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The little island of Handa comes alive every summer as thousands of seabirds gather here to breed, filling the air with ceaseless noise and activity

Handa Island and the Summer Isles lie off the north-west coast of Scotland, a remote and unspoilt area of stunning beauty with magnificent mountain scenery and spectacular coastal views. The dearth of human settlement (only one of the Summer Isles is inhabited) means that birds, plants and sea-mammals thrive here, indeed they have survived where people have failed, in this beautiful but unforgiving landscape.

Handa, managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, is one of the largest seabird colonies in North West Europe and comes alive each summer when nearly 200,000 seabirds gather here to breed.  The island has not been inhabited since 1847, when 60 people were evacuated to Nova Scotia following the failure of their crops. The Summer Isles offer the chance to see a wide variety of seabirds, along with porpoises, seals, dolphins and Minke whales, and the ruined remains of the former herring fishing station. Our tour also includes visits to Corrieshalloch Gorge, one of the natural wonders of the Highlands where the river has carved out a textbook example of a box canyon, and Inverewe, a truly wonderful garden in wonderful surroundings which includes a wealth of exotic plants from around the world. Memories of this beguiling part of Scotland are sure to remain for a long time to come.

Available departure dates and prices

18-May-2017   £455.00
13-Jul-2017   £455.00

The little island of Handa comes alive every summer as thousands of seabirds gather here to breed, filling the air with ceaseless noise and activity

Day 1

We depart from our designated pick-up points and travel north, stopping en-route for refreshments, passing through some magnificent scenery as we approach Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach.  The breathtaking mile-long gorge where the River Droma plunges 150ft over the falls is quite spectacular.  There are two footpaths, one which takes a gradual climb down to the suspension bridge and over to the viewing platform. The other is a circular walk along the top of the reserve offering stunning views along Strath Broom towards Ullapool and then descends to join Lady Fowler’s Fern Walk towards the suspension bridge. Don’t forget your camera!

We continue to our where dinner will be served in the evening.

Day 2

This morning after breakfast we depart for Tarbet, some 60 miles north of Ullapool on a road that takes us through a breathtaking landscape of mountains and lochs. At Tarbet we catch our ferry for the short crossing to Handa Island which we will be free to explore at leisure.  There is a 6km circular path and visitors are asked to remain on the path or boardwalk at all times.  As we walk round the island, look out for seabirds such as guillemots, razorbills, great and arctic skuas to name but a few.  In addition to the birdlife, there are also the archaeological remains of an old village which was inhabited until 1847 and a profusion of interesting wild flowers. After spending around three hours on the island, we will catch the ferry back to Tarbet to join our coach and return to our hotel.

Dinner is served at the hotel in the evening.


Day 3

After a leisurely breakfast we make our way to Ullapool Pier where we will board the M.V. Summer Queen for our Summer Isles Cruise.  As we head out of Ullapool sailing down the centre of Loch Broom, keep a look out for Mussel Bay where you can often see a colony of Atlantic Seals basking on the rocks.  Sailing to the Summer Isles themselves, we will visit Cathedral Cave where we can see the shags and cormorants nesting inside.

Passing through the islands, we will arrive at Tanera Mhor, the only inhabited island within the group. Here we will spend around 45 minutes, giving you the chance to go ashore and visit the café and post office where you can purchase stamps – the Summer Isles produce their own.  If you are feeling energetic, you can take a short walk to the top of the hill, where on a clear day you see Skye and the Outer Hebrides.  We will then weave our way back to Ullapool, where the afternoon is free to explore at leisure.

We shall return to our hotel in time for dinner.

Day 4

This morning, following breakfast, we must sadly check out of the hotel – please ensure any extras are paid for prior to departure and ensure all your luggage is taken to the coach. Before heading for home, we have time for one more visit - Inverewe gardens, unquestionably one of the most outstanding gardens in the country. The northern road into Inverewe is spectacular - towering mountains and breathtaking vistas. The view from above Gruinard Bay has to be seen to be believed.  Famous gardens do not always live up to their reputations but it would be hard to imagine anyone failing to be excited by Inverewe, providing colour and interest throughout the year.  The balmy Gulf Stream Drift Climate promotes luxuriant growth and today it is a jungle of mature exotic trees and shrubs laced with winding walks, rising and falling, giving sudden glimpses of shimmering water through the foliage.

Following our visit, we continue our journey south passing beautiful Loch Maree and Achnasheen, another spectacularly scenic journey.

Thereafter we will return to our original pick up points to arrive late afternoon/early evening - your driver will be able to confirm a more precise return time en route home.

Included in the price

  • 3 nights dinner, bed and full breakfast at the comfortable Royal Hotel, Ullapool
  • Comfortable coaching throughout
  • Visits to Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach, Handa Island, The Summer Isles and Inverewe Gardens
  • Service of a Brightwater Holidays representative


Not Included (per person)

  • Single room supplement         £75.00
  • 2017 Supplement                   £10.00
  • Insurance                              £18.50 (under 65); £37.00 (65-74); £55.50 (75-90)
  • Rail/air travel and overnight accommodation in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Perth before or after the tour available on request


Departure points and times: 

  Depart Return
Glasgow (Millennium Hotel, George Square) 0700 2130
Edinburgh (Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Road) 0815 2015
Dunfermline (Fife College) 0845 1945
Kinross (Moto Services, M90) 0900 1915
Perth (Canal St) 0915 1900
Inverness (Jury's Inn Hotel) 1300 1600
Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-up will be served by feeder coach and passengers will join the main coach in Perth:
 Dundee (Discovery Point) 0845 1930


Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

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The staff at our hotel on Islay were young and keen, very pleasant and helpful indeed.

Mr and Mrs Turner

We thoroughly enjoyed the archaeological tour to the Outer Hebrides, the driver and guide made the holiday a great success

Mr and Mrs Sutherland, Dundee

A superb holiday - thanks Trish the Tour Manager was very helpful and knowledgeable - the free day was a great idea.

Mr and Mrs Somerville
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