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Glasgow Glencoe Local Highland cow Loch Ness Iona Abbey Perth Balmoral Castle St. Andrews Edinburgh Tattoo St. Giles
Local Highland cow
There are many Pathways to the heart of Scotland and one is Celtic Spirituality. Rich and complex, it is interwoven with ancient traditions, Christian saints, reformations, battles and a myriad of cultural customs and beliefs. We invite you to join us as we explore some of the many pathways that have created the Scots-Gaelic view of Life, Love and Spirit. We will explore spiritual sites, historical events, cultural viewpoints, music, poetry, and customs (including a wee dram of whisky!), weaving together the essence of the tartan that is Scotland.
Scott Dunfee is Co-Director of Celtic Spirit Northwest, a non-profit promoting Celtic spirituality and culture through retreats, lectures and tours. He’s also a Celtic Axe Thrower and a member of the Society of Whisky Masters, conducting single malt scotch tastings for small groups. A retired Lutheran Pastor and U.S. Navy Chaplain, who has been all over the world, this will be his fourth trip to Scotland and he’s excited to share its beauty, history, spirituality and culture in ways that bring refreshment and new dimensions to our lives. A Drum Major in his youth, he loves the skirl of the bagpipes!
Key: IF = In Flight Meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1: Thursday, August 15, 2024: Flight
We will depart the USA on our overnight flights to Scotland. (IF)
Day 2: Friday, August 16, 2024: A day with ancient Saints and stones and beloved Rabbie Burns
On arrival in Glasgow, we will meet our Reformation Tours’ Tour Director and board our air-conditioned bus. We will visit St. Mungo’s Cathedral, which was founded by David I on the site of an earlier church. In the chapter house we will see the graves of nine Covenanters who lost their lives in 1645 for being Presbyterian. In the Govan Old Church, we will see the Govan Stones. We will stay in Stranraer for 2 nights. (B/D)
Day 3: Saturday, August 17: 2024: A day with St Ninian and the first Scottish Christians
Today’s day trip is to Whithorn, the site of the earliest Christian community in Scotland. According to the Venerable Bede in the 7th century, St. Ninian introduced the Christian faith even before St. Columba. He was a Briton who had been trained in Rome. St. Ninian’s Chapel (Shining White Church) and St. Ninian’s Cave (both currently closed) are commemorated in Whithorn Priory and Museum. We’ll see the Latinus Stone which is the earliest Christian monument in Scotland. In the attractive seaside resort of Ayr we will tour e the commemorative museum for Robert Burns, who was born on the outskirts of the town. We will return to Stranraer and celebrate Pastor Dunfee’s birthday with dinner and Robert Burns poetry reading accompanied with good Scotch whisky. (B/D)
Day 4: Sunday, August 18, 2024: Mysterious standing stones, and Uisage Bretha (water of life)
On our way to Oban, we will stop at the Auchentoshan distillery near Glasgow. This is the only single malt whisky distillery in Scotland to insist on triple distillation. The name Auchentoshan is from the Gaelic Achadh an Oisein and translates as “corner of the field”. We will then explore an area called Kilmartin Glen which has a vast number of ancient monuments, 150 of which are prehistoric. We will tour the Kilmartin House Museum of Ancient Culture, then visit some of the stones. We will dine in our hotel this evening. (B/D)
Day 5: Monday, August 19, 2024: A day with St. Columba
This morning we will board a ferry to the Isle of Mull, then take another short foot passenger ferry from Fionnport to St Columba’s Island of Iona. Iona, the site of the first Christian settlement of Scotland, has been known as a place of spiritual power for centuries. It was founded in 563 by St. Columba (521-97) and was a leading center for Christian scholarship throughout Europe. St. Columba’s Bay is believed to be the place where he landed and we will take an optional walk to that beach. Iona Abbey dates back to the 11th Century. We will return to Oban and the evening is at leisure. (B)
Day 6: Tuesday, August 20, 2024: Into the Highlands
We will begin our day at Glencoe, where the massacre took place on February 13, 1692. The visitor center includes a 15-minute video presentation explaining what led up to the sad events. We will then drive through the Cairngorm’s National Park to Craigellachie. Along the way we will stop and see a sheep dog demonstration in Leault Farm. We will be based in Craigellachie for two nights in the Craigellachie Hotel. Tonight’s dinner will include whisky tasting. (B/D).
