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Scotland's Secret Gems View Full Screen Itinerary

7 NIGHTS 8 DAYS, ADVENTURE IN SCOTLAND'S GREATEST SCENERY, MOUNTAIN HIKES, BEACHSIDE CAMPS PLUS CLAN CASTLES, HISTORIC SITES AND WHISKY TASTING

Scotland was recently voted the most beautiful country in the world (Rough Guides 2017) and you will quickly see why. 

Our 7-night adventure to Scotland's best spots includes a driver guide and 2-nights wild camping on the truly stunning West Coast of Scotland. Experience Scotland the best way possible, getting to know not only the landscapes and castles but the local people and wildlife that inhabit this truly beautiful country.

Watch the high summer sun dip beyond the horizon and raise a glass of single malt whisky around the campfire

Your itinerary takes you from the historic and vibrant capital city of Edinburgh direct to the majestic Highlands. From here you will be moving west through great glens and across high windswept moorland before exploring the remote and rugged West Coast, littered with white sandy beaches and looking across to islands rich in diversity and culture. Here you will have the chance to camp on a remote peninsula, experience your very own Highland Games down by the beach, brave a swim or enjoy a mountain hike. Your camp will be looking out directly to the off-shore Hebridean islands. Watch the high summer sun dip beyond the horizon and raise a glass of whisky around the campfire with friends new and old.

Throughout your itinerary you will have the opportunity to enjoy both history, local culture and of course the incredible landscapes you are marvelling at. We are able to arrange an array of active excursions to suit your preferences from sea-kayaking with an expert guide, to summer mountain hikes 'bagging some of the local peaks'. 

Price based on 8-people sharing.

ITINERARY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • FULLY ACCOMPANIED WITH DRIVER GUIDE AND PRIVATE MINIBUS
  • EXPERIENCE SCOTLAND'S QUIETER SIDE
  • WILD-CAMP ON ONE OF SCOTLAND'S BEAUTIFUL WEST COAST BEACHES
  • WILD-SWIM IN THE OCEAN OR LOCHS
  • DAY HIKES INCLUDING GLENCOE, ISLE OF SKYE AND MORE...
  • TRAVEL THE JACOBITE STEAM TRAIN (MOST BEAUTIFUL RAILWAY LINE IN THE WORLD)
  • HISTORIC CASTLES & WHISKY TASTING
  • DISCOVER EDINBURGH THE CAPITAL CITY
Day 1

Day 1: Arrival in Scotland

Today you will be arriving at Scotland's Edinburgh International Airport. Here you will be met by your driver guide who will be waiting for you in the 'Arrivals' lounge with a paging board. Once everyone has collected their luggage and is ready to set off it will be time to...

Today you will be arriving at Scotland's Edinburgh International Airport. Here you will be met by your driver guide who will be waiting for you in the 'Arrivals' lounge with a paging board. Once everyone has collected their luggage and is ready to set off it will be time to pile into your private transfer vehicle waiting outside. For the next week you have the use of a private minibus with ample space for you and your luggage. The perfect vehicle to explore Scotland as a group.  

On departing Edinburgh you will be heading north, via the brand new state-of-the-art Queensferry Crossing. This is the newest bridge across the Firth of Forth (river Forth's esturary). Here you will make a short stop in the historic port of South Queensferry (as featured in many Robert Louis Stevenson novels such as Kidnapped) to marvel at some of Scotland's most iconic landmarks. The world famous Forth Railway Bridge with it's three cantilever structures build in the industrial Victorian era amazes the onlooker. The old Forth Road Bridge and the brand new Queensferry Crossing sit side by side straddling the river estruary. Together the three bridges make the perfect opportunity for some great photos before heading north into the Highlands. 

(The Forth Railway Bridge)

On leaving Queensferry you push on up to Perth before taking the scenic A9 to the Highland town of Pitlochry. This is a charming Scottish Highland town steeped in history. Although its hayday may have been at the height of the Victoria era the town still thrives today. Set in an area of natural beauty at the start of the true Scottish Highlands, a few miles to the north you will find the House of Bruar, 'The home of country clothing'. This is a fantastic luxury shopping complex that is truly one of a kind selling fantastic Scottish produce. You will be greeted here as VIPs with champagne and nibbles before having the time to find yourself a great souvenir. Pick up a gift for someone back home or simply enjoy wondering the variety of shops selling incredible Scottish produce. The House of Bruar foodhall is also a great place to stop for lunch.

