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Ring Of Brodgar, Orkney

Wild Scotland

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer
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From the Hebrides in the west to inhospitable windswept specks of land like St Kilda and Foula, and to the Orkney and Shetland islands in the north, you’ll explore the intriguing diversity of Scotland’s wild islands. You can plan to take in Neolithic sites scarcely changed in 5,000 years, and ponder the mystery of huge monoliths that marked the seasonal change. Visit picturesque villages, haunted castles that once were a stronghold of the Scottish clans; birders will delight in Europe’s largest sea bird colonies and the Orkney Islands will please whiskey amateurs with a wee dram of Scotland’s finest!
Isle of Iona, ScotlandSeabirds flying over dramatic ocean island cliffs St KildaIona Abbey on the Isle of IonaDiscover the restored Iona Abbey, ScotlandRing Of Brodgar, Orkney
Highlights
  • Visit the World-heritage-listed island of St Kilda
  • Explore historic villages in the Orkney Islands
  • Kayak through sea caves and mirror-like lochs
  • Visit an Iron Age broch with your expert historian
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
0

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Edinburg

Arrive in Edinburgh and transfer to our group hotel. Upon check-in at Courtyard Edinburgh hotel, reception staff will provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin. At tonight’s voyage briefing, enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners.

Day 2: Oban | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After check-out, discover Edinburgh on a sightseeing tour before transferring to Oban, where our expedition team will welcome you aboard the Greg Mortimer at approximately 4.00 pm. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings. We will set sail along Scotland's northwest coast in the evening, and meet your expedition team and crew at Captain’s Welcome Dinner. 

Day 3-4: Inner Hebrides

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
From golden beaches to jagged peaks, bleak moors and heather-clad hills; from abandoned settlements to picturesque villages, our days in the Hebrides archipelago will be packed with variety. We may explore remote lochs beneath some of Britain’s most untamed mountains and wander between unusual rock formations. We may watch for whales, dolphins, otters, seals, and the increasingly rare basking sharks. Possibly we will land at an island reserve that is home to red deer and white-tailed sea eagles.

Kayakers will be introduced to their craft and will be briefed for their adventures, before picking up paddles to circumnavigate tiny islets or glide into narrow waterways that intertwine the islands. Hikers may opt for panoramic views from summits and ridges. Early the next morning we will aim for the tiny island of Iona. Barely 5 kilometers / 3 miles long, Iona is renowned as the birthplace of Christianity in Britain. It is also a burial ground of early Scottish Kings. The Irish monk, St Columba and twelve disciples landed here and founded a monastery in 563 AD. From this base, St Columba set about converting Scotland and much of Northern England to Christianity.

Day 5-7: Outer Hebrides

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
From the Inner Hebrides we make our way to the Outer Hebrides – also known as the Western Isles – that stretch for 209 km / 128 mi and look out on their western side to the Atlantic Ocean. Our first stop is at the Isle of Lewis, the largest and northern-most island in the Outer Hebrides. We plan to make a stop at Callanais, where archaeology buffs will be keen to see the fascinating group of Standing Stones, dating from around 3,000 BC. Nearby we may visit Bostadh House, a remarkable reconstruction of an Iron Age dwelling tucked away just above a beautiful white beach.

Weather permitting we plan to land at the isolated archipelago (and World Heritage site) of St Kilda, where derelict crofts bear testament to the fortitude of islanders who once tended the unique Soay sheep and harvested seabirds for food—and to pay their rent in the form of wool, meat and feathers. The isles hold Europe’s most important seabird colony and is home to Britain’s highest sea stacks (rock columns).

Island hopping northeast, we aim to visit tiny specks of land that bear the brunt of violent Atlantic storms and rarely see visitors. Home to breeding seals and some of Europe's largest seabird colonies, Sula SgeirNorth Rona and Flannan boast spectacular cliffs, fantastic rock stacks, hidden beaches and luxuriant heaths where sheep once grazed.

