Program photograph

Scotland: Highlands and Islands

Now Open to Enrollment

September 6 - 17, 2014
Faculty: Ernest (Ernie) Ern, Senior Vice President and U.Va. Professor of Environmental Sciences Emeritus
Price: $4,695 per person, double occupancy, land only
$5,647 total price from Newark
(Includes $652 airline taxes & departure fees)

Registration is Open

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Scotland: Highlands and IslandsMy heart's in the Highlands," said Robert Burns – as will you, as we travel from city to country, mainland to island, on this sweet journey through Scotland. From loch to loch and glen to glen, encounter stunning natural beauty and welcoming clans in our small group of no more than 22 guests. Enjoy a pleasing mix of guided touring and time for independent exploration on this well-paced, 12-day tour of Scotland. Begin in Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, with a tour highlighting the city's distinct architecture of the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. Enjoy a private curator-guided tour of Pollok House, ancestral home of the Maxwell clan and now a museum with the United Kingdom's greatest collection of Spanish art. Travel on to admire the country's beautiful Highlands scenery including storied Loch Lomond, Trossachs National Park, Glencoe, and fabled Loch Ness. Drive the full 23-mile length of this lake best known for the other-worldly creature alleged to live in its deep waters. Embark on an excursion to Isle of the Skye. Visit the ruins of lakeside Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland's most popular attractions. Continue to the hallowed ground of Culloden Moor, site of the last battle of the Jacobite Rising in 1746; and Saint Andrews, home of Scotland's oldest university and renowned as the home of golf. Conclude in Edinburgh, with city touring including a visit to Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood, where the British royalty schemed and slept in the State Apartments.

Scotland: Highlands and Islands
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Program Highlights

Scotland: Highlands and Islands ^ back to top


Scotland: Highlands and Islands ^ back to top


20 meals: 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners


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Ernest H. ErnErnest H. Ern Senior Vice President and Professor of Environmental Sciences Emeritus

Ernie and his wife, Petie, came to Charlottesville in 1962 and Ernie taught in the Department of Geology, later the Department of Environmental Sciences, for 39 years. Concurrently, he held administrative positions as Dean of Admissions, Vice President for Student Affairs and from 1993 to 2001, Senior Vice President of the University. From 1989 to 2001 the Erns lived on the Lawn in Pavilion X. His scholarly work includes analyses of geological conditions related to mining in the Appalachian region, as well as detailed analyses of rock formations in central Virginia and the Appalachian region. In 1998, Ern received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for excellence of character and service to humanity. (Greece '07, Dalmatian Coast '08, Italian Lakes & Swiss Alps '10, America the Beautiful: National Parks '11, Canadian Rockies '12)

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Day 1 -- Saturday, September 6
Depart U.S. for Glasgow, Scotland

Day 2 -- Sunday, September 7
Arrive Glasgow
We arrive in Scotland’s largest city and transfer to our hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, we have no group activities planned during the day. Late this afternoon we gather with our Tour Director for a briefing on the journey ahead. Then we enjoy a welcome dinner at either the acclaimed National Piping Centre or the well-appointed Corinthian Club where we will raise a toast to our founder Mr. Jefferson. D

Day 3 -- Monday, September 8
This morning’s tour highlights “Glasgow Style,” the city’s distinct architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though Glasgow has a rich medieval history, very few structures from that time survive; it is the Victorian-era buildings of red or blond sandstone with long lines that define the city’s historic built environment. Among the stand-out buildings we see: Glasgow Central Station, the Royal Exchange, Glasgow City Chambers, and Glasgow School of Art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. We also visit Sir John W. Simpson’s immensely popular Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Following our city tour we visit Pollok House, ancestral home of the Maxwell clan and now a museum with the United Kingdom’s greatest collection of Spanish art. Here a curator takes us on a privately guided tour of the Edwardian country house after we enjoy lunch in the award-winning restaurant. We return to our hotel mid-afternoon; the remainder of the day is at leisure. B,L

Scotland: Highlands and Islands

Day 4 -- Tuesday, September 9
Glasgow / Loch Lomond / Glencoe / Fort William
We leave Glasgow this morning by motorcoach, bound for the scenic Highlands, Scotland’s sparsely populated historic northern region. Along the way we visit delightful Geilston Garden, an historic and typical garden of a small country estate in the 18th and 19th centuries. Then we we stop by the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, Great Britain’s largest lake and part of Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. Our tour here includes a brief cruise on the island-dotted loch before continuing on to Glencoe, one of Scotland’s most beautiful spots with deep valleys flanked by steep-sided mountains, rushing rivers, and dramatic waterfalls. Then we travel on to Fort William, the Highlands’ second largest settlement, arriving late afternoon. B,D

Day 5 -- Wednesday, September 10
Fort William / Isle of Skye
We embark on a full-day excursion to the Isle of Skye, the largest of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides known for its vivid history and stunning scenery. En route, we visit Glenfinnan Monument honoring “Bonnie Prince Charlie” for his leadership in the Jacobite Rising of 1742. Then we board a ferry for Armadale on the southern tip of Isle of Skye, where upon arrival we set out on a scenic drive through the imposing Cuillin Hills (or “Black Cuillin”) to the fishing town of Portree. Here we enjoy lunch together at a local pub then continue our tour of the island (including a photo stop at iconic Eilean Donan Castle) known for its strong Gaelic influence. We return to the mainland via the Skye Bridge then dine tonight at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 6 -- Thursday, September 11
Fort William / Loch Ness / Brora
We depart today for the Highlands, stopping en route at fabled Loch Ness. We drive the full 23-mile length of the lake best known for the unearthly creature alleged to live in its deep waters. We also visit the ruins of lakeside Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland’s most popular attractions. Dating to at least the 13th century, the castle sits surrounded by water on three sides, giving it a once-formidable advantage in battle. Then we travel on to the historic Culloden Moor battle site. After time on our own to tour the museum here, we take a private guided tour of the hallowed grounds, site of the last battle of the Jacobite Rising in 1746. Early this evening we’ll arrive in Brora, a quaint Highlands village and our home for the next two nights. B,D

Day 7 -- Friday, September 12
Brora / Highlands
Our exploration of the High­lands continues on today’s excursion along the Pictish Trail, sites connected with the late Iron Age/early Medieval Celtic people who once lived here. We learn about the ancient Picts at the acclaimed Tarbat Discovery Center, featuring excavated relics from the region. Continuing on, we visit striking Dunrobin Castle & Gardens, where we see a falconry demonstration. Then we drive along the scenic coastal road flanked by small farms with sheep, cows, and Shetland ponies before returning to our hotel. B,D

Day 8 -- Saturday, September 13
Brora / Kincraig / Pitlochry / Dundee
Today’s first stop is Kincraig, where we watch a sheepdog demonstration with working Border Collies, known for their herding abilities. We travel on to the holiday town of Pitlochry in the heart of Scotland, where we enjoy some free time before this afternoon’s visit to a small local distillery where a unique single malt is handcrafted — just as it has been made for 150 years. B,D

Day 9 -- Sunday, September 14
Dundee / St. Andrews / Edinburgh
We travel today to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, stopping en route in legendary St. Andrews, home of Scotland’s oldest university (St. Andrews) and renowned as the home of golf, where the game has been played for some 600 years. Upon arrival we embark on a tour of the charming seaside town followed by a traditional pub lunch. We then have some free time to explore St. Andrews on our own before we continue on to Edinburgh. B,L

Day 10 -- Monday, September 15
Our morning tour of this stately city built on seven hills includes the 18th-century Georgian “New Town” and the medieval “Old Town,” where we visit Edinburgh Castle, symbolic heart of the country. This afternoon is at leisure to discover Edinburgh as we wish; museums, galleries, and shops abound. Guests on late July/August departures will enjoy an evening performance of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. B

Day 11 -- Tuesday, September 16
This morning we encounter the Royal Mile, the historic boulevard connecting Edinburgh Castle with the Palace of Holyrood House. We tour Holyrood, as it is called, and see where British royalty schemed and slept as we tour the State Apartments. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. Tonight we celebrate our Scotland sojourn over a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 12 -- Wednesday, September 17
Depart for U.S.
We transfer this morning to the Edinburgh airport for our return flights to the U.S. B

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Program Fees

$4,695 per person, double occupancy, land only. 

$5,647 per person total price, double occupancy with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Newark.

$5,947 with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Washington, DC.

$5,997 with economy-class roundtrip airfare from Charlottesville.

A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $995 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

Does not include:

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646. Or, e-mail with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing will be done approximately three months prior to departure. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure.

Deposits can be made via MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express, or by check made out to “Odysseys Unlimited, Inc.”

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

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General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (June 3, 2014) before departure.

Not Included in Tour Price: Airfare if purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only tour package; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuity for your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director: $10-$15 per day per traveler); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline prior to departure.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund. If a guest makes any changes within 94 and 30 days prior to departure to either their departure city and/or the optional post-tour extension, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure.
Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour.

Health and Medical Issues: We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and boats on your own. If you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.


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