After lunch we highly recommend the stunning Blair Atholl Castle, home to the Duke's of Atholl for centuries. This castle is certainly worth a visit and has to be one of Scotland's top castles. Enjoy soaking up the incredible history and let yourself be amazed at the interiors and gardens before you head back to your local hotel for a comfortable night. 

Accommodation: Pine Trees Hotel, Pitlochry. Bed and Breakfast basis. 

(Blair Atholl Castle dominates the landscape with its fairytale turrets and towers). 

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Day 2

Day 2: Exploring Glencoe via Rannoch Moor

Today will be quite an incredible day of exploration, you will travel through some breathtaking landscapes from the central Scottish Highlands to the West Coast via moorland and mountains.

First things first, you will be leaving your Pitlochry hotel after a traditional Scottish breakfast including what may be...

Today will be quite an incredible day of exploration, you will travel through some breathtaking landscapes from the central Scottish Highlands to the West Coast via moorland and mountains.

First things first, you will be leaving your Pitlochry hotel after a traditional Scottish breakfast including what may be your first encounter with 'Haggis', a national favourite dish. Once you are all fuelled up you will be on the road heading west. Your driver guide will follow small roads west towards one of the most remote places in the British Isles, Rannoch Moor. This is a windswept, inhospitable and wild landscape. Deforested thousands of years ago by our ascestors with an insaitiable need for wood, the high, mountainous moorland has never been the same. In good weather, expect views as far as the eye can see.

From here you will enter the world famous Glencoe, often thought to be Scotland's most dramatic glen. Enjoy taking some stops as you descend the glen. Make sure to stop in some of the laybys to take photos of the awe-inspiring mountains hanging high above you. There is a darker side to the glen's history to discover too, a bloody history of a Clan massacre.

It is in Glencoe that we suggest a short hike for you to a hidden glen hanging above the main Glencoe. Few visitors to Glencoe have the luck to visit this special place. Your driver guide will lead this short hike. Unlock the heart of Glencoe before heading on. Returning to the minibus you will now head to Fort William on the shore of Loch Linnhe. Here a comfortable hotel awaits. 

Accommodation: Alexandra Hotel, Fort William. Bed and Breakfast basis. 

(Scottish Thistles standing proud in July on the banks of Loch Rannoch)

(Getting to know the locals! Highland Cows, gentle giants). 

(Comfort awaits in Fort William at the Alexandra Hotel). 

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Day 3

Day 3: Jacobite Steam Train to Mallaig and the Ardnish

This morning you will be waking up in Fort William. Make sure you enjoy another hearty Scottish breakfast as you have an exciting day ahead. After checking-out of your Fort William hotel you will need to head for the railway station nearby. This morning you will be taking...

This morning you will be waking up in Fort William. Make sure you enjoy another hearty Scottish breakfast as you have an exciting day ahead. After checking-out of your Fort William hotel you will need to head for the railway station nearby. This morning you will be taking a magical railway trip.

The Jacobite steam train which you will board follows an old Victorian line cut through the mountains to Mallaig. Mallaig is an history fishing village on a remote peninsula of land some distance to the north west of Fort William. This line has been voted as one of the most beautiful in the world and you will quickly see why once you have departed Fort William. In fact it is the same line used in the Harry Potter movies. Expect to be soon travelling over the now world famous Glenfinnan Viaduct as seen in the Harry Potter movies. This journey will be an expereince to savour as the old steam engine billows out puffs of white smoke and you chug your way through the mountains. 

(Heading over the Glenfinnan Viaduct on your way to Mallaig)

On arriving in Mallaig your driver guide will be waiting to greet you. Here you can enjoy stretching your legs and take a wonder around the village and harbour. This afternoon, you will have free to yourselves. Enjoy exploring the immediate area,. The small single track road from Mallaig winds its way south past some of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland with far reaching views across and out to the Hebridean islands in the distance.

Why not visit Loch Morar, the deepest loch in Scotland reputed to have it's very own monster called Morag. Morag has been sighted by locals and visitors numerous times in the last century. Home to a monster or not, this loch is simply stunning, with a number of islands at its western end. The loch runs inland some 15kms and is nearly uninhabited completely on its long shore. It is possible to hire a small motor boat here on the loch which allows visitors to fully explore this beautiful place.

As an alternative activity, from Mallaig is it possible to arrange a sea based excursion, a 'seafari' with a powerful RIB will give you all the chance to see some of the marine based nature and experience an exhilarating alternative perspective of the mountains that surround you. 

