Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

SPECIAL OFFERS

Free Trekking Poles

Free trekking poles when you book your active expedition

Book your Active Expedition by November 30, 2018 to receive your trekking poles! To redeem this offer:

  • Call 888-689-2557 and reference the code TREK2018 to your travel specialist at the time of booking; or
  • Visit natgeoexpeditions.com/active, select your trip, and enter TREK2018 in the Promo Code field of the reservation form at the time of booking.

Offer Details:

  • Offer is valid for National Geographic Active Expeditions for new bookings made by November 30, 2018 for trips departing prior to October 20, 2019.
  • One pair of trekking poles/person on a booking, valid for up to two people traveling together.
  • Not valid on previously booked trips.
  • Valid for one-time use. Not redeemable for cash or cash equivalent.
  • The offer applies to bookings for active expeditions only.
  • Offer code may only be used at the time of booking.
  • Join a conservationist and historian from the John Muir Trust for a hike beneath the hulking peak of Ben Nevis.
  • Explore two islands, two national parks, and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Edinburgh on a variety of hikes and walks.
  • Set out on a private catamaran cruise along the coast of Jura, seeking out minke whales, basking sharks, and dolphins.
  • Discover Highland culture in remote villages, and tour a local whisky distillery on the isle of Kerrera.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Amid the velvet hills and craggy peaks of Scotland’s western edge, saints and kings have passed, clans and armies have clashed, and poets and rebels have sought refuge. Encounter the untamed Highlands and the Inner Hebrides islands on foot, exploring glittering lakes and waterfalls, fantastic geologic formations, and historic sites that date back more than a thousand years. Climb the forested hills of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, hike the coasts of the isle of Kerrera, and travel into the Cuillin mountain range for a hike among its jagged peaks. Following in the footsteps of famous native Scots such as John Muir, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, learn the rich history and legends of Scotland’s wild western lands.

Day 1: Edinburgh, Scotland

Arrive in Edinburgh and transfer to our hotel. After time to relax, meet for a mid-afternoon walk along the Royal Mile. Step back in time as we wind our way past sharp church spires, cobbled alleyways, and Holyrood Palace to Holyrood Park. A short hike brings us up the knoll of Arthur’s Seat, where we’ll have outstanding views of the city. Tonight, gather for an orientation and a welcome dinner at the hotel.

Meals Included:Dinner
Accommodations:Bruntsfield Hotel
Day 2: Loch Lomond National Park to the West Coast

Head west after breakfast, stopping for a warm-up hike in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park—Scotland’s first national park, established in 2002. Our hike takes us along part of the famous West Highland Way trail, diverting to a small but prominent peak called Conic Hill. Geologically part of the Highland Boundary Fault, this 1180-foot summit offers outstanding views across the islands of Loch Lomond to the peaks of the ‘Arrochar Alps’ and beyond. Afterwards, continue to the West Highlands and settle into our hotel, enjoying wonderful sea views or taking a walk in the garden. (4 miles hiking, 1150’ elevation gain, 3 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Perle Oban Hotel
Day 3: Kerrera: The Green Isle

Directly across from Oban lies the isle of Kerrera. Here, we’ll set off on an intriguing hike through history. Pass Horseshoe Bay, where King Alexander II of Scotland died in 1249 while preparing to drive the Norwegian army out of western Scotland. Explore Gylen Castle, perched dramatically on the cliff’s edge. Built as a stronghold of the MacDougall clan in 1582, the castle was besieged and burned in 1647. Head up into the hills to take in spectacular views of the Island of Mull and return to Oban by ferry this afternoon. (6-7 miles hiking, 4-5 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Perle Oban Hotel
Day 4: Jura/Kilmartin Glen

Take a walk in Kilmartin Glen, home to hundreds of ancient monuments, and stop at the ruins of Dun Add, an Iron Age fort considered by some to be the birthplace of Scotland. This afternoon, visit the local whisky distillery for a guided tour, then enjoy free time to explore Oban on your own. (5 miles hiking, 2-3 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Perle Oban Hotel
Day 5: Glen Nevis/Isle of Skye

Head north, tracing the eastern shores of Loch Linnhe into a mystical landscape of sweeping slopes and rocky peaks. Pass the western end of Glen Coe, scene of a historic massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692, before continuing to Fort William. Join a conservationist and John Muir historian for a guided hike beneath the hulking summit of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the United Kingdom. Later this afternoon, cross over the sea to Skye, including a stop for a visit to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. (3-4 miles hiking, 3 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Cuillin Hills Hotel
Day 6: Northern Skye

The spectacular landscapes of northern Skye rise in soft, grassy slopes that drop off in sheer cliffs, and rock formations that spike and curl. Set off on foot into this magical place, rich with legend and intrigue. Hike beneath the unusual rock formations of the Quiraing and learn a fascinating story of geologic turmoil. (6-7 miles hiking, 3-4 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Cuillin Hills Hotel
Day 7: Cuillin Hills/Perthshire

Hike through a wild glen on a journey through Skye’s most famous mountain ranges, from the Red Cuillin to the Black Cuillin. Start on the coast at Loch Ainort, where we bear south and hike into the wild. Surrounded by red granite peaks, we descend towards the coast at Loch Slapin in the south. As we near the end of the hike, we get our first real views of the Black Cuillin. The mountain of Bla Bheinn viewed across Loch Slapin is one of the best views on Skye, if not Scotland. The hike ends on the shores of Loch Slapin, our mini coast to coast hike completed. After refreshments in a local tearoom, we transfer south to Perthshire and settle into our hotel. (5-6 miles hiking, 3-4 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Fonab Hotel
Day 8: Pitlochry to Edinburgh

Enjoy a free morning to explore Pitlochry. Arrive in Edinburgh in the late afternoon and transfer to the city center or to the airport for your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch