Departing from your hotel we will travel North West – passing some iconic sights along the way such as the Kelpies, Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument before we stop for coffee in the pretty little Victorian town of Callander – often known as the #39;Gateway to the Highlands#39;. After coffee we will continue our journey driving through Glen Ogle and over remote Rannoch Moor, towards Glencoe – site of the Glencoe massacre. After a photo stop we will pass over the Balachulish Bridge towards our first short ferry crossing across Loch Linnhe and continue our journey through the Morven mountains down towards Lochaline where we will catch our final ferry across to the Island of Mull, after a short drive we will arrive in Tobermory, which will be our home for the next 2 nights.
Today we are going to explore the north of the island – our first stop of the day will be tour of Sgriob-ruadh farm home to Isle of Mull cheese. If we are lucky we may see the cheese being made or see the cellars where this delicious cheese is matured and of course we will be able to sample some of the cheese as well! Our next stop will be the pretty little settlement of Dervaig. The village dates back to Viking times and its name pronounced ‘Dervig’ means #39;good inlet#39; in Norse. You will have the opportunity to explore Kilmore Church, the Gallery or enjoy some home baking at the local tea room before we head down towards the pristine white sands of Calgary Bay where you can simply relax or go for a walk along the coastal path. We will continue south to Laggan Bay and then slowly wind our way up towards Tobermory for lunch, where you have the afternoon free to explore the town, browse the shops or perhaps visit the distillery and sample some of its distinctive single malt whisky or simply relax.
Today we are going to explore the south of the island, before catching the ferry across to Iona where we shall be staying for one night. After lunch we will spend the afternoon exploring the idyllic holy island of Iona , the birthplace of Celtic Christianity. St Columba arrived with twelve followers in 563 AD and founded a monastery here. Our first stop is Iona Abbey, where we can visit the shrine of St Columba in the oldest part of the abbey which dates back to the 9th or 10th century. We will see the 4 high Celtic crosses, visit St Oran#39;s chapel and the graveyard where 48 Kings including Macbeth are said to be buried, and we can wander around the ruins of the one of the most complete Augustinian nunneries in Scotland. If you are feeling energetic you could climb to the top of Dun 1 for some outstanding views of the island and beyond, or take a walk to St Columba’s Bay where St Columba and his followers were thought to have landed in 563 or explore one of Iona#39;s beautiful white sand beaches. There is also the option to visit the uninhabited island of Staffa, famous for its basalt hexagonal columns, Fingal#39;s Cave - immortalised by Mendelson famous Hebrides overture and its wildlife, in the summer months it is the breeding ground for the Atlantic puffin.
Leaving Iona behind we will head towards Craignure to catch the ferry to Oban, from there, we will drive to Kilmartin Glen which is said to hold the richest concentration of prehistoric ruins in Europe including Standing Stones and Neolithic chambers. We will continue our journey hugging the shores of Loch Fyne stopping briefly to explore the pretty little town of Inveraray – with its Castle – home to Clan Campbell and its jail before we continue to Cairndow for lunch at the original Loch Fyne Oyster Bar which specialises in serving seafood from the Loch and from its own smokery. After lunch we shall drive over the mountain pass #39;Rest and Be Thankful#39; which was engineered by General Wade in the 18th century before driving down the side of Loch Lomond for our last stop to the conservation village of Luss. Here you will have the opportunity to explore the village before we make our way back towards Edinburgh and the end of the tour.