(Alternative sea based marine safari available should you wish from Mallaig). 

After visiting Loch Morar, head to either Arisaig, a beautiful old fishing village or back to Mallaig to grab some lunch. The area is renowned for the local seafood so make sure to try some local scallops, lobster and crab. Of course all seafood is fresh from the fishing boats that work in the local lochs. 

Onwards! Look out for Golden Eagles, Sea Eagles, Sea-Otters, Red Deer and even Seals and Whales. These are all possible sightings as you meander down from Mallaig back along the 'Road to the Isles' towards the uninhabited Ardnish peninsula. It is here that you will leave your minibus before setting off on a two hour hike across the mountain to your Scottish 'Wild Sleeps' experience. You will find on arrival that your camp is set up with a large, heated mess tent that overlooks a stunning white sandy beach and sea loch. To the west and in the distance you will be looking at some of the most famous islands of the coast of Scotland, Rum, Eigg and Muck. Tonight you will be able to enjoy some hot food followed by a glass of whisky around the campfire looking at the stars before retiring to bed in either the mess tent or one of Scotland's mountain refuge huts known as a 'Bothy'. 

Accommodation: Bothy (Mountain Refuge Hut) or Heated Army Mess Tent. Dinner, Breakfast and Lunch basis.

 

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Day 4

Day 4: Ardnish Peninsula Exploration

Today you will wake up on an uninhabited peninsula. This is a special experience in itself. You will be looking out across a paradise beach towards small islands and rugged headland. If you are lucky you might hear a cuckoo calling from one of the few trees. Get...

Today you will wake up on an uninhabited peninsula. This is a special experience in itself. You will be looking out across a paradise beach towards small islands and rugged headland. If you are lucky you might hear a cuckoo calling from one of the few trees. Get up early and enjoy the stillness. Here the true lack of people is refreshing. Enjoy doing nothing for a few special moments as the sun climbs higher in the sky. Down on the beach, the tide will have gone out leaving a massive white sandy bay to explore (on-foot of course).

Look out for rare birds such as Ring-Necked Plovers and Oystercatchers that will be scurrying around in the seaweed looking for their breakfast. Speaking of breakfast, you will start your day with a strong cup of good coffee and a delicous bacon & egg roll whilst looking out across pristine nature. 

Today is your day in the wildeness. A treat that is becoming rarer to find in the modern world. You will find today a truly refreshing break from the real world. On the peninsula there are secret bays to explore and discover, plus ruins of an long abandoned village (Peanmeanach was abandonned after the railway line was built up to Mallaig as it was effectively cut off). You will stumble across many ruined crofters cottages and there is an abundance of exceptional nature living here so keep your eyes peeled for Red deer Stags on the mountainous ridgelines that tower above. In the sky there is a high chance of viewing Golden eagles too.

Taking a hike it's possible to explore the shores of two large hill lochs high up on the mountain (which you will have passed on your hike into camp the evening before). There will also be one tandem kayak available to use should you wish to paddle around the bay. 

Want to do something fun as a group? Why not arrange your very own Highland Games on the beach right here in the Scottish Highlands?

This evening you will enjoy delicous BBQ before sitting around the campfire on the beach. It will be an early night as you will be up tomorrow very early. 

Accommodation: Bothy (Mountain Refuge Hut) or Heated Army Mess Tent. Dinner & Breakfast basis. 

(Kayaking out into the bay, joined only by Grey seals)

(Looking down from a small ridge on a secret bay)

(A Scottish mountain Bothy or mountain refuge hut. These extremely simple shelters are dotted throughout the rugged mountains of Scotland and are a welcome sight after a day in the wild weather. Often with only a bunk or two in and an open fireplace with some dry kindling). 

(Running on the 'Singing Sands' beach close by to our camp)

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Day 5

Day 5: Isle of Skye

This morning your guide will wake you up early to the smell of hot coffee and the sounds of the canvas flapping in the morning breeze. You will be hiking out from camp early today at around 5am! This is to get back to your minibus so you...

This morning your guide will wake you up early to the smell of hot coffee and the sounds of the canvas flapping in the morning breeze. You will be hiking out from camp early today at around 5am! This is to get back to your minibus so you can head up to Mallaig and catch the early ferry north to the Isle of Skye!

