Scotland Slowly by Sea
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Scotland’s western and northern isles are a dream destination—and for many, a long-awaited return to ancestral homelands. Culture, heritage, and natural history abound here, echoes of Europe’s ancient past. This fascinating journey begins in Aberdeen and ends in Glasgow or also operates in reverse.
- Appreciate Scotland’s picturesque shorelines and fascinating maritime heritage
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Heart of Neolithic Orkney
- Climb Mousa Broch, an almost-perfectly intact Iron Age fortification
- Experience island life on Foula in the Shetlands
- View the largest seabird colony in the UK at the cliffs of St. Kilda
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After meeting in Glasgow we’ll depart via coach, and travel onward to Greenock. Greenock has a rich maritime history and was a major shipbuilding and import centre. Here, we’ll board the Ocean Endeavour, our home for the next ten nights.
The Queen of the Hebrides, Islay is the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides, known for its fine whisky and as a haven for seabirds.
We will visit Loch Finlaggan historic site, home of the Lords of the Isles and Clan Donald, and visit to the Gruinart Nature Reserve, a habitat for barnacle goose, hen harriers, and corncrakes.
Not far from Mull, the isle of Staffa is noted for its remarkable geography, including basaltic formations and numerous caves. The most famous of these is ‘Fingal’s Cave’, a spectacular natural feature named for the Celtic hero. Originally known in Gaelic as “the melodious cave”, it provided the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s overture, the Hebrides. Nearby Iona is where St. Columba established his monastery—the luminary of all the Caledonian Region in 563 AD. Iona was traditionally the burial place of kings and it long enjoyed the patronage of the Lord of the Isles. The restored Iona Abbey complex preserves two outstanding eighth-century crosses and a splendid collection of sculptures commissioned or influenced by the Chiefs of Clan Donald and their allies. En route to the Isle of Skye, we sail by the bird cliffs at Lunga, where razorbills, guillemots, and puffins make their nests.
Our visit to Skye will sail along the southwestern shore as we visit Loch Coruisk, a freshwater loch only metres above sea level accessed through Loch Scavaig. Some maintain that this remote loch is one of the finest mountainscapes in all of Britain, set against a stunning backdrop formed by the Cuillin Mountains. We’ll hike the western shore of Loch Coruisk, making this day a superb stop for birders, hikers, and photographers.
At times referred to as the Long Isle or the Western Isles, the Outer Hebrides are a fantastic collection of over 100 islands 70km off Scotland’s west coast. Known today as a leader in renewable energy and a Gaelic stronghold, The Outer Hebrides have a colourful history. Here we find the oldest evidence of human habitation in Scotland with Pictish, Norse and Scots influence. We’ll search out the rich marine and bird life of the islands as conditions permit.
The archipelago known as St. Kilda was inhabited until 1930 when the population was forced to request evacuation. Dramatic and mystical, lying sixty-four kilometres west of the Outer Hebrides, St. Kilda is now a World Heritage Site, home to an abundant population of seabirds, notably Puffins, Fulmars and the largest gannet colony in Britain. Also at home here are unique feral sheep left by the departing islanders. St. Kilda features many examples of houses, cleits (stone storage structures) and prehistoric remains. A hike to 274-metre cliffs offers a stunning ocean vista.
Farther north lies Lewis, the largest of the Hebrides, the home of Harris Tweed and Scotland’s largest Gaelic speaking community. We’ll visit Stornoway, the island’s capital city. On the west side, Callanish—an ancient configuration of standing stones—is one of Britain’s most important Stone Age sites. Local tradition tells the story of giants who refused to be converted to Christianity, and were turned to stone as punishment by Saint Kieran.
Kirkwall is a fine country town dominated by the massive Magnus Cathedral, dating from 1137. It is one of the best examples of its kind in Britain and the final resting place of Orkney-born Canadian Arctic explorer, John Rae. Orkney has strong links to the Hudson’s Bay Company. From the early days of the HBC, their ships regularly called at Stromness for supplies and labour. By the late eighteenth century, three quarters of the HBC ‘s workforce in Canada, as well as many workers with the Canadian Pacific Railway, were Orcadians.
