Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided drive & hike tour of Scotland: Highlands & Islands Discovery
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Highlights

  • The best walks & scenic drives in the Highlands and Isles of Skye, Lewis & Harris.
  • The drive through Glencoe towards Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.
  • Exploring the maze of rocky pinnacles on Skye's Trotternish Peninsula.
  • Visiting the impressive 5000 year old Callanish Standing Stones on Lewis.
  • The chance to spot whales & dolphin while sailing between the islands.

This superb two-week self-guided drive and hike adventure takes in the highlights of Scotland's Highlands and Islands. Explore wild Scotland; the Trossachs National Park, Ben Nevis, three remote islands (Isles of Skye, Harris and Lewis), Inverness and the Cairngorms National Park.

Experience Scotland’s most rewarding landscapes and heritage with exhilarating walks interspersed with breath-taking scenic drive sto tranquil glens, craggy peaks and serene lochs. Discover brooding Ben Nevis on foot, and marvel at the wild shores and silver sands of the west coast. Cross by ferry to the romantic Isle of Skye, then the remote Hebridean Islands of Harris and Lewis. Return to the mainland and continue via Loch Ness to battle-scarred Culloden. Travel on through whisky country and the Cairngorms National Park to complete your trip with walks in historic Highland Perthshire.

Day 1: Arrive Glasgow and overnight

Upon arrival you will spend your first night in Glasgow. Art and industry are reflected in the magnificent architecture and vibrancy of the city. Perhaps explore Glasgow's Botanical Gardens, visit fascinating Kelvingrove Museum, or admire Art Nouveau designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh's creative influence, seen throughout the city.


Overnight: Glasgow


Day 2: Callander and the Trossachs

Driving north into the Trossachs you enter an area of wooded glens and quiet lochs; the land of outlaw Rob Roy and perfect for relaxing walks. However for an exhilarating hill walk, the peak of Ben Ledi is a natural choice. The views are magnificent across to Ben Lomond and the skyline of the Arrochar Alps.


Overnight: Callander


Day 3: Travel through the Highlands to Fort William

Your morning drive will take you into the Highlands proper, past the foot of the incredible vista of Buachaillie Etive Mor, one of the best loved peaks in Scotland. The impressive pass of Glencoe, site of the 1692 massacre, is nearby and is a spectacular drive. Onward, one of the best short walks is to Steal Falls in Glen Nevis where the River Nevis cascades from the mountains.


Overnight: Fort William


Day 4: Ben Nevis and local walks

One of the highlights of the trip is an ascent of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain at 4,408ft (1,344m) above sea level. This 10.5 mile round trip via the ‘Mountain Track’ takes around 7-9hrs for the well-prepared walker. The view at the top seems to stretch to the whole of the Highlands. There are also local walks in Glen Nevis forest area should you wish to opt for a less challenging option.


Overnight: Fort William


Day 5 - The Road to the Isles - The Isle of Skye

Passing the Caledonian Canal you depart for the west coast. Here you will find the silver sands of Morar, part of a series of beautiful sandy beaches that line the coast from Morar to Arisaig and are the perfect spot to stretch your legs.


Boarding the ferry at Mallaig, keep watch for porpoise and seabirds on the short crossing to Armadale on Skye. As you drive to Sligachan drink in the stunning views of the Cuillin Mountains, a mecca for climbers and walkers. Explore the area around your hotel on a delightful two hour walk to Loch Sligachan.


Overnight: Sligachan


Day 6: The Quirang and Loch Coruisk

The Quirang on the Trotternish Peninsula is a must for any Skye trip. Walk through its buttresses, cliffs and pinnacles, with views across to the Outer Hebrides. Another option is to take a boat trip from Elgol to Loch Coruisk at the heart of the Black Cuillin, then walk back to Sligachan.


Overnight: Sligachan


Day 7: Ferry to Harris, Outer Hebrides

Board the ferry from Uig on Skye to Tarbert on the Isle of Harris; keep your eyes peeled for sightings of dolphins, whales and basking sharks. Taking it’s name from the old Norse 'Na Heardh' for 'High Land', the rugged mountainous terrain of Harris provides excellent walking. Harris' west coast boasts some of the most remote and stunning beaches in the British Isles.


