We meet in our nation’s capital, the historic city of Edinburgh. Once the group has assembled, and everyone’s been introduced, we’ll discuss our itinerary for the days ahead. The tour begins by crossing the largest estuary in the east coast of Scotland over the impressive Firth of Forth bridge, which will provide an excellent viewpoint across the Three Forth Bridges, and beyond into the Kingdom of Fife.
There’ll be no shortage of enchanting views as we journey onwards to the fabled Scottish Highlands. Continuing through to Glenshee, home of the largest ski and snowboard terrain in Scotland, we’ll stop to take in the astonishing landscape, before heading up into the Cairngorms. We want to stress that these landscapes are other-worldly; unlike anything you’ve seen before. The scenery is truly a hidden wonder of Scotland.
As morning turns to afternoon, you’ll need to adjust your crowns as we draw up to Balmoral Castle, the dreamy summer residence of the British Royal Family, set perfectly in the romantic greenery of the Cairngorms National Park. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria spontaneously lost their hearts to this enchanting castle, and to each other. They adored Balmoral, and we know you will too!
Our accommodation for the evening is the Darroch Learg Hotel. Risen like a phoenix from the ashes, the postcard-perfect Darroch Learg Hotel has just reopened this year, following a devastating fire in 2015. This idyllic hotel is nestled high on the mountain, providing a moment to enjoy the beauty of the landscape around you. Sheltered by the serene hotel, which has been decorated with exceptional attention to detail, alongside the Darroch Learg’s traditional Scottish cuisine, you’ll be sure to feel rested, restored and relaxed.
It’s time to put on appropriate sportswear because today you’ll be exploring the great Scottish outdoors!
You’ll have the choice between two entertaining experiences. The first being a mountain bike tour, led by our expert guide Chris.
As a marvellous cyclist, Chris will be able to provide insider knowledge of the Scottish Highlands, along with additional information on what to look out for. As a local, he knows the area like the back of his hand. He’ll adapt the tour to your interests and abilities; so you’ll never feel out of your depth.
Or if you’d prefer, you can spend the morning fly fishing with Ian.
Ian is a local legend among the Cairngorms community, and a published expert of Scottish folklore. As an open book to some fascinating tales of the Cairngorms, Ian will be able to share some truly magical stories with you as you catch fresh trout from the river! We’re not exaggerating when we say that Ian’s inner peace is contagious and will bring you closer to your beautiful surroundings.
Whichever experience you choose, you’ll gain one very memorable day! The rest of the afternoon will be at your disposal, exploring the quaint Scottish villages of Braemar or Ballater.
The day ends together back at the Darroch Learg Hotel, where we can share in each other’s anecdotes of the day. There’s certainly a lot more in store, so be sure to get a good night’s sleep!
After breakfast, we’ll continue on our Magical Edinburgh walking tour, heading into the heart of the Scottish Highlands, passing the geographical centre of Scotland through the quintessential town of Newtonmore. We’ll head on to Spean Bridge at the mouth of Loch Lochy. From here, you’ll be able to enjoy the view of roaring mountains and rolling backdrops; the very best of what Western Scotland has to offer. Known as ‘the crossroads of the Highlands’, we’ll head south from Spean Bridge past the iconic town of Fort William, onwards to Glen Coe.
A home of living history, Glen Coe is one of the most impressive valleys in Scotland, and probably the most recognized. Steeped in history, the formidable surrounding mountains were carved out by glaciers and volcanic explosions that occurred thousands of years ago. You’ll have the wonderful opportunity to take a guided walk through Glen Etive, where you may recognize your surroundings from the acclaimed James Bond film ‘Skyfall’, and several Harry Potter movies! On this visionary tour, you’ll learn more about the surrounding wildlife and geology from our local guide, not to mention the wealth of Glen Coe’s historic past.
Our quintessential Scottish accommodation for this evening will be the newly renovated Kingshouse Hotel, located on the banks of the River Etive. To restore your aching muscles after a long days’ walk, you’ll have the opportunity to dine on acclaimed local venison at The Way Inn. It’s a lovely little gem, ingeniously located in the middle of nowhere, embedded in the legendary Glen Coes. With nothing but the rolling Scottish countryside to lull you to sleep, you can’t ask for a more peaceful experience after a full days’ exertion.
Today, we’ll set out to explore the prehistoric Kilmartin Glen; home to Scotland’s largest stone circle area, in the magical setting of the county of Argyll and Bute. This is one of our absolute favourite places in Scotland, and it’s filled with magical tales that have captivated listeners for generations. Much of the history of this area dates as far back as the Neolithic and Bronze Age; and is considered the birthplace of modern-day Scotland.
Another one of our brilliant local guides will accompany us as we meander through the stone circles and ancient burial grounds of Kilmartin, later climbing the Iron Age Dunadd Fort, where many Scottish Kings were crowned. Here, we can take a moment to remember the past, and philosophize about which scenes could have taken place on that very spot, centuries ago; feeling like the heroes of yesteryear!
We’ll end the day in Tarbert. This cosy, small harbour is the perfect end to our historic day. You’ll have the option to enjoy the local Catch of the Day in one of the local restaurants and sample the famous smooth malts in the Loch Fyne Bar, gazing over the ferry terminal at Loch Fyne as we reminisce over the day’s activities. After a happy, hearty meal with good friends in a stunning setting, you’ll be sure to fall into bed with a smile on your face.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end!
Heading back towards Edinburgh, our first ferry crossing will take us over to Portavadie, from where we will drive along the surreal Argyll coast. Our second ferry crossing will take us along the Clyde Firth on the Dunoon Ferry. With powerful coastlines, picturesque fjord landscapes and the unique west coast, you’ll be spoiled for views (weather depending – this is Scotland after all!).
As we head back through the Central Belt, we’ll make a stop at the mystical Kelpie sculptures near Grangemouth. By now, your holiday album should be close to bursting, but make sure you still have some room as these iconic sculptures are not to miss! These equine sculptures are the largest in the world, weighing more than 300 tonnes each, and towering over 100ft tall. Whilst here you’ll learn about the importance of what they represent, and how these magical structures were modelled after real-life Scottish icons of the past. Have we spiked your curiosity yet? We’ll reveal all the fascinating details about the Kelpies on our tour, as the saying goes: “all good things come to those who wait”!
Once we’re back in Edinburgh, it’s time to say goodbye to the group as we have reached the end of our magical Edinburgh walking tour. Those with a flight to catch, we’ll take directly to the airport, or if you’d like to extend your tour, we’ll provide transport to your chosen hotel. Whether you stay or go, one thing is for sure, everyone will be leaving with the same unforgettable memories.
With so much more to see and do in Scotland, we hope this is not ‘farewell’, but rather, ‘see you soon’!
The best way to see Scotland? By foot of course!
Join us on our Magical Edinburgh Walking Tour. Have you got your walking shoes at the ready?