Day 8-9: Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Britain’s most northerly islands lie almost 160 km / 99 mi north of the Scottish mainland, at a similar latitude to the southern tip of Greenland, or Bergen in Norway. Kept relatively warm by the Gulf Stream, Shetland’s 100 islands experience almost 24 hours of daylight in summer. They abound with nature reserves and archaeological sites and offer a taste of traditional island life.

We plan to explore some of the following sites: the island of Foula is the most remote inhabited island in the UK. Its small community of about 30 residents welcomes us to their island to enjoy the magnificent scenery, large seabird colonies, beautiful wildflowers and remarkable community life. Papa Stour offers some of the best sea caves in Britain where we may explore with Zodiacs and kayaks. Jarlshof is one of Shetland's best-preserved and most complex archaeological sites. It was exposed by storms in the late 19th century. The Old House of Sumburgh, built here in the 17th century, was named 'Jarlshof' by Sir Walter Scott in his novel 'The Pirate'. The record of human occupation dates from around 3,200 BC. Jarlshof’s main Bronze Age site is the house of a bronzesmith working around 800 BC. Clay molds into which molten bronze was poured revealed that he was casting axe heads and short swords. It seems that Shetland suited early Norse settlers, for they quickly settled here and left their mark on Shetland's history for ages to come.

Day 10-11: Orkney Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Midway between Orkney and ShetlandFair Isle houses a major European ornithological research station and is also famous for knitwear and historic shipwrecks. About five kilometres by three kilometres / three miles by two miles in area, it is surrounded by impressive cliffs. The 70 or so islanders mainly live in traditional crofts on the more fertile low-lying southern part of the island.

A bird watchers’ paradise, Fair Isle lies on the intersection of major flight-paths from Scandinavia, Iceland and Faroe. In summer, the cliffs teem with breeding fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, shags and puffins. The Isle is an excellent place to view seabirds, especially puffins at close range. Fair Isle also has over 250 species of flowering plants, including wetland flowers, rare orchids, alpine species and common wildflowers. We’ll be welcomed by the hospitable villagers and may take a hike or visit the museum. Grey and common seals inhabit these waters around Fair Isle, while sharp eyes may spot harbour porpoises, white-beaked dolphins, Atlantic white-sided dolphins, killer whales (orcas) and minke whales.

Day 12:  Aberdeen | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
On arrival in Aberdeen, disembark in the early morning and bid a fond farewell to fellow travellers before a transfer to the airport to continue your journey. 

Ship/Hotel

Greg Mortimer

Greg Mortimer
Greg Mortimer
Greg Mortimer

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$9,495
Greg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom Triple
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
230.34 ft² - 245.41 ft² - 6 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, three single beds, porthole window, desk area and 42" flat-screen TV
Greg Mortimer
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Aurora Stateroom
170 ft² - 245.41 ft² - Greg Mortimer features 8 porthole rooms, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom C
224.97 ft² - 266.95 ft² - 14 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom B
254.03 ft² - 266.95 f - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom A
259.41 ft² - 301.39 ft² - 22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
303.54 ft² - 432.70 ft² - With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Greg Mortimer's two Balcony Suites are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. Featuring private balconies, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area, these will sell out quickly!
Greg Mortimer
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Junior Suite
The Greg Mortimer's four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage 418.71 ft² - points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
Greg Mortimer
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Captain's Suite
478.99 ft² - The largest of all the rooms, the Greg Mortimer's singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite.

Notes

NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays. 
Important note: In the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea and other conditions beyond our control. 
Inclusions
  • Transfer from airport to our group hotel on day 1
  • One night’s hotel accommodation in Edinburgh on day 1 including breakfast
  • Half-day tour in Edinburgh followed by a transfer to Oban on day 2
  • Onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages 
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Port surcharges, permits, and landing fees
  • Gratuities for ship crew
Exclusions
  • International or domestic flights, unless specified
  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity fees and vaccination charges
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges.

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