On a voyage through Scotland's famed lochs and inland waterways aboard the Lord of the Glens, experience mystical landscapes dotted with medieval castles and ancient churches. Trace Scotland's compelling history on visits to battlefields, fortresses, and ancient tombs. Cruise Loch Ness; descend through the intricate lock system of Neptune's Staircase; and explore serene hills and harbor villages on the picturesque islands of Mull, Iona, Eigg, and Skye.
Kayak on Loch Ness and wander through the colorful seaside town of Tobermory.
Stroll across the battlefields at Culloden where Bonnie Prince Charlie was dramatically defeated.
Hike through stunning scenery on the Isle of Skye, and learn about the tiny community on the remote island of Eigg.
Attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo on an optional extension in Edinburgh.
Itinerary - 9 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Inverness, Scotland
Depart on an overnight flight to Inverness, arriving the next morning. Board the Lord of the Glens to the strains of a highland piper and settle into your cabin—your home for the next seven nights. Gather for a reception and dinner on board while docked in Inverness.
M.V. Lord of the Glens (D)
Day 3 — Culloden/Clava Cairns/Loch Ness
After a morning walk, visit Culloden, the infamous battlefield where Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite forces were defeated in 1746. See the prehistoric standing stones and passage tombs of Clava Cairns. This afternoon, set sail on the Caledonian Canal, built in the early 19th century to create a route between western and eastern Scotland. Enter Loch Ness, cruise past the ruins of Urquhart Castle, and learn about the legendary monster said to inhabit the loch. Moor this afternoon at Fort Augustus and set out on a kayak excursion or a hike. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Laggan Locks/Fort Augustus
Ascend an impressive flight of locks that runs through the heart of Fort Augustus. Glide down the tree-lined canal known as Laggan Avenue; or hike or bike along the towpath and rejoin the ship at the first lock. Moor at Fort Augustus and set out on a kayak excursion or a hike. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Loch Linnhe/Oban/Banavie/Glenfinnan
Today, the Lord of the Glens descends Neptune's Staircase, a set of eight interconnected locks, and continues through Loch Linnhe to the town of Oban, set on a picturesque bay on the Firth of Lorn. Explore this lively town on foot, visiting a whiskey distillery and McCaig's Tower, a monument on a hill overlooking the town and bay. Sail into Loch Lochy and follow the canal to the town of Banavie, set in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Great Britain's highest mountain. In the afternoon we travel to beautiful Glenfinnan, nestled within the mountains, and enjoy an afternoon walk. Return to the ship and welcome local musicians on board for a lively evening of music and song. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Sound of Mull/Duart Castle/Iona
Continue to the Inner Hebrides and dock at Craignure on the Isle of Mull. Visit stunning Duart Castle this afternoon, set dramatically on a bluff jutting into the Sound of Mull. Explore the keep and dungeon of this fortress. Cross to Iona by ferry to explore this picturesque island. Visit the medieval abbey ruins and the rebuilt abbey church, and learn about the ecumenical movement based there. Stroll through St. Oran's Chapel and the royal graveyard where generations of Scottish kings are buried. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Tobermory/Isle of Eigg/Isle of Rum/Inverie
This morning, explore picturesque Tobermory on your own or on a walk led by our staff. Then sail north to the isle of Eigg, catching glimpses of the islands of the Inner Hebrides along the way. Here, Atlantic seals can often be found sunbathing on the rocks amid myriad seabirds. Hike in the hills beneath the striking An Sgurr ridge and learn about the community that thrives on this remote isle. Or head to the Isle of Rum, renowned for spectacular Kinloch Castle. Later, sail to Inverie, an isolated town inaccessible by road. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Isle of Skye
Continue north to the Isle of Skye. At the Museum of the Isles, trace the legacy of the 1,300-year-old Clan Donald, who once ruled the west coast of Scotland, and walk through the woodlands in Armadale. Take a guided walk in the Cuillin Hills (weather permitting) amid some of Scotland's most spectacular scenery. Or explore Eilean Donan Castle and the quaint village of Plockton. Celebrate your voyage at a festive farewell dinner on board. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Kyle of Lochalsh/Inverness/U.S.
Disembark in Kyle of Lochalsh and drive through the Highlands to Inverness. Then transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B,L)
Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts--from naturalists to regional specialists — who will share their knowledge and insights on the wildlife, landscapes and local culture. The expert featured below will be part of the expedition team on the date noted.
Photographer Jim Richardson has produced more than 40 stories for National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Traveler, where he is a contributing editor. Jim’s recent work on environmental issues resulted in two cover stories for National Geographic in 2008—one on light pollution and another on the state of the world’s soil. More recently, Jim shot and wrote the National Geographic Traveler story titled "My Scottish Obsession" for the August/September 2012 issue. His work has appeared in Time, Newsweek, Life, and Sports Illustrated, and been featured on CBS News Sunday Morning and ABC's Nightline. The Society's assignment photographers voted Jim the National Geographic "Photographer's Photographer" in 2015.