Thinking about visiting Scotland? Our Travel Consultant Davis Robertson shares his experience on a 5 day guided adventure with Haggis Adventures:
I recently travelled to Scotland where I signed up for a 5 day guided tour of Scotland with Haggis Adventures who specialize in Scotland trips. I had never travelled to Scotland but it was definitely high on my list of places to visit as it is where most of my ancestors came from.
Upon arriving in the Edinburgh airport I found that it was very well organized and it was quite easy to find my way to the buses that went directly into town. After arriving in downtown Edinburgh, I decided to orient myself with the city and where my departure point was.
The morning our tour was set to depart, we met at the Haggis Adventures office where I met the rest of the group and our guide. We began with a tour of the city where the guide familiarized us with some of the things you can see and do. Some of the options are hiking Arthur’s seat, (weather permitting), touring through Castle Rock located at the top of the Royal mile, or Nightly ghost/Mercat tours. I highly recommend the Mercat tour! Some of the tours will take you into the haunted underground of the city that has been covered up over the centuries.
The next day we departed the city in very comfortable and brightly yellow coloured Haggis bus and headed north for Loch Ness. On the way north we stopped off at the Dunkeld Cathedral which dates back to the 800’s. We wrapped up the night by arriving to Morag’s hostel on the banks of Loch Ness in Fort Augustus.
The next 2 days were spent exploring the Loch Ness surrounding areas. The first thing I must absolutely recommend is doing the Rib boat tour. This is with out a doubt one of the best things I have ever done while travelling. Now to put this in perspective the morning we ended up going on the Rib boat tour it was raining cold and windy and a number of people were unsure of if they wanted to go. But after a little convincing, a number of us decided to go. Once we got there we found that the Rib boat guides were more than prepared for this kind of weather and were happy to welcome us aboard. They had water proof jump suites we could wear and goggles to protect our eyes from the rain when we would be ripping at 30mph across the Loch. I won’t give too much away about the actual experience, as it’s something you just need to experience for yourself, but this kind of ride is not for everyone and there are regular covered boating option that you can take as well.
By the end of the Rib boat tour and finding out neat facts about Loch Ness the sun was actually starting to come through the clouds and rain to make for a very picturesque finish that I won’t soon forget.
Though the weather was not the greatest I don’t think I would trade it for a sunny day (although I am sure they are stunning). I just feel this windy cold and wet day made it a little more authentic, so don’t let the weather deter you from missing out on this awesome adventure!
Shortly after the boat tour we walked through the Hermitage forest where we saw a river with very old bridges and dam’s all surrounded by lush scenery and wildlife including the red squirrel. You will also do the traditional Nessy call to try get her (the Loch Ness Monster) to come to the surface. This would also likely be your best chance to go swimming in the Loch, if you so choose but be warned from personal experience it is VERY VERY COLD.
The final two days were spent heading over to the world famous Isle of Skye where we spent a night at Saucy Mary’s hostel. After spending the day travelling around and taking in all of the iconic landscape’s and visiting the old man and old women rock towers, you get to spend the night watching the sunset (weather permitting) from the little village or in an old castle ruin.
After visiting the Isle of Skye, we headed down to Oban by catching a short ferry ride over a channel in the North Sea. Once you get off the ferry back on the mainland you have the option to ride the iconic Harry Potter steam train and cross over the picturesque bridge for part of your journey to Oban.
Once in Oban, we were given the night to take in the sights and get ready for a night out on the town of traditional Ceilidh dancing started by an escorted walk from the hostel by a bag pipe player. I am normally not a big dancer, but I told myself that I was somewhere I had never been and would give it a fair chance and I am so happy that I did because I had a blast and memories that will last forever!
On the last day we made our way back to Edinburgh. We witnessed amazing sights in Glencoe where many of the backdrops from the James Bond movie “Skyfall” took place. We also went by the William Wallace monument and were told about the history surrounding the rebellions’ successes and betrayals.
After arriving back at the Haggis Adventures office, it was time to say goodbye to our group and some new life long friends. There is no way in a few paragraphs I can share with you all of the unforgettable experiences I had, but hopefully I provided enough of them to get you excited about travelling to beautiful Scotland. If you are traveling solo or in a group like the Haggis Adventures, the experience is an unforgettable one.
The originality of these trips will vary depending on the time of year and guide, so no one Haggis tour will be the same, but one thing you can be sure of is it will be unforgettable.