Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Canna to Armadale on Skye, Cuillin, Eilean Donan & Plockton

    Another beautiful day dawns and we are off to the Isle of Skye. At Armadale we visited the Clan Donald Centre. The Museum of the Isles has a fantastic exhibition on the history of this area. All the information from the last week on subjects like the Lord of the Isles, the Jacobites and the Clearances to name just a few, slotted into place. The museum is surrounded by gardens where Konia Tack took us on a garden tour pointing out plants from all over the world. Read More

    • Aug 28, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Tobermory on the Isle of Mull & the Isle of Canna

    Tobermory was glorious this morning in the sunshine that stayed with us all day. We walked around town, explored the shops and of course took plenty of photographs of the lovely multi-colored houses. Back on board we headed west, whilst Konia Tack gave a talk on the history of lighthouses in Scotland, their engineers, and lighthouse keepers and the obstacles passed to build these lifesaving structures. Read More

    • Aug 27, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Iona & Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

    We sailed from Oban to Craignure on the Isle of Mull where our coach was waiting to take us across the island to meet the ferry for Iona. The journey, just over an hour in length along a single-track road, is a remarkable for wildlife, with good chances of seeing both golden and white-tailed eagles on the high mountain ridges and shoreline waders and even shy otters along the island’s southwestern shores. There is even a road sign to warn motorists of the presence of otters on the road. Red deer were spotted reposing on the lawn of a local property. There were also several monuments to the island’s rich cultural traditions along the way, including one to Mary Macdonald the author of the Gaelic hymn first translated as Child in the Manger and sung to the local tune of Bunessan, a village through which we passed, a haunting melody given global reach by Cat Stevens with his rendition of ‘Morning has Broken. Read More

    • Aug 26, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Oban

    Another sunlit day had dawned as we cast our lines at Corpach and glided out of the sea-lock into the sheltered Atlantic waters of Lochaber sailing past Fort William, the town with the highest rainfall in Britain, on a thoroughly atypical day. The scenery here is both dramatic and beautiful, with Ben Nevis the highest mountain in Britain as a backdrop to the east and the rugged Morven peninsula to the west. Squeezing through the Corran Narrows into Loch Linnhe we continued our sail in the direction of the lively port of Oban, with a presentation on Celtic Christianity en route to prepare us for our full day excursion to Iona tomorrow. Oban had much to offer for the reminder of the day. Read More

    • Aug 25, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Glenfinnan

    A perfect day dawned at Fort Augustus, with streaks of low mist below a watery blue sky with a backdrop of purple heather, now in full bloom, to root us in the Scottish Highlands, the emblematic pyramid of Ben Tighe beckoning to westward. We slipped our mooring at the start of breakfast, continuing upward via Kytra and Cullochy Locks until we passed through Laggan Avenue, the only real cutting on the Caledonian Canal, a narrow tree-planted channel that had us all out on deck, captivated by the close proximity of Scottish nature. Then one last lift upwards at Laggan Locks before entering the highest point of the canal, Loch Oich, a long, narrow and shallow loch where a winding channel has been dredged, marked with buoys. There followed our descent in a section of canal that contains the only surviving manually-operated road bridge at Moy, where the operator gave us a friendly wave. Read More

    • Aug 24, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Culloden & Clava Cairns, Sailing the Caledonian Canal to Fort Augustus

    In the morning we explored two very important and interesting sites near Inverness. The battle of Culloden was the end of the Jacobite rising, when loyal supporters of the house of Stewart tried to get their king back onto the throne of Britain but failed. What was particularly horrid about this battle was the fact that some families were divided into two–some of the men fought on the government side, others for the Jacobites. Read More

    • Aug 23, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Loch Ness & Inverness

    Fort Augustus was originally a military settlement built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden but one that developed in the first half of the 19th century to service the Caledonian Canal and its flight of locks, here descending towards the shores of Loch Ness. Our overnight mooring was beside an impressive 19th-century building that incorporated the remains of the original fort into a private Catholic school for boys that survived until the end of the 20th century. Today it is a high-end resort complex with the fort serving as the gym. It was touch and go whether we would sail at all this morning. We began our day sailing across Loch Ness, the largest body of fresh water in Britain, deeper than the North Sea. Read More

    • Aug 21, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Fort Augustus

    We slipped away from Banavie at breakfast time in fine conditions, the brooding massif of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak, to starboard. The mountain is symbolic of the many changing faces of Scottish weather: on a fine summer’s day family groups stroll to the summit passed en route by joggers making the same ascent; a model T Ford was once driven to the summit as a stunt. Yet, in the winter months, its treacherous north face is covered in ice and was chosen by the Everest expedition team for a practice climbs. At any time the mountain can change its character suddenly from benign to menacing so that the mountain rescue services based in Fort William are kept busy throughout the year. The Caledonian Canal follows a natural slip-fault that runs northwest to southeast across the Scottish Highlands and it was the great Scottish engineer Thomas Telford who won the government contract to build a canal through the Great Glen, a task he undertook between 1806 and 1823. Read More

    • Aug 20, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Loch Linnhe & The Caledonian Canal, Neptune’s Staircase & Glenfinnan

    Our sail today took us past the island of Lismore and through the Corran Narrows, past the last Stevenson-engineered lighthouse on our trip. Konia did a talk on Scottish lighthouses, their engineers, and life at a lighthouse. We then entered the Caledonian Canal–it didn’t seem possible that Lord of the Glens could fit into such a tight space! After a passage through some locks we came to Neptune’s Staircase. These eight locks raise (and lower) the water level by 64 feet, an amazing piece of 19th century engineering! In the afternoon we took the coach for a short ride to Glenfinnan. Read More

    • Aug 19, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland
  • Iona & Duart Castle, Isle of Mull

    Over breakfast, we sailed from Tobermory to Craignure, also on the Isle of Mull, where our coach was waiting to take us across the island to meet the ferry for Iona. The inimitable Dr. Johnson referenced Iona in his classic account of a journey taken in these waters in 1773, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, in which he makes the classic case for travel in any age: “That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warm among the ruins of Iona.” George Macleod, founder of the contemporary Iona Community, famously described the island as “a thin place” where the boundaries between this world and the next come close to transparency; Iona is indeed a very special place and few are impervious to its spiritual atmosphere. Read More

    • Aug 18, 2016
    • Lord of the Glens in Scotland

Scotland Itineraries

Scotland's Highlands and Islands

9 days
Expeditions in: Jun, Jul, Aug

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Explore the Scottish highlands and islands on an expedition National Geographic Traveler named a “Tour of a Lifetime”
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