Culloden Battlefield, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Glen Ord Distillery and more!

Overview

Historic battlesites, a ruined castle, a 4,000 year old burial ground, beautiful countryside and whisky! This private customisable tour has it all!

First is Culloden Battlefield, the site of the last pitched battle on mainland Britain in 1746. Wander the historic site towards the memorial cairn and see markers of where the doomed clans lined up to fight against the Government forces.

Next is Clava Cairns said to be one of the sites that inspired the Outlander books. It’s a Bronze Age cemetery complex of passage graves, cairns, and standing stones.

Passing Clava Viaduct we’ll reach Cawdor Castle (Macbeth anyone?) to explore the castle and the beautiful grounds.

After driving down Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle ruins, you can use the remaining ramparts to scour Loch Ness for monsters! Then its Beauly to a 13th century priory and to wander around this pretty Highland town.

Finally, we’ll head north and its whisky time! We’ll visit a distillery to sample some of the water of life!

Day 1
Priced from £450 per group

Day 2
Private Tour, only your group will participate

Day 5
Tour Duration 6-8 hours

Day 6
Larger Groups (>6) are possible, please enquire

Day 7
Recommended Group Size 4 passengers*

* The standard vehicle for our tours is a Volvo XC90 SUV which has six passenger seats. For comfort we recommend up to four passengers however if you have a larger group, two small adults or children could use the rearmost seats.

On this southerly day tour you will have the options of visiting a prehistoric burial ground, touring a 600 year old castle, seeing the mysterious Loch Ness, exploring a castle ruin, sampling some whisky and more!

This tour is customisable to your preferences and time on shore. We would recommend you choose between 6 and 8 options from the itinerary and we will design a bespoke route for your tour.

You will find twelve options in the Detailed Tour Information tab, it is recommended that you choose between 6 and 8 of these for your day.  Note should you wish to do a full tour of any of the following destinations that you should factor around 75 minutes in for each of them:

  • Urquhart Castle
  • Glen Ord Distillery
  • The Dalmore Distillery

On the other hand whisky tastings can take as little as ten minutes.

Tour Options and Details

1. Culloden Battlefield Visitors Centre

Fought on the 16th of April 1746, the battle of Culloden was the last action of the Jacobite uprising of 1745. The Jacobite forces under Charles Edward Stuart were defeated by Hanoverian forces under the command of the Duke of Cumberland. The last pitched battle on British soil was brutal, with 1,600 people dead in under an hour, more than 1,500 of them being Jacobites.

Inside the immersion theatre in the visitors centre, you will feel what it must have been like to have been in the middle of the battle. Then, join an expert guide who will escort you around the battlefield giving you an understanding of what happened at the various points on the field, including a visit to the memorial cairn around which the graves of 1,500 fallen Jacobites lie.

Finally, visit the 18th century restored thatched Leanach Cottage whose roof was created from the heather on the battlefield.

2. Clava Cairns Burial Ground

Clava Cairns became a bucket list destination for fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books overnight after it was suggested that the fictitious stone circle, Craigh na Dun was inspired by the site.

Dating back over 4,000 years, Clava Cairns are a Bronze Age cemetery complex of passage graves, ring cairns, kerb cairns, and standing stones. The cemetery itself was used in two separate phases, one in around 2000BC and again a thousand years later. This prehistoric site is very well preserved and provides a fascinating window into the distant past.

Here you will have the opportunity to wander amongst the cairns and standing stones, but will you be brave enough to lean against Craigh na Dun?

3. Culloden Viaduct

Also known as the Clava Viaduct, this impressive feat of Victorian engineering is the longest masonry viaduct in Scotland, spanning 1800ft or 549m. Completed in 1898, this viaduct still carries the mainline trains to and from the south to Inverness.

Initially, we will approach this impressive structure and stop a little way off so that you have time to appreciate the sheer scale of this structure. Then we will drive right up close and under the viaduct so you can experience just how huge this structure is.

