Best Time To Go21-Apr-2024 - Open for booking
02-Jun-2024 - Open for booking
16-Jun-2024 - Open for booking
07-Jul-2024 - Open for booking
01-Sep-2024 - Open for booking
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Meet your tour leader and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner. With an early morning flight, this is a great location to start the trip. Discuss the week ahead and enjoy a meal in the company of kindred spirits.
Your accommodation at Glasgow Airport
A comfortable airport hotel in an excellent location. The main terminal is only a short walk away so there’s no need to worry about morning transfers. A pleasant bar and restaurant on-site makes for a relaxed evening. For those wishing to explore, Glasgow city is only a twenty-minute bus or taxi ride away.
Its a bright and early start this morning, with the short flight across to Stornoway, the capital of Lewis and Harris. After landing its then northwards up the island to take in sights such as the stunning coastal landscape round the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse as well as Port of ness Harbour. On then to the Ness Historical Society, based in the former primary school it hosts a fascinating archive covering all aspects of island culture, life and history – from crofting and wool working, to locally renowned poets and artists, as well as the role the islands played in the two world wars. There’s also a cafe for those in need of refreshments. Back then down to Stornoway, where you’re free to take advantage of the suggestions from your guide as to the best places to have lunch.
The afternoon takes us to nearby Sandwick to visit the Iolaire Viewpoint, part of the Point and Sandwick Trail of magnificent, rugged views and a thriving environment for local wildlife, including sea otters, seals and wild birds. It features a memorial and a row of 201 trees to commemorate the sailors lost in the tragedy of 1919, when HMY Iolaire sank at the entrance to Stornoway Harbour. A little further on, just outside of the town in Marybank, is the impressive Isle of Lewis Memorial. Completed in 1924, this beautiful stone tower marks the brave servicemen of the islands lost in world war one and the regiments they proudly represented.
Your accommodation in Harris
Located in the village of Tarbert, this family-run boutique style hotel is an ideal base to explore Harris and Lewis. Comfortable modern rooms combined with an informal, but well regarded restaurant serving delicious meals, made with the freshest local ingredients, make this a very welcoming stay. Little luxurious touches help to create a real home from home feeling.
Starting the day with a special experience – learn about the genealogical history of the islands and discover any family ties. Seallam! are the historical archives created by a man on a mission to protect the local folk history.
Only a few minutes away is the next stop. Dotted all over Scotland are wee wooly beasts called sheep. Many years ago it was noted sheep don’t look half as miserable as humans when it rains. Thus, it was deduced that their jackets were better than ours. For centuries since, local weavers have been turning Scottish wool into Harris Tweed. Hard wearing and fashionable, it is the only textile with its own acct of parliament. Every yard is inspected, every label is hand stamped, every weaver must pass a rigorous test. Visit a local weavers shed and see the mighty loom in action. Over the whirring of the shuttle and the clacking of the beater, hear tales of this fabled material.
Next, take an excursion to Luskentyre beach. This sprawling dream of sand and sea envelopes the rocky outcrops, little islands of stone and grass splinter out among the water. Spend the morning walking by the peaceful ocean.
Finish the day with glass in hand at Harris Distillery. Learn about the philosophy behind this entrepreneurial business. Opened in 2015, the gin’s trademark bottle is already iconic – the kelp infused liquid embracing the terroir of Harris. The wait is finally over to sample the whisky that has been maturing since the opening of the distillery. The Hearach, which is named after the inhabitants of the island, is its first single malt. Every drop has been distilled by local people and after considered conversations, a spirit of character and complexity has been created.
In the company of a local guide, travel to the island of Lewis (which is attached the island of Harris, and both are in fact one island – ask your guide to help untangle this).
A visit to Lewis wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Callanish standing stones. Older than the pyramids and pre-dating Stonehenge, these huge slabs of stone have stood over the landscape for 5,000 years. Almost lost among the peat until rediscovered by a curious farmer, delve into the mists of pre-history and glimpse the lives of our ancient ancestors.
Next, we travel to Dun Carloway Broch, a structure only found in Scotland and dating back to 200 BC. It was said to have been used as a stronghold by members of the Morrison Clan in the 1500’s. At nine metres tall, it is still impressively standing close to its original height.
Step back in time with a visit at Gearrannan Blackhouse Village. Experience the way of life in a typical crofting township from last century, working your way through the houses and hearing stories about the people who lived here.
Onwards to Stornoway to explore the museum within Lews Castle. Hear the fascinating story of the Lewis Chessmen and their discovery in a sand dune. These most reluctant looking of chess pieces are an important part of cultural trading history.
