Overview

My heart’s in the Highlands,” said Robert Burns – as will you, as we travel from city to country,2014_scotland_pic1 mainland to island, on this sweet journey through Scotland. From loch to loch and glen to glen, encounter stunning natural beauty and welcoming clans in our small group of no more than 22 guests. Enjoy a pleasing mix of guided touring and time for independent exploration on this well-paced, 12-day tour of Scotland. Begin in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, with a tour highlighting the city’s distinct architecture of the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. Enjoy a private curator-guided tour of Pollok House, ancestral home of the Maxwell clan and now a museum with the United Kingdom’s greatest collection of Spanish art. Travel on to admire the country’s beautiful Highlands scenery including storied Loch Lomond, Trossachs National Park, Glencoe, and fabled Loch Ness. Drive the full 23-mile length of this lake best known for the other-worldly creature alleged to live in its deep waters. Embark on an excursion to Isle of the Skye. Visit the ruins of lakeside Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland’s most popular attractions. Continue to the hallowed ground of Culloden Moor, site of the last battle of the Jacobite Rising in 1746; and Saint Andrews, home of Scotland’s oldest university and renowned as the home of golf. Conclude in Edinburgh, with city touring including a visit to Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood, where the British royalty schemed and slept in the State Apartments.

2014_scotland_map

Click to view trip map

Program Highlights

  • Small group limited to 22 participants.2014_scotland_pic2 (1)
  • Tour Glasgow’s highlights including Glasgow Central Station, the Royal Exchange, Glasgow City Chambers, and Glasgow School of Art, showcasing the city’s distinct architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Enjoy the scenery of the Scottish Highlands with stops at Loch Lomond, Trossachs National Park, Glencoe, and Loch Ness, the lake best known for the unearthly creature alleged to live in its deep waters.
  • Embark on a full-day excursion to the Isle of Skye, the largest of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides known for its vivid history and stunning scenery.
  • Spend time touring the charming seaside town of St. Andrew’s and enjoy a traditional pub lunch.
  • Discover Edinburgh with tours of both the 18th-century Georgian “New Town” and the medieval “Old Town,” and encounter the Royal Mile, the historic boulevard connecting Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyrood House.

Faculty

Ernest H. Ern, Senior Vice President and Professor of Environmental Sciences Emeritus

Ernie and his wife, Petie, came to Charlottesville in 1962 ph-ernest-ernand Ernie taught in the Department of Geology, later the Department of Environmental Sciences, for 39 years. Concurrently, he held administrative positions as Dean of Admissions, Vice President for Student Affairs and from 1993 to 2001, Senior Vice President of the University. From 1989 to 2001 the Erns lived on the Lawn in Pavilion X. His scholarly work includes analyses of geological conditions related to mining in the Appalachian region, as well as detailed analyses of rock formations in central Virginia and the Appalachian region. In 1998, Ern received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for excellence of character and service to humanity. (Greece ’07, Dalmatian Coast ’08, Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps ’10, America the Beautiful: National Parks ’11, Canadian Rockies ’12)

Itinerary

Day 1 - Saturday, September 6

Depart U.S. for Glasgow, Scotland

Day 2 - Sunday, September 7

Arrive Glasgow

We arrive in Scotland’s largest city and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities planned during the day. Late this afternoon we gather with our Tour Director for a briefing on the journey ahead. Then we enjoy a welcome dinner at either the acclaimed National Piping Centre or the well-appointed Corinthian Club where we will raise a toast to our founder Mr. Jefferson.

