Highlands and Islands Spiritual Tour of Scotland
This tour of spiritual Scotland has it all! Culture, history, myths, natural beauty, open sky, misty waters, rolling hills, ley lines, castles, stone circles, cairns, and magical caves. All that is missing is you!
Our theme for this tour is Go Wild! We will use the fresh air, big sky, raging sea, and solid earth to get us both fully grounded and spiritually expanded. Let the energy of the earth stir you and bring out your natural and wild side.
Thursday, June 8, 2017 Day 0 – Travel on your own to Scotland
Friday, June 9 Day 1 (full moon in Sagittarius)
Welcome to spiritual Scotland! Arrive in Edinburgh. Get acclimated and rested. Welcome dinner. Overnight in Edinburgh.
Saturday, June 10 Day 2
Drive past Stirling castle, Scotland’s first National Park around Loch Lomond and the West Highlands through the magnificent white-washed 18th Century town of Inveraray. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring the area close to the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada before arriving in bustling town of Oban. This area’s beautiful rolling countryside is often called the most beautiful of Scotland’s coastal areas. Overnight in Oban.
Sunday, June 11 Day 3
Mull teems with wild beauty and sacred sites. Nature lovers will delight at the wildflowers, sea eagles, whales, dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, birds, and deer. Mull hosts a stone circle (Lochbuie), many single standing stones, lots of castles, four hill forts, and nine crannogs. The Standing Stones of Mull are unique to Scotland in that they are often arranged in a small row of three to five stones. Today we’re well off the beaten path – just where you want to be when you’re finding center.
Iona has been a place of pilgrimage since the first millennium A.D. and is known as the “cradle of Christianity.” We will visit the famous and ancient abbey. The Celtic blessing “Deep peace of the running wave to you” is said to be uniquely felt in Iona.
Staffa is a tiny gem that houses one of the most spectacular sights in the world, Fingal’s Cave. The echoing sounds inspired famous composure Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides. Overnight in Oban. This spectacular site alone is reason enough to do the tour.
Monday, June 12 Day 4
Today begins with a drive north along the west coast around Appin, passing the impregnable Castle Stalker, and Glencoe (voted most romantic glen in Scotland), scene of the infamous massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. You then pass through Fort William nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis which at 1344 meters is the highest mountain in the British Isles. We continue through the Great Glen a natural fault in the earth’s crust that runs through Scotland and on through Ireland. From here you travel north to the picturesque fishing village of Plockton. Overnight in Plockton.
Tuesday, June 13 Day 5
We’re going with the flow today in Skye. The guide will take into account the group’s interest and the weather to decide the itinerary. Some possibilities are: heading west towards the 13th century home of the Clan Macleod – Dunvegan Castle, the emerald green valley of Glendale or the dramatic sea-cliffs and lonely lighthouse at Neist Point. Other options are heading down to Elgol for seascapes and views of the Cuillin, or Talisker and its beautiful bay or Glenbrittle and its famed waterfalls. Overnight in Plockton.
Wednesday, June 14 Day 6
First stop is the famous stronghold of Eilean Donan Castle, used in the film “Highlander”, set at the junction of 3 lochs as protection against Viking raiders. Then we head east to take in the stunning views over Loch Duich and the Five Sisters of Kintail. (Don’t worry. You don’t have to be part mountain goat. We aren’t going to climb it). We’ll stop at Loch Ness for lunch Who knows? We may see “Nessie!”
By the way, the Loch Ness monster isn’t a modern legend. It is a each-uisge (senior kelpie or water spirit) that appears on Pictish symbol stones. It’s a dangerous creature that has the ability to shape shift in order to lure people to a watery death. Legend says an elderly lady who lives on the loch searches for the beast by dowsing. They say she’s never wrong.
From here we head to Inverness by way of the Great Glen, travelling the entire 23 miles of the famous Loch passing by Urquhart castle. Overnight in Inverness.
