6 Day Clan Macdonald Tour (Isle of Islay, Skye and Highlands)

6 Day Clan Macdonald (Lords of the Isles) Tour

Isle of Islay, Isle of Skye and Highlands
6 Day Clan Macdonald Tour (Isle of Islay, Skye and Highlands)

Discover the history of one of Scotland's greatest clans - the Macdonalds - with an extended six day tour from Inverness that includes the Isle of Skye, the West Highlands and the ancient heartland of the Macdonald Lords of the Isles at Finlaggan on the Isle of Islay. Throughout the tour we explore the historic lands of the Macdonalds of Sleat, Clanranald, Glengarry, Keppoch, Glencoe and Dunnyveg.

Day 1 – begins at Inverness where we visit Culloden Battlefield to explore the bloody history surrounding Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite supporters (which included the Macdonalds of Keppoch, Clanranald, Glengarry and Glencoe). We then follow the Great Glen down the banks of Loch Ness before turning west to Glen Shiel and the Five Sisters of Kintail mountains. Arriving at Eilean Donan Castle (which was involved in a 'less than successful' Macdonald uprising in the 1530s) we enjoy a viewpoint break before we cross the bridge to the Isle of Skye on our journey north to Portree for our overnight stop.

Day 2 – begins from Portree with a tour of the Trotternish Peninsula (ancient Clan Donald lands) including the Old Man of Storr and to Kilt Rock. Continuing north, we pass the ruins of Duntulm Castle, former clan stronghold, before arriving at the Museum of Island Life. Nearby is the grave of one of the clan's most celebrated figures - Flora Macdonald. The afternoon takes us south to the Sleat Peninsula to explore the Museum of the Isles (which tells the history of the Macdonalds) along with the ruins of Armadale Castle, the last ancestral home of the Macdonalds of Sleat. We then take the late afternoon ferry across the Sound of Sleat to Mallaig (or Arisaig) for our overnight stop.

Day 3 – departs from Mallaig/Arisaig along the 'road to the isles' where we take a detour south into the remote lands of Moidart and the wonderful ruins of the fourteenth-century Castle Tioram, ancient heartland of Macdonalds of Clanranald. Located on a tidal island, it is possible to walk around the island at low tide. After a visit to Glenfinnan where the Clanranald stood with Bonnie Prince Charlie as the Standard was raised in 1745, the afternoon takes us on a breath-taking drive through the magnificent Glencoe, home of the Macdonalds of Glencoe and an infamous massacre in 1692. Leaving Glencoe we journey south to Oban for our overnight stop.

Culloden Battlefield, Scottish Highlands Flora Macdonald Grave, Isle of Skye Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye

Day 4 departs from Oban as we head south through the stunning historical landscapes of Kilmartin Glen, where we explore the traditional West Highland grave slabs that were prominent during the height of the Lordship of the Isles. We continue on a scenic drive that takes us past the ancient Dunadd hill fort from where the early Gaels ruled the lands of Dalriada, before we arrive at Kennacraig where we board the afternoon ferry for a 2¼ hour sailing across to the Isle of Islay.

Day 5 is a full day on the Isle of Islay and begins with a visit to Finlaggan, the ancestral heartland of the Lords of the Isles. From Loch Finlaggan the descendants of Somerled, the chiefs of Clan Donald, ruled a lordship that at its height in the mid-fifteenth century encompassed most of the Hebrides and a large swathe of the Highlands. The afternoon takes us south to explore the ruins of Dunnyveg Castle the ancient stronghold of the Macdonalds of Dunnyveg. Before returning to our overnight accommodation there is the option to enjoy one of Islay's most famous export - whisky!

Glencoe, Scottish Highlands Inverlochy Castle, Scottish Highlands Finlaggan, Isle of Islay

Day 6 departs from Islay as we take the early morning sailing back to the mainland. It is then a scenic drive north back toward to Oban. After a late lunch stop we head for Fort William where we visit the ruins of Inverlochy Castle (another Macdonald stronghold). Travelling back towards Inverness we pass through the lands of the Macdonalds of Keppoch before reaching Glen Garry, the ancient lands of the Macdonalds of Glengarry where we explore the ruins of Invergarry Castle.

Private Tour Price (per tour)

May to September:    £4500

(Off-season tours in March, April and October)

Tour Information

Depart Inverness
Return Inverness
(6 Days)

Tours are exclusively for your private group only (up to 3 persons) and prices are per tour. We only offer private tours and do not combine individuals or separate groups – if your group size is less than 3 the advertised tour price still applies. Prices include all ferry tickets, all taxes and a driver/guide (John Alasdair Macdonald) but exclude your accommodation costs, entrance fees and meals.

Accommodation Options
We recommend that you book accommodation in Portree (Day 1), Mallaig/Arisaig (Day 2), Oban (Day 3) and Isle of Islay (Day 4 and 5) to make the most of your trip. Whilst we do not book accommodation for you we are happy to help with advice on where to stay and eat. The tour quote will include a list of accommodation recommendations and suggestions for overnight locations.

Tour Notes
To allow for a full day on the Isle of Islay we have a slightly longer final day with a little more travelling – around 5 hours driving and a 2¼ hour ferry sailing – and we would expect to arrive back in Inverness by 7pm.

Tour Options

Visit the Isle of Iona (1 extra day)
At the end of Day 3 (after leaving Glencoe) rather then heading to Oban we cross the Corran Narrows and drive to Lochaline where we take the ferry (10 minutes) across to the Isle of Mull, followed by a short drive to Tobermory for our overnight stop. The next day we have a scenic two hour drive through Mull to catch the ferry (15 minutes - pedestrian only) across to the beautiful Isle of Iona. We have around four hours on Iona where you can explore Iona Abbey, the museum and the ancient churchyard, before we return on the afternoon ferry back to Mull. We then take the early evening ferry from Craignure across to Oban (45 minute sailing) for our overnight stop in Oban (and follow the advertised itinerary for the remaining three days). Please note that with this option we would not be visiting Castle Tioram. Tour option surcharge – £825 per tour (includes ferry tickets).

Scenic Tour Option
For those with no Macdonald ancestry but an interest in exploring the Inner Hebrides including the Isle of Skye, Mull, Iona and Islay, this tour (6 or 7 Day options) can easily be adpated to a standard scenic tour. We would follow the same route and timings, but with slight modifications to the daily itinerary (with less Macdonald specific stops). No surcharge.

Please request any of these options through the 'Extra Information' section when completing a Tour Enquiry Form.

Tour Itineraries
Tour itineraries are based on experience, previous clients feedback and timings. However, we have a little flexibility and the tour itineraries can be adapted (in advance) to suit specific requests if possible – for example, if you are from a particular branch of Clan Donald, we can modify the tour to include more time in those lands (and/or overnight stays). Please let us know any requests through the 'Extra Information' section when completing a Tour Enquiry Form.

Ferry Sailings
Ferry sailings are generally reliable in the summer months, but delays can occasionally occur. While we cannot be responsible for any extra accommodation, food or other costs that clients may incur due to ferry delays and cancellations, we will make every effort to adapt the tour to minimise disruption. Please note that no refunds will be given for tour and itinerary changes due to ferry changes and cancellations.