From: June 9 to June 17, 2017

Destination: Edinburgh, Central Highlands, and Mull

  • Exploring Scotland in Midsummer - FULL

    Midsummer is an amazing time in Scotland: days are very long and wildlife is abundant. On this trip we divide our time between three very different area of Scotland: Edinburgh, Scotland's most charming city; the Central Highlands, and specifically Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park; and Scotland's West Coast, including Oban on the mainland and Mull. We then spend two full days immersing ourselves in the wildlife wonders of Mull, the second largest island of the inner Hebrides. Taken all together our trip will give you a taste of the human and natural history, the exquisite beauty, and the diversity of Scotland. Maximum group size: 8
    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required).
  • Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

    Friday, June 9:
    We'll meet at our hotel in central Edinburgh at 10AM. Edinburgh is undoubtedly the most popular city in Scotland and you'll quickly understand why. The mix of old and new, the intriguing political history and compelling literary history, the scenic beauty, the current arts scene - all of these combine to make Edinburgh one of the most enjoyable cities you may ever visit. The key to quickly overcoming jet lag is to stay active the first day so that's what we'll do. We start with a guided tour of the city to help you get oriented: we'll stroll the Royal Mile, stopping to visit St Giles Cathedral, Gladstone's Land, the John Knox House, and Dunbar's Garden. We'll then enjoy a delightful Cream Tea, which also serves as lunch, at the National Galleries. Even if you are not a tea lover, a traditional Cream Tea is something not to be missed. You'll then have some free time in the afternoon to pursue what interests you. Our guide will have lots of suggestions, such as climbing Calton Hill to admire the iconic views from it. If you're looking for a challenge, consider hiking up Arthur's Seat, the high hill in Holyrood Park at the edge of downtown. Although only 700 ft high, it is surprisingly wild feeling given its location. We'll have an early dinner tonight so that those of you feeling jet lagged can finally get to bed. Overnight Ibis, St. Andrews Square in Edinburgh L, D

    Saturday, June 10:
    What a difference a good night's sleep can make! After a hearty Scottish breakfast, you'll be all set for another day of adventure! Edinburgh is a charming city but the Scottish Highlands are calling! We'll leave Edinburgh via 18th century elegant New Town, visiting the amazing 100 year old Forth Bridge and the old harbor town, site of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel 'Kidnapped". From there we continue to Stirling and Stirling Castle, Scotland's most significant historic castle and an excellent introduction to Scottish history and geography. From there we continue to Loch Katrine, the famous backstage to Walter Scott's ballad "Lady of the Lake" and the first major tourist pull in the Romantic period of the early 19th century. It's located in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Scotland's second national park, and the area where the Highlands geologically starts. Beautiful scenery and a good bike path make this a great route for a one hour (4.5 miles) bike ride on good, undulating tarmac track with near to no motor traffic. We'll stay at a small hotel located a little further north in the delightful Highland Town of Killin at the foot of the Lawers Mountain range. Overnight Bridge of Lochay Hotel. B, L, D

    Sunday, June 11:
    This morning we'll start with a 2 to 3 hour canoe paddle on the River Tay. This gently flowing river leads into Loch Tay itself, one of Scotland's greatest lakes, and we'll paddle to an island in its middle where a "spot of tea" will be most refreshing. After recharging with a picnic lunch, we'll next go for a hike on a short nature trail that gives easy access to the slopes of the great Ben Lawers (Ben is the Scottish term for mountain, not the first name of someone named Lawers). This is the home of a National Nature Reserve because of its remarkable arctic-alpine flora, the result of a mix of altitude, lime-rich underlying rocks, and climate. We'll climb 350 feet on a rough path, high enough for sweeping views of Loch Tay. After 1.5 hours of hiking we'll return to Killin and another night at the Lochay Hotel. B, L, D

    Monday, June 12:
    Continuing west today, we arrive at the rolling green hills and island-studded coast of Argyll. We'll climb 150 feet up to Dunadd, an Iron Age hill-fort that is believed to be the royal seat of the ancient kingdom of Dal Riata. Continuing a little further on to Kilmartin Glen, a peaceful wide valley, we see prehistoric megaliths, stone circles, and burial chambers with a history dating back 3000 - 5000 years that provide insight into the origins of our civilization. The museum here is superb and the onsite organic cafe provides a delightful place to enjoy lunch. All told we'll be walking about 1.2 miles, on path and grass.