Today is going to be another day of firsts. Catching the small ferry from Mallaig to the majestic Isle of Skye (Skye meaning clouds in Old Norse), is something to savour. The Cullin mountains that dominate the skyline of Skye loom ahead as the ferry carrys you forth. Today you will be able to tick off some of the islands famous landmarks such as the Old Man of Storr, Fairy Pools and Glenbrittle. There will be plenty of opportunity to enjoy a decent hike in the mountains too. Alternatively head to Talisker Whisky distillery and Dunvegan Castle for some cultural activities. 

We recommend stopping at Three Chimneys for lunch - they serve some of the best local seafood in the whole of Scotland! 

This evening you will be checking into a local comfortable hotel. After your previous two nights wild camping this will feel like The Ritz. Enjoy the famous island hospitality and a good meal before turning in for the night. 

Accommodation: Broadford Hotel, Broadford. Bed and Breakfast basis. 

(Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye)

(CalMac Ferry steaming out to the islands)

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Day 6

Day 6: Eilean Donan and the Southern NC500 Route

After checking-out of your hotel you will enjoy the drive off the Isle of Skye. Heading back onto the mainland via a bridge that was built in the 70's you will still be in sensational landscapes. Not far to the south of the bridge is one of Scotland's...

After checking-out of your hotel you will enjoy the drive off the Isle of Skye. Heading back onto the mainland via a bridge that was built in the 70's you will still be in sensational landscapes. Not far to the south of the bridge is one of Scotland's most iconic and beautiful castles, Eilean Donan. We recommend you take the time to explore the castle, enjoying a guided tour of the castle itself. By going into Eilean Donan you will really enrich your experience and add depth and appreciation to your visit. 

(Standing looking back at the magnificent Eilean Donan)

Once you have soaked up some interesting Clan history it will be time to push on. The road you will be taking is incredibly scenic. Head north via Applecross and Plockton two of Scotland's smallest yet most beautiful places, look out for herds of sheep on the the road (probably the only traffic jams you will experience today!). Once at Strathcarron we recommend turning back and taking the Torridon road north, this will add a few more miles on to your drive today but improve your overall experience incredibly. You will eventually pass by The Torridon one of our favourite hotels on the NC500 route, here you can enjoy a great pub lunch at their Inn (a favourite pit-stop for many weary traveller), your backdrop will be the towering and imposing Torridon mountains. 

(An afternoon hike high above The Torridon in the Torridon mountains).

After lunch you may want to hike in the hills, alternatively you could arrange an activity with The Torridon hotel. Kayaking or archery or even a 4x4 adventure in the forests with their Land Rovers and expert driver guides. On leaving the Torridon mountains you will push east across the bottom stretch of the now world famous North Coast 500 drive back towards Inverness. Before Inverness you will arrive at Contin where your luxury acommodation awaits. Here you will check-in to your comfortable accommodation and enjoy a dinner. 

Accommodation: Coul House Hotel, Contin. Bed and Breakfast basis. 

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Day 7

Day 7: Inverness to Edinburgh

This morning you will travel south leaving the Highlands. Travel via the A93 through Braemar and past Balmoral (the Queen's summer residence). The A93 is actually the Old Military Road built by General Wade in the Jacobite era, so there is a lot of history behind this route....

This morning you will travel south leaving the Highlands. Travel via the A93 through Braemar and past Balmoral (the Queen's summer residence). The A93 is actually the Old Military Road built by General Wade in the Jacobite era, so there is a lot of history behind this route. The road snakes it's way south via Glenshee. Glenshee is one of Scotland's ski-stations in winter so imagine the scenery here. Look out for Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons and Red Grouse. 

(Listen out for the croaking Red Grouse, who make a distictive call. Stop and take in the heart of Glenshee by walking through the beautiful Scottish Heather in full bloom)

On the road south you will head back over Queensferry Crossing bridge an into Edinburgh itself. We expect you will arrive around lunchtime today and be able to enjoy choosing a resturant of your choice in the city centre. Edinburgh is a special city with a rich history, vibrant culture and beautiful architecture. Visit the castle, enjoy exploring both the Old Town and New Town and wondering up and down the fabulous Royal Mile. If you would like to arrange an excursion or guided tour of the city prior to your arrival speak to your driver gude during your trip and we will be able to arrange this for you. We recommend enjoying one of these short tours of the Old Town, an area of the city that has a dark history with many captivating stories. 

This evening enjoy further exploration of the city, discover local pubs with traditional celtic music and good food before returning to your city centre hotel for your last night in Scotland. 

