EXPEDITION CRUISE | CRUISETOUR

Scotland's Highlands and Islands (9 Days)

Cruise Line: Lindblad Expeditions
Inverness, United Kingdom to Inverness, United Kingdom
DAY
PORT
Tour Segment  Cruise Segment
ARRIVE DEPART
DAY 1
Air travel

Depart for Inverness, Scotland

DAY 2
Inverness, United Kingdom

Arrive in Inverness and embark Lord of the Glens. Tonight, enjoy a reception and dinner onboard, with a special after-dinner performance in the lounge by a local troupe of junior Scottish dancers. (D)

DAY 3
Inverness, United Kingdom
Culloden Battlefield, United Kingdom
Clava Cairns, United Kingdom
Inverness, United Kingdom
Loch Ness, United Kingdom
Fort Augustus, United Kingdom

This morning visit Culloden, the infamous battlefield where "Bonnie" Prince Charlie's Jacobite forces were defeated on April 16, 1746. The battle was brief but bloody and decisive, with as many as 2,000 Jacobites killed or wounded. It had drastic consequences for the Highlands of Scotland, and was followed by the infamous Highland Clearances that saw the mass expulsion of Catholic clansmen from their homes and in many cases from their country. Our visit includes both the battlefield and the award-winning visitor center, the National Trust for Scotland's flagship site. We'll then continue to the evocative 4,000-year-old burial chambers and standing stones of Clava Cairns, dating from the early Bronze Age. The impressive structures of this sacred site were developed for over a thousand years. We set sail this afternoon on the Caledonian Canal, built between 1803 and 1822 to connect the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean along the slip fault of the Great Glen. This afternoon we sail across Loch Ness, the largest body of fresh water in Britain, deeper than any part of the North Sea. Midway across the loch we cruise past the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle, a Norman castle on an Iron Age site, where we learn about the legendary Loch Ness Monster, which is said to inhabit the loch in this vicinity. Moor this evening at Fort Augustus, with a chance to kayak in Loch Ness itself in the late afternoon or take an exploratory hike through the surrounding countryside. An onboard whisky tasting rounds off the day. (B,L,D)

DAY 4
Fort Augustus, United Kingdom
Laggan Locks, United Kingdom
Banavie, United Kingdom
Glenfinnan, United Kingdom
Banavie, United Kingdom

Ascend an impressive flight of locks that runs through the heart of Fort Augustus. Seeing the process of getting the ship through the locks is always exciting, and Lord of the Glens is purpose-built to fit in the locks' narrow confines. The ship is always an object of curiosity among local residents and other visitors as we make our transit. Then glide along the tree-lined canal known as Laggan Avenue. Depart Laggan Locks and sail across picturesque Loch Lochy. Then continue along the canal to the village of Banavie, nestled in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Great Britain's highest mountain. In the afternoon we travel to beautiful Glenfinnan, along Loch Shiel and surrounded by mountains, where "Bonnie" Prince Charlie first raised the Jacobite standard on mainland Britain in 1745. There are fine walking options here, with dramatic views of the Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct on the West Highland Railway line, made famous more recently in the Harry Potter movies—a late Victorian construction with 21 arches. (B,L,D)

DAY 5
Neptune's Staircase Locks, United Kingdom
Corpach, Scotland, United Kingdom
Oban, United Kingdom

Lord of the Glens descends Neptune's Staircase, a set of eight interconnected locks dropping 64 feet to the sea lock at Corpach. We sail out into Lochaber and continue through Loch Linnhe to the bustling town of Oban, set on a picturesque bay on the Firth of Lorn. In the afternoon, we'll have time to explore the town on foot and to visit its famous whisky distillery, built in 1799 and still occupying its original premises. If you wish, walk all the way up to McCaig's Tower, a monument on a hill overlooking the town and bay that was inspired by the Roman Colosseum. It's a great vantage point, with fine views of the town and the waterfront. (B,L,D)

DAY 6
Sound of Mull, Scotland, United Kingdom
Craignure, United Kingdom
Fionnphort, United Kingdom
Iona, United Kingdom
Fionnphort, United Kingdom
Duart Castle, United Kingdom
Craignure, United Kingdom
Tobermory, United Kingdom

This morning we sail across the Sound of Mull, at the edge of the Atlantic, to Craignure on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. Drive across Mull, then cross to Iona by ferry to explore this picturesque island, which is of vital historic importance. St. Columba arrived here in 563 with twelve followers. They built a church and began the process of converting the peoples of the area to Christianity. Iona became famous as a place of learning and as a pilgrimage site. We'll visit the medieval abbey ruins and the rebuilt abbey church, and learn about the ecumenical movement based here since the 1930s. Stroll through St. Oran's Chapel and the royal graveyard, burial site of generations of Scottish kings (including Macbeth), the Lords of the Isles, and High Kings of Norway. We'll have a home-cooked lunch in the St Columba Hotel. On the way back to Craignure, we visit photogenic Duart Castle, the ancestral home of Clan Maclean—an impressive fortress (with a dungeon!) with dramatic views over the Sound of Mull. It was built in the 13th century and is still lived in by the Maclean family. We continue aboard Lord of the Glens to the picturesque town of Tobermory, with the whole evening free to explore this colorful village. Tobermory was established in 1788 and is famous for the brightly painted houses that line its waterfront, located at the bottom of a cliff face. Tobermory is also home to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, and one of their representatives will come aboard to give a presentation on their remarkable work in these waters. (B,L,D)

