Friday, May 31, 2019 - Saturday, June 15, 2019
Come discover the magic of Scotland as we explore Inverness, Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye, Balmoral Castle and the Cairngorm National Park!! Inverness will be our arrival and departure airport for this adventure. It is located on the river Ness at the base of an old castle that is currently in use as a courthouse. The city has a lovely walk along the river as well as an appealing pedestrian shopping zone, and it will serve as our base for our expedition to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle and Corrimony Chambered Cairn, an unusually well preserved passage grave. The Isle of Skye will be our next destination and is referred to as "the Misty Isle." It offers some of Scotland's best scenery, and it rarely fails to charm its many visitors. Narrow twisty roads wind around Skye in the shadows of craggy, black, bald mountains. The Isle is over 50 square miles but we will never be more than 5 miles (as the crow flies!) from the sea. Skye is covered with hills, but the most striking are the mountain like Cuillin Hills in the south-central part of the island where we will have a guided hike. Trotternish peninsula north of Portree has one of the most spectacular landscapes in Britain. The great ridge which forms its backbone is the longest on Skye, and its unique eastern escarpment has been broken by Europe's largest landslides into a remarkable landscape. We will have a full day to explore the peninsula on a guided excursion. From the Isle of Skye we will venture inland to Aviemore and the Balmoral area in order to explore Cairngorms National Park. We will visit the Queen of England's Castle, hike in the hills and mountains in her "backyard" and explore the highlands! The modern resort of Aviemore, is one of the most popular areas of Scotland for outdoor activities and will serve as our base as we explore the surrounding area before moving on to the Balmoral area. Cairn Gorm itself is only the northernmost high summit on a vast, arctic plateau. This is the snowiest part of Britain. Undoubtedly this is one of the finest areas of Scotland for easier, lower level forest walks. The wildlife-watching opportunities too are simply superlative; most of the Cairngorm Mountains have just been declared as an area that is of European importance for the golden eagle. We will hopefully spot some as well as lots of other wildlife as we explore this incredibly beautiful part of the world.