Day 3 - Monday, September 8

Glasgow

This morning’s tour highlights “Glasgow Style,” the city’s distinct architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though Glasgow has a rich medieval history, very few structures from that time survive; it is the Victorian-era buildings of red or blond sandstone with long lines that define the city’s historic built environment. Among the stand-out buildings we see: Glasgow Central Station, the Royal Exchange, Glasgow City Chambers, and Glasgow School of Art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. We also visit Sir John W. Simpson’s immensely popular Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Following our city tour we visit Pollok House, ancestral home of the Maxwell clan and now a museum with the United Kingdom’s greatest collection of Spanish art. Here a curator takes us on a privately guided tour of the Edwardian country house after we enjoy lunch in the award-winning restaurant. We return to our hotel mid-afternoon; the remainder of the day is at leisure. B,L

Day 4 - Tuesday, September 9

Glasgow / Loch Lomond / Glencoe / Fort William

We leave Glasgow this morning by motorcoach, bound for2014_scotland_pic4 the scenic Highlands, Scotland’s sparsely populated historic northern region. Along the way we visit delightful Geilston Garden, an historic and typical garden of a small country estate in the 18th and 19th centuries. Then we we stop by the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, Great Britain’s largest lake and part of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Our tour here includes a brief cruise on the island-dotted loch before continuing on to Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most beautiful spots with deep valleys flanked by steep-sided mountains, rushing rivers, and dramatic waterfalls. Then we travel on to Fort William, the Highlands’ second largest settlement, arriving late afternoon. B,D

Day 5 - Wednesday, September 10

Fort William / Isle of Skye

We embark on a full-day excursion to the Isle of Skye, the largest of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides known for its vivid history and stunning scenery. En route, we visit Glenfinnan Monument honoring “Bonnie Prince Charlie” for his leadership in the Jacobite Rising of 1742. Then we board a ferry for Armadale on the southern tip of Isle of Skye, where upon arrival we set out on a scenic drive through the imposing Cuillin Hills (or “Black Cuillin”) to the fishing town of Portree. Here we enjoy lunch together at a local pub then continue our tour of the island (including a photo stop at iconic Eilean Donan Castle) known for its strong Gaelic influence. We return to the mainland via the Skye Bridge then dine tonight at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 6 - Thursday, September 11

Fort William / Loch Ness / Brora

We depart today for the Highlands, stopping en route at fabled Loch Ness. We drive the full 23-mile length of the lake best known for the unearthly creature alleged to live in its deep waters. We also visit the ruins of lakeside Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland’s most popular attractions. Dating to at least the 13th century, the castle sits surrounded by water on three sides, giving it a once-formidable advantage in battle. Then we travel on to the historic Culloden Moor battle site. After time on our own to tour the museum here, we take a private guided tour of the hallowed grounds, site of the last battle of the Jacobite Rising in 1746. Early this evening we’ll arrive in Brora, a quaint Highlands village and our home for the next two nights. B,D

Day 7 - Friday, September 12

Brora / Highlands

Our exploration of the High­lands continues on today’s excursion along the Pictish Trail, sites connected with the late Iron Age/early Medieval Celtic people who once lived here. We learn about the ancient Picts at the acclaimed Tarbat Discovery Center, featuring excavated relics from the region. Continuing on, we visit striking Dunrobin Castle & Gardens, where we see a falconry demonstration. Then we drive along the scenic coastal road flanked by small farms with sheep, cows, and Shetland ponies before returning to our hotel. B,D

Day 8 - Saturday, September 13

Brora / Kincraig / Pitlochry / Dundee

Today’s first stop is Kincraig, where we watch a sheepdog demonstration with working Border Collies, known for their herding abilities. We travel on to the holiday town of Pitlochry in the heart of Scotland, where we enjoy some free time before this afternoon’s visit to a small local distillery where a unique single malt is handcrafted — just as it has been made for 150 years. B,D

Day 9 - Sunday, September 14

Dundee / St. Andrews / Edinburgh

We travel today to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, stopping en route in legendary St. Andrews, home of Scotland’s oldest university (St. Andrews) and renowned as the home of golf, where the game has been played for some 600 years. Upon arrival we embark on a tour of the charming seaside town followed by a traditional pub lunch. We then have some free time to explore St. Andrews on our own before we continue on to Edinburgh. B,L

Day 10 - Monday, September 15

Edinburgh

Our morning tour of this stately city built on seven hills includes the 18th-century Georgian “New Town” and the medieval “Old Town,” where we visit Edinburgh Castle, symbolic heart of the country. This afternoon is at leisure to discover Edinburgh as we wish; museums, galleries, and shops abound. Guests on late July/August departures will enjoy an evening performance of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. B

Day 11 - Tuesday, September 16

Edinburgh

This morning we encounter the Royal Mile, the historic boulevard connecting Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyrood House. We tour Holyrood, as it is called, and see where British royalty schemed and slept as we tour the State Apartments. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. Tonight we celebrate our Scotland sojourn over a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 12 - Wednesday, September 12

Depart for U.S.

