Scotland Slowly, 11 Days
Starts: Aberdeen, Scotland
Ends: Glasgow, Scotland
- DAY 1: Aberdeen, Scotland
Begin Your Adventure
Board the?Ocean Endeavour for an evening departure after enjoying some self-guided exploration in Aberdeen.
Many of the historic stone buildings here are made of locally quarried granite; high in mica, they can sparkle like silver.
The city is also famed for its forty-five parks, gardens, and floral displays. Though it is now a modern city, Aberdeen retains its old-world charm.
- DAY 2: Fair Isle
Enjoy Birdwatching & Quaint Island Culture
Journey to charming Fair Isle, once a Viking hub and now an idyllic island colony of artists and shepherds.
Keep your binoculars handy to spot some of the 350 bird species that the island boasts, including puffins and great skuas in substantial numbers.
Take a tour of the local museum, dedicated to preserving island heritage.
- DAY 3: Papa Stour and Foula
Take a Zodiac Cruise
Explore the rugged coastline and spot flourishing marine and bird life among Papa Stour’s cliffs, caves, sea stacks, and blowholes on a morning Zodiac cruise.
Call in at sweet and petite Foula, twenty-three kilometres west of the Shetland Islands, home to just a few dozen folks, many of whom preserve traditional methods of agriculture and subsistence.
Keep an eye out for the Arctic terns, red-throated divers, and great skuas that may be found here.
- DAY 4: Kirkwall, Orkney
Visit the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site
Wander through the stone walls of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll find the 4,000-year-old Ring of Brodgar.
Tour the Hall of Clestrain, childhood home of Arctic explorer John Rae and take in the sights of the city of Kirkwall, dominated by the massive St. Magnus Cathedral, dating from 1137.
- DAY 5: Stornoway, Lewis
Witness Modern & Ancient Scottish Culture
Visit Stornoway on the isle of Lewis, a Gaelic stronghold and the capital of the largest of the Hebrides.
Browse charming shops to purchase the island’s famous tweed.
Meander through one of Britain’s most important Stone Age sites, Callanish’s standing stones, which are said to be giants who were punished by St. Kieran for refusing to convert to Christianity.
- DAY 6: St. Kilda
Journey to St. Kilda UNESCO World Heritage Site
Venture to the tiny, far-flung archipelago of St. Kilda, which has been uninhabited since 1930.
Wander amongst this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects the former community as well as natural heritage features.
Hike to enormous cliffs offering dramatic ocean views.
Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the millions of seabirds who thrive on the island of Hirta, which is also home to feral sheep left by the departing islanders.
- DAY 7: Outer Hebrides
Explore Uninhabited Isles
Reach out-of-the-way, uninhabited islands that are only accessible by Zodiac during an expedition landing to the Outer Hebrides—a fantastic collection of over 100 islands seventy kilometres off Scotland’s west coast.
Take note of archaeological remains that reveal the oldest evidence of human habitation in Scotland, with influence from Pictish, Norse, and Scottish cultures.
Search out the rich marine and bird life of the islands as conditions permit.
- DAY 8: Skye
Enjoy Photography, Birdwatching, and Hiking
Whether you’re a hiker, photographer, or birder, you will love a visit to Skye.
Cruise the southwestern shore of this large island to visit Loch Coruisk, a freshwater lake accessed through Loch Scavaig.
Choose the level of activity that suits you best for a walk, hike, or trek among one of the finest mountainscapes in Britain, the Cuillin hills.
- DAY 9: Iona and Staffa
Make a Pilgrimage to Iona Abbey & Fingal's Cave
Visit Iona, where St. Columba established his monastery—the burial place of kings.
Admire the beautifully restored Iona Abbey complex, which preserves two outstanding crosses dating as far back as the eighth century.
Then take a Zodiac cruise at the Isle of Staffa, famed for basaltic formations and numerous caves, the best known being Fingal’s Cave.
See for yourself why it is originally known in Gaelic as “the melodious cave” and provided the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s overture,?The Hebrides.
- DAY 10: Islay
Tour the Gruinart Nature Reserve & Sample Whisky
Wet your whistle on Islay, the Queen of the Hebrides, known for its fine whisky and as a haven for seabirds.
Stop in at the Loch Finlaggan historic site, home of the Lords of the Isles and Clan Donald, and visit the Gruinart Nature Reserve, a habitat for barnacle goose, hen harriers, and corncrakes.
If you’re a Scotch lover, you can select an optional enhancement to take a tour of Islay's world-famous distilleries.
- DAY 11: Glasgow, Scotland
Wave a Fond Farewell
Complete your journey by disembarking the?Ocean Endeavour from Greenock in the morning and taking a coach transfer to Glasgow.
Say your farewells in this city of rich maritime history that was a major shipbuilding and import centre.