IN THE SHADOW OF ST COLUMBA

COST from £406 INC FERRIES, EXCLUDES ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS/DRINKS

three tour lengths Journeying in the footsteps of St Columba from Argyll's beautiful coast to the spectacular isles of Mull & Iona.

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'Shadow of Columba' has 3 length options;

 3-day  -   4-day  -   7-day

 

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3 Day Trip and Trek

Day One

Depart Glasgow 09:30

Drive to the foot of Dumbarton Rock – capital of the Strathclyde Britons

Drive along Loch Lomond and over the narrow land bridge, stage of a daring Viking raid.

Over the Arrochar ‘Alps’ with great photo opportunities of the very rugged peak of The Cobbler and down to the white-washed town of Inverary for coffee.

St Columba’s cave and picnic on the beach.

Visit some atmospheric Celtic chapel ruins with finely engraved stone slabs.

Dunnadd Hill Fort. Grading: Easy but short steep ascent. Distance: 1 km Altitude: 58m

Kilmartin Glen with its prehistoric cairns, standing stones and cup and ring markers. Grading: Easy along paths. Distance: Not more than 2kms, depending on how much you want to see. Height gained: negligible.

Arrive at accommodation

Day Two

09:50 Ferry from Oban to Craignure arriving 10:40

Drive across the south of Mull and ferry to Iona for lunch.

Walk to the Abbey church, the existing structure spans the 13-16th centuries. View the iconic high crosses; the Augustinian nunnery, the tombs of ancient kings and more.

Walk to Dun I and to the sandy beaches of the north end. Grading: Moderate with final steep climb up muddy path. Distance: 7.5kms Height: 110m

Return on ferry to Fionnphort and to accommodation

Day Three

Ferry to Iona

Possibility of attending the early morning prayer service in the abbey

Walk across island, telling the stories Grading: easy along track. Distance 5kms. Height: 40m

Return via the central divide of Mull with a short walk in the attractive forest through to Loch Ba. Grading: Easy along level estate track. Distance: 2 kms. Height: Negligible variance.

Travel back to Craignure for ferry to Oban departing 17:05 - arrive Oban 17:55 - return to Glasgow around 20:30

COST: £406 inc ferries but excludes accommodation and food/drink. Accommodation will be booked by us in a good standard of B&B or inn and will be paid by you direct to the provider. As it will depend upon availability at the time of booking, accommodation prices vary and so we recommend you budget around £95 for 2 people sharing a room. Single supplements are available but these vary widely from between £50-85 per person. We will quote you the exact amount once we've made a provisional enquiry with the accommodation provider.


St Columba & Dalriada (4 day)

Tracing the beginnings of Columba’s time in Scotland in the Kingdom of Dalriada of the early Scots in the picturesque natural setting of Scotland’s west coast. We’ll journey the length of Kintyre and Argyll’s superb and not that frequented coastline, maintaining its unspoilt and unhurried charm. The trip culminates with crossing the sea to Mull and on to Iona to its ancient abbey in its out on the edge setting.

DAY ONE

Depart from Glasgow at 09:30. Journey up Loch Lomond and around the base of the stunning peak of The Cobbler and over the pass of Rest and be Thankful and a fine descent to the shores of Loch Fyne and morning coffee in the white-washed town of Inverary.

Climb to picnic on the hill of Dun na Cuaiche with commanding views of the attractive town and castle below and down Loch Fyne. Grading: Easy but steady hill climb along waymarked track. Distance: 4.75kms. Height: 236m

Lazy option for those not wanting to climb the hill is to take a tour around this stately home of the Campbells or saunter around the picturesque white-washed town by the sea loch.

Continuing on our journey along Loch Fyne, we’ll drive the solitary shores of a sea loch to the Celtic chapel above a sandy bay.

Take up accommodation for a 2 night stay in Tarbert area at around 18:00

DAY TWO

- Leave at 09:00. Travel down most of the long Kintyre peninsula with an island-like charm and quietness, where the tide time tables will determine the order we do things.

- Walk to one of the best preserved Iron-Age duns (ring forts) on a hilltop with panoramic views up Loch and out to the isles of Gigha, Islay and Jura. Grading: Moderate involving climbing over a fence and walking over rough ground. Distance: 3kms Height: 80m

- Two options available. Either, Take the short ferry across to Gigha and walk to the lovely gardens and discover the charm of this small island. Grading: Easy. Distance 5kms. Height: 30m. OR walk across the tidal sand bar to Davaar island to the crucifixion cave. Grading: Moderate along stony beach and into caves with wet rocks. Distance: 3.5kms. Height: 20m

- Visit the very quiet east coast with fine views of mountainous Arran.

