Hiking in the British Isles

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Day 1: Arrive in Dublin

On arrival in Dublin, we transfer clients to the city center hotel. Late afternoon, we’ll provide a trip briefing and enjoy an early evening welcome dinner, allowing clients to get an early night and recover from any jet-lag.

Dinner and overnight in Dublin, Ireland.

 

Day 2: Powerscourt House & Glendalough

Leaving Dublin, we venture a short distance south to visit the impressive gardens of Powerscourt House, a country estate dating back to the 1300's. After lunch, we hike a section of the famous Wicklow Way hiking trail. We pass through lush pine forests before descending to beautiful Glendalough - Gaelic for “the valley of two lakes” - a monastic site established in the 6th-century by hermit St. Kevin. A short transfer takes us back to Dublin.

Overnight in Dublin, Ireland.

Hike details: 10km/6miles, mainly good trails (3 hours)

 

Day 3: Explore Dublin

It would be crazy to visit such a fascinating city and not have time to explore it! After breakfast, be enlightened by our local expert who will lead us on a walking tour of the city, amusing us with tales of its colorful history. Afterwards, we’ll visit the famous Book of Kells and, of course, the Guinness Storehouse! We’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner on our final night in Ireland.

Overnight in Dublin, Ireland.

 

Day 4: Across the Sea to Wales

After breakfast, we take the ferry across the Irish Sea to Wales. We land in the north-west corner of Wales, which, conveniently, is a great place to explore with lots to see and do. Arriving late morning, we’ll visit Caernarfon Castle, which was built by Edward I to suppress Welsh rebellions against the English village. After lunch, we visit the fascinating National Slate Museum in the nearby mountain town of Llanberis.

Overnight in Caernarfon, Wales.

 

Day 5: The Llyn Peninsula

The Llyn Peninsula, located just west of Caernarfon, is a wonderful place to visit. We'll visit Nant Gwrtheyrn, the Welsh Language School, which is based in a former quarrying village, including its Heritage Center and a Quarryman’s cottage, as we learn about the Welsh language. The school also happens to be located on the side of a mountain overlooking the sea.

Overnight in Caernarfon, Wales.

 

Day 6: Hiking Wales and North to the Yorkshire Dales

After breakfast, we’ll visit Snowdonia National Park for a short hike into Cwm Idwal - a fantastic glaciated hanging valley, which is a mecca for mountaineers and natural historians alike. Afterwards, we transfer east, crossing the border into England and continuing north to the Yorkshire Dales, our base for the next 3 nights.

Overnight in Yorkshire Dales, England.

Hike details: 3km/2miles, mainly good trails (1.5 hours)

 

Day 7: Hiking Swaledale

For classic Yorkshire Dales scenery, a hike through the Swaledale valley is a must. We’ll follow a gently rolling trail through stone-walled, sheep-filled fields, delighting in the beautiful landscape all around. After a traditional cream tea in a local cafe, we’ll visit the market town of Hawes, where we can visit the Wensleydale Creamery to see its famous cheese being made.

Overnight in Yorkshire Dales, England.

Hike details: 11km/7miles, mainly good trails (3-4 hours)

 

Day 8: The English Lake District

We transfer west a short distance to enter the Lake District National Park. We jump on a traditional steamship for a cruise on beautiful Ullswater. We disembark the steamship at a different jetty, allowing us to enjoy a scenic hike along the lake shore back to our start point. We enjoy a celebratory dinner to mark our final night in England, as Scotland beckons in the morning!

Overnight in Yorkshire Dales, England.

Hike details: 10km/6miles, mainly good trails (3-4 hours)

 

Day 9: North to Scotland

After breakfast, we journey north, crossing the border into Scotland at Gretna Green. We stop to visit the impressive Wallace Monument (built for William Wallace of the ‘Braveheart’ movie) and then stop for lunch. We continue north into the Scottish Highlands, stopping for a short hike in the beautiful forests near Dunked before arriving in the attractive town of Pitlochry, our base for the next 3 nights.

Overnight in Pitlochry, Scotland.

 

Day 10: Up the Mountain

Today is going to be the high point of the trip, in more ways than one! Now that we’re in the Highlands, we are surrounded by mountains and we’ll challenge ourselves to hike to the summit of a local peak, Ben Vrackie. This 841m is thought of as being Pitlochry’s mountain, so it would be rude not to give it a try! We benefit by starting the hike from more than 200m elevation, but that still leaves a long way to the top. However, the trail is good and the scenery fantastic, so the effort is well worth it. We climb above the tree-line and eventually reach a pretty loch (not ‘lake’ as you’re in Scotland now!). This may be far enough for some people. The final climb begins here - it’s steep but the trail is good and you quickly gain elevation before, quite suddenly, arriving on the summit! The 360 degree views are simply stunning and you’ll be pleased that you put in the effort to get here! We descend by the same route. Afterwards, you’re rewarded with a visit to a local whisky distillery for a tour and tasting - whisky will never have tasted so good!

Overnight in Pitlochry, Scotland.

Walk details: 10km/6miles, 720m of ascent, mainly good trails (4-5 hours)

 

Day 11: Dark Chocolate, Red Deer and a White Castle

Today has a little bit of everything - wildlife, tasty treats and history too. We start the day with a wild encounter as we get up close with a friendly herd of red deer and also meet a barn owl. After lunch, we enjoy a naughty treat as we visit the Highland Chocolatier to see him at work and, of course, taste it too! We spend the afternoon at the distinctive Blair Castle - known for having its own private army.

Overnight in Pitlochry, Scotland.

 

Day 12: The Highlands to Edinburgh

We travel east to the nearby city of Dundee where, in 2018, the V&A Museum will be opening and is sure to be a draw for visitors. Afterwards, we visit St. Andrews where a walking tour of the town will introduce you to the cathedral, the university and the world-famous ‘Old Course’. We then transfer to our castle hotel which is located just outside Edinburgh.

Overnight in a castle hotel near Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Day 13: Exploring Edinburgh

After breakfast, we transfer into Edinburgh city center, where we enjoy a walking tour of the ‘Old Town’ district, led by a local expert. Afterwards, we have lunch and then there is some free time where we can choose to visit Edinburgh Castle, go shopping or explore Edinburgh independently. Late afternoon, transfer back to our hotel. Tonight we enjoy our farewell dinner.

Overnight in a castle hotel near Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Day 14: Depart Edinburgh

After breakfast, transfer to Edinburgh Airport for your flight home. There are regular flights to Dublin if you wish to fly back there instead.

 
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