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Day One – A Short Ferry Hop from Oban to Craignure on Mull and Onwards to Fionnphort
Even before you reach your first island base, you’re in for a treat on one of Scotland’s most scenic drives from Glasgow, along the shores of Lochs Lomond and Awe, to the classic West Coast fishing town of Oban. From here it’s under an hour by ferry to Craignure on Mull, and you’ll scarcely believe the contrast in feel between mainland bustle and island escape as you make your way along single-track roads, through vast scenery towards Fionnphort, Mull’s westernmost point.
You could easily take most of the day to reach your first stop, dawdling uphill from Craignure, perhaps stopping off to take a woodland walk around Torosay Castle, maybe to explore the shores of Lochs Spelve and Scridian or the hamlets of Pennyghael and Bunessan before reaching Fionnphort just in time to see the MV Loch Buie cross to Iona, returning just 30 minutes later.
Your Accommodation in Fionnphort
Just a few short steps from the ferry port for Iona, your accommodation in Fionnphort is a little palace of a guest house, whose owners have created perhaps the most welcoming and fun haven on the island. As keen artists, gardeners and collectors, aspects of their lives’ work are dotted around the house, with colourful portraits and family pieces displayed throughout. Spotlessly presented, the comfortable guest lounge gives way to just four ensuite bedrooms, each of which features natural tones to the soft furnishings, splashes of colour picked out on a wall or two, and locally sourced pampering and bathing treats provided for each guest. Breakfast is something of an event, a quite staggering array of fruit and baked goodies nestling alongside the very best local produce, helping set you up for a good day’s exploration.
Day Two – Leave the Car Behind and Find Inner Peace on Iona
After breakfast, take the short stroll to the ferry port and catch the 10-minute foot passenger-only crossing to Baile Mor (‘Big Town’ – something of a misnomer!) on the magical island of Iona. Just three-and-a-half square miles in area, long considered the cradle of Christianity in Scotland and a place of pilgrimage for some 1500 years, a feeling of peace and tranquillity pervades on Iona. Clear waters of the Atlantic lap on porcelain-sand beaches, anc the island’s elevation gently rises to afford views of the islands of Colonsay, Tiree and Coll, with a line of long-established cottages peering back towards Mull.
One of the most memorable portions of your day will be spent on a small group boat trip to the nearby island of Staffa. Formed 59 million years ago this will be a splendid experience – you will have time ashore to observe the unique basalt columns and spot many of varieties of seabirds that call the island home. Keep your eyes peeled while on the boat for whales, basking sharks, dolphins and more!
Back on Iona, the island’s main draw, which is under 10 minutes’ walk from the ferry – is the Abbey, whose architecture spans around 400 years from the 13th to the 16th century, and which is now base for the vibrant, ecumenical Iona Community. Here you’ll find the 10th-/11th-century shrine to St Columba, and nearby the Augustinian nunnery, the most complete and oldest-surviving nun complex in Scotland.
After a day’s exploration, return to Fionnphort for dinner at one of the best restaurants on any of the islands or at the friendly and vibrant local pub.
Day Three – Explore the West of Mull on the Way to Tobermory
Wave goodbye to your hosts in Fionnphort this morning and set off on one of Scotland’s best island-driving routes around the western shores of Mull, perhaps packing a picnic to make a day of it. This terrific route hugs the coast around Loch Beg, Loch Scridian and Loch Na Keal, by the foothills of Ben More – the island’s highest peak – and through the forest at Balevulin towards Gruline. Carry on from here around the northern tip of Mull for the Eas Fors Waterfall and views of the Treshnish Isles before reaching one or two of the best beaches in Scotland, at Calgary and Langamull. Finally, summon your alpine driving skills on the last twisting leg from Dervaig to your accommodation just outside the colourful town of Tobermory.
Your Accommodation by Tobermory
Recently created from the shell of a somewhat dilapidated Edwardian country mansion, your accommodation for two nights on Mull is a quite wonderful guest house of splendid quality throughout. The friendly and welcoming family owners have spent the last year or so remodelling each of the five ensuite bedrooms to a remarkable standard, where traditional, reclaimed and repurposed furnishings meet high-spec, user-friendly bathrooms. One or two of the rooms feature vast bay windows looking out over the 27 acres of private, secluded gardens – which guests are free to roam at leisure – while the crackling wood fire makes the welcoming guest lounge a fine spot in which to relax after a day on foot, or for a dram before heading out for the evening.
Day Four – Experience Mull’s Wildlife on Safari
Breakfast here is one over which to take time, readying yourself for a magical day of wildlife-spotting on Mull. Touring in a comfortable vehicle as part of a group no larger than eight, your local expert guide will take you on a full-day’s tour of the island’s wildlife hot-spots. Mull enjoys a justifiable reputation as one of the UK’s premier year-round meccas for wildlife lovers, where visitors can expect to see offshore seals, orca, basking sharks and even the odd humpback whale; red deer and otters; moorland and woodland warblers and songbirds, as well as majestic white-tailed, sea and golden eagles, and much more. During your trip, you’ll enjoy a delicious home-made lunch, free use of maps and top-spec binoculars, and some of the best advice and guidance available.
