Scotland | Scottish Highlands | Adult Only
Biking, hiking, history, and whiskey in the Scottish Highlands
7 days / 6 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
The Scottish Highlands are one of the most remote destinations — not just in Scotland — but in the entire UK. The rugged allure of the land and the charm of beautiful little Scottish towns and villages make this small group adventure an enchanting journey through the heart of the Highlands of Scotland. A perfect blend of adventure and luxury. A thriving arts culture and colorful history replete with epic battles and medieval castles beckons to be explored. Discover the world-famous Loch Ness by bike, on foot, or even a boat voyage. Hike up one of Scotland’s highest peaks, and visit a Highland Estate and the ruins of Urquhart Castle. Enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, and tasty Scottish fare by night.
From fresh, local produce to aged single malt Scotch, enjoy the finest in regional accommodations and cuisine. With Austin’s signature touch of inspired, thoughtful service, all you have to do is unwind and savor the grandeur of one of European history’s most remarkable regions.
From the shores of Loch Ness to the ancient forests of Cairngorms National Park, venture deep into Scotland’s luscious lake, glen and mountain scenery on foot and on two wheels, soaking up a true taste of Highland culture. This seven-day, exclusive journey through one of Britain’s most spectacular destinations is sure to instill a deeper appreciation for history, nature and of course Scotch Whisky. Who knows? You might even buy a kilt or discover the home of an ancestor!
- Bike along Loch Ness to a backdrop of Ben Nevis, Great Britain’s highest mountain
- Summit An Sgurr (The Peak) on the Isle of Eigg – home to only 100 residents – for 360-degree vistas
- Marvel at a 300-foot waterfall tumbling from a mountain in Glen Nevis, where Braveheart was filmed
- Explore the quiet roads and tundra-like wilderness of Cairngorms National Park
- Keep your eyes peeled for ospreys and red squirrels at a nature reserve in Inverness
- Indulge in home-baked cakes and afternoon tea at an exclusive castle, and a wee dram of single malt whiskey at a local distillery
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The folklore: Find out for yourself whether Nessie is real or not...
Scotch: This famous Scottish export was first mentioned in text from the 15th century and was originally distilled by a friar. It is believed to have come from a Scottish drink whose name translates to "water of life."
The Cairngorm Mountains: Located in Cairngorm National Park, this stunning range contains some of the highest peaks in Great Britain, with five standing over 4,050-feet tall.
Inverness, Scotland INV
Inverness, Scotland INV
Wildlife of the Cairngorms
Early afternoon, meet your guide in Inverness for a short transfer to Cairngorms National Park. Visit a nature reserve known for its ospreys, red squirrels, and many other birds. After you’ve had your fill of exploring, we’ll head to our nearby hotel with plenty of time to freshen up before dinner.
About The Dalrachney Lodge
Nestled in a tranquil, picturesque setting, deep within the heart of Cairngorms National Park, near Aviemore, lies the historic and unique award winning Boat Hotel & Bistro.
The Dalrachney Lodge combines historic charm with modern facilities to provide the leading destination and first choice country retreat hotel in the Aviemore area.
High Level Hiking in the Cairngorms
We venture high with a hike up one of the beautiful Cairngorms mountains – there are many to choose from and your guide will select a route which will fit the group’s energy levels. On the descent, a surprise is waiting and you can be sure that a snack is involved!
West to Fort William
We start the day by getting to meet some characterful Highland Cows, and take a behind the scenes tour of a working Highland Estate. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in a cozy café before visiting a local whisky distillery for a wee dram! Transfer westwards to the small town of Fort William in the West Highlands, arriving at the hotel early evening.
Hiking in Glen Nevis
Today we hike what has been called ‘the best short hike in Britain’. Fortunately for us, this accolade has not brought many extra hikers so it retains a wild feel. We hike through a spectacular chasm to a meadow, where a waterfall tumbles over 328 feet from a high mountain. This stunning Valley is featured in Braveheart. Early afternoon, we provide a silver-tray moment, literally, when we visit an exclusive castle to enjoy afternoon tea!
