Edinburgh – This can be either the first or the last day of the tour, to incorporate the city of Edinburgh, and the outlying Preston Mill (O) (NTS) and the Battlefield of Prestonpans where the Jacobite army of Bonny Prince Charlie humbled the British Army under General Johnnie Cope, who according to the song was “first man back across the Border!” The tour of Edinburgh would include a walking tour of both sides of the Royal Mile, from Edinburgh Castle (HS) down the 1.1 miles to Holyrood Palace and back up again, other areas of the Old Town, the New Town and the Port of Leith.
Leave Edinburgh, viewing Stirling Castle as we pass, to visit Doune Castle (HS) (location used as Castle Leoch) (O). We then drive on through Callander and the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, into the foothills of the Highlands and into Rob Roy Macgregor country, to Killin where we can see the Falls of Dochart and the Burial Grounds of Clan Macnab. We continue through Glen Dochart to the old Cattle Droving village of Tyndrum, across the mystical Rannoch Moor and into Glencoe, where we would visit the Visitor Centre (NTS). From here,we would move on to the sea at Loch Leven and Loch Linnie and up to Fort William (O). Our last leg for the day, would be to join one of the “Roads to the Isles”, where we would spend the night at the Glenfinnan House Hotel, where Reel would try and organise some live ceilidh music in the evening.
It was at Glenfinnan, where the Royal Standard was raised, once the wise Cameron of the neighbouring Lochiel, came to pay fealty to his Ard Righ – the anointed one by God. This encouraged many other Clans to join the rebellion, and so started the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Depart for Castle Tioram in Moidart, the old seat of Clan Ranald Macdonald, which the clan destroyed in the earlier days of Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, and we can also see the spot where Bonnie Prince Charlie landed on the Scottish mainland in July 1745. We then visit the spot on the shores of Loch nan Uamh where after all his hiding, the Bonnie Prince boarded a boat out to a waiting French frigate. Our scenic journey continues past the lovely beaches of Arisaig and Morar, to Loch Morar, the deepest fresh water loch in the UK, and the home of Morag, a smaller relative of “Nessie”. It was also on Loch Morar where the Jacobite Lord Lovat was arrested by British troops, and sent to the Tower of London where he was executed. Also supposedly near here, French gold was buried to assist paying for the Rebellion ….
Now from here we have an option:
Option 3(a) we proceed on to the port of Mallaig, where we take a ferry to the Isle of Skye. On the other side at Armadale, we would visit the Clan Donald Centre, close by Armadale Castle the former seat of the Lord Macdonald of the Isles. After a visit we would proceed through the majestic Cuillin Mountains, to the other end of the island, and visits could be made to the Talisker Distillery, or proceed straight up to Dunvegan Castle, and visit the seat of Clan Macleod and see the famous Fairy Flag. Finally, we would head over the Uig and Flottergarry, if time visiting Flora Macdonald’s cottage, where this remarkable woman lived after having been imprisoned in the Tower of London, for hiding Bonnie Prince Charlie, and after being freed, becoming a household name at social London parties. We would spend the night here in a 3, 4 or 5 star hotel.
On leaving Loch Morar, we would head back east to Fort William, passing by the Neptune’s Staircase which is the southern end of the Caledonian Canal, and up to Spean Bridge, where the first shot of the ’45 was fired in anger. There is also a good woollen centre here, and nearby a visit could be made to the Commando Memorial, the Commandos being a special task force set up by Sir Winston Churchill near the beginning of World War 2, and they did most of their training in the Highlands. We would then proceed on to another British built fort of Fort Augustus, and visit Urquhart Castle (HS) (O). After which we would visit the Loch Ness Experience and if time permitted, put clients on a 1 hour boat trip down Loch Ness. We would finish the day to Inverness, where once again REEL would organise suitable 3, 4 or 5 star accommodation.
Depart for Portree and over the bridge back to the mainland at Kyle of Lochalsh. Visit the pretty village of Plockton, where palm trees grow owing to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. Then on to Loch Duich and visit Eilean Donan Castle, damaged by British Naval guns in 1717, during more Jacobite activity. Then on to the Shiel Bridge Battle site in the same year of 1717, and down past the Five Sisters and Loch Cluanie to Invermoriston, famed for the men of the Mackenzie clan, who defended Bonnie Prince Charlie, one at least giving his life, all during his escape after the Battle of Culloden.
Then we join Day 3(b).
Depart down the A9 past Dalwhinnie and Blair Castle to the Killiecrankie Battlefield (NTS), fought on a summer’s evening on the 27th July 1689, this battle being so important, because it started off all the Jacobite unrest to come over the next 57 years. From there we would continue South to visit the old Kings of Scotland’s Hunting Palace at Falkland (O) in the Kingdom of Fife, and then the town of Culross (O), and Blackness Castle (O), both on the shores of the Firth of Forth, and the final leg back to Edinburgh.
Of course please make contact and I shall answer all questions.
I look forward with great pleasure to welcoming you to Scotland.