Walk In The Footsteps Of Your Ancestors
An estimated 40 million people worldwide are of Scottish descent and the nation is especially well provided with family research facilities, with the records and information availability of a very high standard. But with or without an ancestral connection, Scotland is a great place to explore historical and heritage themes. This tour takes in some of the locations where history has been made and where events have taken place that have shaped the lives of Scots at home and abroad.
Perfect Time To Go
April - October
Number Of Nights
Walk in the footsteps of Scotland’s monarchs along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile where historic ‘closes’ – each with their own story – run off the main road like ribs from a backbone. Between castle and royal palace is a lifetime’s exploration – so make the most of your day! Gladstone’s Land, St Giles Cathedral, John Knox House are just a few of the historic sites on the way. Overnight Edinburgh.
Take the M9 for an easy journey to Stirling, where the castle on a crag and the high tower of the National Wallace Monument make the skyline unmistakable. Renaissance Palace, Chapel Royal and the Great Hall are just some of the features within the castle – and there are superb views from the ramparts. Bannockburn Visitor Centre, south-east of the town, tells the story of how Scotland won almost four centuries of independence. Overnight Stirling area.
The A9, the Highland Road, takes you speedily north, with a good choice of stopping places on the way, including Blair Castle, and Pitlochry, a popular resort in the very centre of Scotland. Overnight Inverness area.
The Highland capital city of Inverness offers plenty of shopping, pubs, nightlife and places to eat, as well as the option of visiting historic sites such as Culloden, with magnificent views north and west across the inner Moray Firth. Fort George is also within easy reach. This massive fortification is a fascinating example of military architecture. Walk around its walls and you might even see the famous Moray Firth dolphins from your high viewpoint! Overnight Inverness area.
Cross the Kessock Bridge from Inverness and continue north-bound on the A9. Both Tain and Dornoch are worth exploring, as typical old-established little Scottish ‘burghs’ (towns with trading rights in olden times) more Lowland than Highland in flavour. Dunrobin Castle is near Golspie, a little further north. The largest house in the northern Highlands, Dunrobin and the Dukes of Sutherland are associated with several episodes in the Highland Clearances, the forced emigration of the native Highland people for economic reasons. Overnight Golspie or Brora area.
Continue north to Helmsdale, where the Timespan visitor centre portrays the heritage of the area, including more information on the Clearances, as well as the Strath of Kildonan gold rush of 1869. Other sources of information on life in the north include, for example, the Laidhay Croft Museum and the Dunbeath Heritage Centre, as well as the award-winning Wick Heritage Centre. Overnight Wick or Thurso area.
Thurso is close to Scrabster, the ferry port for Orkney and a possible two day extension to this itinerary can be undertaken from here. Otherwise, this is a day to savour the ambience of the far north. The Strathnaver Museum is the main heritage centre for the area. The scenic spectacle will entrance you all the way west, then south, for overnight Ullapool.
At Braemore junction, south of Ullapool, take the coastal road for Gairloch. This section is known as ‘Destitution Road’ recalling the road-building programme that was started here in order to provide work and alleviate famine in the native population. For more magnificent mountain scenery, take the road through Glen Torridon to Shieldaig, then Lochcarron; from here go west for the Skye Bridge. Overnight Portree area.
Go west to visit Dunvegan Castle, seat of the chiefs of the Clan Macleod. For a close-up view of the magnificent Cuillin Hills, turn south, and then take the Glenbrittle road. Overnight Portree area.
On the way south from Skye, note the Braes area, south of Portree. A monument by the road recalls the so-called ‘Battle of the Braes’ a confrontation between tenants and police in 1882, which was eventually to lead to the passing of the Crofters Act in 1886, giving security of tenure to the crofting inhabitants of the north and west. Re-cross the Skye Bridge and continue south and east, passing Eilean Donan Castle, once a Clan Macrae stronghold. Continue through Glen Shiel for the Great Glen, passing through Fort William for overnight in Ballachulish or Glencoe area.
Explore the magnificent setting of Glencoe, with its visitor interpretation centre, before continuing south and east to return to Edinburgh.
The above package includes:
- 11 nights’ Hotel accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis
- Scottish Heritage Pass
- Hire of self-drive car
- VAT at 20%