Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Join a conservationist and historian from the John Muir Trust for a hike beneath the hulking peak of Ben Nevis.
  • Explore the secluded lochs and heather-draped hillsides of the Scottish Highlands on a variety of hikes and walks.
  • Discover Highland culture in remote villages, and tour a local whisky distillery in Perthshire.
  • Stroll through the winding wynds and clandestine closes of Edinburgh’s medieval old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Amid the velvet hills and craggy peaks that rise from Scotland’s western reaches, saints and kings have passed, clans and armies have clashed, and poets and rebels have sought refuge. Encounter the untamed Highlands and the remote isles of the Inner Hebrides on foot, exploring glittering lakes and waterfalls, fantastic geologic formations, and historic sites that date back more than a thousand years. Following in the footsteps of famous native Scots such as John Muir, Sir Walter Scott, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, learn the rich history and legends of Scotland’s wild western lands.

Day 1: EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND
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Arrive at Edinburgh Airport (EDI) 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 medieval church spires and cobbled alleyways to Holyrood Park. A short hike leads up the knoll of Arthur’s Seat, where outstanding views of the city await. Tonight, gather for an orientation and a welcome dinner at the hotel. (4 miles hiking, 2 hours)

Meals Included:Dinner
Accommodations:Bruntsfield Hotel
Day 2: LOCH LOMOND & THE TROSSACHS NATIONAL PARK/GLEN COE
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Head west after breakfast, stopping for a walk 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 1,180-foot summit offers outstanding views across the islands of Loch Lomond to the peaks of the Arrochar Alps and beyond. Continue north to Glen Coe, one of Scotland’s most stunning valleys, and settle into our hotel, featuring views of the surrounding mountains. (4 miles hiking, 3 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Kingshouse Hotel
Day 3: Glen Coe
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Today we set out on foot to explore the breathtaking Glen Coe, scene of a historic massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692. Walking along the Devil’s Staircase—part of the West Highland Way—climbing a series of switchbacks to a mountain pass, where we’ll take in magnificent views of the West Highlands. Descend to the village of Kinlochleven, then stop for a drink and a traditional storytelling session at the historic Clachaig Inn before returning to our hotel. (9 miles hiking, 5-6 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Kingshouse Hotel
Day 4: GLEN NEVIS/ISLE OF SKYE
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A short drive brings us to Fort William, where we’ll meet 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 the Isle of Skye, stopping for a visit to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle. (3 miles hiking, 3 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Cuillin Hills Hotel or Skeabost Hotel
Day 5: NORTHERN SKYE
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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 its fascinating story of geologic turmoil. (4-5 miles hiking, 3-4 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Cuillin Hills Hotel or Skeabost Hotel
Day 6: CUILLIN HILLS/PERTHSHIRE
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Hike through a wild glen on a journey through Skye’s famous mountains—the Black Cuillin and Red Cuillin ranges. Surrounded by red-hued peaks, descend volcanic slopes, and take in a stunning vista of the Black Cuillin—one of Scotland’s most iconic views. Trace the coast of Loch Slapin, framed by the magnificent rock citadel of Blaven. After refreshments in a local tea room, return to the mainland and head southeast to Perthshire and settle into our hotel located in a Victorian-era castle. (5-6 miles hiking, 3-4 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa
Day 7: PERTHSHIRE
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This morning, set out on foot to explore Highland Perthshire, heading toward the Ben Vrackie peak. Venture into enchanting woodlands and across heather-draped moorlands to reach picturesque Loch a’ Choire. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the shores of this secluded lake before completing our walking circuit. Time permitting, we’ll pop into one of Scotland’s oldest inns to sip on a pint of ale before continuing on to a local whisky distillery. Sit down to a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers this evening. (5-6 miles hiking, 4 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa
Day 8: PITLOCHRY/EDINBURGH
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Enjoy a free morning to explore the picturesque Highland town of Pitlochry. Stroll the main street past Victorian-era stone buildings, or visit the town's famed fish ladder, which allows salmon to bypass the Pitlochry dam and continue upstream to their spawning grounds each year. Transfer to the Edinburgh airport (EDI) in the late afternoon to catch your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch