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Orkney & the northern Highlands

3 days+ tour to explore & experience

for your private, flexible tailor-made small group sample itinerary 3D#11


We would be delighted to run this tour as a private, small group tour  (up to 8 people) 

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- Available small group tour dates
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- Fully booked small group tour dates
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Orkney & the northern Highlands – 3 days to explore & experience

As this is your own private small group tour, the itinerary is very flexible and along the way, we can add additional nearby stops and depending on the weather it is also possible to swap the route of day 1 and day 3 around. So the route each day is a sample itinerary and can be amended if you prefer.

Guide to Orkney video

Orkney – Visit Scotland

 

Day 1

Day 1 and day 3 can also be swapped around and a lot also depends which ferry we take when to Orkney and when back to the Scottish mainland

Through Highland Perthshire, past Pitlochry, Blair Atholl, Dalwhinnie and the Cairngorm nationalpark we pass Inverness and 3 bridges up north (Kessock bridge over the Murray & Beauly Firth to Ross and Cromarty – the Black Isle), (Cromarty bridge from the Black Isle up towards Alness & Invergordon), (Dornoch Firth bridge from Tain/Glenmorangie distillery to Sutherland and Royal Dornoch) – we pass a seal colony, Dunrobin castle and can have at least a photo stop from the outside, Carn Litath broch, some towns, beaches, before after Wick we can take a photostop of the Duncansby head seastacks.

If there is time and depending on which time we take the ferry to Orkney we can also visit the golden sands of Dunnet bay or also Dunnet head, the northernmost point of the Scottish mainland.

In the summer Castle Mey is open as well.

Guide to Caithness

Our main goal though, subject to ferry times and our accommodation is to still reach Orkney on day 1.

1st night

1st overnight options

(a)    You choose the type / price-category of your accommodation

For every location/area our guests have the choice to either stay at a hotel, B&B or hostel, it is up to you how much you wish to spend for the night and it makes no difference to the tour, whether we pick you up from an upmarket or budget place

(b)   You choose the location of your accommodation

  • Either we take a ferry to Orkney late on the 1st day, so that we are looking for 1 or 2 nights on Orkney (ideally in Kirkwall or Stromness)
  • Or if we take an early ferry to Orkney on day 2, we are looking for a night in the Thurso/Wick/Gill’s Bay, John O’Groats area
  • Two nights on Orkney would be ideal for at least one full day on Orkney

Orkney hotels, B&BS and hostels

Day 2

Day on the Orkney mainland

(which is connected through the Churchill barriers with Lamb Holm – Glimpse Holm – Burray & South Ronaldsay, which we will visit as well)

     we will visit:

  • Kirkwall, St. Magnus cathedral, harbour, Old town & museum
  • Stromness old town, harbour and viewpoint (Hoy)
  • Yesnaeby cliffs & cliff walk
  • Skara Brae neolithic settlement
  • Broch of Birsay (tidal island) with Viking & Pictish settlement
  • Broch of Gurness
  • Eastern mainland beaches
  • Scapa flow & the Churchill barriers (incl. the Italian chapel)
  • plus a lot more, if we have time for it

 


Some web info links:

South Ronaldsay (46)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/town…/south-ronaldsay-p238461

Burray (47)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/towns-villages/burray-p238331

 

Mainland (Orkney) (50)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/orkney/Kirkwall-east-mainland
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/itinera…/orkney/west-mainland

incl. Skara Brae
http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/p…/propertyoverview.htm…
+
Birsay
http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/p…/propertyoverview.htm…
+
Ring of Brodgar
http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/pro…/propertydetail.htm…
+
Stenness Standing Stones
http://www.orkneyjar.com/history/standingstones/
+
Scapa Flow
http://www.visitscotland.com/info/see-do/scapa-flow-p669101

+
Yesnaeby cliffs
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g551784-d479…


 Orkney – add on/extension options,

if you are looking for a 4 day or longer tour:

Hoy (48) & Graemsay (49)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/towns-v…/hoy-graemsay-p238351

North Ronaldsay (51)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/town…/north-ronaldsay-p238381

Sanday (52)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/towns-villages/sanday-p244791

Stronsay (53)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/towns-villa…/stronsay-p244241

Papa Westray (54)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/towns-v…/papa-westray-p238391

Westray (55)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/towns-villag…/westray-p244231

Eday (56)
http://www.visitscotland.com/in…/towns-villages/eday-p238451

Rousay (57), Egilsay (58), Wyre (59) and Eynhallow (60)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/rousay-egilsay-wyre-eynhallo…

