Hiking along Loch Morar
The Morar peninsula in the Highlands of Scotland is part of the Rough Bounds, an area renowned for its wild, remote and rugged landscapes. Morar is divided by Loch Morar, one of Europe’s deepest fresh water lochs, reaching a depth of over 1,000 feet/300 metres. Loch Morar is said to be home to Morag, a monster akin to the more famous Nessie. Morag has a sinister reputation, based on the belief that whenever she is sighted it heralds the death of a member of the local branch of the MacDonald clan.
Morar has a sublime seascape formed by a series of rock-framed white beaches and stunning views across a turquoise sea towards Eigg, Rum and further north to Skye.
Skye, the Misty Isle, is famous for its spectacular scenery and landscapes. It is a beautiful island with ruined castles, sea lochs, high mountains and remote moors.
The island is 50 miles long and it is the largest island of the Inner Hebrides. Skye can be seen as a series of peninsulas that radiate from the mountainous centre of the Cuillin hills. There are 350 miles of coastline to explore and in its heart the dramatic Black Cuillin range rise to over 3,000 feet. They were formed by volcanic activity some fifty million years ago.
Occupied since the Mesolithic era, there are currently about 10,000 people living on the island.
Skye is voted the 4th best island in the world by National Geographic magazine.
Loch Morar and the surrounding hills are good place to look for red deer, roe deer, white-tailed eagle and golden eagle, great northern divers, otters and pine marten. During our boat trips on Loch Nevis and Loch Scavaig we should see seals, many seabirds and, if we are lucky, even dolphins. Eagles also live on Skye as do many other birds. Wild flowers will be abundant wherever we go.
The programme will be subject to variables such as weather and the abilities of the group and changes may also be made to take account of lambing, deer stalking, etc. Any such alterations will always take into account the need to maintain the overall character of the holiday.
By train from Glasgow to Beasdale along the West Highland Railway Line, voted as one of the most scenic in the world. The ride takes us along the shores of Loch Long and Loch Lomond, across Rannoch Moor, stopping at Corrour, one of the most remote stations in Britain, only accessible by train and by Land Rover track.
The journey continues past Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis to Fort William. From Fort William the line hugs bank of Loch Eil before crossing the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct at the head of Loch Shiel, immortalised by the Harry Potter films.
We will get off the train at Beasdale station, where the train only stops on request. Arisaig House, our accommodation for the first 3 nights, is a short drive from the station.
Sound of Arisaig and Moidart
Loch an Nostarie is a remote hill loch above Mallaig. We will walk from Mallaig through the hills and on open ground with spectacular views of the Small Isles, Skye and Knoidart. When we continue Loch an Nostarie with its pine studded islands, as well as the surroundings hills and crags come into sight. We will walk along the shore of the loch and on a well maintained path and quiet road back to Mallaig.
Our second walk will be on the Silver Sands of Morar, a series of beautiful sandy beaches which pepper the coastline from Arisaig to Morar.
Total of 6 miles/9.5 km and 740ft/225m of ascent
We will take a chartered boat from Mallaig up Loch Nevis to Tarbet. Loch Nevis is surrounded by the mountains of Knoydart and Morar. Once a bustling fishing village, Tarbet is now home to just six residents and numerous sheep.
From Tarbert we will walk over the narrow headland, from which Tarbet derives its name, to Loch Morar. We will follow an ancient route along the north shore of Loch Morar offering superb views up and down the loch and the mountains beyond. This is an ancient route built to serve the settlements along the loch, now mostly abandoned.
5.5m/9km and 430ft/130m of ascent
Loch Coruisk, Isle of Skye
We will take the ferry from Mallaig to Skye and travel to the remote village of Elgol.
We will take a boat up Loch Scavaig to Loch Coruisk, which is in the heart of the beautiful Cuillin mountains with their jagged peaks. Along the way we should see seals – up to 150 or more on sunny days! - many seabirds and, if we are lucky, even dolphins. After disembarking we will walk to Loch Coruisk, arguably one of Scotland’s most isolated and beautiful lochs, surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery.
We will sail back to Elgol and continue our journey across Skye to Greshornish House in Edinbane, our accommodation for the next 3 nights.
3 miles/5 km and 300ft/90m of ascent
We start the day with a tour of the famous Talisker Distillery.
