The rugged and remote north-west coast of Scotland takes on a majestic character in the early spring and autumn months as Mother Nature lays on a spectacular display of beauty.
Enormous waves roll in from the Atlantic and hurl themselves against the shore in an awesome display of raw natural power.
The coastal views and landscapes are even more breathtaking and the warmth of our highland hotel even more welcoming at this time of year.
From our base in Kinlochbervie, overlooking the fishing harbour with panoramic views over lochs and hills to the open sea, we seek out some of the gems of the north west coast, such as Oldshoremore, an exquisite beach of white sand and Smoo Cave at Durness, a huge sea cave with a waterfall and a ‘blowhole’.
In the evenings we can enjoy fine food, good company and a fireside dram.
What You’ll Love
- The magical Smoo Cave
- The spectacle of the Suilven Mountain
- Officially the best hot chocolate in the world at Cocoa Mountain
- Salmon Leap at Loch Shin
- White sands of Oldshoremore
- Return coach travel from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Kinross, Perth & Inverness*
- Meals – as per the itinerary
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Services of a professional tour manager
Single supplements apply – £120. Offer is subject to availability.*Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-ups will be served by feeder coach and passengers will join/leave the main coach in Perth: Montrose, Arbroath, Dundee
We depart from our designated pick-up points and head north, stopping en route for refreshments.
We continue to Kinlochbervie on the tip of the north west coastline and our accommodation at the Kinlochbervie Hotel, which overlooks the busy fishing harbour. All rooms have en-suite facilities with TV, telephone and tea/coffee making facilities.
Enjoy your breakfast. Today we travel south into Assynt, an extraordinary landscape of vast, undulating moorland studded with hundreds of freshwater lochans.
The coastline is equally beautiful, with cliffs, impressive sea stacks and a series of stunning white beaches, such as the one at Achmelvich Bay.
We will spend some time in Lochinver, a large village with a busy harbour, set on the shores of Loch Inver with superb views inland to the famous mountain of Suilven.
Though relatively small in Scottish terms at 2389ft, Suilven presents a fearsome sight with its seemingly unconquerable summit, which we can expect to be flecked with snow at this time of year.
This morning after breakfast we will have a walk along the beach at Oldshoremore, one of Scotland’s most beautiful beaches.
Formed from eroded sandstone and seashells, the white sandy beach is surrounded by ‘machair’, dunes of marram grass which are among the richest dune areas in Britain
Later we travel up the single track road to Durness through spectacular scenery where we will visit the beautiful old church graveyard of Balnakeil, home to the grave of the famous Gaelic poet Rob Don.
This is a most interesting cemetery overlooking one of the finest sandy beaches in the UK. We will also visit the wonderful chocolatier at Cocoa Mountain where you have the opportunity to buy the finest hot chocolate drink anywhere in the world (official!).
It also sells gorgeous handmade chocolates. Originally these buildings were used as an early warning station in case of nuclear attack, it was turned into a craft centre in 1964 and has housed a number of local craftspeople – sadly there are not many crafts-folks left today.
Given the small size of the chocolatier shop we may have to split the group between Balnakeil Church and swop over.
We also visit the Smoo Cave which has the largest entrance of any sea cave in the British Isles. Recent excavations show that the cave was in use 6000 years ago by the earliest settlers in the north. The “blowhole” and waterfall can be observed from an observation point above the cave.
We continue via Loch Eriboll to Tongue, whose name has old Norse origins: it comes from “tunga”, a tongue of land projecting into the loch.
Although the Norse people probably lived here between the 900 and 1200, nothing certain has been found of their settlement.
When Thomas Telford completed the road south to Lairg in 1828, Tongue changed from being an island community relying on the sea for its communications. When the road to Thurso followed in 1836 a daily coach service ran and during the rest of the 1800s efforts to complete the road west to Durness continued.
This morning we leave the hotel and begin our homeward journey, travelling via Laxford Bridge, Loch More, Loch Shin and Lairg.
In the 1950s a hydro-electric dam was constructed which raised the level of Loch Shin by over 30 feet and it now forms one of the major attractions of the area, complete with a spectacular salmon leap.
At one time the majority of the inhabitants in Lairg area resided on the high moorlands and straths, with the children of tenanting shepherds walking miles to school over rugged hill paths, but gradually these dwellings have been vacated in favour of a move down to the more accessible present village on the southern shores of the loch, which developed from around 1812.
Continuing via Bonar Bridge and Tain we return back to our original pick-up points, where we expect to arrive in the late evening.