Scotland – Hiking and History in the Hebrides


The Hebridean Islands of Skye and Mull are awash with fascinating history, especially in the abandoned villages where tenants either chose to leave or were evicted during the Highland Clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries, one of the most poignant periods in Scotland’s story.

In the 12th to 15th centuries the Hebridean Islands and West Coast were ruled by the Lords of the Isles, a reign that began with Somerled, a powerful Norse-Celtic warrior lord. To understand this period in the history of the islands it is helpful to understand that the method of travel was by boat and the number of Birlinns (traditional galley ships) a lord had was a sign of their power and influence. The sea and many lochs were the highways connecting the scattered coastal communities. Battles during this period were fought at sea rather than on land.

On your private tour of Scotland you’ll explore clearance villages, visit ancient clan strongholds, take to the Hebridean waters on a private boat trip where you’ll see islands, remote communities, lighthouses and marine and coastal wildlife along the way. You’ll have the opportunity to hike some beautiful coastal routes throughout this Hebridean adventure.

Activity Level

Speak to your travel designer about how active you like to be on vacation.
This trip can be adapted to include easy, moderate or more challenging hikes, or you can choose to do a less active version.

We will pair you up with a guide who is most suited to your activity level. 


Day One – Inverness and Culloden Battlefield

Arrive in Inverness where you will be met by your private driver guide at the airport or train station. 

Your first stop on your history adventure is the site of the final defeat of the Jacobites in 1746, Culloden Battlefield, the site of the last pitched battle on British soil. Walk the moor where the Jacobite Army would have lined up against the government Red Coats and visit the marked graves where the fallen clansmen were buried. 

Later you’ll visit the Neolithic stone burial mounds of Clava Cairns, a myteriouys site that dates back thousands of years.

Overnight: Ness Walk, Inverness
Included meals: Lunch

The Jacobite monument at Culloden Battlefield in Scotland

Day Two – Loch Ness and urquhart castle

Today you’ll travel through the Great Glen on the way to the Isle of Skye. 

On the banks of Loch Ness visit the sprawling ruins of Urquhart Castle, a fortress that has seen much action throughout the centuries. During the Jacobite uprisings the British Government forces blew up the castle’s gatehouse so it could not be effectively occupied by the rebels again. Despite the castle’s ruinous condition it’s played an incredibly important role in Scottish history and boasts a wonderful location overlooking the dark waters of Loch Ness.

Enjoy lunch in the canalside village of Fort Augustus before continuing west and over the Skye Bridge.

Overnight: Cuillin Hills Hotel, Isle of Skye
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day Three – The Highland Clearance villages of skye

Starting at the ruined church of Cill Chriosd you’ll embark on a stunning coastal hike with your guide to the shores of Loch Eishort and the ruins of the old settlements of Boreraig and Suisnish.  Once comprising of 22 households the village of Boreraig was cleared by the agents of Lord MacDonald in the 1850s and many of the evicted tenants emigrated to ‘The New World’ on long and dangerous voyages.  

An alternative for today is take the short ferry ride to the neighbouring Isle of Rassay and hike to the ruins of Hallaig, another village that fell victim to the Highland Clearances and made famous by Gaelic poet and Raasay native, Sorley Maclean.

Overnight: Cuillin Hills Hotel, Isle of Skye
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day Four – Dunvegan Castle and the Coral Beaches

Travel to the north of Skye today to Dunvegan Castle, the only Highland fortress to be continuously occupied by the same family for over 400 years. Walk the grand halls and rooms of this stately castle, with castle staff on hand to provide interpretation of the many artefacts and antiques. 

Later in the day join your guide for a short hike to the white sands and clear blue waters of the Coral Beaches, arguably one of the most spectacular spots on the island.

Overnight: Cuillin Hills Hotel, Isle of Skye
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day Five – The sleat peninsula and Clan Donald

This morning travel to Sleat Peninsula in the south of Skye where the seat of Clan Donald awaits you. Not only will you see the ruins of the grand house that was the pride of the clan but you’ll have the opportunity to wander through the manicured gardens. A museum hidden in a corner of the garden tells the history of this once powerful clan and their links to the Lords of the Isles dynasty.

A ferry crossing will take you back to mainland Scotland where you’ll transfer to the Ardnamurchan Peninsula. A second ferry takes you to the Isle of Mull and the colourful harbour town of Tobermory.

Overnight: Roslyn House, Isle of Mull
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day Six – The whisky cave

For centuries whisky was distilled in secret locations throughout Scotland in an attempt to avoid the excise man, today you visit one such site on the west coast of Mull.  Hike along the rugged cliffs where a short steep section between the cliffs will bring you to a cave.  Here sits the remains of an old whisky still, hidden away from prying eyes!

On the return route you’ll discover the ruins of the village of Craikaig, the ruined homes are punctuated by a solitary rowan tree which would have been planted by the villagers to ward away evil spirits.

Overnight: Roslyn House, Tobermory
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day Seven – The Holy Island of Iona

Transferring to the south west point of Mull, you’ll take the short ferry crossing to the Holy Island of Iona. At only 3 miles long and 1.5 miles wide, Iona is known as the cradle of Christianity in Scotland due to the important monastery founded here by St Columbus in the early middle ages.

A visit to the monastery ruins is of course a must, but you’ll also hike to the north of the island to climb to the top of the site of the ancient hill fort Dun Í, then on to the pristine white sands of Traigh an t-Suidh.

Back on Mull the ferry will take you to Oban on the mainland. Your accommodation for tonight is located on its on private island a short transfer from Oban.

Overnight: Isle of Eriska, Oban
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day eight – Hebridean island Hopping

Today you’ll meet up with your own private skipper and board a covered Zodiac to head off an island hopping adventure.  The route we will take is dependent on the weather but whatever way we go it is sure to be full of stunning landscapes, Hebridean islands and hopefully a lot of wildlife! 

It might be that we seek out puffins on the Treshnish Isles and visit the famous Abbey on the Isle of Iona.  Or perhaps the winds will take you to the Slate Islands, a grouping of tiny islands with a unique heritage and industrial past.

Overnight: Isle of Eriska, Oban
Included meals: Breakfast and lunch

A stack of lobster pots in the Hebrides, Scotland

Day nine – Depart

Here your Hebridean adventure ends and you can either catch the train from Oban south to Glasgow or Edinburgh, or we will arrange a private transfer by road.

Included meals: Breakfast

What’s included

  • 8 nights accommodation based on 2 people sharing a room
  • Private driver guide from Day 1 to Day 8 inclusive
  • Private transfer on Day 9, if required
  • Meals as listed in the above itinerary (lunches are a mixture of bagged and cafe)
  • All entry fees, activities and hikes mentioned in the itinerary
  • All ferry travel throughout this itinerary
  • Gratuities for local services and experiences

What’s not included

  • Travel insurance 
  • Flights 
  • Any accommodation, meals, entrance, fees and activities not mentioned in the inclusions
  • Gratuities for your main driver guide


Speak to your travel designer to find out what accommodation and vehicle upgrades are available for this tour. 

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