- Early evening meal at the shell fish shack at Skipness.

- Walk to the nearby castle and Celtic chapel and the sandy shoreline.

- Back to the same accommodation.

DAY THREE

Short walk through rhododendron and azalea gardens to a promontory that’s called Barmore Island, although connected to the mainland by a tombolo. Grading: clear paths with short section over rocks that could be covered at high tide. Distance: 2.75kms. Height gained: 60m

Walk to the cave in an enchanting location where Columba stayed before establishing his base on Iona.

Make the short ascent to Dunnadd hill fort, capital of 6th century Dalriada, initial kingdom of the Scots. Grading: Easy but short steep ascent. Distance: 1km. Height gained: 58m

Walk section of the mysterious Kilmartin Glen to see a Neolithic landscape littered with tombs and standing stones. Grading: Easy along paths. Distance: Not more than 2kms, depending on how much you want to see. Height gained: negligible.

View the engraved stones in the yard of the Kilmartin kirk.

Lunch at a local inn.

Travel north along the coast and through the jumbled hills of this part of Argyll to reach the bustle of the port town of Oban.

Ferry over to the Isle of Mull and onto accommodation Fionnphort

 Day Four

Take the 09:55 passenger ferry at Fionnphort across the narrow sound to the Isle of Iona. Arrive 10:05

Walk to the Abbey along the road of the Kings.

Walk a section of the island and lunch in the village. Grading: easy along track. Distance 5kms. Height: 40m

Cross back over the sound for lunch in Fionnphort

Drive back east across the island to Craignure.

Continue to the Oban ferry and on to Glasgow/Edinburgh. Arriving 18:30

This 4 day option could be part of the full 7 day experience and would mean being dropped at Craignure to make your own way home on the ferry and train back to Glasgow/Edinburgh

COST: £556 including all ferries but excludes accommodation and food/drink. Accommodation will be booked by us in a good standard of B&B or inn and will be paid by you direct to the provider. As it will depend upon availability at the time of booking, accommodation prices vary and so we recommend you budget around £95 for 2 people sharing a room. Single supplements are available but these vary widely from between £50-85 per person. We will quote you the exact amount once we've made a provisional enquiry with the accommodation provider.We will quote you the exact amount once you make a provisional booking and we’ve made a reservation.

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 Iona Abbey

Iona Abbey

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St Columba & Dalriada (7 Day)

Although the theme is about connecting with the places associated with Scotland’s apostle and telling his story, we’ll explore regions rich in scenic beauty and tranquillity and a culture steeped in pagan history. This journey explores the quiet and beautiful Argyll and some of its islands including Mull and Iona, then ferrying on to mainland at Ardnamurchan, by which time we’ll have seen half of the exceptional west coast of Scotland. Via Scotland’s ancient trade route, The Great Glen, we’ll travel the shores of Loch Ness to Inverness, before heading south back to base by the Cairngorm mountains.

DAY ONE

Journey up Loch Lomond and around the base of the stunning peak of The Cobbler and over the pass of Rest and be Thankful and a fine descent to the shores of Loch Fyne and morning coffee in the white-washed town of Inverary.

Climb to picnic on the hill of Dun na Cuaiche with commanding views of the picturesque town and castle below and down Loch Fyne. Grading: Easy but steady hill climb along waymarked track. Distance: 4.75kms. Height: 236m

Lazy option for those not wanting to climb the hill would be to tour around this stately home of the Campbells.

Continuing on our journey along the long Loch Fyne, we’ll drive the solitary shores of a sea loch to see a ruined Celtic chapel above a sandy bay.

Take up accommodation for a 2 night stay in Tarbert area.

DAY TWO

Travel down most of the long Kintyre peninsula with an island-like charm and quietness, where the tide time tables will determine the order we do things.

Walk to one of the best preserved Iron-Age duns (ring forts) on a hilltop with panoramic views up Loch and out to the isles of Gigha, Islay and Jura. Grading: Moderate involving climbing over a fence and walking over rough ground. Distance: 3kms Height: 80m

EITHER take the short ferry across to Gigha and cycle to the lovely gardens and discover the charm of this small island. Grading: Easy. Distance 5kms. Height: 30m; OR walk across the tidal sand bar to Davaar island to the crucifixion cave. Grading: Moderate along stony beach and into caves with wet rocks. Distance: 3.5kms. Height: 20m

Visit the very quiet east coast with fine views of mountainous Arran.

