Midsummer is an amazing time in Scotland: days are very long and wildlife is abundant. On this trip we divide our time between three very different area of Scotland: Edinburgh, Scotland's most charming city; the Central Highlands, specifically the Cairngorms and Loch Ness; and the Atlantic West Coast. We spend the last three days in the charming seaside town of Plockton, visiting the Knoydart Peninsula and the Isle of Skye, spending the final day kayaking along the coast, and listening to traditional Scottish music at least one night. Taken all together our trip will give you a taste of the human and natural history, the exquisite beauty, and the diversity of Scotland. Maximum group size: 13
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Not included: transportation to Edinburgh, beverages at dinner, guide gratuities, anything not on the itinerary, items of a personal nature
This trip has lots of activity, interspersed with time for sightseeing, and our days can be enjoyed by any active and fit woman in good health who has a good level of physical conditioning, loves being outdoors, and wants to see Scotland. This trip is rated 3, which requires aerobic conditioning such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes 3 - 4 days a week. Rating: 1 2 4 5.
This is primarily a hiking trip, designed to introduce you to the varied Scottish landscape. We have chosen moderate hikes on established paths. We will also be learning about Scottish history and culture.
We spend our nights in non-chain locally owned hotels, inns, and B&Bs. We'll spend the first night at the Parliament House Hotel in Edinburgh, two nights at Crieff Murray Park Hotel Hotel, two nights at The Lovat Hotel and three nights at the Haven Guesthousein Plockton. We will spend the last night in Edinburgh in a hotel that is an easy distance to the airport (Novotel or similar). All of the rooms have ensuite bathrooms.
Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.
I wanted less sights and more hikes, less riding in vans and more hikes. The first little hike was a waste. Another was cancelled due to bad weather - well, there should have been a back up hike, not a trip to a castle. I've seen enough castles round the world.
One of the trip highlights was going to locations not trampled by other hikers. All of the guides were great. My travel companions were great. Met my expectations.
My 2 favorite days were the final day of hiking along side a river and the kayaking day. I would have liked to have spent more time hiking and or kayaking. I reason I signed up for this particular trip was because it was advertised as being a trip led by Marion.
The trip over all was beatiiful, fabulous places to stay and great food. I was a bit disappointed with the time constraints for the hikes. I had discussed with Jan and Lisa my concern with the posibilty of being the oldest in the group so not the fastest. I spent the week before walking all over Washington D.C. 10 to 13 miles each day so feel I have endurance. Both ladies assured me that we didn’t hike in a race, but stopped to enjoy the scenery. That is why I enjoy hiking trips to beautiful places. I love the outdoors and the perfect gift of beauty in different places.. the last day I essentially felt uninvited on the last hike along with a couple of other slow ladies. I did end up hiking by myself 6 miles, they did 8, and had a great day. At this time I probably will not do another AGC trip, because I’m not up to it. I did enjoy the group and beautiful Scotland.
The itinerary was well organized. I was not as prepared for the hiking as I would have liked to be. Although the hiking was challenging for me, it was so worth the effort! Everyone was very supportive. Lisa was amazing and I will travel on one of her trips in the future. I would recommend however, that a disclaimer be presented prior to the trip purchase stating not that exercising and conditioning is recommended, but REQUIRED. I know that a level 3 trip was presented, but I wasn't sure how soft or firm the 3 was (subjective). Now that I know, I will prepare more responsibly next time.
Highlight - I always enjoy seeing a new place and meeting new people. Excellent tour in Edinburgh. On the down side, there was way too much time spent traveling in the van. Additionally there was no time to explore the little towns we stayed in, except Plockton. By the time we came back each day, everything but local restaurants were closed.
Yes in that the scenery was lovely, and the company of women and guides was wonderful. However, it did not meet my expectations in the amount of hiking we did each day. The trip had far more car time than I anticipated. While I understand now more about the layout of the roads and driving conditions and understand this may be unavoidable, I may have selected a different trip for my summer outdoor adventure had I known how much driving and how little hiking we actually did during the time we were in Scotland.