Day 7: Wednesday, August 21, 2024: Wars and Monsters and Castles
Today we have the option to explore the Craigellachie area or take an optional day trip to the Inverness area. The morning bus tour will include the Culloden battlefield site, where the last hand-to-hand battle was fought on British soil. The battle only lasted one hour, but it had a huge impact on the Highlands. We will also take a one-hour cruise on Loch Ness and tour Urquart Castle. Steeped in national heritage and history, the Trossachs is home to some of the most influential and quintessentially Scottish icons of all time such as Rob Roy MacGregor and Sir Walter Scott. There’s also the option to visit the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Center in Inverness. The rest of the day is at leisure and there are some wonderful walking trails along the Spey River with nearby distilleries to visit. (B)
Day 8: Thursday, August 22, 2024: Kings and Queens, Destinies and Tea
Queen Elizabeth II loved Scotland and we will Balmoral Castle, nestled in the Cairngorms National Park, which has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family for over 150 years. We will then travel to Perth, which was once Scotland’s capital. Much loved by James 1, the “Fair City” of Perth lies on the River Tay. We will visit Scone Palace, immortalized in Macbeth, which was the home of the Stone of Destiny on which many of the Scottish Kings were crowned. Our tour will include a traditional afternoon tea. We will spend two nights in Perth. (B/AF)
Day 9: Friday, August 23, 2024: Martyrdom and King Robert the Bruce
We will take a day trip to nearby St. Andrews, a spiritual center in Scotland for centuries. During the Reformation, St. Andrews University was third in significance after Oxford and Cambridge. In the now ruined castle, we will see the Bottle Dungeon where George Wishart was imprisoned before being burned at the stake, and pause at his martyrdom site, also remembering fellow martyr Patrick Hamilton. St. Andrews Cathedral was once the largest church in Scotland, but fell into ruin after John Knox’s sermon, which was inspired by Wishart’s martyrdom. We will see a monument to Robert the Bruce, the first king to unite the Scottish people and the wide sandy beach made famous in the film Chariots of Fire. We will return to our hotel in Perth and dine in the hotel. (B/D)
Day 10: Saturday, August 24, 2024: John Knox, the Royal Mile, and the Tattoo
We will begin our exploration of Edinburgh on the Royal Mile with a Reformation-themed walking tour. John Knox first preached in 1559 in St. Giles Cathedral. It was reported that “he was so active and vigorous it looked as if he was about to break”. We will also visit John Knox House, Greyfriar’s Church, Magdalene Chapel and other sites on the Royal Mile. The afternoon is at leisure before we attend the world-famous Edinburgh Tattoo. (B)
Day 11: Sunday, August 25, 2024: church, Castle and Auld Lang Syne
The morning is at leisure to attend church. In the afternoon we will continue our tour of Edinburgh with a visit to Holyrood Palace where John Knox had discussions with Mary Queen of Scots. Our tour of Edinburgh Castle will include tiny St. Margaret’s Chapel, which dates back to the 1100s. Our final meal will be in a traditional Scottish restaurant as we look back at all the wonderful places we have seen on the trip. (B/D)
Day 12: Monday, August 26, 2024: Edinburgh
We will depart from Edinburgh on our flights back to the USA or continue our travels in Europe. (B/IF)
Optional Post Tour ($890 based on a minimum of 8)
Day 12: Monday, August 26, 2024: Holy Island
Today we will travel to Lindisfarne, known today as Holy Island, which is a tidal island off the Northumbrian coast. St. Aidan was sent here as a missionary from Iona and established a monastery in around 630 AD. Vikings destroyed the original monastery and monks fled from the island. The present Lindisfarne Priory is a dramatic ruin, modeled after Durham Cathedral. This is where the famous Lindisfarne Gospels were produced. Even secular historians refer to Lindisfarne as “the most holy place in England.” We will have time for reflection and personal exploration as we spend the night on the island. (B)
Day 13: Tuesday, August 27, 2024: One more amazing castle
After returning to the mainland, we will visit Alnwick Castle (pronounced “Annick”) and gardens. This castle dates back to Norman times (1309 AD) and has been used a filming location for Harry, Potter, Downton Abbey, and several other movies. It’s the family home of the Percy family and it’s the second largest inhabited castle in the UK. Just outside Edinburgh is the Belhaven Brewery. Established in 1719, this is the oldest working brewery in Scotland. We’ll have a tour and dine in the Monks Retreat pub. We will stay close to the airport for our final night. (B)
Day 14: Wednesday, August 28, 2024: Return
We will depart from Edinburgh on our flights back to the USA or continue our travels in Europe. (B/IF)
Please note this itinerary is copyrighted.
