to travel upstream during the breeding season.
After lunch, you will spend the afternoon exploring more of rural Highland Perthshire and into the Cairngorm National Park as this incredibly scenic drive takes us through the heather clad mountains towards the very ancient Clava Cairns. These standing stones and Burial Chambers date from at least 4000 years ago. Their precise purpose is still something of a mystery but what most observers agree on is that they probably inspired Diana Gabaldon when she was writing about Craigh na Dun in her ‘Outlander’ novels.
Our next stop played a very key role in ‘Outlander’ and is a hugely significant place in the history of the Highlands, Scotland, Britain and the British Empire. Culloden Battlefield is where, on the 16th of April 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite Army was brutally defeated by a much larger and better equipped Redcoat Army. This was the last battle to be fought on British soil and your guide will explain just how big a turning point in history it was, heralding the end of the traditional Highland way of life and beginning changes which are still felt to this day. The Battlefield is a very moving place, sensitively cared for today by the National Trust For Scotland.
You will arrive in Inverness at approximately 5:30pm. The evening is then your own to explore the city or meet up with your fellow travellers and enjoy a meal in a local restaurant or traditional Highland pub. Inverness has a huge variety of establishments to choose from, whether you’d like to try our national dish of Haggis, Neeps & Tatties, washed down with a wee dram of Scotch Whisky or a Local Organic Beer (try the Black Isle Brewery Bar!). During peak season, it is advisable to book a table ahead if you’re a larger group. After dinner, head to the world famous Hootenanny bar which has traditional Scottish musicians playing every night and the perfect spot.
If local beer and whisky aren’t your scene, you can enjoy an evening stroll along the banks of the famous River Ness, where you’ll find Inverness Castle and Inverness Cathedral.
You will begin the second day of your Highland adventure by heading to the most famous body of water in the world, the mighty Loch Ness! The word ‘Loch’ in Gaelic simply means ‘a body of water’, and in Scotland we have over 26,000 of them. Thanks to its length, surface area and, most importantly, its murky depths this Loch contains more water than all of the Lakes and Rivers in England and Wales combined. In other words, there’s plenty of space down there for Monsters to hide!
You will drive the 23 mile length of the lochside with a short stop for photographs at the famous remains of Urquhart Castle. A former stronghold of the Clan Grant, this castle was destroyed during the Jacobite Rebellions and the bay beneath is the area of Loch Ness which has the most recorded sightings of our famous resident, ‘Nessie’. It was In 565 AD, that the first recorded sighting of a “water beast” in Loch Ness was made by an Irish Monk named Saint Columba as he travelled the length of Scotland to educate the Pictish people of Christianity. The old saying goes in these parts, “If you cannot trust a Saint, who can you trust?” Since then, there have been thousands of recorded sightings, with some being more credible than others.
Your Hairy Coo guide will regale you with many of these stories as you make your way to Fort Augustus, a charming, postcard perfect, Highland village on the Southern shores of the Loch. From here you will have the opportunity to take a fantastic 1-hour cruise on the Loch with our friends at Cruise Loch Ness. (Summer Only: Adults £14, Children £9). The local crew on board share their experiences of Nessie, as you search for yourself all with the aid of a state of the art Sonar equipment helping you scan the near 900 foot depths of the Loch below.
For those who do not wish to take the optional boat cruise, you will have time to explore the village and it’s beautiful Caledonian Canal lock system, built by the famous engineer Thomas Telford in the 19th century, that descends through the heart of the village into Loch Ness. Walk further along the canal and into the surrounding countryside to enjoy mountainous views and sights of farm animals and possibly red deer.
Next up, you will head to one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks, (especially recognisable for those Harry Potter fans onboard!) the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Famous from the Harry Potter movie series as the bridge that the Hogwarts Express chugs over. This viaduct sits among some of the most spectacular scenery in the Western Highlands. Sitting at the edge of Loch Shiel, where Bonnie Prince Charlie first raised his standard in 1745 before the Battle of Culloden, you will have the option to take a short hike to a magnificent viewpoint, or stroll down to the shores and discover more about the Jacobites.
After a short lunch, you will follow in the footsteps of James Bond (‘Skyfall’) and Harry Potter (‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’), as you discover the beautiful and haunting ‘Glencoe’, the most magnificent and famous valley in Scotland. The spectacular scenery will stay with you forever. Your guide will recount the tale of the infamous ‘Massacre of Glencoe’ that took place here in February 1692, and you will have time to walk down into the Glen and soak up the incredible natural beauty in an area close to the heart of all Scots who visit this place to kayak down the River Coe, climb amongst the jagged peaks or simply take stunning photographs.
Your Highland Adventure ends with a scenic drive South through the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park as your Guide regales you for the last time with tales of the Highland’s most famous historical hero, Rob Roy McGregor, followed by the Nation’s most celebrated heroes of William Wallace and Kind Robert the Bruce as you pass famous Stirling Castle and the National Monument to Sir William Wallace.
You will arrive back in central Edinburgh by approximately 5:30pm, dreaming of your next Scottish adventure with The Hairy Coo.
** Please note that for guests who have booked an onward flight from Edinburgh Airport, we offer a complimentary drop-off service at Ingilston Park and Ride Tram stop en route into Edinburgh city centre. For those wishing to book onward travel to London or elsewhere, we recommend booking a train or bus no earlier than 6:30pm or a flight no earlier than 7:30pm (allowing time for passage through security) just in case of unforeseen travel disruption on the roads in and out of Edinburgh. **
Deacon’s House Cafe, 304 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, Postcode: EH1 2PS
Check in for your tour will begin at 7:45am with your Driver Guide at the Bus Stop located outside the Deacon’s House Cafe, 304 Lawnmarket, and the bus will depart PROMPTLY at 8:00am.
Seats are unreserved and allocated on a first-come, first served basis upon check-in. Therefore, we recommend that you arrive in plenty of time.
We CANNOT wait for guests who are late. It is YOUR responsibility to be at the meeting point by 7:45am at the latest.
The tour will return to Edinburgh at approximately 5:30pm, dropping off at the same location as the Tour Departure Point (unless otherwise specified). If booking onward travel, please allow ample time in case of unforeseen delays or heavy traffic.
CASH – It is rare that there is an ATM in the villages we visit! So bring enough for the day to pay for things such as food, drink and any optional extras you might want to participate in (£30 per day per person is recommended).
A CAMERA – for pictures of the beautiful scenery, and of course just in case you see Nessie!
WET WEATHER CLOTHING (rainproof) & COMFORTABLE SHOES
At the end of your tour, if you feel your Driver Guide has added to your experience, feel free to tip them whatever you feel their performance was worth to you. Tips/Gratuities aren’t expected, but are of course accepted!
£14 for Adults/Students
£9 for Children
(Exclusive Hairy Coo discount – Book/Pay on the day of tour)
Our ‘Easy to Cancel’ Policy means it is no problem when your plans change. Email your cancellation request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We require AT LEAST 14 days notice prior to the departure to be able to process a full refund.
If you cancel your booking within 14 days of the tour departure, a refund will only be issued if your booking/seats are resold. If you have asked us to book accommodation on your behalf, then you may still be liable for any costs that we incur as a result of the late cancellation.
No refunds will be issued for any missed tour departures.
This tour has a minimum age of 7 years old. We will not accept bookings with children under the minimum age at time of departure.