DAY 1 - After joining your holiday coach, you head north of the border with suitable stops en-route for lunch and refreshments. Continue to your overnight hotel. Dinner, bed & breakfast.
DAY 2 - Departing after breakfast, you head north via Pitlochry, a favourite haunt of Queen Victoria. Travel on through glorious mountainous scenery past Aviemore and the Highland's capital of Inverness before arriving at the far north town of Thurso for your 3-night stay. Dinner, bed and breakfast.
DAY 3 - DAY 4 - At leisure in Thurso. You will have a free day to explore Britain's most northerly mainland town with its pretty beach, riverside and cliff walks and Caithness Horizons Museum. Dinner, bed & breakfast.
JOHN O'GROATS & CASTLE OF MEY
An excursion today to John O'Groats, with its dramatic coastal location. Situated at the top of mainland Britain, whilst it is not the most northerly point (that's Dunnet Head), John O'Groats is certainly best known as the end point of the 874 mile trek from Land's End in Cornwall. Onto the Castle of Mey, the beloved residence of the Queen Mother, which stands in a magnificent setting on the north coast of Caithness with glorious views across the Pentland Firth. The castle, with its jutting turrets, is kept as it was when The Queen Mother was in residence and the gardens are a delight with her personal touch apparent everywhere.
DAY 5 - ORKNEY - After breakfast, travel the short distance to Scrabster for the 08.45 crossing (90 minutes) to Stromness on Orkney. During the 90 minute crossing enjoy the view is the spectacular granite outcrop of The Old Man of Hoy. On arrival, you will be joined by a local guide for a full day exploring Orkney's mainland including Skara Brae, an amazing Neolithic village which lay buried by sand for 4000 years; the stone Ring of Brodgar and the standing Stones of Stenness; the historic manor house at Skaill; the delightful chapel built by Italian POWs and the remains of battleships scuppered at Scapa Flow. Enjoy an included dinner this evening in a local restaurant in Kirkwall before boarding the overnight Northlink Ferry sailing to Lerwick, Shetlands' capital. Cabins are en-suite and on board you will find shops, bars, lounge, cinema and restaurant. NB An overnight bag is recommended for your 2-night stay on board. Photo ID is required to board Northlink Ferries.
DAY 6 - SHETLANDS - Breakfast on the ship before departing on a guided excursion of Shetland's scenic mainland with dramatic cliffs and stunning landscapes. Visit are included to Jarlshof Viking Settlement and Scalloway Castle with some time in Lerwick before re-joining the ferry for a carvery style dinner and overnight crossing to Aberdeen.
DAY 7 - Breakfast is served on board before docking in Aberdeen. Travel along beautiful Royal Deeside, passing the Balmoral Estate before stopping in Braemar, home of one of the famous Highland Games, before continuing through the breathtaking scenery of Glenshee and onto the 4* Westerwood Hotel & Golf Resort in Cumbernauld for your final relaxed 2-night stay. Dinner, bed & breakfast.
DAY 8 - EDINBURGH - Your final day in Scotland and what better way to spend it than a day in the truly delightful capital with its atmospheric cobbled streets of the old town to the attractive Georgian avenues of the new town. There is plenty to see and do - from iconic Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile to the impressive National Museum of Scotland (entrances not included). Your driver may be able to offer you an optional guided tour of this bustling city. Return to the Westerwood Hotel for dinner, bed & breakfast.
DAY 9 - An early start today as you head back south after your epic Scottish adventure, arriving home during the evening.