This superb cruise on board small ship Lord of the Glens voyages from Inverness along the length of the Caledonian Canal and out to the Hebridean Islands. Cruise through Scotland's scenic Great Glen and the atmospheric Loch Ness before visiting the enchanting Islands of Mull, Skye, Iona and Eigg. Excursions are included on all cruises, whilst 1 June and 7 September 2015 departures are also accompanied by a dedicated Highlands and Islands specialist guide.
The Caledonian Canal runs 60 beautiful miles from Inverness, through the mountains of the Great Glen, linking Loch Ness, Loch Oich, Loch Lochy and Loch Linnhe. Climbing and descending through spectacular lock systems to emerge on Scotland's wild west coast at Fort William, there are wonderful views of mighty Ben Nevis before Lord of the Glens sails across the Sound of Mull to the Isle of Mull.
Brightly coloured Tobermory contrasts with the imposing Duart Castle on Mull, giving an intriguing glimpse into Scottish clan history. Visit Iona's historic Abbey and the tiny isle of Eigg, with its abundant marine and bird life, before crossing the sea to the Isle of Skye.
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Scottish Highlands and Islands Itinerary
Day 1 - Inverness
Drive from Inverness and and embark Lord of the Glens. Tonight, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board.
Day 2 - Culloden; Loch Ness; Fort Augustus
This morning visit Culloden, the infamous battlefield where "Bonnie" Prince Charlie's Jacobite forces were defeated in 1746, and then see the ancient standing stones of Clava Cairns. Set sail this afternoon on the Caledonian Canal, built between 1803 and 1822 to connect Loch Ness with the Great Glen's three other lochs. Enter Loch Ness and cruise past the romantic ruins of Urquhart Castle. Moor this evening at Fort Augustus.
Day 3 - Laggan Avenue; Glenfinnan; Banavie
Ascend an impressive flight of locks that runs through the heart of Fort Augustus. Glide along the tree-lined canal known as Laggan Avenue. Depart Laggan Locks and sail into Loch Lochy. Follow the canal to the town of Banavie, nestled in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Great Britain's highest mountain. In the afternoon we take the West Highland railway line over the renowned viaduct to beautiful Glenfinnan, surrounded by mountains. Moor overnight at Banavie.
Day 4 - Isle of Mull; Craignure
Today, the Lord of the Glens descends Neptune's Staircase, a set of eight interconnected locks, and sails to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides. Afternoon visit to Duart Castle - the ancestral home of the Maclean Clan. Overnight at Craignure.
Day 5 - Isle of Iona; Tobermory
This morning we visit the Isle of Iona, the last resting place of 50 Scottish Kings and where St Columba introduced Christianity to Britain. Later sail to Tobermory, again on the Isle of Mull. Tobermory's most striking feature is the gaily painted houses that line the waterfront originally built by the British Fisheries Company to house its workers for £20 each. Moor Tobermory overnight.
Day 6 - Tobermory; Isle of Eigg
Time to explore Tobermory before a late morning sail to tiny Eigg, catching glimpses of the islands of the Inner Hebrides along the way. At Eigg you can get a sense of what life is like for the roughly 90 people who live on this island community. Look for marine animals and birdlife, including Atlantic seals, minke whales, dolphins, porpoises and a variety of seabirds. Then sail to the town of Inverie in Loch Nevis, where you can have a drink at the most remote pub in the British Isles.
Day 7 - Isle of Skye; Kyle of Lochalsh
Early morning sail across the Sound of Sleet to Armadale and the Isle of Skye. Visit the Clan Donald Centre. Later sail to Kyle of Lochalsh from where we visit the Cuillins Mountains and Portree. Evening Captain's Farewell Reception and Dinner. Overnight in Kyle.
Day 8 - Inverness
Disembark in Kyle of Lochalsh after breakfast and enjoy the scenic 2hr transfer to Inverness.
The Captain reserves the right to alter the itinerary if weather conditions prevent the ship from calling at a scheduled port of call. Please note only 1 June and 7 Sept 2015 departures are accompanied by a dedicated expert guide