Thursday, June 15 Day 7
We get an an early start, leaving behind the ‘Capital of the Highlands’, crossing over the Black Isle, and past Andrew Carnegie’s Skibo Castle. From here you drive through the northeast Highland coastline, travelling into some of Scotland’s most dramatic scenery, and enjoy amazing views of some of Europe’s oldest landscapes and the chance to see wildlife such as Golden Eagles and red deer. Onwards through Scotland’s most northerly mainland village, John o’ Groats, and then to Gills Bay, where you board the ferry, crossing the Pentland Firth into the Orkney Archipelago.
Pictish and Viking history influences Orkey’s interesting culture. This blend creates a place unlike any other in the world. Legends tell of a magical race of selkies, or seals, that shed their skins on Midsummer’s Eve and become beautiful seal folk who bewitch humans.
Our tour continues to the famous Italian Chapel where we stop for a visit before continuing to the Viking stronghold of Kirkwall. Here you can visit Kirkwall’s magnificent Viking Cathedral and its historic winding streets. Overnight in Orkney.
Friday, June 16 Day 8
The best preserved and largest number of Neolithic ruins are in the Scottish islands. Today we’ll visit Skara Brae, a site that is older than the pyramids of Egypt! We’ll also see the mystical prehistoric stone Ring of Brodgar and the Druidic standing stones of Stenness. This is the spiritual center of Orkney, expressing the duality of earth and sky, land and water, sunrise and sunset. There is so much energy at this site!
We stop in Stromness – one of Scotland’s most picturesque seaboard villages and then travel onto Maeshowe, where in the 12th century the Vikings left one of the largest collections of Norse runic inscriptions. Then it’s back to Kirkwall. Overnight in Orkney.
Saturday, June 17 Day 9
Today we leave Orkney and sail the Viking waters back to the mainland. From here you travel the old road right across the very top of Scotland, driving past the stunning Ben Loyal and Ben Hope mountains following the rocky cliffs and stunning golden sand beaches of our northern coastline. We then visit the far northwest highlands and the grandeur, expanse and wilderness of the mountains of Assynt before stopping to view the 15th century ruins of Ardvreck Castle. From here we travel to Ullapool, situated at the mouth of Loch Broom, a beautiful whitewashed fishing village where we spent our last night’s stay on tour. Overnight in Ullapool.
Sunday, June 18 Day 10
Leaving Ullapool behind you, you take in the drama of the River Droma as it plunges 60m down into Corrieshalloch Gorge, before taking in the beautiful Loch Glascarnoch, on the way past the ‘Capital of the Highlands’ Inverness. You can then visit Culloden Moor, the site of The Battle of Culloden in 1746, one of the bloodiest events in our history and the last battle to have been fought on the British mainland, before taking a short drive to the standing stones at Clava Cairns, one of Scotland’s most sacred prehistory sites that was made famous by Diana Gabaldon in the “Outlander” books.
This stunning Bronze Age burial ground is one of the oldest in Scotland. They align with ley lines running northeast to southwest. The complex contains passage graves, ring cairns, kerb stones, a smaller kerb cairn, standing stones, rock art, and the remains of a chapel within a magical setting. When the haar (thick, wet sea fog) rolls in, the spirits rise.
From here you travel through the ancient Caledonian Pine Forest, hugging the Cairngorm mountain range. We will have lunch in these beautiful surroundings before travelling through big tree country of Perthshire. We then go through the Kingdom of Fife. Fife is the home of the aboriginal people of this land, the Picts. The Picts were wee people who lived in caves and had such big feet that they used as umbrellas. Overnight in Edinburgh.
Monday, Day June 19 11 – depart for home
Note: Tour days start at 9:00 a.m. and end around 6:30 p.m. each day. Optional group activities like dream group and past life regression are also available based upon the time and whims of the group.
If you want to coordinate with Laura’s flight, she’s flying in on Aer Lingus flight 3252 from Dublin to Edinburgh. Arriving at 11:10 a.m. local time.