4. Cawdor Castle

Taking the back road from Culloden to Cawdor village, you will get a flavour of just how narrow these roads can be. This is farming country, so there is every chance we will need to pull in to allow a passing tractor to carry on its way.

Next stop is Cawdor Castle and Gardens. This castle was made famous in the Shakespeare play, Macbeth, although the current castle was only built in the late 1400s, so cannot be directly linked to the tragedy. The castle is still home to the Cawdor family, and has been filled with fine furniture, tapestries, portrait, and other objects over the 600 years the family have been here.

As well as the castle itself, there are three beautiful gardens for you to wander around, a coffee shop where you can relax over a drink and a cake, and a gift shop should you wish to purchase anything.

5. Loch Ness

Loch Ness is home to the legendary monster, Nessie. The Loch Ness Monster was first mentioned in a book written in 565AD about St Columba. It tells the story of a man who was attacked and killed by a water monster whilst swimming in the river Ness. The beast is said to have been repelled by St Columba as he was about to attack one of his followers. The beast was said to have stopped in its tracks as if being held by ropes, and then fled. The story of the many humped beast reappears at various points over the next 1,500 years, the most famous of which was the photograph of the monster taken in December 1933 by Hugh Gray which is widely held to be a fake.

The question is, do you believe in Nessie? Will you see the monster as we drive down the loch on our way to Urquhart Castle? We will pull over to give you a chance to have a good examination of the deep, dark, mysterious loch!

6. Urquhart Castle

Situated on a headland halfway along Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle occupies a commanding position with wide views up and down the loch. Now a ruin, it has occupied a long and chequered place in Scottish history. Built in several stages between the 13th and 16th centuries, it was destroyed during the Jacobite risings to prevent it from falling into their hands. It subsequently fell into ruin until it was placed into State care in the 20th century and re-opened to the public. It is now one of the most visited castles in Scotland.

You will have the opportunity to explore the ruins of the castle as well as the surrounding grounds which features a full-sized trebuchet. This was a commonly used siege weapon used to catapult large boulders and other items at and into castles. It is said that dead cattle were used as ammunition with the aim of throwing them over the castle walls, where they would rot and spread disease to the inhabitants inside! What a time to be alive!

7. Beauly Priory

Beauly Priory is one of three priories founded in Scotland around 1230 for monks of the Valliscaulian order. The Valliscaulians came from Val-des-Choux (‘Valley of the Cabbages’) near Dijon in France, and adhered to strict ideals of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Beauly, coming from the French for ‘beautiful place’, must have seemed to be the perfect spot to devote themselves to their beliefs.

After passing through a number of religious orders, the priory fell into disuse and ruin following the Reformation. It is said that some of the stone was removed by forces loyal to Oliver Cromwell and taken to Inverness for use in building a citadel there.

Only the abbey church still stands today, housing some fine funerary monuments.

8. Glen Ord Distillery

No tour of Scotland is complete without a visit to a whisky distillery, and this is no exception. Here you will learn about the whisky distilling process, what makes a whisky have a particular flavour, take a tour of the distillery itself, and finally enjoy a tasting (if you wish, this is not obligatory). Glen Ord produces the Singleton which is only available in South East Asia, or at the distillery itself.

Note we will only have time to visit one distillery on this tour unless your switch out some of the other attractions. The cost of tours and tastings is not included.

Inclusions:

  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Private Transportation
  • Air-conditioned Vehicle

Exclusions:

  • Lunch
  • Gratuities
  • Tours and Tastings

Docking at the main berth:
Highland Day Tours will meet you where you exit the security gate adjacent to Shore Road. Your driver will be holding a sign with your name on it

Docking at the Saltburn Pier:
If you dock at the Saltburn Pier you will be brought off the ship by shuttle bus. Please ask your driver to drop you off at the gate rather than going into the town. Your driver will be waiting holding sign with your name on it

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

Culloden Battlefield, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Glen Ord Distillery and more!

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