After enjoying a dram of Skye’s only single malt whisky, we will walk to Dun Beag broch, a circular, tower-like structure with double walls. The walls of Dun Beag still stand up to 16 feet high. During excavations a large amount of prehistoric and more recent artefacts were found, suggesting a prolonged use of the broch.
In the afternoon we will walk across the causeway to the island of Oronsay. Oronsay is a Norse word meaning a tidal island. There are at least 20 Oronsays or Ornsays in the Hebrides, including two on Skye. The island has impressive cliffs and although the island is now uninhabited, there are traces of inhabitation going back thousands of years, including an ancient fish trap along the causeway.
Dinner will be in that famous Three Chimneys restaurant.
4 miles/6.5 km and 330ft/100m of ascent
Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
The Trotternish Peninsula has a long ridge that runs almost its full length; some 19 miles, and is one of the most magnificent landscapes in Britain. The Trotternish Ridge was formed by a great series of post-glacial large-scale landslides. Parts of it are still moving.
The ridge contains two of Skye’s most famous landmarks: the Old Man of Storr, an isolated rocky pinnacle in a spectacular, almost lunar, landscape, and the Quiraing, an area of dramatic and unusual rock formations. Our hike to the Old Man of Storr will take us into these strange rock formations.
3 miles/5 km and 650ft/200m of ascent
The island of Raasay, 25 minutes by ferry from Skye, was traditionally the home of Clan MacSween. The island was ruled by the MacLeods from the 15th to the 19th century. In the beginning of the 19th century 900 people lived on the island. The current population is around 160 people.
Raasay means "Isle of the Roe Deer".
We have various options for our walk and there is a lot of interest on the island including Raasay House, the remains of St Maol-luag's Chapel, a Pictish Stone, Dun Borrofiach, remains of an iron mine and the stone sculptures of mermaids near the ferry terminal. Wherever we go, on a clear day we will have great views back to Skye to the Cuillin mountains, the Trotternish coastline and the Applecross peninsula on the mainland.
Up to 6 miles/9.5km and 655ft/200m of ascent
We will leave the Isle of Skye in the morning and travel to Glasgow where we will arrive in the afternoon.
This walking tour is an excellent introduction to hiking in Scotland for people with good basic fitness. The holiday combines walking with visits to places of interest. Daily distances won't exceed 6 miles/10 km plus varying amounts of ascent, and we don't expect to hike for longer than 4 hours (plus stops). Most of the hiking will be on paths, tracks or quiet roads, although the surfaces can be wet and rough. There will be some steep sections along the way, but no climbs greater than 1200 feet/365m, even in total.
If you're still not sure whether or not you can cope after you've read this along with the details of the week's programme, please get in touch to discuss it further.
We will stay in small 4-star country house hotels that have a reputation for care and for excellent Scottish food, so you can relax in comfort after your day out walking. Evening meals will be in the hotels and are included in the price.
Arisaig House is an honest grey stone mansion, originally built 1864 but much altered in the 1930s. The public rooms are on a grand scale, with fine panelling in various hardwoods, family portraits and other interesting pictures.
The bedrooms have plenty of space and interesting corners with recesses for window seats.
Your hosts run it as a luxurious but homely guest house offering freshly prepared seasonal meals and the chance to really put your feet up!
Greshornish House, dating from the mid-18th century, sits in a secluded loch-side setting of 10 acres surrounded by a belt of beautiful trees.
The traditional white manor house, once owned by Kenneth MacLeod, offers luxury accommodation in a comfortable family-home environment.
The spacious drawing room and billiard room, with full sized table, log fire, squashy armchairs and books, provide an informal relaxing environment, echoed in the distinctive en-suite bedrooms.
|Description||8 days (Saturday to Saturday), accommodation in Morar, Highlands (3 nights), on the isle of Skye (4 nights) in carefully selected 4-star country house hotels.|
|Walking||An attractive, well-thought-out walking programme; no more than 6 miles/10km in a day, and mostly on paths or tracks - though paths may be wet and/or rough in places. An equally attractive programme of visits to places of interest complement the walks.|
|MS201||6-13 June 2020||£2470||Luxury country house hotel accommodation, all meals included.
Single room: £395 extra
|MS202||15-22 August 2020|
|We may be able to book groups of 4 or more on other dates, please ask.|
and most especially
For general information and booking, please click here.