Scottish Highlands and Orkney Islands 2017
Highland Wildlife, Wildflowers and Gardens
Follow the routes of seabirds and stone-age man, red stags and Vikings through the extraordinarily beautiful northernmost points in Britain, in the height of the spring. Northern Scotland and its surrounding islands are rich in natural history, archeology, and Celtic and Norse Culture. Join us for an in-depth look at wildlife, wildflowers, Highland gardens and prehistory.
Our small group will explore remote glacially sculptured glens, mountain lochs and burns, delicate moorlands, private Highland gardens, castles, cairns, Neolithic villages, golden eagle aeries, otter runs and puffin colonies. The Orkney Islands are world famous for their sea birds, archeology, and history and contain the greatest concentration of archeological monuments in Europe. Walks are at a leisurely pace; days on your own to pursue personal interests are an option. Leadership is provided by Karen Travers, international trip leader, biologist, and Pennsbury Land Trust past president (her 11th trip to Scotland), TLC for SCC representative, and Scottish naturalists. At Aigas Field Centre near Beauly, enjoy Highland hospitality at the home of Sir John and Lady Lister-Kaye. This Victorian-Gothic castle and its surrounding lodges combine modern comfort with traditional atmosphere. The excellent meals featuring Highland specialties are served baronial style in the Great Hall. Well-equipped hotels in West Highlands and Orkney are conveniently close to interesting island sites.
For more information call our offices at 610-347-0347 x 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to check out the August 2014 issue of National Geographic Magazine featuring the Scottish Highland’s Stone Age Ruins!
In May of 2013, an adventurous group of travelers, led by TLC and biologist Karen Travers, arrived at the Aigas Field Centre in the Scottish Highlands. The House of Aigas is a circa-1700s Victorian sporting lodge with an extensive arboretum, formal gardens, native pinewoods, birch woodlands, exotic plantations, moorland and agricultural lands. Travelers stayed in several of the timber lodges in the woodlands on the Aigas House grounds. The house is owned by naturalist and author Sir John Lister-Kaye, director of Aigas Field Centre, and his wife, Lady Lucy Lister-Kaye.
Aigas Field Centre itself is full of things to see and do, and TLC’s group of travelers participated in bird-watching, scoping sessions, nature walks, and tours of Aigas’ Magnus House educational lecture hall, Beaver Hide, Loch, and Badger Hide. Excellent meals featuring Highland specialties were enjoyed baronial style in the Great Hall.
Northern Scotland and its surrounding islands are rich in natural history, archeology, and Celtic and Norse Culture.TLC’s group traveled from Aigas House in Beauly via Shieldaig to Isle of Skye, where they visited scenic landmarks such as the great mountain range of Cuillin, the deep western sea Lochs, volcanic land-forms, and the most sheltered straths and glens in the south.
Next, the group traveled to the Black Isle, where they viewed bottle nose dolphins, cormorants, guillemots, and razor billed gulls before taking a whimsical hike through the Fairy Glen- a Royal Society for the Protection of Bird’s Nature Preserve. They also visited the 14th Century Fortrose Cathedral.
TLC’s final stop before returning to Aigas was to Orkney, where they explored the amazing historic and natural scenery of the western mainland. The Orkney Islands are world famous for having the greatest concentration of archaeological monuments in Europe, and our group experienced an immersion into life in Scotland 5000 years ago.
They visited the chambered burial Cairn of Maeshow, the Ring of Brodgar and the fascinating site of Skara Brae, which is the best preserved Neolithic village in Northern Europe. They visited the Ring of Brodgar, a 27 stone ring that stretches 104 meters wide and is believed to be dated between 2500 BC and 2000 BC.
Orkney is not only famous for its historic elements, but also for the sandstone cliffs at Marwick Head Reserve, which provide nesting sites for thousands of seabirds including guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes and puffins. Our group had the one-of-a-kind experience of wildlife-watching from the top of the cliffs.
The excursions our group took gave an in-depth look at how the interplay of ancient land forms, natural and human history, and many different human cultures, have combined to form the Scottish landscape that exists today.
Our group’s two week stay included forays to Glens, Firths, Lochs, Castles, Cathedrals, Priories, Archaeological Sites, Wildlife Restoration Sites, such as Aigas’ reintroduction of the European Beaver and the Scottish Wildcat, the Isle of Skye and Orkney. They glimpsed bottle nosed dolphins, pine martins, beavers, raptors, wild flowers, such as the infamous Scottish blue bells, and the ever illusive Scottish Primrose and enjoyed chats with and stories by Sir John, feasts created by Lady Lucy, and adventures galore provided by Aigas Field Rangers under the guidance of Warwick Lister- Kaye. Words cannot describe the experience, and all who traveled with TLC took with them memories that will last a lifetime.
By Sir John Lister-Kaye, director of Aigas Field Centre:
The White Island
The Seeing Eye
Song of the Rolling Earth
By George Mackay Brown:
A Calendar of Love
Portrait of Orkney
Sun Circle by Neil Gunn
The Crofter and the Laird by John McPhee
Orkney by Patrick Bailey
Any short history of the Scottish Highlands and Islands
Any British field guide to birds and/or wildflowers