Dunrobin Castle & the Pictish Trail Tour
There are some fantastic places that are very close to the Highland capital of Inverness, but perhaps not on the usual beaten track.
Why not explore into the stunningly beautiful Easter Ross and Sutherland regions, with its breath-taking scenery and wonderful places so steeped in history and culture? Discover some of the awe inspiring “hidden gems” included in this the fascinating itinerary, created to deliver a unique experience for those visiting this wonderful part of the world.
Castles and Cathedrals…
After leaving Inverness, we make our way towards Dunrobin Castle, the seat of the powerful Sutherland family. Dating from the 13th century, Dunrobin is one of the oldest inhabited residences in Scotland, although much of the Castle now dates from the 19th century, built in the Scottish Baronial style. With its slender turrets, whitewashed walls and stunning formal gardens, Dunrobin Castle truly is reminiscent of something from a fairy tale. En route, stop to take in the vista that locals call the “millionaire’s view”; need we say any more?
There's the option of enjoying a dram or two at Glenmorangie Distillery, or if the “uisge-beatha” (Scottish Gaelic – “water of life” (whisky)) isn’t your tipple, a visit to the picturesque mediaeval burgh of Dornoch is the alternative, where the local shops and cafes can be explored, along with the wonderful Cathedral, founded in the 13th century.
On the trail of the Picts…
After lunch, we travel to the quaint village of Portmahomack, and the Tarbat Discovery Centre, where archaeological investigation in the 1990s revealed an extensive monastic settlement, dating back to the 6th century! The Centre is dedicated to the interpretation of this site, and also investigates the enigmatic Picts, the native people that lived here between the 4th and 9th centuries CE. Artefacts include some beautifully carved fragments of Pictish stones, incorporating mystical designs and symbols that have lost their meaning over the centuries. This is an important and emotive place, referred to as the “Iona of the East”, though there is still much to be discovered about this truly fascinating and mysterious place…
Carrying along the Pictish Trail, we visit the traditional fishing communities of the Seaboard Villages, so beautifully situated on the Moray Firth coast. We stop to say hello to the “Mermaid of the North”, who sits proud on the “Clach Dubh” or “Black Rock” on Balintore Beach, before visiting the awe-inspiring Shandwick Pictish Stone, which has stood on its original site since the 9th century CE, overlooking the Moray Firth. This stone stands just under 9 feet high (2.7m), with both sides elaborately carved in relief to include intricate designs and enigmatic symbols; this is a truly spectacular work of art.
Finally, we explore the Old Nigg Parish Church, which dates from the 17th century, and also houses the Nigg Pictish Cross Slab, possibly the most remarkable and elaborate of all. The church itself has a fantastic history, which includes local lore, connections with the geologist and author Hugh Miller, “lofty places” and “the cholera stone”. We can tell you no more, because it will ruin the surprise!
This is a truly fantastic tour, providing the opportunity to explore little known ancient places immersed in history and legend. The sandstone of the East Highlands creates fertile, lush rolling hills and sandy yellow beaches, all a recipe for stunning scenery and beautiful landscapes. Why not take a chance and go off the beaten track…you will not be disappointed!
Millionaire’s View • Dunrobin Castle • Dornoch OR Glenmorangie Distillery • Seaboard Villages Tarbat Discovery Centre, Portmahomack • Seaboard Villages • Mermaid of the North
Shandwick Pictish Stone • Nigg Old Church and Pictish Stone
- Our Dunrobin Castle & Pictish Trail Tour runs from 1st April 2018 to 31st October 2018.
- Our Dunrobin Castle & Pictish Trail Tour departs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week. (Maximum 8 spaces available).
- We only use 8-seater vehicles for a more personal experience.
Meeting Point: Check-in for this tour at 8.45am, at the Front of the Columba Hotel, 7 Ness Walk, Inverness IV3 5NF, for depart at 9am.
Adult Tour Prices (1st April 2018 - 31st October 2018):
1 adult - £70 • 2 adults - £140 • 3 adults - £210 • 4 adults - £280
5 adults - £350 • 6 adults - £420 • 7 adults - £490 • 8 adults - £560
Prices for children (6-15 years):
1 child - £60 • 2 children - £120 • 3 children - £180 • 4 children - £240
Lunch and entrance fees NOT included.
Got a query? Contact "the man in the kilt" on +44(0)7828 154683 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.