Wild Scotland Expedition

from £7000
excluding flights *
10 nights Jun

Overview

Discover a wealth of history and wildlife amongst the beautiful and diverse islands of Scotland, taking in the wild archipelagos of the Hebrides, Orkneys and Shetland Islands.

Birders will marvel at Europe’s largest sea bird colonies, where thousands of birds breed on impossibly sheer cliffs. From puffins and sea eagles to kittiwakes, skua, shags and more, you can’t fail to be amazed by the relentless activity and noise. Marine wildlife abounds too; these rich waters are home to basking sharks, orca, minke whales and dolphins, as well as seals and otters.

Highlights

  • Visit UNESCO World-heritage-listed St Kilda
  • Explore historic villages in the Orkney Islands
  • Encounter basking sharks, dolphins & seals in the Hebrides
  • Kayak through sea caves and mirror-like lochs
  • Witness prolific birdlife, including puffins, guillemots, eagles and fulmars
  • Visit an Iron Age broch and the Stone Age village of Skara Brae

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings
  • Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers
  • Expedition jacket - yours to keep
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee

Full description

As you cruise from Oban to Aberdeen in the company of historians and ornithologists, you will uncover Neolithic sites scarcely changed in 5,000 years, traces of Viking settlements, and haunted castles that were once the stronghold of Scottish clans. Meet the residents of some of Britain’s most scarcely populated islands and explore traditional crofts.

An award-winning photographer will be on hand throughout the cruise to ensure you capture the wildlife and scenery along the way. From wave-pounded sea stacks to steep cliffs, tiny islands, mythical ruins and dazzling white beaches, the Scottish Isles are remote, wild and breathtakingly beautiful.

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Prices & Dates

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Prices from (pp)
21 Jun 2021 11 days Greg Mortimer £7,000

Activity Key:

Kayaking

Paddle-boarding

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Tea & coffee available around the clock
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner
  • All Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings
  • Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers
  • Expedition jacket - yours to keep
  • Loan of rubber boots during voyage
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection »

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Embarkation in Oban

Make your way to Oban Port where your expedition team will welcome you aboard the Greg Mortimer this afternoon. After a briefing session, set sail along Scotland’s northwest coast.

Days 2-3: Inner Hebrides

From golden beaches to jagged peaks, the Hebrides archipelago is packed with variety. Explore remote lochs beneath untamed mountains and wander remote ridgelines. You may spot whales, dolphins, otters, seals, and the increasingly rare basking sharks, as well as red deer, white-tailed sea eagles and countless puffins. Highlights may include the tiny island of Iona, known as the birthplace of Christianity in Britain, and Staffa, where you may have the chance to explore Fingal’s Cave. The rugged Isle of Skye, named after the Norse word for ‘cloud’, is a hikers’ paradise and is home to the iconic Cuillin Hills. The region’s history can be discovered on the peninsula of Rubha’ an Dùnain; from a Neolithic chambered cairn to a Viking canal.

Days 4-6: Outer Hebrides

Also known as the Western Isles, the Outer Hebrides stretch for over 200 kilometres, along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. You may have a chance to explore the Isle of Lewis, where archaeology buffs will be keen to see the fascinating group of Standing Stones, dating from around 3,000 BC. Nearby Bostadh House is a remarkable reconstruction of an Iron Age dwelling tucked away above a beautiful white sand beach. Weather permitting you will also land at the isolated volcanic archipelago and UNESCO World Heritage site of St Kilda, where derelict crofts bear testament to the fortitude of islanders who once tended the unique Soay sheep and harvested seabirds for food here. The isles hold Europe’s most important seabird colony and is home to Britain’s highest sea stacks. Cruising northeast you will pass tiny islands that bear the brunt of violent Atlantic storms and rarely see visitors. Home to breeding seals and some of Europe’s largest seabird colonies, Sula Sgeir, North Rona and Flannan boast spectacular cliffs, fantastic rock stacks, hidden beaches and luxuriant heaths where sheep once grazed.

