Wild Scotland!

History, Wildlife, and Enchanting Isles aboard the Greg Mortimer

This voyage may be combined with Wild Ireland

Overview

Poetically picturesque, Scotland’s coastline is steeped in complex history, ancient architecture, pristine wilderness, and warm hospitality. Aboard the elegant Greg Mortimer, one of the most advanced expedition ships in the sea, explore the isles, sea cliffs, and charming coastal towns of Scotland on this intimate cruise. You’ll visit the incredible Giant’s Causeway, the Inner Hebrides and Flannan Islands, the magnificent Orkney Islands, the Isle of Noss and Fair Isle, and wind your way through the narrow lanes of Lerwick on the Shetland Islands. Stroll among ancient monuments including the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar, watch for a huge variety of seabirds and wildlife, and savor the slow pace of Scottish life in delightful villages and historic cities as you gain captivating insights from your experienced Expedition Team.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Day 1, Jun 4, 2021
Depart

Board your independent overnight flight to the U.K.

Day 2, Jun 5, 2021
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Arrive in Belfast and check in to the Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the city on your own. Gather at the hotel this evening for a Welcome Dinner with your crew and fellow travelers.

Day 3, Jun 6, 2021
Belfast / Portrush, Giant’s Causeway / Embarkation / Isle of Islay, Scotland

Depart overland for Portrush and visit the stunning World Heritage Site of Giant’s Causeway. This three-mile section of coastline is a geological masterpiece—some 40,000 closely-packed hexagonal columns of varying heights line the coast and descend like a staircase into the sea. Embark the Greg Mortimer and, after lunch, go ashore on the Isle of Islay for a tour of the Ardbeg Distillery where award-winning whisky has been made for over 200 years.

Day 4, Jun 7, 2021
Staffa, Inner Hebrides / Iona

Weather permitting, join a Zodiac excursion this morning to explore the uninhabited island of Staffa and its most famous feature, Fingal’s Cave. The cave’s peculiar rock formations and unusual coloring are a delight to behold, and the wonderful echo of the sea from within served as the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture.”

In 563 AD the Christian missionary, St. Columba, built a monastery on Iona and spread Christianity throughout Scotland. Though the monastery suffered repeated attacks by Vikings over the centuries and the original was destroyed, it was rebuilt each time and some of these later buildings still stand. Visit the monastery site, the nearby cemetery of St. Oran where numerous Scottish kings are buried, and the 12th-century Iona Abbey.

Day 5, Jun 8, 2021
St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides / Flannan Islands

Spend the morning at St. Kilda, once home to a small community, evidenced by abandoned houses and cleits, beehive-shaped cells where goods were stored. Spend the afternoon cruising among the Flannan Islands—puffins, fulmars, murres, and kittiwakes should be plentiful.

Day 6, Jun 9, 2021
Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Arrive in the capital city of Kirkwall on Mainland Island in the Orkneys today for visits to the magnificent St. Magnus Cathedral and some of the island’s major archaeological sites. Visit the enigmatic Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, and Skara Brae, a remarkably well-preserved Stone Age village buried in sand some 4,500 years ago. Return to Kirkwall for an afternoon walking tour of this charming city.

Day 7, Jun 10, 2021
Lerwick, Shetland Islands / Isle of Noss / Mousa

This morning enjoy a guided walking tour of Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands, which are steeped in Norse heritage. After the tour there will be free time to stroll the narrow streets and browse the many shops, or raise a pint at the local pub. After lunch on board, cruise to the Isle of Noss, where spectacular cliffs support a large and diverse seabird colony, home to 80,000 seabirds—guillemots, razorbills, gannets, shags, and more. This evening go ashore at Mousa to view one of Britain’s finest Iron Age ruins, an unusually well-preserved 40-foot broch, a dry stone structure, dating from about 200 AD.

Day 8, Jun 11, 2021
Fair Isle

One of the most isolated settlements in the British Isles, Fair Isle is renowned for the quality and intricacy of its handmade sweaters, using local wool. It is also famous as a haven for seabirds, including gannets, murres, black-legged kittiwakes, numerous gull species, and a large colony of puffins. After a short walk, join some of the 70 islanders at their community center for tea and cakes, and a visit to the local museum.

Day 9, Jun 12, 2021
Aberdeen / Disembark / Edinburgh / Depart

Disembark in Aberdeen this morning, and enjoy a scenic drive to Edinburgh before your independent homeward-bound flight.

Highlights

Highlights

Visit Giant’s Causeway where some 40,000 closely-packed hexagonal columns descend like a staircase into the sea
Search for a variety of seabirds including puffins, gannets, guillemots, and kittiwakes
Discover important Neolithic monuments like the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, and Skara Brae, a well-preserved Stone Age village
Explore Mousa’s Iron Age broch, 12th century Iona Abbey, and the magnificent St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $6990  
Arrive: Belfast, Ireland
Depart: Edinburgh, Scotland
Lodging: 1 night hotel, 6 nights aboard a 126-passenger expedition vessel
Meals: All onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Special Interest, Photography, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

9-day cruise, cultural expedtions and walking tours