Day 1: We rendezvous at Starbucks on the ground floor of the St Andrews Arrival Building, Glasgow Airport at Noon. From there we proceed to the village of Rosslyn near Edinburgh. Lunch en route. Overnight at Rosslyn.
Day 2: Today we visit the beautiful Roslin (Rosslyn) Chapel, made famous in the book 'The Da Vinci Code'. The chapel is a 15th Century 'book in stone' festooned with all manner of arcane carvings, including many depictions of the pagan Green Man. We are accompanied by Chevalier Robert Brydon, grand master of the Knights Templars, who will describe to us the many Templar associations, the links with the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant. Dinner with Chevalier Robert Brydon. Overnight at Rosslyn.
Day 3: Onwards to Aberfoyle in the Trossachs, where we are met by the Druid Priestess Fiona Davidson, who leads us to the Fairy Knowe hill. Here legend recalls the Scottish mystic the Rev. Robert Kirk was stolen away by the Fairy Queen. We visit the graveyard of his reputed burial and have lunch on the banks of the lovely Lake of Menteith, where Fiona will give us a talk and harp recital. We journey on to Dingwall via Rob Roy country and the enchanted Fairy Glen at Rosemarkie on the Black Isle. Overnight at Dingwall.
Day 4: Today we travel north up the rugged north-east coast of Scotland, with its Pictish Iron Age Brochs and stunning scenery, to Thurso, overlooking the Pentland Firth. Here we take a boat to the Islands of Orkney. In this timeless place, where the quality of the light and the air are so special, we feel on the edge of the world. Here are some of the best-preserved ancient sites in Europe - stone circles, earth houses, round barrows and prehistoric villages that reveal to us a simple but noble way of life in ancient times. Overnight in Orkney.
Day 5: We visit the neolithic stone circles of Stennes and the Ring of Brodgar, prehistoric sun and moon temples that are part of a sacred ritual landscape. We enter the great chamber of Maes Howe that receives the light of the setting sun at midsummer along its passsage. We marvel at the exquisite stonework within the mound and view the runic art etched into the pillars of the chamber. We visit the windswept prehistoric village of Skara Brae by the Bay of Skaill. Here we view the remains of a beautifully preserved 3000BC village with sophisticated architecture and built-in stone furniture. We visit the enchanted Woodwick House and gardens and take tea with the owners. We visit the capital town of Kirkwall with its ancient paved streets and interesting craft shops and galleries. Overnight in Orkney.
Day 6: We journey south across the water to the mainland, to the 12th C Tulloch Castle in Dingwall, where we have lunch. Tulloch is the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland. We are given a tour of the dungeons, the great oak-panelled rooms and the tower, where we enjoy stunning views across the Moray Firth. Onwards to Ullapool on the Highland west coast for our overnight stay.
Day 7: Today we take the ferry across to the Outer Hebrides, to the island of Lewis, where we meet Margaret and Ron Curtis. They are experts on the prehistory and folklore of the ancient sites of this region. With them we visit the Callanish complex of megalithic sites and learn of the astronomical alignments that feature so vividly in this sacred landscape. Overnight on Lewis.
Day 8: Joined by an isthmus to Lewis is the island of Harris where lie some wonderfully sited monuments with heart-stopping views across the wild heather landscape and golden beaches to the sea. Free time in the afternoon to visit Stornoway, the capital of Lewis, or to rest at the hotel. Overnight on Lewis.
Day 9: From Lewis we take the ferry to the romantic island of Skye. Here we travel through stunning mountain scenery to Dunvegan Castle with its famous Fairy Flag, clan antiquities, water gardens and commanding views. We visit the little island of Ornsay for lunch and watch the sunset over Loch Sligachan. Overnight on the Isle of Skye.
Day 10: We journey across the water to Mallaig on the mainland and travel via the Glenfinnan Monument and Fort William to Oban. Here we take the ferry to the island of Mull and thence to the sacred island of Iona. Here is an island of dreams - a place that, as Fiona Macleod described, "None can understand who do not see it through its pagan light, its Christian light, its singular blending of paganism and romance and spiritual beauty". Here we shall feel refreshed and renewed as we walk this timeless land, enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna and perhaps swim in the aquamarine sea. Overnight on Iona.
Day 11: There are many sites to visit on Iona, mainly Christian, such as the 12th C Abbey, St Columba's Chapel, Oran's Chapel and the 12th C Nunnery. But the treasures of the island are to be found in the enchanted places where nature shows herself slowly and shyly to the curious pilgrim. Jamie will lead an optional walk to St Columba's Bay via the Bay at the Back of the Ocean and the Machair, or you may wish to explore on your own or rest. Overnight on Iona.
Day 12: We travel back through Mull to the mainland by ferry to Oban, where we have lunch and time for shopping for that special gift. As we journey southwards we stop at the beautiful valley of Kilmartin to visit one of Scotland's most attractive megalithic sites - Temple Wood, with the nearby line of chambered cairns and standing stones. We stop for tea at the pretty village of Inverary on the shores of Loch Fyne, where we can see seals fishing in the still waters. We are soon at Loch Lomond where we stay a night and have our farewell dinner by the Loch. Overnight at Loch Lomond.
Day 13: fter breakfast we journey to Glasgow Airport for international flights and transfers, arriving by 10am. Please arrange onward flights from Glasgow from noon onwards to provide time for check in.
Note: We reserve the right to vary the itinerary as necessary to provide the best possible experience under the circumstances prevailing at the time.
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