    Our final destination today is the 18th century harbor at Crinan, which marks the start (or end) of the Crinan Canal. The canal is a waterway that winds itself through the countryside, initially dug to provide a short cut to the west coast. We'll spend the night in the Crinan Hotel, an old pirate pub that has been completely refurbished and now is known for its Bohemian art and seafood dinners, served to a very different clientele. After dinner we'll stroll along the canal, watching the sun go down over the islands on the horizon. Overnight The Crinan Hotel B, L, D

    Tuesday, June 13:
    Exploring Kerrera Island near Oban, arrival in Mull...Just an hour's drive north along the very scenic coast and then a 5 minute ride by ferry, we reach the small island of Kerrera. We'll spend the day exploring this lovely island paradise, visiting the atmospheric cliff top ruins of Gylen Castle. The castle was a stronghold of the MacDougall's but fell to a siege in in 1647, proving that impregnable defenses aren't sufficient when there is no reliable water supply. The recently restored castle sits right on the edge of cliffs, overlooking the isles of Seil, Scarba, and Mull. Our hike there is 4.5 miles on a wide track, including a steep grassy slope to the castle. To finish up our delightful day we'll visit the most romantic cafe on the West Coast.

    We then return to the scenically located and very busy harbor town of Oban, the departure point for much of the passenger traffic that goes to the many islands. This evening we'll cross the sea by ferry to the Hebridean Isle of Mull. After a drive to its picturesque northwest corner, we arrive at the picture perfect village of Dervaig, our home for the next 3 nights. Overnight Druimnacroish on Mull B, L, D

    Wednesday, June 14:
    The Isle of Mull is truly a paradise of green valleys, rugged mountains, and rocky coastlines. We'll spend the entire day hiking with a wildlife specialist, looking for rare white tailed eagles, otters, sea birds and other surprises. We'll ramble through wild glens, past picturesque lochs and bubbling springs, and relax on shimmering white beaches. All told we'll hike about 7.5 miles on flat or undulating coastal path, grass dunes, and coves. Our guide is also known for the lunches she prepares of home made soup, filled rolls, fresh fruit, and delicious homemade cake. And not that we're constantly thinking about food, but a little nourishment during an active outside day is never amiss. B, L, D

    Thursday, June 15:
    Today we'll visit the neighboring Isle of Staffa and Treshnish Islands on a wildlife boat trip. Lunga, the largest of the Treshnish Isles, has one of the most varied and accessible seabird colonies in Scotland and is home to more than 6,000 guillemot, razorbill, puffin, kittiwake, fulmar, shag, skua and many more. An easy hike over the grassy island with a final short steep ascent will give us an up close view of the birds. One psychologist has suggested that "puffin therapy" is at least as effective as talk therapy. But whether or not you agree, lying surrounded by puffins has to be one of the most amazing wildlife experiences you'll ever have. We'll also land on the Island of Staffa to experience Fingal's Cave, a natural cathedral created by massive basaltic columns that was inspiration for the composer Mendelssohn when he visited there in 1829. If we're lucky, we may also see Common and Atlantic Grey seals with pups, Basking sharps, dolphins, whales and porpoises. The Hebrides are known for their rich wildlife at this time of year and between yesterday and today, we'll see alot of it. B, L, D

    Friday, June 16:
    Return to Edinburgh, walk on West Highland Way, Farewell dinner...Today, after returning to the mainland by ferry, we'll head back to Edinburgh by way of a different route. We'll journey south along the shores of Loch Lomond, trying hard not to sing the famous Scottish ballad "The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond". But the banks really are quite bonnie, and we'll stop for our farewell walk on the eastern shore, near Balmaha, and a 2.5 mile undulating section of the very famous West Highland Way. We then continue past Glasgow and on to Edinburgh, where we'll arrive about 6pm. We'll go out to a final farewell dinner and share our memories of everything we've packed into such a short time. After making sure we are squared away for our return trip home, our local guide will bid us farewell as she returns to her home for the evening. B, L, D

    Saturday, June 17:
    Home? Or on to other adventures...You are free to leave anytime this morning. Public transportation to the airport is easily available, as is taxi service
  • $2895 (see this page for travel discounts) $400 deposit. There are 4 singles available for people who prefer one for an additional $300.  You can read our cancellation policies here.

    Trip Includes

    • A local guide (there will not be an AGC guide on this trip)
    • Eight nights double occupancy accommodation
    • All transportation within Scotland, including minibus and ferry
    • All activities on the itinerary
    • All meals from lunch on June 9 through breakfast on June 17 except for one lunch
    • Tipping of local day guides
    Not included: transportation to Edinburgh, beverages at dinner, guide gratuities, anything not on the itinerary, items of a personal nature
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    We can always accommodate vegetarian, gluten-free, and omnivore diets. On most trips we can also accommodate lactose-free, vegan, and other restricted diets, although in some locations the availability of special food may be limited. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Seeing the sights that Edinburgh is famous for and having time to explore on your own
  • Hiking and biking in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
  • Visiting Ben Lawers Nature Reserve and canoeing on the River Tay
  • Spending time in the Inner Hebrides at the height of the wildlife season
  • Savoring the excellent Scottish cuisine, especially the fresh seafood

Register for this trip today

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