Later, stroll the colourful harbourfront at Tobermory, and perhaps enjoy a dinner of superb local seafood.
Day Five – To Ardnamurchan and ‘the Road to the Isles’ Towards Skye
Two scenic ferry crossings today, first from Tobermory to Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, westernmost point of the UK mainland. From here, it’s an undulating drive through one of Europe’s last great wildernesses as you head for the Road to the Isles. First hugging the shores of Loch Sunart, you could easily take a good portion of the day to explore some of Scotland’s least-visited landmarks, perhaps the atmospheric ruin of Castle Tioram overlooking Loch Moidart, or the hamlet of Roshven on Loch Ailort, in the shadow of impressive Rois-Bheinn. Soon you’ll join the Road to the Isles carrying you to Mallaig, where you catch the ferry for the short crossing to Armadale on Skye. Once here, it’s just a few minutes’ drive to your hotel in Isleornsay on the Sleat peninsula. On the way, perhaps stop by one of Scotland’s newest distilleries for a tour and nosing.
Your First Accommodation on Skye
Located in, in our view, one of the most enchanting settings on any Scottish island, your hotel in south Skye is a long-established property at the heart of the Gaelic-speaking community here on Sleat, with heart-stopping views towards the hills of Knoydart. Formed from a 19th-century shorefront property and its outbuildings, each whitewashed and gleaming by the waters of the Sound of Sleat, we never tire of coming here to experience the traditionally presented rooms, tempting menu of local classics in the stylish restaurant, and the cosy, bustling bar popular with visitors and locals alike.
Day Six – A Thrilling Private RiB Trip to Remember
A distinct holiday highlight today: tide-permitting you’ll be met your hotel’s private jetty (otherwise meet a short drive away at Armadale) by our specially chosen boat-trip partner, who will take you on an exhilarating RiB (Rigid inflatable Boat) trip in the waters around Skye. You’ll go seal-spotting around some of the many skerries and experience unbeatable views of the Skye Bridge and the ‘Small Isles’ of Muck, Eigg and Rum.
Day Seven – North to Portree, but First to Raasay
Time to leave Sleat behind and head for the heart of Skye. On the way, take the 20-minute ferry-crossing to Raasay and spend a few hours exploring this most enigmatic little island. Home to forests, golden beaches, intimidatingly bleak moorland and majestic mountains, with peerless views of the Cuillin Hills and the Applecross peninsula, you won’t believe how much drama is packed on to such a small stamp of land. There’s even Scotland’s newest island distillery to visit should you fancy.
Later, once the return ferry-crossing delivers you back to Sconser on Skye, it’s under an hour through some of the island’s most arresting scenery to the village of Edinbane.
Your Accommodation in Edinbane
At the head of shimmering Loch Greshornish, the sleepy village of Edinbane is one of Skye’s most secluded spots, yet sits just 20 minutes’ drive from the ‘island capital’ Portree. Here, your accommodation for the last three nights of your holiday is a just-refurbished, family owned classic island inn, and the ideal place to round off your island adventure.
Downstairs you’ll find a buzzy bar and restaurant, where local rub shoulders with visitors and where live traditional music can be heard at weekends.
Upstairs in this repurposed farmhouse, there’s just six comfortable en-suite rooms, each featuring all you need for a cosy and relaxing stay.
Days Eight & Nine – Skye is All Yours
Rightly famous for many years as one of the world’s top island getaways, and recently as a spectacular location for several films and TV shows, Skye is an island of endless breath-taking detail. Intimidating peaks, white-sandy beaches, cute villages, Neolithic remnants and modern gastronomy coalesce to make Skye a limitlessly fun place to visit.
For all its popularity, despite what you may have heard, it’s very simple to escape your fellow holidaymakers on Skye, with near-deserted hillsides and beaches, and more gentle walkways never more than a few steps away.
On the last two days of your holiday, with the aid of our specially created recommendations, take the time to get away from the beaten-track and allow the atmosphere of this wonderful place to seep into your soul.
Day Ten– Make Your Way Home via the Bridge
Another fabulous drive through some of the Scottish Highlands’ finest scenery awaits, as you’re carried past Eilean Donan Castle, through vast Glen Garry and brooding Glencoe towards Loch Lomond, and onwards through Glasgow and the motorway system south.
This holiday includes stays in Fionnphort and Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, and the Sleat Peninsula and Edinbane on the Isle of Skye.
£1335 per person in April and October, £1395 per person from May until September.
Price is based on two adults sharing en-suite accommodation at the specially chosen selection of small hotels and guests houses we use. Ferry crossings to Mull, Iona, Ardnamurchan, Skye & Raasay for a car and two passengers are also included, as well as a small-group boat trip to Staffa from Iona, a wildlife safari as part of a small group on Mull, and a private RiB trip from south Skye.
We would be delighted to facilitate travel to and from Scotland from your chosen start and end points, as well as car rental should you require it.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
“Somewhere along the Scottish coast An emerald island lies So I will steer my sailing boat Unto the Isle of Skye” [Andrew Peterson] I take a glanc...
Stunning scenery enhanced by good weather!Richard & Denise , Kent, UK
This holiday can be arranged from April until October.
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.
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