The 2010 Trip Description and Itinerary
To whet your appetite!
Coach Gunn wants the 2024 hiking tour to include the same hikes and locations.
(SNEEK PEEK: Interactive version of the 2010 Itinerary below photos)
DAY 1, Tuesday
We will depart the SMC Niles campus in the afternoon for Chicago on a Royal Excursion luxury coach. Our non-stop flight from Chicago to Edinburgh will arrive Wednesday morning.
Fire Up for this Scotland adventure!
NOTE: Those on the candidates list will be informed when the trip opens. We will fill the tours from that list by seniority (earliest deposit dates first).
After clearing customs we will be shuttled to our hotel.
An enchanting, vibrant, and medieval city awaits us after our orientation walk. You are free to explore and enjoy the city center. Check out the pubs and dine on your own. It will be early to bed in preparation for our big day tomorrow.
After a full Scottish breakfast we will do the fabulous Edinburgh city hike. It is about 8 ½ miles and will take a good part of the day.
Highlights include Princess
Gardens, Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, the Grassmarket, a pub stop at Greyfriars Bobby, Cowgate, the Holyrood Castle, Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Park and the breathtaking trail up to Arthur’s Seat, Calton Hill, and back to the theatre district for dinner.
After breakfast and a little more shopping we will check out then board our motorcoach for the scenic ride to Glencoe and the lovely Trossochs region. Our hike at Ben A’an will take us up a river and through heather to an unforgettable view. Our lodging will be in the nearby quaint village of Callander. We will make our way to our next hotel and dining experience.
(Sean Connery use to horseback ride in this area.)
a breathtaking hike up to Lost Valley, where the Macdonald clan hid their stolen cattle. Shorter hikers can enjoy a hike to the river. We will have a late lunch at the famous Clachaig Inn
After a hearty Scottish breakfast we will move further northwest to the harbor resort town of Oban and a lovely Hotel.
This will be a big “doubleheader” day as we move on to the Isle of Skye. Our first stop will be 60 miles out of Oban at Glen Nevis near Ft. William. This is the spectacular glen where the most dramatic scenes in Braveheart were filmed. Hikes will range from 1.4 to 7.0 miles before we have lunch along Loch Linnhe in Ft. William. Then it is on to the port city of Mallaig with a stop for an incredible 5K coastal hike along the Silver Sands of Morar. This hike ends at arguably the most beautiful 9 hole golf course in the world. The movie Local Hero was filmed here. We will then board a ferry in nearby Mallaig for the 30 minute ride to the magical Isle of Skye. Our lodging for the next two nights will be at another lovely hotel situated over the harbor in the amazingly beautiful resort city of Portree.
Following a full Scottish breakfast in the elegant dining room overlooking the harbour, we will hike to the Old Man of Storr. This hike can range from 1 to 10 miles and is a real treat for the eyes. A short afternoon hike of 3 miles is planned that starts on a beautiful coastal trail at the base of our hotel and follows an old trail where golden eagles, seals, otters, and dolphins may be spotted. The trail eventually winds through a moor and up a hill and back to our hotel.
Following another great breakfast, we will check out for an early start back to the West Highlands. There will be an optional walk across the Skye Bridge into Kyle of Lochalsh (1.3 miles). Then it is on to Plockton, the Jewel of the Highlands. This small harbor village is famous for its palm trees. We will have a short pre lunch hike and then dine in the village. It is then on to wonderful Beinn Eighe for some more awesome hiking, including a genuine Scotch Pine forest, high munro lakes, beautiful heather, and the most pristine loch in all of Scotland. Following the hike, will re-hydrate with wine and cheese along the beautiful Loch Maree before the short drive to Inverness and our lodging on the River Ness.
A pre-breakfast hike along the beautiful River Ness trail and the Caledonia Canal will be orchestrated. Then it is on to a beautiful ride along the Great Glen Way. Our Loch Ness experience will be a gorgeous short hike up to the Urguhart Castle and the magnificent view of this famous loch where “Nessie” is alleged to roam. Then it is on to Sterling which is often described as Scotland’s
heart and soul. The giant William Wallace Monument (Braveheart) on the way into the city will fire you up! Our lodging is at the really cool Barceló Hotel in the Old Town district at the base of Sterling Castle. A short hike of Old Town and its cobblestone streets is planned before dinner.
Following breakfast we will depart for the 90 minute ride to the Kingdom of Fife and historic St. Andrews. En route we will do an awesome hike at Alva Glen. It features five waterfalls and some cool grass trails high up in the glen. Then on to St. Andrews for a beautiful trek including the ruins of Scotland’s biggest cathedral, the old town gate, Scotland’s oldest university, the Old Course (the home of golf) and the West Sands Beach where the movie Chariots of Fire was filmed. There will be time for shopping and dining before we return to Sterling.
Relaxed travel day for our return to Niles, Michigan.
Coach Gunn has dubbed our hikers Thistle Trekkers.
The thistle is the flower of Scotland and one of its most recognizable symbols. Since King Alexander III, it has been Scotland's national emblem. Mysterious origins: One legend has it a sleeping party of Scots warriors were saved from ambush by an invading Norse army when one of the enemies trod on the spiky plant. His anguished cry roused the slumbering warriors who duly vanquished the invader and adopted the thistle as their national symbol.
The Outlander series (historic, romantic, adventure novels) have captivated many of our Cairn Stone vets who recommend it as a wonderful way of learning the history and cultural flavor of the Scottish clans in preparation for our visit.
Gaelic is spoken today by only about 1% of Scotts yet has a rich place in the culture and history of Scotland. Use the button below to learn more about this Germanic language that diverged from Middle English many centuries ago.
History of the Gunn Clan in Scotland.
Gunn Clan Motto: Aut Pax Aut Bellum (Either peace or war)
We'll have time to sample this popular beer fresh brewed and served in 1/2 L tankard in the pubs. Slàinte Mhath! (Pronounced Slanj-a-va)
In Gaelic whiskey is called uisce beatha (water of life) - the Scots take their whiskey seriously.
" When most people think of Scotland, the first things that come to mind are its lush countryside, rolling hills, and dramatic coastline. However, Scotland is also famous for many things that make it unique and special for both locals and travelers. "
Video clips with historic and cultural information about the land and people of Scotland.