Dine at the shell fish shack at Skipness.

Walk to the nearby castle and Celtic chapel and the sandy shoreline.

Back to the same accommodation.

DAY THREE

Short walk through rhododendron and azalea gardens to a promontory that’s called Barmore Island connected by a tombolo. Grading: clear paths with short section over rocks that could be covered at high tide. Distance: 2.75kms. Height gained: 60m

Short walk to the cave in an enchanting location where St Columba stayed before establishing his base on Iona.

Make the short ascent to Dunnadd hill fort, capital of 6th century Dalriata, initial kingdom of the Scots. Grading: Moderate but short steep ascent. Distance: 1 km Altitude: 58m

Walk section of the mysterious Kilmartin Glen to see a Neolithic landscape littered with tombs and standing stones. Grading: Easy along paths. Distance: Not more than 2kms, depending on how much you want to see. Height gained: negligible.

Visit some engraved stone slabs.

Lunch at a local inn.

Travel north along the coast and through the jumbled hills of this part of Argyll to reach the picturesque Oban.

Ferry over to the Isle of Mull and onto accommodation for a two night stay

 Day Four

Morning drive along the Ross of Mull to take the passenger ferry at Fionnphort across the narrow sound to the Isle of Iona.

Walk to the Abbey along the road of the Kings.

Walk a section of the island and lunch in the village. Grading: easy along track. Distance 5kms. Height: 40m

Cross back over the sound to continue drive up the west coast.

Short walk in the attractive forest through to Loch Ba. Grading: Easy along level estate track. Distance: 2 kms. Height: Negligible variance.

Evening meal out in a local inn.

DAY FIVE

Drive up to Tobermory and ferry across to the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

Visit Castle Tioram on a tidal island and walk through the beautiful Caledonian pine forests along the shores of Loch Moidart with a picnic lunch. Grading: Moderate along some boggy paths. Distance 5.5kms. Height: 150m

Visit the Church of St Mary & St Fillan in what has to be a contender for the most beautiful setting of any church in Scotland.

Visit the Jacobite exhibition at Glenfinnan.

Walk up Glen Nevis to see a spectacular gorge and waterfalls. Grading: Moderate but the path is rough over wet slabs in parts with big drops. Distance: 3.5kms. Height: 220m

Up the Great Glen along the quiet eastern shore of Loch Ness for accommodation for two nights.

DAY SIX

Walk to the Falls of Foyers in an impressive steep gorge and set in Caledonian pine woods. Grading: Moderate, lots of steps on a steep slope. Distance: 1km. Height: 70m

Boat outing on Loch Ness

Short drive to Rosemarkie on the Black Isle visit the Groam museum with spectacular Pictish stones and a short jaunt up the delightful Fairy Glen with two attractive waterfalls. Grading: Easy along paths. Distance: 3km Height 100m

To Inverness and climb to the hill fort at Craig Phadrig where Columba had a confrontation with the over king of the Picts. Grading: Easy hill climb along some steep tracks. Distance: 2km Height: 75m

Dine at an inn and back to base.

DAY SEVEN

Drive south to the Cairngorms.

Walk to look down upon Loch an Eilean through beautiful pine forests. Grading: moderate to difficult over some rough sections without a path. Distance: 5.5kms Height: 155m

Lunch at a cafe.

Over the Drumochter Pass to Pitlochry.

Stop to visit the Cathedral town of Dunkeld and a riverside walk to the Hermitage. Grading: Easy round walk of 1km along the level.

Late afternoon drop off in Edinburgh.

 You could make this a 4 day option by leaving the party at the end of day 4 being dropped at Craignure to make your own way home on the ferry and train back to Glasgow/Edinburgh. Cost would be the same as the 4 day option.

COST: £981 including all ferries but excludes accommodation and food/drink. Accommodation will be booked by us in a good standard of B&B or inn and will be paid by you direct to the provider. As it will depend upon availability at the time of booking, accommodation prices vary and so we recommend you budget around £95/night for 2 people sharing a room. Single supplements are available but these vary widely from between £50-85 per person. We will quote you the exact amount once we've made a provisional enquiry with the accommodation provider.