Accommodation: Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh, New Town. Bed and Breakfast basis. 

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Day 8

Day 8: Final day in Scotland

This morning you will wake up in the captial city of Scotland. The vibrant and frankly intoxicating city of Edinburgh, we hope you have enjoyed your time here. After breakfast step out onto the beautiful streets and soak up the clean, crisp Scottish air for the last time. You...

This morning you will wake up in the captial city of Scotland. The vibrant and frankly intoxicating city of Edinburgh, we hope you have enjoyed your time here. After breakfast step out onto the beautiful streets and soak up the clean, crisp Scottish air for the last time. You will be taking the tram from the city centre back to Edinburgh airport. This is a comfortable and quiet 35 minute journey out to the airport via St. Andrew's Square, Princes' Street and Haymarket. Make sure to catch a final glimpes of the castle and fantastic skyline. 

At the airport you will check in for your long haul flights and bid your driver guide farewell. Thank you for choosing to visit Scotland, we truly hope that you have had one of the best adventures ever together and will return home with a bank of amazing photos and incredible memories. 

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What is a Scotland Wild Sleep?

Our exciting Wild Sleeps programme here in Scotland provides Sandgrouse Travel clients with a wilderness experience like few others. Join us on a trip and discover just how incredible the Scottish wilderness landscape can be. We take care of the logistical headaches and provide you with an incredible camp in a setting straight out of your dreams. Join us and watch the world go by from the side of the campfire.

Immersive wilderness escapes in the heart of Scotland’s rugged landscapes

Our trips aim to reinvigorate the soul, allowing those who seek it a comfortable detox from the norms of life. You will have the chance to find something new whilst we provide you with a unique experience that would otherwise be impossible to organise. With Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions it has never been easier to experience a luxury wilderness escape in Scotland.

Last minute changes

As a company we reserved the right to change pre-booked and agreed itineraries due to inclement weather, wildlife movement, farming or hunting activity, location quality and access rights to proposed sites. We will do all we can to provide the best and most suitable alternative in these instances in order to meet the original trip briefing.

Food & Drinks

A selection of herbal teas, tea and coffee will be available. Alcoholic drinks can be arranged by prior arrangement. Flasks of hot water will be available throughout your stay. Water is gathered in most instances from mountain burns and streams. Should you prefer we are able to bring in bottled water at an additional cost. 

Depending on the location, style of trip and customer preferences, we will offer either solely dehydrated expedition foods with a selection of snacks and/or alternatively we will offer full catering with home-cooked meals using organic produce. A set menu can be agreed by prior arrangement in advance of the trip at an additional cost. 

Any food that is foraged or caught (fish, seaweed, crustaceans, fungi, mammals) can be prepared in camp by the clients or ourselves should we be happy to do so. We would look to encourage clients to enjoy this aspect of their trip to Scotland and take full advantage of the opportunity to, ‘hunt gather cook’. The shoreline is rich in crustaceans and easy to fish from, as are the hill lochs. 

Bathing and the Call of Nature

Clients are able to enjoy a bracing wash in mountain steams or 'burns' that are easily found cascading down the hills. A shovel is provided along with biodegradable loo paper and alcohol based hand sanitiser for any 'call of nature'. 

Alternative ideas

We are able to offer our ‘Scotland Wild Sleeps’ programmes all-year-round, in a variety of locations and in any weather.  During the long summer nights enjoy catching the sunset beyond the Hebridean islands with a dram in hand before stepping into your comfortable expedition lavvu (tipi) to sleep with the doors open. How about wrapping up warm in the winter and gather around the wood-burning stove in your cosy canvas tent. As the snow settles on the ground outside take a chance to step out and enjoy the absolute silence and majesty of the mountains all around your camp.

What's Included:

VIP Meet & Greet Service on arrival at Edinburgh Airport. 

Private Transfers throughout your whole trip with driver/guide and minibus.

Luxury accommodation throughout on a Bed and Breakfast basis. 

Wild Camping and Scottish Mountain Bothy Experience. Dinner, breakfast and lunch basis.

Suggested excursions and experiences on carefully planned routing.

'VIP' luxury shopping experience at The House of Bruar. 

8x tickets for CalMac Mallaig to Armadale ferry crossing.  

Road book and tickets supplied on arrival in documentation pack with VIP meet and greet. 

24-hour emergency assistance on the ground. 

Suggested hikes with maps and marked routes. 

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