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The Compass Buster Scotland Tour (10 days)

Trip Type: Backpacker Tour
Tour Cost: $749 ($709 students)
Departs from: Edinburgh
Duration: 10 days

Tags: $500-$1000 Tours, 8-13 days, England & Scotland Tours, Haggis Adventures, Small Group Tour

Go beyond the mainland and discover the far northern and western fringes of Scotland, Europe’s last great wilderness. Our ultimate trip explores an amazingly diverse range of scenery, history and cultures. From the Viking influenced Orkney Islands and the mysterious Callanish Stones on Lewis to the mountains and legends of the magical Isle of Skye.

Day: 1 | Location: Edinburgh to Inverness

Heading north from Edinburgh, it's over the River Forth and into the Kingdom of Fife before passing through Perthshire - surrounded by mountains, forests and salmon packed rivers.  First stop is at Dunkeld with its glorious Cathedral. We then head over the lonesome Pass of Drumochter which links the southern and northern Highlands. Lunch is in the small village of Kingussie, made famous by the 'Monarch of the Glen' TV show. Then it's off through the Cairngorm National Park to lonely Culloden Battlefield, scene of the last major battle in Britain.

Day: 2 | Location: Inverness to Orkney

We continue our journey north passing over the Moray Firth where we may even spot some dolphins or minke whale, then pass the Black Isle (home of the delicious Black Isle Beers). It's then onto John 'O' Groats, Britain's most north easterly point. We catch the ferry over the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands, home to more archaeological ruins in one area than anywhere else in Europe where we visit the Tomb of the Eagles.

Day: 3 | Location: Orkney

Today we head off to explore Skara Brae, dating from the late Neolithic period and inhabited between 3200BC and 2200BC. This incredible stone village is made up of eight dwellings (some still containing original furniture) linked together by a series of low alleyways and is a marvel of ancient building techniques. You can also experience the magnificent standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar. We also visit the 4,000 years old Maeshowe which is a Neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave.

Day: 4 | Location: Orkney to Carbisdale Castle

This morning we visit an Italian chapel which was built as a place of worship by 550 Italian prisoners of war in World War 2.  We bid farewell to Orkney and make the ferry crossing back to the mainland and journey south through Scotland’s rugged terrain. We travel through the sparsely populated wilderness of Sutherland and Caithness, via glens left deserted as a result of the Highland Clearances.  Tonight you have a chance to spend the night in a haunted Highland castle* where you can explore the corriders and surrounding grounds looking for ghosts.

Day: 5 | Location: Carbisdale to Loch Ness

After spending the night looking for ghosts, our first visit of the day is the town where the last witch was burnt at the stake in Scotland – Dornoch. It also houses a great cathedral and awesome beaches that await to be explored.  From here we visit the Royal Burgh of Dingwall where you will hear the story of the legendary ‘Hector The Hero’ made famous in the well known bag pipe tune played the world over.  We then head to Glen Ord whisky distillery to ‘wet your whistle'!  After warming up on a wee dram of whisky it's time to visit the extremely pretty Glen Affric,  famous for its natural forest, hills and lochs. We then make our way to Urquhart Castle, one of Scotland's finest castles before driving along Loch Ness where you will learn about the legend of the monster - Nessie!  Tonight you will stay at Morag's Lodge on the banks of Loch Ness.

Day: 6 | Location: Free Day Loch Ness

Your day to explore the area around Loch Ness and the village of Fort Augustus. Hire bikes, take to the forest trails or walk by the canal. Have a game of golf or go monster spotting on a boat trip. Alternatively, chill out at Morag’s Lodge with a plate of haggis and a locally brewed beer…

Day: 7 | Location: Loch Ness to Stornoway

Leaving Fort Augustus we take one of the UK’s most stunning drives – ‘The Road to The Isles’.  We will pass some of the most spectacular scenery in Scotland and if you are lucky you may even spot some of the wild deer that are famed for living in these mountains.  Heading north to Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of  Measach, created at the end of the last Ice Age.  Our next stop is Ullapool – a fishing village that was founded in 1788 and from here we catch the evening ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

Day: 8 | Location: Lewis & Harris

Today we visit the stunning Callanish Standing Stones, Neolithic in age and dating back more than 4000 years. Less busy than Stonehenge, these are said to be some of the most impressive and inspiring of any of the ancient stones in Britain. These Hebridean islands are predominantly Gaelic speaking and have an unbroken culture dating back thousands of years. We will also have the chance today to visit the old style housing known as ‘Black Houses’, learn about Harris Tweed, a luxury hand woven tweed exclusive to this islands and why not try some famous Stornoway black pudding!