Travel South and stop at Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts centre. Built in 1741 by a merchant, the building is steeped in history and now champions preserving the islands heritage, visual arts and the Gaelic language . Stretch your legs with a walk to Barpas Langass burial cairn, taking in some photo opportunities. Visit the remains of Trinity Temple, a medieval monastery and college which was destroyed during the Reformation and restored in the 19th century. Hear the story of Our Lady of the Isles, a statue situated on the western slopes of Ruabhal. Travelling down into Benbecula linked by causeways that are sixty years in the making, this island is full of surprises – especially for the tourist board that mistook its golden beaches for a luxury Thai resort.
Stop at Loch a ‘Chinn Uacraich for fresh air and wildlife spotting. With a bit of luck you might see an otter or two. These lithe creatures are famously shy, so keep your eyes peeled for a ring of bright water. This area is notorious for a strange nineteenth-century tale; kelp pickers reported seeing a miniature woman “the size of a well-fed four-year-old” among the seaweed. Soon after her body was washed ashore – “half-woman half-fish”. Buried in an unmarked grave, the mystery was never solved.
Bonnie Prince Charlie’s final Scottish journey disembarked from Benbecula as recounted in The Skye Boat Song. End the day following the Prince’s trail to South Uist and hear fascinating stories of an outlaw on the run. Stop at a museum for the ages and visit the stone lady who drove out an army.
Your accommodation in South Uist
Set upon the edge of South Uist, this simple inn offers a warm welcome. The stunning scenery and vast skies make this feel like the ends of the earth. The cosy bar and restaurant are popular with travellers and locals alike – spend the evening by the fire or take a midnight stroll by the sea. This will be the groups base for the next two nights – the perfect location from which to explore Barra and North Uist.
After a short transfer to Eriskay island (watch out for the indigenous ponies) take the ferry to Barra. The single-track road turns and twists by the white beach and turquoise waters, over heather and rock hill – it will soon become apparent why locals call it ‘Barra-dise’. A fifteenth-century gift from the Lord of the Isles to clan McNeil, it became the base of Roderick the Turbulent for his raids on Queen Elizabeth’s Navy. Brought before King James VI (and soon to be I of England) to answer for his crimes, Roderick reminded the King that Elizabeth had chopped off Bloody Mary’s head (James’ mother). Roderick was promptly released without charge.
Head over to Traigh Mhòr beach and listen closely. If the timing is right, there’s a sight to be seen on this vast wash of sand. The DHC-6 Twin Otter engines hum and dip as the aircraft descends. Watching the plane land on the beach is a unique experience. Pass over the causeway to Vatersay, an area of outstanding natural beauty and endless machair, then catch the evening ferry back to South Uist.
After a relaxed breakfast its a short transfer back to Benbecula for your flight to Glasgow, landing in the early afternoon. Say goodbye to the rest of the group before continuing on with your travel plans.
The tour departs from Glasgow, followed by two nights on South Uist and three nights on Harris, flying back to Glasgow from Stornoway.
£2295 per person sharing a twin or double room in April, £2495 per person in June to September. The single supplement is £800.
The price per person includes:
Hold baggage of 20kg per person is included plus one small cabin bag of up to 6kg.
All accommodation is carefully-selected and researched by us, predominantly featuring small, family-owned hotels – contact us for more detailed information. We will do our best to accommodate room preferences subject to availability at individual properties.
This tour will operate with a maximum of 15 passengers on each departure date. From time to time we may need to make minor changes to the itinerary, such as the specific places visited, but will always replace with alternatives of equivalent or higher standard.
Simply complete the form below to reserve your place(s). We guarantee to hold your place(s) for 48 hours to provide time for you to pay the deposit of 25% per person.
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.
|Departure Date||Starts From||Nights||£ per person (2 sharing)||£ per person (single)|
|Sunday 21 Apr 2024||Glasgow||6||£ 2295||£ 3095|
|Sunday 2 Jun 2024||Glasgow||6||£ 2495||£ 3295|
|Sunday 16 Jun 2024||Glasgow||6||£ 2495||£ 3295|
|Sunday 7 Jul 2024||Glasgow||6||£ 2495||£ 3295|
|Sunday 1 Sep 2024||Glasgow||6||£ 2495||£ 3295|
To reserve your place(s) on this tour, please call us or complete the form below, making sure to select your departure date from the dropdown menu and advise of any special requirements. We will hold your place(s) for 48 hours and contact you with details of how to confirm your booking by payment of the per person deposit.
Please note: All form fields are required unless otherwise stated optional.