This travel company put together an itinerary listening to our interests, what we knew we wanted to see and do and offered suggestions for additional historic sites to visit. When plans changed they were creative and offered alternatives. The travel company made all reservations for hotels and ferries, paid for all admissions to historic sites, horseback riding and whisky distilleries in advance, saving us days of planning, calling and emailing had we decided to do those tasks ourselves. Overall the travel company exceeded our expectations.
The travel company owner personally met us at the airport after our morning arrival, and spent the rest of the day giving us a driving and walking tour of historic Edinburgh, until 3pm check-in time at the hotel. The hotel was 4 star and we enjoyed dinner at a restaurant in walking distance. The next morning we were met by our Driver/Guide for the week who was chosen by the owner to take us on a week long driving trip to the Isles of Skye, Harris and Lewis. This turned out to be a perfect match of personalities as we came to appreciate our guide's knowledge of Scotland's history, geology, flora and fauna, some knowledge of Gaelic language, local knowledge. Our guide knew her way around, when the Skye bridge was closed for repairs she quickly found a small ferry to make the crossing, what sites to by-pass if they were too crowded, where to stop for food and where to find ATMs and laundry services --- all things we would have had to figure out if we were self-driving, and certainly more efficient than if we were on a tour bus constantly waiting for 20 other people to get on and off. When one of the excursions was cancelled (because the boat engine was out of commission) our guide was able to immediately come up with an alternate plan nearby.We discovered that our guide holds a "Blue Badge" from the Scottish Tourist Guide Association certifying completion of a guide course. The knowledge of a Blue Badge Guide versus a typical tour bus driver is significant plus.
In Scottish Gaelic the word is seanchaidh ... Seanchaithe passed information orally through storytelling from one generation to the next about Irish folklore, myth, history and legend, our guide's stories about the Glen Coe massacre and about the Battle of Culloden moor were animated and brought Scotland's history, its people, legends, religions, knowledge of Kings and Clans and geology and geography to life.The vistas of the vast wide open spaces of moors and valleys and mountains was awe inspiring and brought an understanding of how hard life was for the crofters in their the stone houses, through cold winters, rain and snow, lack of cash employment, difficult subsistence farming/fishing brought home to me why my Scots ancestors emigrated.
Stay longer, for a 3rd week.Stay at some rural farmhouse B&BsHave a few days to hike some trails
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