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Loch Eribol, Sutherland

A warm winter welcome awaits in the wild north west

In the winter months the rugged and remote north-west coast of Scotland takes on a wild yet majestic character, as enormous waves roll in from the Atlantic and hurl themselves against the shore in a breath-taking display of raw natural power. The landscapes and stunning coastal views are even more impressive and the warmth of our highland hotel even more welcoming at this time of year.

 

From our base in Kinlochbervie we seek out some of the gems of the north west coast, such as Smoo Cave at Durness, a huge sea cave with a waterfall and a ‘blowhole’, and Oldshoremore, an exquisite beach of white sand. In the evenings we can enjoy fine food, good company and a fireside dram.

Available departure dates and prices

 

A warm winter welcome awaits in the wild north west

Day 1

We depart from our designated pick-up points and head north, stopping en route for refreshments. We continue to Kinlochbervie on the tip of the north west coastline and our accommodation at the Kinlochbervie Hotel, which overlooks the busy fishing harbour.  All rooms have en-suite facilities with TV, telephone and tea/coffee making facilities.

Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 2

This morning after breakfast we will have a walk along the beach at Oldshoremore, one ofScotland’s most beautiful beaches. Formed from eroded sandstone and seashells, the white sandy beach is surrounded by ‘machair’, dunes of marram grass which are among the richest dune areas in Britain.

Later we travel up the single track road to Durness, where we will visit the Balnakeil Craft Village. Originally an early warning station in case of nuclear attack, it was turned into a craft centre in 1964 and has housed a number of local craftspeople.

We also visit the Smoo Cave which is easily accessible, having the largest entrance of any sea cave in the British Isles.  Its vast interior is floodlit and the innermost depths can be explored by boat.  Recent excavations show that the cave was in use 6000 years ago by the earliest settlers in the north.   The “blowhole” and waterfall can be observed from an observation point above the cave.

We continue via Loch Eriboll to Tongue, whose name has old Norse origins: it comes from “tunga”, a tongue of land projecting into the loch.  Although the Norse people probably lived here between the 900 and 1200, nothing certain has been found of their settlement.  When Thomas Telford completed the road south to Lairg in 1828, Tongue changed from being an island community relying on the sea for its communications.  When the road to Thurso followed in 1836 a daily coach service ran and during the rest of the 1800s efforts to complete the road west to Durness continued.

We return to the hotel in time for dinner.

 

Day 3

Enjoy your breakfast. Today we travel south into Assynt, an extraordinary landscape of vast, undulating moorland studded with hundreds of freshwater lochans. The coastline is equally beautiful, with cliffs, impressive sea stacks and a series of stunning white beaches, such as the one at Achmelvich Bay. We will spend some time in Lochinver, a large village with a busy harbour, set on the shores of Loch Inver with superb views inland to the famous mountain of Suilven. Though relatively small in Scottish terms at 2389ft, Suilven presents a fearsome sight with its seemingly unconquerable summit, which we can expect to be flecked with snow at this time of year.

We return to the hotel in time for dinner.

Day 4

This morning after breakfast we leave the hotel and begin our homeward journey, travelling via LaxfordBridge, Loch More, Loch Shin and Lairg. In the 1950s a hydro-electric dam was constructed which raised the level of Loch Shin by over 30 feet and it now forms one of the major attractions of the area, complete with a spectacular salmon leap.

At one time the majority of the inhabitants in Lairg area resided on the high moorlands and straths, with the children of tenanting shepherds walking miles to school over rugged hill paths, but gradually these dwellings have been vacated in favour of a move down to the more accessible present village on the southern shores of the loch, which developed from around 1812.

Continuing via Bonar Bridge and Tain we return back to our original pick-up points, where we expect to arrive in the late evening.

Included in the price

  • 3 nights’ dinner, bed and breakfast at the Kinlochbervie Hotel
  • Comfortable coach throughout
  • Visits to Durness, OldshoremoreBeach, SmooCave,  Assynt, Loch Inver, Loch Eribol and Loch Shin (weather permitting)
  • Services of a Brightwater Holidays driver/guide

Not Included (per person)

  • Single room supplement                        £60.00
  • Insurance                                             £18.50 (under 65); £37.00 (65-74); £55.50 (75 - 90)
  • Rail/air travel and overnight accommodation in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth or Inverness before or after the tour available on request

 

Departure points and times:

 

Depart Return
Glasgow (Millennium Hotel, George Square) 0715 2045
Edinburgh (Marriott Hotel, Glasgow Road) 0830 1930
Dunfermline (outside Fife College) 0900 1900
Kinross (Kinross Services) 0915 1845
Perth (Bus stop on Canal Street, Tay Street end) 0930 1830
Inverness (outside Jury's Inn Hotel) 1430 1530
Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-ups will be served by feeder coach and passengers will join/leave the main coach inPerth:
Montrose (Outside railway station) 0805 1955
Arbroath (Railway Station) 0825 1935
Dundee (Outside Discovery Point) 0845 1915
Subject to minimum numbers, the following pick-up will be served by feeder coach and passenger will join/leave the main coach in Inverness:
Aberdeen (Opposite Denburn Carpark, located behind central library) 1130 1830

 

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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Jimmy the driver was impeccable and fun - his driving skills gave us great confidence on the narrow roads through Royal Deeside.

Bob Guthrie, Broughty Ferry

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

Pauline our Tour Manager was a wee star, her personality and knowledge make the Highlands come alive.

Mrs Wilson
 
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