Day 1: Saturday
Groups will meet at Inverness railway station at 11am. After introduction we will arrange for your luggage to be transferred to the lodge. Please come dressed for walking, as we will start the holiday with an easy and flat walk of 6km along the River Ness. After completing our walk we will have lunch at the Rocpool Restaurant and following that you will have time to explore the city before we meet up at the Castle Tavern for a drink at 4pm. The bus will depart for the lodge at 5pm. On arrival, you can unpack your luggage and have a quick tour. At 6.30pm we will gather for our nightly meeting and drink before dinner is served at 7.30pm. There will be live music at the lodge from 9.00pm
- Day 1 Useful Links:
- Rocpool Restaurant, Inverness
- Castle Tavern, Inverness
- Caledonian Sleeper Overnight Rail Services
- Scotrail Inverness Services
- Inverness Airport
- British Airways
Day 2: Sunday
Breakfast will be served between 7.30am and 8.30am. We will depart the lodge at 8.45am and walk the first stage of the South Loch Ness Trail from Inverness to Dores, a distance of approximately 15km. This is a walk through the woods, with gradual climbs and lovely views at the end down loch Ness. Dores Beach is a pebble beach with great views down the entire length of Loch Ness.
We'll break for lunch at the Dores Inn. After lunch we will visit Fort George and museum. The bus will depart at 5.00pm to return to the lodge, gathering at 6.30pm for dinner at 7.30pm.
Day 3: Monday
Breakfast will be served between 7.30am and 8.30am. We will depart the lodge at 8.45am. Today we will be heading to the hamlet of Inverfarigaig for the second stage of the South Loch Ness Trail to Dores, a 14km walk. Today will involve a challenging walk, but you will be rewarded with the best views of Loch Ness, from a height of around 1,700 feet. Work on this part of the walk may lead to diversions from the route, but we will find our way.
When we arrive in Dores we will have a drink before taking the bus to the Mustard Seed Restaurant in Inverness for lunch. After lunch we will return to the lodge, as later we will be entertained at the Highland Whisky Experience by host Davy Holt, a well-known folk singerand Bruce MacGregor, a world champion fiddle player. Their Highland Malt Whisky Experience will take you on a journey, tasting some of the best malt whiskies the Scottish Highlands has to offer, whilst regaling you in the history, storytelling and music of the Scottish Highlands. We will then enjoy a three course dinner with drinks included at MacGregor's Bar and Restaurant before returning to the lodge.
- Day 3 Useful Links:
- Mustard Seed Restaurant, Inverness
- MacGregor's Bar, Inverness
- Highland Malt Whisky Experience, Inverness
Day 4: Tuesday
Breakfast will be served between 7.30 and 8.30am. Today is "Outlander Day" and there will be no walking.
We call this day "Outlander Day" because we will be visiting a lot of places made famous by the television series Outlander, adapted from the Outlander novels of Diana Gabaldon. Our first stop will be Culloden Battlefield, and the excellent visitor centre housing an exhibition that traces the story of the Jacobites and features a 360 degree reconstruction of the battle.
When visiting Culloden, the last hand-to-hand battle fought on British soil takes on a whole new meaning. The battlefield has been restored as close as possible to the conditions that would have faced the two sides who came together and fought there. Find out why a battle that lasted only an hour changed the way of life of the Highlands and Islands forever.
Listen to accounts of genuine characters who were involved in the Battle of Culloden, whose words bring the events leading up to and during the battle alive. Imagine what it is like, to be at the centre of the action, with a visit the battle immersion theatre. Here, a 4-minute, 360-degree film, re-lives the horror of the battle.
Appreciate the true scale of the battle when you visit the rooftop area. From this platform you'll see a completely different view of the battlefield. You can then walk the battlefield, which has been restored to how it appeared to the opposing forces on that fateful day, 16 April 1746.
The Battle of Culloden saw some 1,500 Jacobites killed or wounded, while the Goverment forces losses were a lot lighter, with 50 dead and 259 wounded. At the Memorial Cairn you can find the Clan Fraser stone among the stones of other clans, including Camerons, Mackenzies, Macgillvrays, Mackintoshes, and more.
From the Culloden Battlefield we will head to nearby Clava Cairns, site of a 4,000 year old burial ground full of well preserved passage graves, cairns and standing stones before travelling back to Inverness for lunch at the Kitchen Brasserie.