Accommodations

  • Grand Central Hotel2014_scotland_pic3
    Dating to 1883, this hotel was built adjacent to the Central railroad station.  The 186-room Grand Central Hotel boasts a prime “style mile” location in the heart of bustling Glasgow, close to local attractions, restaurants, and shopping. Amenities of the recently renovated hotel include two restaurants and two bars (including a champagne bar). Guest rooms have private bath, in-room safe, broadband internet access (for a fee), TV, and phone.
  • Nevis Bank Inn
    Perched near the River Nevis in the picturesque Fort William region just one mile north of the Fort William town center, this 20-room inn provides travelers comforts in a modern setting.  An onsite restaurant and bar caters to all tastes with a wide range of food and drink, both contemporary and traditional.  Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, complimentary wireless internet access, TV, and phone.Please note that lodging alternatives are limited in this area of Scotland; while your stay in this locale should be enjoyable, the amenities at the hotel will be lower than elsewhere on your tour.  Also, because of the unique nature of this hotel, room sizes and views vary.
  • Royal Marine Hotel
    Originally built as a private country house in the early 1900s by renowned Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer, the Royal Marine Hotel is situated amidst glorious coastal scenery in the Scottish Highlands, approximately one hour north of Inverness.  The hotel is close to a links golf course and a sandy beach, and its amenities include three restaurants and a fitness center with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, spa, and gym.  Each of the 21 guest rooms offers private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, in-room safe, ironing facilities, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.
  • Malmaison Hotel
    A wholly restored (reopened December 2013) landmark building that opened in 1899 as a temperance hotel, the Malmaison Hotel is situated in the revitalized waterfront district close to Dundee’s vibrant city center.  The 91-room hotel offers a brasserie and bar, whiskey snug, wine tasting room and cellar, and laundry and dry cleaning service.  Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, coffee- and tea-making facilities, ironing facilities, TV, and phone.
  • The George Hotel
    Sitting in the heart of Edinburgh’s city center, the 249-room George Hotel is close to the shops and restaurants of Princes Street and a short walk from Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Park and Palace. The George dates to 1881, when five stately townhouses were converted to create the hotel.  Amenities include a restaurant and bar; guest rooms have private bath, in-room safe, Wi-Fi internet access (for a fee), TV, and phone.

Meals

20 meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners

Program Fees

$4,695 per person, double occupancy, land only. 

$5,647 per person total price, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Newark.

$5,947 with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Washington, DC.

$5,997 with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Charlottesville.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $995 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

  • Exclusive departure for the University of Virginia
  • Small group size limited to 22 guests
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities, if choosing the air inclusive program
  • Airline taxes and departure fees associated with the air inclusive program (currently $652)
  • 10 nights’ accommodations in listed properties
  • 20 meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described in day-by-day itinerary, including all entrance fees
  • Services of a dedicated Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Does not include:

  • Airfare when purchasing a Land Only tour package
  • Costs of passports and visas
  • Personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified
  • Airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package
  • Communication charges
  • Optional sightseeing
  • Gratuities for the Tour Director (left to individual discretion)
  • Travel Protection Insurance
  • Baggage fees associated with airline travel
  • Anything not specifically listed as included

General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (June 3, 2014) before departure.

Not Included in Tour Price: Airfare if purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only tour package; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuity for your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director: $10-$15 per day per traveler); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund. If a guest makes any changes within 94 and 30 days prior to departure to either their departure city and/or the optional post-tour extension, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.
Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.

Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and boats on your own. If you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.