The Isle of Eigg
We step well off the beaten track as we take a day trip to visit this community-owned island, located just off the west coast. With a population of around 100 permanent residents, Eigg has a fascinating social history. It also is home to one of the most distinctive mountains in Scotland – An Sgurr. Translating simply as ‘The Peak’, this 1,309 ft peak offers an easy but rewarding hike to its airy summit. The 360 degree views from its summit are some of the finest in Scotland. We return to the mainland after a cake in the island’s café, arriving back in the early evening.
Loch Ness Adventure / Transfer to Inverness, Depart
We transfer north to the village of Fort Augustus (45 minutes). We step on board a zodiac and enjoy journey by water on Loch Ness. Finish at the ruins of Urquhart Castle and explore with your guide. From here, a 20 minute transfer takes us back to Inverness, arriving around 1pm.
* This trip is operated in partnership with Wilderness Scotland.
** Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and Wilderness Scotland.
Arrival & Departure
Arrival Flight/Day 1 Pickup
- You will be met at 1:00 pm at Inverness Railway Station.
- Your guide will have an Austin Adventures signboard and will be waiting underneath the electronic departures board.
- It is a small railway station so your guide will be easy to find.
- For guests arriving into Inverness for a pre-night stay, our guide will collect you from the reception area in Kingsmills Hotel at 1 :30 pm.
Day 7 Departure/Return Flight
- After breakfast, we visit the village of Fort Augustus, take a zodiac tour on Loch Ness and explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle, before our transfer back to Inverness, arriving at the railway station at around 1:00 pm.
- If you are departing by plane, your guides will then transfer you to Inverness airport, where you will arrive by 2:00 pm.
Hiking: Easy to moderately strenuous hikes ranging from 5 to 10 miles.
Biking: Moderate fairly flat, gravel trails and quiet country roads, up to 25 miles. Guests will utilize mountain bikes on this itinerary although the type of biking done on this trip is not considered actual mountain biking (i.e. biking done on single track trails). Mountain bikes are easier to use on the type of terrain biked on this trip rather than road or hybrid bikes (e.g. fairly flat gravel trails).
Boating: Zodiac tour on Loch Ness – enjoy the ride!
Scotland, a country of stunning landscapes, wildlife and wonderful local produce, combined with a thriving arts and culture scene, and topped off with a colorful history of epic battles and historic castles, is just begging to be explored. Scotland boasts over 600 square miles of freshwater lakes, known as lochs, of which the most famous one is Loch Ness, best known for its sightings of the crypto zoological Loch Ness Monster, known affectionately as “Nessie”. Did you know that Scots have their own terms for lakes, hills, forests, and other natural formations? A small stream is called a “burn”; an estuary in the sea is called a “firth”; a valley is called a “glen”; a meadow or island is called an “inch”; a lake is called a “loch”; a large tract of open land is called a “moor”; heaps of stones at the bottom of a hill are called “scree”; and a large, flat river valley is a “strath”. Explore the Island of Eigg with its 8,000 years of human history, leaving marks all over the island: ancient forts, burial mounds, early Christian crosses, shielings and Clearance ruins, an 18th century watermill and historic farm houses. Visit Cairngorms National Park, displaying the most extensive tracts of Caledonian forest in Britain and calling itself home to 25 percent of the UK’s threatened bird, animal and plant species. Come discover the exciting country of Scotland with the leaders in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. Meals are included as indicated in the daily itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- Meals as indicated by daily detailed itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
- Fully trained, first-aid certified, professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- All ferry fares, bike hires, entrance fees and private tours as described in the itinerary.
- Afternoon tea at the castle on Day 4.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt & luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures/Wilderness Scotland guides.
- Meals as not included in detailed itinerary.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- Airport transfers (except to Inverness Airport on Day 7 if required).
- Extras in hotels (laundry, phone calls, room service, etc.)
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.