After lunch we will continue the trail past Castle Leod. The castle has been lived in by the same family for over 500 years and is the seat of Clan MacKenzie. Their chief is also the Earl of Cromartie. The castle and family have been at the epicentre of Highland and Scottish politics over the centuries and were heavily involved in The Jacobite rising of 1745. Their chequered history includes their clan chiefs being sentenced death for high treason, to being awarded an earldom from clan battles, to their being the confidantes of royalty and shifting from near poverty to the heights of power. The Castle is only open 20 days per year. If we are lucky and it is open we will look around. Otherwise, we will view the grounds.
A few kilometers to the south is the village of Beauly in the heart of Fraser and Lovat country. Here you can take a walk around the tranquil ruins of Beauly Priory, founded in around 1230 by monks of the Valluscaulian order. This ancient Priory has long and ancient connections with the Frasers and Lovats and many clan chiefs are buried here, including Hugh Fraser 3rd Lord Lovat. We will also visit the Wardlaw Mausoleum. From the tower there are stunning views over what was once Lovat Castle.
Our last stop of the day is a visit to Dalmore Distillery, for a tour and whisky tasting. After the tour we will take the bus back to the lodge for our nightly meeting at 6.30pm and dinner at 7.30pm.
- Day 4 Useful Links:
- Culloden Battlefield
- Clava Cairns
- Kitchen Brasserie, Inverness
- Castle Leod
- Beauly Priory
- Wardlaw Mausoleum
- Dalmore Distillery
Day 5: Wednesday
Breakfast will be served between 7.30am and 8.30am. We will depart the lodge at 8.45am by bus to Inverfarigaig where we will start stage 3 of the walk to Foyers, a distance of approximately 10.5km. This is a very nice walk in the countryside which benefits from good views over Loch Ness. With a heavy climb at the start, we have to pay attention to waymarkers as they can be hidden in the undergrowth.
When we arrive in Foyers we will have lunch at the Craigdarroch Inn. After lunch, we will visit the Falls of Foyers. We will return to the lodge where you will have time to relax and sooth the sore muscles. At 6.30pm we will have our nightly meeting, with dinner at 7.30 pm and live music from 9.00pm.
- Day 5 Useful Links:
- Craigdarroch Inn, Foyers
Day 6: Thursday
Breakfast will be served between 7.30am and 8.30am. We will depart the lodge at 8.45am by bus to the village of Foyers. This is the start of the last stage of the South Loch Ness Trail. Today our day will be split in two, with one walk before lunch and one after, a total walk of approximately 21km.
We begin our walk by taking the main road from Foyers and crossing a bridge high above the upper Falls of Foyers and reaching woodland before crossing a boggy patch of land and criss-crossing a minor burn, keeping to the track on the right, before arriving at Dell farm. We will follow the river upstream past the old schoolhouse to reach the bridge over the river Foyers built by General Wade in 1732 and on to the hamlet of Whitebridge, where we stop for lunch at the Whitebridge Hotel.
After lunch we will continue walking along the roadside, passing Killiechoilum, before diverting onto a woodland path to a footbridge over the Cumrack Burn. We will then return to some road walking before taking another woodland path which will reward us with views across the loch to Invermoriston and along Stratherrick. We will then continue to Suidhe Chuimein, a viewpoint down to Loch Tarff, where the descent we take us onto the B862 and on into Fort Augustus. We will stop for refreshments in the village before the bus departs at 5.00pm. We will then return to lodge for our nightly meeting at 6.30pm, followed by dinner at 7.30pm.
- Day 6 Useful Links:
- Whitebridge Hotel, Stratherrick
Day 7: Friday
Breakfast will be served between 7.30am and 8.30am. Today there will be no walking and the bus will depart the lodge at the later time of 9.15am. We will travel to Fort William, where we will take a wildlife cruise with Crannog Cruises. This departs at 11am and lasts 1.5 hours. After our cruise we will have a three course lunch at the famous Crannog Restaurant. Following this, there will be some time in Fort William for shopping. The bus will depart from Fort William at 4pm and we will be stopping for a refreshment at the Glenmoriston Arms Hotel before returning to the lodge. We will have our usual nightly gathering at 6.30 followed by dinner at 7.30pm. Tonight we will have live music, local folk music, starting at 9pm.
- Day 7 Useful Links:
- Crannog Cruises
- Crannog Restaurant, Fort William
- Glenmoriston Arms Hotel, Invermoriston
Day 8: Saturday
Breakfast will be served between 7.30am and 8.30am. The bus will depart at 9.30am for Inverness Railway Station.