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Discover the challenges and rewards of life on a small Scottish island

To the south of Skye, in the clean, clear waters of the Hebridean Sea, lie the Small Isles of Rum, Eigg, Muck and Canna. Each island is small, yet completely different in character and offers the chance to escape from the cares and worries of modern, mainland life. We will visit the two largest, Rum and Eigg, and experience something of the magical appeal of life on a small island. Bought by the Nature Conservancy Council (now Scottish Natural Heritage) in 1957, Rum is one of Scotland's finest National Nature Reserves, of international importance for its flora and fauna and here we will have a guided tour of Kinloch Castle, an extravagant Edwardian dream, which was featured in the BBC 'Restoration' competition in 2003.

Eigg is the second largest in the Small Isles group after Rum, with a distinctive outline provided by a sloping ridge of lava known as the Sgurr which runs down the island like the backbone of some prehistoric dinosaur. In June 1998 the islanders took possession of the island for themselves and we will learn how they cope with the resulting challenges. We sail to the islands on the MV Sheerwater, with the possibility of sighting porpoises, dolphins and whales during the hour-long passage from Arisaig. To complete our tour we will also sail to Armadale on the Isle of Skye, where we visit the Museum of the Isles, telling the history of the Highlands and Islands.

Available departure dates and prices


Day 1

We depart from our designated pick up points and travel north breaking our journey en route for refreshments. We continue to our hotel where dinner will be served in the evening.

Day 2

After a leisurely breakfast we depart for the nearby harbour at Arisaig where we join the MV Sheerwater for our hour-long sailing to Eigg. As we sail past the islets that protect the harbour look out for otters and seals, and for porpoises, dolphins, basking sharks and minke whales further out. On arrival on Eigg we hope to be met by a representative of the island’s Heritage Trust who will explain how they have worked at sustaining a viable way of life since taking possession of the island in 1997. Thereafter we will be free to relax and explore the island at leisure. There is a tearoom and small shop by the pier and you may also wish to walk to one of the many sparkling beaches of white quartz sand. At around 5.00pm we sail back to Arisaig and return to our hotel. Dinner is served in the evening. (For those who really wish to get away from it all, instead of landing on Eigg you have the option of continuing on the Sheerwater to the small but fertile island of Muck for a small supplement. You have three hours ashore to explore the island on your own before returning to Eigg to sail with the rest of the group back to Arisaig.

Day 3

After our full Scottish breakfast we return to Arisaig and board the Sheerwater once again. This time we will sail to Rum, where we will have a guided tour of Kinloch Castlethe extravagant Edwardian mansion built by wealthy industrialist George Bullough in 1900. We sail back to Arisaig mid-afternoon. Dinner is served in the evening.

Day 4

Today we have a long but most rewarding day. After breakfast we check out of the hotel and transfer to Mallaig in time for the short ferry crossing to Armadale on the Isle of Skye. Here we visit the Museum of the Isles (formerly the Clan Donald Visitor Centre), set in the heart of a 20,000 acre Highland estate. The 800 square metre museum is in the form of a Celtic cross. On one side of the cross design a series of galleries lead visitors through the history of the Highlands ranging from the

"Pan-Celtic Europe", through "Lordship of the Isles", "Clans and Jacobites", "Landlords and feudalism", to "Emigration" and finally to “The Global Clan". The other side of the building provides a new facility for the Trust's archives, a library and reading room and an active genealogical research department. Early afternoon we will return by ferry to Mallaig and commence our homeward journey, with a last glimpse of the Small Isles to our right as we drive past Morar and Arisaig, arriving back at our original pick-up points during the evening.

Included in the price

  • 3 nights’ dinner, bed and full breakfast at our comfortable hotel*
  • Comfortable coaching throughout
  • Visits to Eigg and Rum, including return ferry crossings, Armadale Castle Visitor Centre, the Glenfinnan Monument and a guided tour of Kinloch Castle
  • Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager


Not included (per person)

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

Departure points and times:

Departure Point Depart Return
Aberdeen (Skene Street) 0600 2315
Montrose (Outside railway station) 0650 2225
Arbroath   (Railway station) 0710 2205
Dundee   (Outside Discovery Point) 0730 2145
Perth    (Canal Street) 0800 2115
Kinross  (Moto Services) 0900 2015
Dunfermline (Outside Carnegie College) 0915 2000
Edinburgh  (Edinburgh Marriott Hotel) 0945 1945
Glasgow  (Millenium Hotel) 1100 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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A superb holiday - thanks Trish the Tour Manager was very helpful and knowledgeable - the free day was a great idea.

Mr and Mrs Somerville

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
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