Day: 9 | Location: Lewis & Harris to Skye

In the morning we explore the amazing beaches of Harris, famous for its clear blue waters, magnificent mountain backdrop and traditional crofting culture. These islands are home to the Clan MacLeod who lived here for over 1200 years. After exploring the wonders of Harris, we leave the MacLeod homeland and cross by ferry to the 'winged island', the Isle of Skye. We explore the magical isle before heading to Eilean Donan Castle and then Kyleakin for the evening.

Day: 10 | Location: Skye to Edinburgh

From Skye we explore the Great Glen before passing Fort William and Ben Nevis - Britain's highest mountain. Discover 'The Weeping Glen' - Glencoe, where we hear about the infamous massacre of the MacDonalds. Over the wilds of Rannoch Moor, we then pass Stirling with its famous Wallace Monument, where the true story of Braveheart is told, before returning to the capital City of Edinburgh!








NOTE:  Tours may travel in reverse. The Castle is closed from mid-October until the beginning of March; the Castle may be substituted by Ullapool as an overnight stay.

Departs every Wednesday through September.

What’s included?

An unforgettable adventure with like-minded travellers, transport, including all ferries and a legendary tour guide!

What’s not included?

Meals and entrance fees are not included allowing you to keep your options open. We book accommodation for you in hostel dorms and all you have to do is pay for this when you arrive at the hostel. This usually costs between £15-£20 per person per night.

Join our award-winning tours and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime!

We've only ever had one aim - to provide the best possible adventures in Scotland, England & Wales for independent travellers! Every member of our team shares our passion for their country and travel, have travelled extensively themselves and know what it's really like to travel on a budget. To our team, travel is not a job - it's our passion. While others work to live - we live to travel!

We’re fanatical about making sure that every day, every single HAGGiS trip is the best we've ever run. We passionately believe our country is magnificent - it's our mission to help you love it like we do!

PASSIONATE team: We're proud that over the years our team has earned a reputation for being the best in the world - the experts! Perhaps that's why more travellers trust us with their precious travel time than any other backpacker travel company in Europe.

LEGENDARY crew: This might be your first visit to the UK and we are determined to make it so good, it won’t be your last! Therefore, it's important that the people who know it best show you around - the locals. Our guides are all young, superbly trained, highly entertaining, local characters with a knowledge and understanding of our country that is second to none. Widely recognised as the best trained, and world renowned for their professionalism these guys are the best there are!

GORGEOUS vehicles: Our distinctive yellow buses are welcomed throughout the Highlands. Just because you're travelling on a budget doesn't mean you have to compromise on safety or comfort. That's why we use Mercedes Benz midi-coaches, the latest models custom-built for touring. Famously yellow and named after our legendary crew, our buses all have eco-friendly (low-emission) engines, BIG windows, BIG sound systems and are ideally suited for your comfort. Perfect for that legendary HAGGiS atmosphere!

FANTASTIC reliability: HAGGiS Adventures are renowned for their reliability; after all, if we booked a tour we'd expect it to run too. Especially if you have travelled from the other side of the world! We do NOT operate a minimum numbers policy so once you book you will travel - guaranteed! Since 1993, the year we started, we have never EVER cancelled a tour!

AWESOME reputation: 15 years experience - HAGGiS is the longest running backpacker tour company in the UK and thousands of people have experienced our commitment to quality in that time. Don't just take our word for it. Over 99% of our passengers recommend us. We are also proud to have had some of our achievements recognised officially. We have numerous awards and our tours are rated as 5 stars by VisitScotland; see our AWARDS section.

Get 10% off the Compass Buster tour with Bakpak! Complete our inquiry form to get discount instructions

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Tour Highlights

  • Stay in a real Highland castle*– if you dare!
  • Discover over 4,000 years of human history on Orkney including Europe’s best preserved prehistoric village
  • Explore the amazing Tomb of the Eagles where you can come face to face with our prehistoric ancestors
  • See a traditional Hebridean blackhouse and soak up the atmosphere at the Callanish Standing Stones, predating Stonehenge!
  • Wander along empty sandy beaches with turquoise waters on Harris
  • Spend a free day exploring Loch Ness and its stunning surroundings
  • Look out for dolphins and whales on the 4 ferry trips – included in the price!

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