Shapinsay (61)
http://www.visitscotland.com/…/towns-vill…/shapinsay-p238311

2nd night

2nd overnight options

(a)    You choose the type / price-category of your accommodation

For every location/area our guests have the choice to either stay at a hotel, B&B or hostel, it is up to you how much you wish to spend for the night and it makes no difference to the tour, whether we pick you up from an upmarket or budget place

(b)   You choose the location of your accommodation

  • Either we take a ferry from Orkney late on the 2nd day, so that we are looking for 1 night back on the mainland, for example the Thurso/Wick/Gill’s Bay, John O’Groats area
  • Or if we take an early ferry to Orkney on day 3, we are looking for 2 nights on Orkney (Kirkwall or Stromness being preferred option)

Orkney hotels, B&BS and hostels

  • Two nights on Orkney would be ideal for at least one full day on Orkney
  • (as the route can be reversed, you could also swap the 1st and 2nd night around)
Day 3

Day 1 and day 3 can also be swapped around and a lot also depends which ferry we take when to Orkney and when back to the Scottish mainland

On day 3, we are trying to vary the route and stop and visit other and new places – compared to day 1 on our northbound journey -travelling southbound again.

 

 

 

Scotland’s Northcoast, Dunnet head and beach, Duncansby cliffs combined with Orkney .

The Northern Highlands are an absolute highlight with great beaches to some of the wildest, most isolated and least populated parts of Europe, where nature still reigns & to the west the wild Atlantic pounds the coast, the almost Norwegian type fjords and high coastal mountains.

.Photoalbum of some of our recent Scotland Unicorn Tours:
https://www.facebook.com/UnicornScotlandAdventureTours…
(photos 22, 7 and 5 for the Northern and Northwestern Highlands and Orkneys plus we pass through a lot of other regions featured in our photos on route to the North and Northwest.)

Depending on your preferences and interests, the main places that have been agreed and discussed, the overall time we have left after our stops (especially in the winter months with shorter daylight hours), the places listed above are just a few among other nearby options, that we might be travelling through and see, stopping at and/or visiting along the way as on each of our friendly, flexible and personalised tours we maximise and offer you the best tour experience given the conditions on the day (for example if it is pouring down with rain on one side of a mountain range, we believe in offering you the alternative sunny route on the other side of the mountains, etc.)

Subject to availability possible overnight (hostel, bed & breakfast, hotel, camping) options do all exist for your 3 days tour. As there are too many possible places to stay at, we can check room availability for your preferred option at the time of your enquiry/booking.

3 days and longer tours, daily departures, incl. during mid-semester, Christmas, New Year, subject to Unicorn Tours being available –  check our online calendar for still available “green” dates
– see facebook links below:

0044-(0)7429251980 – contact@unicorntours.co.uk – https://twitter.com/TourHighlands

3 days+ Highlands & Islands adventure tours info
(everyone welcome – departs from Stirling Uni with other local pick ups)

2 days Highlands & Islands adventure tours info
(everyone welcome – departs from Stirling Uni with other pick ups possible)

1 day Highlands & islands adventure tours info
(everyone welcome – departs from Stirling Uni with other pick ups possible)

Short one day tours info
(2/3 day = 7 hours, 1/2 day = 5 hours, 1/3 day = 3.5 hours) Highlands tours info
(everyone welcome – departs from Stirling Uni with other pick ups possible)

FAQs

View our Scottish tour photos by region

What to bring?

Prices for a 3 day tour (10% discounted & ferries included)

 

Cost per person for a  private small group tour3 full days LOW MID PEAK-SEASON
£240 p. day x 3 = £720

– less 10% (3 day tour no Skye/no Loch Ness) – £72 = £648

 

£300 p. day x 3 = £900

– less 10% (3 day tour no Skye/no Loch Ness) – £90 = £810

 

£360 p. day x 3 = £1080

– less 10% (3 day tour no Skye/no Loch Ness) – £108 = £972

 

3 day tour with mini-bus & driver/guide £648 £810 £972
8 passengers £81 £101 £121
7 passengers £92 £115 £138
6 passengers £108 £135 £162
5 passengers £129 £162 £194
4 passengers £162 £202 £243
3 passengers £216 £270 £324
2 passengers £324 £405 £486
1 passenger £648 £810 £972

 

 