DAY 7
Tobermory, United Kingdom
Small Isles, Scotland, United Kingdom
Inverie, United Kingdom

This morning, explore Tobermory's lively quayside. We plan to meet with a member of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust to learn about their efforts to protect marine mammals in these waters. Then, we sail north to the "Small Isles" to land on Eigg, Rum, or even outermost Canna, depending on weather conditions. The islands have small populations of fewer than one hundred souls, but teem with wildlife. Look for marine animals and birdlife, including Atlantic seals, minke and humpback whales, dolphins, basking sharks and harbor porpoises, and one of the largest colonies of Manx shearwaters in northern Europe. If we visit Eigg, we'll have chances to walk around the island, which is dominated by the imposing crag of An Sgurr, and talk with the local residents. If we visit Rum, we'll visit fanciful Kinloch Castle, completed in 1900 as the home of Sir George Bullough, who had purchased the island with money he had earned as a textile magnate. The castle is now managed by Scottish National Heritage. If conditions permit, it may be possible to visit distant Canna, the outermost of the Small Isles, which is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. We then sail to the tiny village of Inverie, where you can have a drink at the Old Forge, the most remote pub in the British Isles (there is no road to Inverie, which can only be reached by sea or after a 17-mile hike). The pub is a convivial place, where you can have a chat with Inverie's residents over a pint of local ale. (B,L,D)

DAY 8
Inverie, United Kingdom
Armadale, United Kingdom
Kyle Of Lochalsh, United Kingdom
Cuillin Hills, Isle of Skye, Scotland, United Kingdom
Kyle Of Lochalsh, United Kingdom

We sail from Inverie this morning, and spend the day on the Isle of Skye. At the Museum of the Isles, trace the legacy of the 1,300-year-old Clan Donald, the Lords of the Isles, who once ruled the west coast of Scotland. See the ruins of Armadale Castle, ancestral home of the MacDonalds, and take a walk through the beautiful woodlands and gardens. Then sail for Kyle of Lochalsh, passing through the dramatic narrow sound between Skye and the mainland, with its tidal races and currents. Afternoon options include a guided walk in the Cuillin Hills on Skye (weather permitting), amid some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery. The Cuillin Hills are much loved by Scots as having some of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere, and some of the finest hiking. Alternatively, if you prefer not to hike you can explore Eilean Donan Castle and the charming village of Plockton on the mainland. The small 13th-century castle of Eilean Donan sits on a tidal island at the confluence of three lochs, and is connected by a short bridge to the mainland. A Jacobite stronghold, it was destroyed by government forces in 1719 but restored in the early in the twentieth century in Arts and Crafts style. The charming planned fishing village of Plockton has an attractive waterfront with exuberant gardens that speak eloquently of the temperate influence of the warm North Atlantic drift in these high latitudes. It's an enjoyable place for photography or just for an afternoon stroll. Celebrate your Scottish voyage at a farewell dinner onboard, with traditional Scottish musicians to entertain us after dinner in the lounge. (B,L,D)

DAY 9
Kyle Of Lochalsh, United Kingdom
Inverness, United Kingdom

Disembark Lord of the Glens in Kyle of Lochalsh and drive to Inverness for homeward-bound flights. (B)

Scotland's Highlands and Islands map

What's Included

Included

  • All accommodations aboard ships or in hotels per itinerary or similar, all meals and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, meals on land as indicated, air transportation where indicated as included, shore excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of snorkeling equipment and wet suits, use of kayaks (where available), gratuities (except to Egyptologists and ship's crew), taxes and service charges, services of a ship physician on most voyages, and services of our expedition staff.

Not Included

  • Air transportation (except where shown as included), extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, scuba diving (where available), meals not indicated, baggage/accident/travel protection plan, items of a personal nature, such as alcoholic beverages, e-mail, and laundry. Gratuities to Egyptologists and ship's crew at your discretion.

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Terms & Conditions

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Certain other provisions concerning, among other things, limitations of Lindblad Expeditions; and the National Geographic Society's liability for loss of property, injury, illness or death during the voyage will be provided to all guests on the cruise ticket sent prior to departure, and are also available where within this site or upon request. By registering for a trip, the guest agrees to all such terms and conditions.

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Cost Includes:

All accommodations aboard ship, meals as indicated, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages aboard ship, excursions, sightseeing and entrance fees, special access permits, transfers to and from group flights, use of kayaks and snorkeling equipment, services of Lindblad Expeditions’ Leader, National Geographic photographer, naturalist staff and expert guides, services of a ship physician, all gratuities, and all port charges and service taxes.

Note: All departures include alcoholic beverages and tips to the ship’s crew.

Not Included: 

Air transportation, extensions, passport, visa, immigration fees, travel protection plan, internet, and laundry.

Applies To: 

Portugal and Spain: From the Algarve to Catalonia

Mediterranean Isles: Sardinia, Corsica, and Menorca

Culture and Cuisine from Oporto to Basque Country

Bordeaux to London: The French Atlantic Coast

Wild and Windswept: The Coasts of England and Wales

Hidden Ireland: Loughs and Isles Off the Beaten Path

The North Sea: London to Copenhagen

Scandinavia by Sea: Denmark, Sweden, and Norway

Norway and Scotland: Fjordlands to the Inner Hebrides

Baltic Archipelagos: Islands of Denmark, Sweden & Finland

Best of the Baltics: Cities and Islands from Tallinn to Copenhagen



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