Photo credit: All kindly shared by Jane Selverstone, NM

Discover Scotland Part 3 - North East Scotland, Shetland and Orkney

May 29 – June 10, 2023

Group size - 14 participants Closed to sign-ups

Trip Leaders - Philippe Apchin | Deirdre Butler

This is a trip of many contrasts. We will explore Scotland’s turbulent past from the epic battlefields of Culloden to the historic castles of Dunnottar and Stirling. We will venture in the majestic Cairngorm National Park, stronghold of the native Caledonian pine forest and its charismatic native host, the red squirrel. We will discover Shetland, an island archipelago much more Nordic than Scottish - a barren but stunningly beautiful, ice-carved landscape, offering a plethora of wildlife watching opportunities. On Orkney, a treasure trove of history awaits us at the many heritage sites on Mainland. Our walks explore Maes Howe, the standing stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar and the UNESCO site of Skara Brae.

All life on these islands is determined by the natural landscapes: Shetland with its windswept shores and Scandinavian style fjords; Orkney with its peaceful crofting communities. Life is sustained by a mixture of farming, fishing and tourism. Whether they are “Farmers who fish” – the Orcadians or “Fishermen who farm” – the Shetlanders, come and meet the people with their unique history, culture and musical folklore, who inhabit this remote and extraordinary corner of our Big Round World.


The trip is designed for seasoned travelers, keen to experience remote countryside on foot while also using a wide range of different transportation modes, including overnight ferry services and a local flight. We change location often, meaning multiple transfers and when using public transportation, you must be able to carry your daypack and luggage unassisted over a few hundred yards to the ferry pier, the local bus station or our accommodation.


The trip is for the moderately active hiker. The hikes vary in difficulty from 2 to 9 miles and 2 to 5 hours in remote countryside, over sometimes wet and rough rocky terrain. Though the ascents are limited, we often follow the coastline on cliff paths with some significant drops/ exposure. Most importantly, these islands are notorious for their predictably wild weather. Be prepared to cope with a full day out in wet, cold and windy conditions.

What's Included:

  • All lodgings in shared twin/double occupancy rooms with en suite bath (single supplements available).

  • All on-trip transportation: Train transfers, Cairngorm funicular railway, ferries to Shetland and Orkney, flight from Orkney to Edinburgh, regular bus service, private minibus and taxi transfers.

  • Included tours: Strathspey Heritage Steam Railway, Cairngorm Reindeer center, RSPB nature reserves, Bressay & Noss Seals and Seabirds Cruise, boat trip to Mousa, Highland Park Distillery Tour.

  • Entrance fees: Culloden battlefields, Fort George, Dunnottar Castle, Tangwick Haa museum, Jarlshof, Mousa Broch, Skara Brae, Maes Howe, Ring of Brodgar, St Magnus Cathedral, Stirling Castle, Falkirk Wheel.

  • All breakfasts and dinners.

  • Welcome drinks.

  • Gratuities for local service providers.

  • All guided hikes with the service of two leaders.

  • 4 pre - trip bulletins prior to departure with more detailed and specific information to help you prepare for your adventure.


What’s not included:

  • International airfare and in-country travel, pre- and post- trip.

  • Travel insurance.

  • All lunches and beverages with meals.

  • Edinburgh castle.

  • Tips for trip leaders at your discretion.

  • Other expenses including COVID-19 tests, quarantine and medical evacuations.

We recommend purchasing travel insurance.

Trip Staff - Philippe & Deirdre


Trip Dates: May 29 - June 10, 2023 | 13 day trip

Group size - 14 participants

Trip Price and Deposit: $5,525 per person | Deposit $1,381 | Single supplement $1,200

Remainder due February 28, 2023

SPECIAL! Explore more of Scotland and join us on our previous trip, North West Highlands and Inner Hebrides, May 20 - 29. Secure a $300 discount on combining two trips.** Complete our Grand Tour of Scotland with Hiking the West Highland Way, May 10 - 20 and combine all three Discover Scotland trips for a $500 total discount.**

** Note - may not be combined with other trip discounts.

Price is based on double occupancy of rooms. Same gender roommate will be assigned to participants travelling solo. Single supplements are limited. Your non-refundable deposit will hold your reservation. Either pay on line (credit/ debit cards accepted) using our secure PayPal payment system or write a check, payable to “Big Round World”, and mail it to: PO Box 1337, Lyons, CO 80540.

How to Sign Up

  1. Complete the COVID-19 Vaccination Status Form

  2. Follow the next steps.