I enjoyed all of the activities and felt like the trip was well planned and had a great itinerary. I loved hiking up to the lake and the hike into the Fairy Glen on the Isle of Sky, especially, but all of the hikes were outstanding. The only disappointment I had was not being able to sea kayak in Plockton, due to not having a buoyancy vest that fit.
Highlights included meeting some wonderful women; guide in Edinburgh was very knowledgeable and entertaining - thoroughly enjoyed his tour of the city; dinners were excellent; accommodations were lovely. Failed to meet expectations: Too much time driving from one spot to another; felt rushed on some hikes; guide Antje was very gruff, scowled at me several times when I did not keep up with the front hikers; 9:30 am start each morning was late to be getting going - could have started earlier since breakfasts were generally available by around 7 or 7:30; some items of interest ended up being just drive-by or photo-ops. Others on this trip expressed similar concerns. I hope they felt comfortable sharing their thoughts.
Hoping to actually be able to tour a few points of interest along the drives vs Picture taking stops. Enjoyed the crannog tour.
I got to see a lot of Scotland. It was a lot of driving, but I appreciated being able to see so much of the country. Highlights- the group was great- very cohesive. I loved the guides- Jan and Antje
Wonderful people and place, but too much driving. Since we started late each day, it seemed most of the morning was taken with getting to the trailhead.
Much less time hiking than on previous AGC trips. Too much wasted time in the hotels.
It gave me an opportunity to learn about hiking and practice in some of the most beautiful spots in Scotland that were out of the way and less traveled.
I expected a hiking trip. This was not a hiking trip. We did 4 hikes in 8 days; two were good, one was boring (no view or vistas) and one was downright unpleasant (unmaintained trail and walking on loose rocks). The overall itinerary was not designed to visit Scotland's many fantastic hiking destinations. Rather, we drove for hours to random, far-apart towns which themselves were not near good hiking venues. It seems as if the itinerary was built around the hotels and then hikes were found in relation to the hotels, rather than the other way around. I have written you a separate email about a possible explanation for this.
Trip to Plockton, hikes, group, and food was great. History and the places off the beaten trek.
Highlights of this trip included the gorgeous scenery and the outstanding company of my fellow travelers. The itinerary was a perfect mix of outdoor activities and sightseeing,
Hiking along coast with butterfly and flower expert and the day boat trip was canceled
I have a number of comments I'd like to share with Marian (or her designee) when she has time. I'm available all day Thursday and plenty ot times after that.
The quality of the food exceeded my expectations...if Antje chooses all the restaurants, she is to be commended. The weather was challenging and caused cancellation of some parts of the trip I was looking forward to.
The weather was much wetter than usual which led to several cancellations and adjustments to the itinerary. We missed bling and our final boat trip to see the Puffins and other wildlife. Our canoe trip was shortened as well. We all hung in there though and made the best of it in AGC style.
Highlights were Stirling Castle, Isle of Mull, the puffins! Standing on Dunadd, the center of power for the DalRiata!!! (I'm fairly certain I was the only person in the group who knew who this kingdom was, but I was awestruck) and the wonderful valley of Kilmartin.
I especially liked hiking on Ben Lawer, and the time we spent on Mull. But it was all great. And Kerrera was terrific.
Each day was a new and different adventure. It is always great to travel with an interesting group of like minded women.
Walking across to basalt columns, puffins, viewing henges in a field of sheep, hiking over hills to castle remains. So much. I loved it all and didn't mind the rain. Hiking up a tall hill, feeling a bit tired, then seeing the remains of ancient or medieval ruins constantly amazed me.
The beautiful scenery everywhere we went. Enjoyed the Nature Preserve and old castles.
I gave it a 4, but I had high expectations and it met all of them. Most enjoyable: Puffins on Safford Island, the wonderful members of the group, the food.