Our hotels are chosen for their quality, amenities and proximity to areas of interest. Whenever possible, we choose hotels in town centers, so that you are able to go off and explore in your free time. It may be necessary for us to substitute hotels for others of equal quality. You will be fully informed of any changes that affect you. Enjoy your stay!
August 16-18, 2024
North West Castle
Stranraer, DG9 8EH
August 18-20, 2024
Oban Bay Hotel
Oban, Argyll, PA34 5AE
August 20-22, 2024
Victoria St., Speyside
Craigellachie, Aberlour, AB38 9SR
August 22-24, 2024
Dunkeld House Hotel
Perthshire, PH8 0HX
August 24-26, 2024
Staycity Serviced Apartments Edinburgh West End
11 Brandfield Street,
Edinburgh, EH3 8AS
Once the tour is a guaranteed departure our air team can assist you with booking flights and transfers. If you have booked your own flights, we can still provide transfers, as long as we have your flight details on file and a phone number to give to the driver. We will include your transfer information in your final packet. Transfers will be arranged for each arrival, so that you won’t have to wait for other tour members if their flight is delayed. Transfers can be arranged for the day of your choosing, but we can’t arrange transfers if you arrive or depart by train.
Please note that individual transfers are booked through a third-party and you will be responsible to communicate with the company in case of delays.
We have arranged group flights with Delta / KLM for $1,286 per person. There price is the same if you are returning on the 26th or the 28th, but the return flights are different.
Arrival: Please arrange to arrive in Glasgow no later than 11:00 AM on Friday, August 16, 2024. (Pre-tour night is available)
Departure: You are welcome to depart from Edinburgh at any time on Monday, August 26, 2024 or Wednesday, August 28, 2024.
Pre- and post-tour nights can be booked through us.
Price based on a minimum of 20 tour participants.
Extension price is $890 based on 8 tour participants.
• Transportation: via deluxe air-conditioned coaches
• Accommodations (double-occupancy) in superior 3-star and moderate 4-star hotels
• Tickets to the Edinburgh Tattoo
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary
• Professional Tour Director throughout the tour
• Local step-on guides for city tours and major attractions
• Guides will use Whisper Headsets throughout the tour
• Admission to all activities indicated in the itinerary
• Arrival and departure transfers for group flights
• All taxes and tips excluding tour director and driver
• Full color personalized tour book
• Travel app
• Round-trip air transportation and related taxes and fees ($1,286 group air available)
• Airport transfers separate from the group
• Single supplement ($1,325 / $240)
• Meals and beverages not identified in itinerary
• Items of a personal nature, such as passports and visas. Passports must be valid for 6 months beyond return date.
• Passenger trip cancellation insurance
• Baggage handling (let us know if you need assistance)
• Tips for Tour Director and driver
• Initial deposit of $350 will secure your place on the tour. Online payments incur a 3% credit card fee. Checks can be mailed to “Reformation Tours”, 12316 244th St, Chisago City, MN 55013-9688.
• Final invoices will be sent in April 2024
• Final payment is due by May 17, 2024
• Reservations will be accepted after May 17, 2024, subject to availability
There are two levels of insurance offered. Click here to compare. When you fill out the registration form, you will be given quotes for both.
Standard is 4.55% of the trip cost and can be purchased up until 2 days prior to departure, although we recommend purchasing it before.
Enhanced is 7.6% of the trip cost and includes cancel for any reason benefits. It has to be purchased within 14 days of registration.
Regardless of reason, cancellations are costly, so we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance:
Days Before Travel Cancellation Penalty
If the client cancels From sign-up until 100 days before departure $150
If the client cancels Between 99 and 30 days before departure $350 + any non-refundable fees
If the client cancels Less than 30 days before departure No refund
Cancellations must be received in writing by 5:00 p.m. central time on the last business day of the applicable time period. For flight changes or cancellations, revision fees and/or airline cancellation charges will apply. Roommates canceling can result in a single supplement charge for the roommate. The Participant who cancels will be responsible for that charge if a substitute roommate cannot be found. Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is strongly recommended. Reformation Tours cannot assume responsibility for any additional costs or fees relating to the issuance and/or cancellation of air tickets or other arrangements not made through Reformation Tours.
Please click on the button below to register.