SEASONS: LOW =  November to 15 March MID = 16 March to 30 April + October PEAK = May to September
Tour (=driver/guide+vehicle) Cost per day 10 hours (or longer – no extra)
Tour price per person/passenger numbers  for your private small group tour: Low- Mid- Peak-season
8 tour passengers £30 (£20*) £37 £45
7 tour passengers £34 (£22*) £42 £51
6 tour passengers £40 (£26*) £50 £60
5 tour passengers £48 (£32*) £60 £72
4 tour passengers £60 (£40*) £75 £90
3 tour passengers £80 (£53*) £100 £120
2 tour passengers £120 (£80*) £150 £180
1 tour passengers £240 (£160*) £300 £360
Low season full day private small group tour = £240 per day Mid season full day private small group tour = £300 per day Peak season full day private small group tour = £360 per day
The price of a short day tour depends on how short/long many hours and during which season you wish to run the tour for.
*=Short (2/3) day 7 hour low season or winter short daylight hours tour = £160 per day
Included: Fully guided tour Driver/guide & vehicle Scheduled ferries to any Scottish islands included on 2 days & longer tours (Outer Hebrides minimum of 3 days & Shetland minimum of 4 days tour)
Excluded: Entrance fees Castles, museums, attractions, food/drinks & overnight accommodation – we recommend/assist – but you choose your price category, i.e. hostel, B&B or hotel
  DISCOUNTS    
Discount # 1

(applies all year round)

Based on

(1 hour

 

Half day tour

1/3 day tour

standard

represents

 

= 5 hours

= 3.5 hours

10 hours = 1 day rates

10%)

 

= 50% off

= 2/3 off

Discount # 2

(applies all year round)

2 day tour

3 day tour

4 day tours

5 day tours

6 day tours

7 days & longer tours

save 5%

save 10%

save 15%

save 20%

save 25%

save 30%

Discount 2

does neither apply

if Loch Ness

nor if Skye is included

(other than a brief pass through photo-stop)

  Discounts 3,  4  & 5

only apply

from October to April: (i.e. don’t apply May to September)
Discount # 3 Early booking/

paying discount

1 month =

2 months & earlier =

10 % off

20% off

Discount # 4 3 people or more booking/paying together

at the same time,

 students

or

the tour is designated as a multi-day walking tour

20 % off
Multiple discounts are not available for discounts # 2, 3 & 4 but ok  incl. discount #1 & 5

 

Discount # 5 = just charging for the driving time:

+

An additional discount may be requested on our 4 days & longer tours (throughout the whole year, incl. peak-season),

if for example for half a day (i.e. half a day without a mini-bus/driver/guide),

if everyone in your private small group prefers join an activity, a sport, a local event or just to relax, chill out, do their own thing, take & soak in the magic & special atmosphere of the place, go for a walk alone, visit a local attraction, castle, museum or just catch a passenger only ferry to a very small island or something similar along those lines.

Visits, A to B journeys & walks

Concerning same day VISITS (i.e. no scenic touring & multi-stopping involved), A to B journeys & day WALKS (from October to April)

Example only for a same day VISIT, A to B journey or day WALK:

 

  • Pick you up from A (i.e. where you live or stay)

 

  • Drive for 2.5 hours (in this example) from A to B

 

  • At B you have free time or a VISIT (a town, castle, whisky distillery, museum, attraction, event or similar at your own expense) or go for a WALK

 

  • After a few hours at the end of your VISIT Unicorn Tours picks you up again from B or meets you at the other end of your WALK ( & often I meet you half way into the walk, as I am parked at the far side of the trail, where your walking path ends. On a circular walk I might join you – please note there is no extras payable for those semi-guided same day walks.)

 

  • From B we drive back for 2.5 hours (in this example) to A and drop you off there or anywhere else you choose/pre-arranged

 

We only charge for the driving time in this example = 2.5 hours from A to B + 2.5 hours from B back to A = 5 hours

5 hours in this example = half of the 10 hour standard daily rate

 

                                             ———————————————

 

Please note that there is a different rate for fully guided CITY (walking) tours, for example a whole day fully guided tour of Edinburgh, subject to duration, season, itinerary & group size.

 

 

Special interests, hobbies, activities & themes

Scotland has a lot more to offer and something for everyone should you have a special interest, hobby, activity, which you would like to experience on your tour with us throughout Scotland, please mention it to us and if at all possible, we will attempt to include it in your itinerary.


Private, personalised small group tours (maximum 8 passengers)

best suited for groups of friends of 5 to 8 people as the price is set during each season and you pay per vehicle/driver/guide day and share the cost among yourselves in your private group

– individuals, couples and friends – for example 1 – 4 people are still welcome to book their own private tour, but the cost per person will be higher

3 day tours

1 day tours (short)

1 day tours

4 day tours

2 day tours

5 day tours


Destinations

best suited for groups of friends of 5 to 8 people as the price is set during each season and you pay per vehicle/driver/guide day and share the cost among yourselves in your private group.

Regions

  • Edinburgh and the Lothians
  • Southern Scotland
  • Glasgow and the Clyde
  • Central Scotland
  • Argyll
  • Northeast Scotland
  • The Highland region 
  • Skye and the Western Isles
  • Orkney and Shetland