Continuous occupation by Stone Age peoples, Picts, Vikings, and Gaels make Orkney one of the richest archaeological areas in the UK. We’ll visit the 4,000-year-old Ring of Brodgar, one of Europe’s finest ancient Neolithic monuments, and the also-nearby Maes Howe, a chambered cairn estimated to have been constructed around 2700 BC. Both form a part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage site.
Papa Stour, with its amazing caves, blowholes, and sea stacks, has a population of under twenty souls, though marine and bird life flourishes there. Erosion of volcanic rock has created geologic wonders here, including high cliffs, caves, sea stacks, and blowholes. There are numerous Neolithic burial sites on the island, as well as Norse Ruins. The island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the neighbouring seas, a Special Area of Conservation.
Found twenty-three kilometres west of the Shetland Islands, Foula is the most remote permanently inhabited island in the UK. Here, a few dozen folk make their homes, many preserving traditional methods of agriculture and subsistence—yet most have access to the Internet in their crofts. Known for its 365-metre cliffs, Foula is popular with birders looking to see Arctic terns, red-throated divers and great skuas.
Once a Viking hub, Fair Isle is now an idyllic island colony of artists and shepherds. The island boasts 350 bird species, including puffins and great skuas in substantial numbers. The local museum is dedicated to preserving island heritage.
The Ocean Endeavour arrives in Aberdeen in the morning. Many of Aberdeen’s historic stone buildings are made of locally quarried granite; high in mica, they can sparkle like silver. The city is famed for its forty-five parks, gardens, and floral displays.
In the morning we will disembark at the Aberdeen port. You can choose to extend your stay and spend some more time in Scotland, fly on to your next destination or back home.
Itinerary details are subject to change based on weather conditions and visits to particular communities cannot be guaranteed.
- Eleven days of on-board accommodation in the cabin category booked
- Shipboard meals, afternoon tea, 24-hour coffee, tea and snacks
- Hors d’ouevres and snacks during evening recaps
- Expertise and guidance of expedition staff
- On-board educational programming and interactive workshops
- Evening entertainment
- Nikon Camera Trial Program
- Sightseeing including museum entries, park access and port taxes
- Zodiac tours
- On-site archaeology workshops
- Local community-based performances, presentations and demonstrations
- Discovery Fund fee
- Commercial flights to Glasgow, from Aberdeen
- Mandatory medical / evacuation insurance
- Additional touring options such as bicycle rentals
- Personal expenses
- Additional expenses in the event of delays or Itinerary changes
- Discretionary gratuities to ship’s crew (suggest US$15 per passenger, per day)
- Visas, or inoculations, if required
- Possible fuel surcharges as assessed by the cruise company
Singles: Free single supplement! Singles get their own cabin in categories 3-7 aboard the Ocean Endeavour at no additional cost–subject to availability.
Multiple expedition savings: Book multiple expeditions with Adventure Canada in a single calendar year aboard the Ocean Endeavour and receive 10% off the total berth cost of Arctic itineraries and 20% off the total berth cost of east coast itineraries!
30 Under 30: Save 30% on the berth cost of travellers under thirty aboard Ocean Endeavour expeditions! Great option for family multi-generational travel!
Children & Infants: Children under two travel for free, and children between two and four pay for charter flights only!
Price Guarantee: If the price of the berth portion of your program decreases more than 120 days prior to departure, previously booked clients may claim the lower rate. So, no need to wait for sales to get the best price!
League of Adventurers Loyalty Program: Return travellers are eligible for savings and added benefits when booking on an Ocean Endeavour expedition voyage. Ask us for details.
To check availability for any of these special offers and applicable terms and condition, just give us a call!
Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.