Overnight: Tarbert


Day 8: Isle of Lewis - Callanish

Explore the hidden lochs and beautiful sands on one of the many walks in Harris before you drive north to Lewis, the largest of the Western Isles. An afternoon walk to the Callanish Standing Stones will take you back in time; this iconic site dates back around 5000 years.


Overnight: Callanish region


Day 9: Isle of Lewis - Butt of Lewis

The most northerly point of the island, this 6.5 mile walk to the most northerly point of the island; the Butt of Lewis, offers up dramatic seascapes and coastal geology. Reaching the 19th Century lighthouse your senses are rewarded with panoramic views and the sound of a cacophony of seabirds.


Overnight: Callanish region


Day 10: Ferry to Ullapool

The ferry trip from Stornoway on Lewis to Ullapool back on the mainland once again provides ample opportunities to spot whales and dolphins. Settle in at your hotel then stretch your legs on a 2-3 hr walk along the Ullapool Hill path to Loch Achall.


Overnight: Ullapool 


Day 11: Ullapool walks

There are may excellent walks in the Ullapool region; take a hike up Ben More Assynt or Conival. Suilven is one of our favourite Scottish mountains, with its superlative views over the surrounding remote landscape.


Overnight: Ullapool


Day 12: Inverness

Set out towards Inverness, with the chance to visit Loch Ness, take a cruise on the Moray Firth to visit the resident bottle nosed dolphins, visit a distillery for a whisky tasting, and or even walk on the Culloden Battlefield.


Overnight: Inverness


Day 13: Pitlochry

As you drive south to Pitlochry you'll pass close to the heart of whisky country, the perfect excuse for a side trip to Speyside, to stock up on Scotland’s 'water of life'. The mountains, rivers, lochs and Victorian villages of the Cairngorms National Park will inspire and delight you. Choices include Edradour and Blair Athol Distilleries, the Festival Theatre, the Salmon Ladder and the Black Spout Waterfall. Alternatively if you are feeling more energetic you may wish to tackle Ben Vrackie, the highest hill in the area which is sure to reward your efforts with fantastic views in all directions.


Overnight: Pitlochry


Day 14: Onward Travel

Following your night in Pitlochry your drive and hike adventure through the Highlands and Islands of Scotland is complete and you may continue your onward journey.  Edinburgh and Glasgow are both within a couple of hours by car from Pitlochry, or you can extend your stay to enjoy further walking in Scotland and the British Isles; just contact us and we can help make arrangements.

Accommodation

One of the highlights of this walking tour is the friendly local accommodation; we book hand-picked properties of a 3-4 star standard to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We do recommend that you book this trip early as the areas covered are always popular and the guesthouses and inns do fill up early, especially in high season.


Single Rooms

This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers.  As all our trips are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs that are not shared. If you require single rooms within your party we will of course try to accommodate your request, subject to availability.


Meals

Breakfast is included each morning, while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival, alternatively your guidebook also includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants.


Additional Nights

Many of our walkers choose to add extra nights on the tour and these can be added at the time of booking.


You will find descriptions, photos and weblinks to a selection of the accommodations we often use below. All are subject to availability at the time of booking and therefore alternatives of a similar or higher standard may be offered.



 




Abbotsford Lodge - Callander

Abbotsford Lodge is a stunning B&B on the outskirts of Callander. Tastefully decorated throughout it has beautiful en-suite rooms and a comfortable guest lounge where you can sit with a quiet drink, relax and unwind.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Guisachan Guest House - Fort William



Guisachan Guest House - Fort William

Guisachan House sits above Fort William overlooking Loch Linnhe and the surrounding hills. Close to the centre of town, Matthew and Edith will make sure that you receive a warm welcome.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Berkeley House - Fort William



Berkeley House - Fort William

Berkeley House was constructed in the late 1800's. Following a total refurbishment in 1998, this traditional Scottish Guest House has kept much of the original characteristics, whilst adding many modern facilities.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Sligachan Hotel - Skye

It would be hard to find a more dramatic and inspiring setting in the whole of Scotland, let alone Europe, than the one enjoyed by the world famous Sligachan Hotel.


 

 

 


 

 

 




The Harris Hotel - Tarbert

Traditional Island hospitality, superb food and a relaxing atmosphere are the order of the day in this family run hotel.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Loch Roag - Lewis



Loch Roag - Lewis

Only 2 miles from the Callanish Standing Stones, this is the perfect base to explore the wonders of the Isle of Lewis.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Harbour Lights - Ullapool

Harbour Lights is a lovely B&B on the shores of Loch Broom, just a short walk from the centre of Ullapool.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Acorn Guest House - Inverness

Awarded UK Guest House of the year in 2008, Dugie and Fiona continue to assure a warm welcome in their comfortable and relaxing 'home from home' for guests.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Arcasaid Hotel - Pitlochry

Perfectly situated for walks in Highland Perthshire, the Arcasaid Hotel offers relaxing en suite accommodation and a mouth-watering dinner menu.


 

 

 

Availability

Please note that Skye is exceptionally popular throughout the Summer months.  As a result it may be necessary to book upgraded accommodations and / or taxi transfers to accommodate your dates.  Your specialist will inform you of this prior to confirming your booking and advise of any supplement payable.


This drive-hike tour is best enjoyed between March and October, and you can start on any day of the week.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as all our holidays are priced per person based on two sharing, there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs that are not shared. If you require single rooms within your party we will of course try our best to accommodate your request, subject to availability.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

Most of the route and walks are not way marked so you should be able to read a map and follow route descriptions closely. We supply a guidebook, route notes and a detailed map so you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way


Grade & Terrain

This trip is graded Moderate. The trails follows footpaths, bridleways, coastal trails, open fields and some minor roads. The walks may involve some relatively steep ascent and descents and days of up to 10 miles walking. All walks are of course optional and you can choose to explore by car instead.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/ descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.


Getting to Glasgow

By Air:


Located 8 miles west of Glasgow, the international airport is served by routes from around Britain and the world. A regular shuttle bus service runs to the city centre.


If you fly into Edinburgh Airport, it is a tram journey into the city centre, then change for a train to Glasgow, or there is a citylink bus service, taking just one hour, which connects the two.


Located 30 miles south of Glasgow, Prestwick Airport is served primarily by the airline Ryanair. A train service runs from Prestwick to Glasgow city centre. Note that this takes approx. 50 minutes and we recommend allowing plenty of time to connect to any journeys.


For further information regarding public transport in Scotland, please see the excellent Traveline Scotland website for timetables and fares. 


By Road:


Glasgow is served by an excellent motorway network. 


By Coach:


Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express

Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink 


Getting from Pitlochry

 Pitlochry is around 1h45 by road or under 2 hours by train from Edinburgh. Alternatively, Glasgow is 1h35 by road or 1h40 by train from Pitlochry.


 

Included

  • 13 Nights accommodation in hand-picked B&Bs and guesthouses.
  • A detailed info pack, guidebook and maps.
  • Ferry crossings as per itinerary (1 car per booking)
  • Emergency telephone support from our UK office in the event of a problem.

Excluded

  • Travel to the start or from the finish of the walks.
  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Personal Equipment.
  • Car hire (available as an optional extra).

Extras

  • Single room supplement.
  • Extra nights along the way.
  • Car hire - we can arrange if required.

We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further help.

How fit do I need to be?

This trip is graded moderate and is perfect if you enjoy a good level of fitness. However as all of the walks are optional, you can choose whether or not you'd like to walk each day. The trails we recommend follow footpaths, bridleways, coastal trails, open fields and some minor roads. The walks may involve some relatively steep ascent and descents and days of up to 10 miles walking. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the trip is extremely popular especially over April/May and July/August. All trips are subject to availability and we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. We provide you with a comprehensive kit list so you're fully prepared. 

When is the best time of year?

We believe any time between late March and October offers a wonderful experience.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.


REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
macs adventureHighlands and Islands Discovery
 
4.8

(based on 5 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well organised (5)
  • Fun (4)
  • Great accommodations (4)
  • Once in a lifetime experience (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Holiday (5)

Reviewed by 5 customers

Displaying reviews 1-5

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5.0

Great trip; amazing planning

By Kathy the hiker

from Fairbanks, Alaska

About Me Avid Adventurer, Occasional Traveller

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Fun
  • Well Organised

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Holiday
    • Trying Something New

    Comments about macs adventure Highlands and Islands Discovery:

    I walked the West Highland Way in 2015 and fell in love with Scotland. I wanted to return again to see more of the Highlands and travel with my husband. Caroline was able to customize a trip for me that extended time in all of the places that I wanted to explore. The planning she did for us was wonderful and she did it all. Caroline booked our BnB's, ferry reservations and even our car rental. It saved me time and hassle as I wouldn't have known where to stay or what to explore. We had a great informative trip booklet that had day hikes that we could do in every location that we stayed. It was obvious that someone had taken the time and effort to explore what hikes/walks to recommend. I would definitely recommend Macs and I will be using them again for future trips.

     
    5.0

    Great trip and adventure in the Highlands

    By Toni usa

    from Arizona usa

    About Me Occasional Traveller

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Fun
    • Great Accommodations
    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
    • Well Organised

    Cons

    • Some directions to accomodations need to be upda

    Best Uses

    • Holiday

    Comments about macs adventure Highlands and Islands Discovery:

    It was great having the accommodation organized and booked for us and they were all great.

     
    5.0

    Holiday of a Lifetime!

    By Idaho Traveller

    from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho USA

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Fun
    • Great Accommodations
    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
    • Well Organised

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Adventure
      • Holiday

      Comments about macs adventure Highlands and Islands Discovery:

      This is a great way to see Scotland. By having a car, and the desire to be on foot as much as possible, we were able to see and do things not on the regular tourist route. We drove over 900 miles and hiked/walked around 100 miles, mostly following Macs' itinerary, but occasionally finding things on our own that we wanted to explore further.

       
      5.0

      I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT.

      By MIKE AND CAROL, THE MONTANAS

      from COLUMBUS, MONTANA, USA

      About Me Avid Adventurer, World Traveller

      Pros

      • Fun
      • Great Accommodations
      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
      • Well Organised

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Holiday
        • Trying Something New

        Comments about macs adventure Highlands and Islands Discovery:

        WE LOVED THIS TRIP! IT OFFERED US FREEDOM TO EXPLORE SCOTLAND ON OUR OWN! THE ITINERARY YOU SUPPLIED, HOWEVER, GAVE US GUIDANCE. HAVING MACS MAKE THE LODGING RESERVATIONS, THE CAR HIRE, AND THE FERRY RESERVATIONS WAS SO HELPFUL TOO. WE APPRECIATED ALL THE MATERIALS YOU SUPPLIED AND READILY USED THEM. THE MAPS AND DIRECTIONS FOR THE HIKES WERE SOMETIMES HARD TO FOLLOW, BUT THAT DIDN'T STOP US. WE STILL HIKED AT LEAST 10 TIMES, SOME HIKES CHOSEN ON OUR OWN. WE ARE HEARTFELT APPRECIATIVE FOR THIS TRIP THAT YOU OFFERED! AND WE ARE APPRECIATIVE OF THE FRIENDLY, HELPFUL GUIDANCE CAROLINE SLOAN OFFERED US! MANY THANKS!!!

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Beautiful roads!

        By Rachel

        from Hampshire

        Pros

        • Dramatic Scenery
        • Great Accommodations
        • Variety
        • Well Organised

        Cons

        • Very Varied Accommodation

        Best Uses

        • Discovering Places
        • Holiday

        Comments about macs adventure Highlands and Islands Discovery:

        A well-designed tour, great for open-top driving, and discovering delights to return to. I loved Harris and Lewis as well as Portree in Skye, and will definitely be back for more in depth exploration in the future.

        We were lucky with the weather, which was cold and windy but often sunny too, and showers followed by glorious rainbows were a highlight of some incredible views while driving or walking. But spring had not sprung at all in April, (daffodils were out but no leaves on the trees) so May might be better for green and flowers.

        We enjoyed the art and craft shops on Lewis and Harris, as well as many castles, being tourists as well as walkers. And the cruise from Stornoway to Ullapool on a sunny, still day through the Summer Isles was really stunning.

        Some hotels are worth upgrading if you enjoy comfort and good food - there are some really top quality but still friendly hotels in the Highlands, which are worth paying a bit extra for, to make a luxury version of this holiday

        Displaying reviews 1-5

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