Days 7-8: Shetland Islands

Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 160 kilometres north of the Scottish mainland. Shetland’s 100 islands experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer, and abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites. The island of Foula is the most remote inhabited island in the UK, with just 30 residents, whilst Papa Stour offers some of the best sea caves in Britain. Jarlshof is one of Shetland’s best preserved and most complex archaeological sites, exposed by storms in the late 19th century and dating back to around 3,200 BC. Mousa Broch, on the small uninhabited island of Mousa, is the best preserved of Scotland’s 570 brochs (fortified Iron Age towers). Storm petrels nest among its stones and a large colony of common and grey seals basks on the island’s shores. Hermaness National Nature Reserve is renowned for its sheer sea cliffs alive with the cacophony of over 100,000 breeding seabirds: kittiwakes, shags, snipe, dunlin, golden plover and Arctic skua nest side by side making this one of Europe’s most diverse colonies.

Days 9-10: Orkney Islands

Midway between Orkney and Shetland, Fair Isle houses a major European ornithological research station, and is also famous for knitwear and historic shipwrecks. A bird watchers’ paradise, Fair Isle’s cliffs teem with breeding fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins. The Isle also has over 250 species of flowering plants. Meet the hospitable villagers and take a hike or visit the museum. Grey and common seals inhabit these waters, and sharp eyes may also spot harbour porpoises, white-beaked dolphins, Atlantic white-sided dolphins, orcas and minke whales. Continue to Orkney to discover an archipelago of 70 windswept islands, where a rich tapestry of archaeology, history and wildlife awaits. Follow the passage of time from 5,000-year-old World Heritage Neolithic sites, past relics from Vikings and reminders of World War II occupation, to present day crofting communities. Wander the narrow winding streets and lanes of Kirkwall, which have remained relatively unchanged over the centuries. Everything west of Kirkwall is known as West Mainland, an area of rich farmland, rolling hills and moorland, with dramatic cliffs along the Atlantic coastline. Some of the main archaeological attractions you may see here include the standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, and the chambered tombs of Maes Howes that to this day still have unresolved mysteries. One of the mainland’s main attractions is Skara Brae, the best-preserved Stone-Age village in northern Europe, located in the spectacular white sands of the Bay of Skaill.

Day 11: Disembarkation in Aberdeen

On arrival in Aberdeen, disembark early morning and bid your fellow travellers farewell.

Notes

All voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only - embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on wildlife sightings and weather/sea conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential!

The Greg Mortimer

Multi-destination

Grade: Deluxe

Type: Expedition Ship

Brand new for 2019, the Greg Mortimer is a custom-built expedition ship featuring cutting-edge design, superior comfort and environmentally friendly technology.

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Special Guest Photographer

Special Guest Photographer: Scott Portelli

Joining this voyage is award-winning wildlife, nature and underwater photographer, Scott Portelli. Scott is a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) and has worked around the globe, including spending over a decade working in the polar regions. Working in extreme conditions, Scott’s photography provides a rarely seen glimpse above and below the surface in some of the harshest places on the planet.

Scott was awarded the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year in London in 2016, announced National Winner of the Sony World Photography Awards 2016 and Winner at Travel Photographer of the Year 2015. More recently, he was awarded winner in the Animal Behaviour Category at the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year ANZANG 2017, winner in the Underwater Category of the Asferico International Nature Photography Awards 2018 and runner up in the Behaviour Category at Underwater Photographer of the Year 2019. His conservation documentary also earned two awards at the prestigious French Underwater Film Festival in Marseille.

Whilst on board expedition voyages, Scott runs photography workshops and lectures to show enthusiasts and experts alike the best way to get the most out of their photography. He specialises in Nature & Wildlife photography bringing the best tips and techniques for photographing in challenging locations, and he will be on hand throughout the Wild Scotland Expedition to ensure you capture your most memorable moments.

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