Marilyn Foster: Enjoy the highlands and lowlands of Scotland

If you are a fan of the Starz streaming hit series “Outlander,” a trip to Scotland should be a must on your travel bucket list. Even if, like me, you haven’t watched this popular series, a visit to Scotland should still very much be on the top of your bucket list for so many reasons.

Scotland is an enchanted land of legends, memorable myths, romantic folklore, and magical fairies. It’s on this land fierce battles were fought by men wearing kilts marching to the sound of bagpipes.

You’ll fall in love with the highlands and the lowlands, the cities and the villages, the lochs and burns, the whiskey distilleries, wild scenery, the people and their clans, tartans, Celtic songs and symbols, and the haunting sound of the bagpipes. It’s the land of haggis, neeps, and tatties, the haunting poetry of Robert Burns, and Nessie, the monster thought to live in Loch Ness.

Scotland has always been the preferred retreat for the British royalty. So beloved was Scotland by the late Queen Elizabeth that when she was nearing the end of her life, she made her way to Scotland to spend her final days on earth. Consider that quite the travel recommendation!

Some say Scotland is a mystical land most especially the Inner Hebrides islands off the west coast. The tiny island of Iona is one of western Europe’s oldest Christian religious centers and can only be accessed by traveling through the Isle of Mull and then by foot ferry. The island of Oban is where we will center for three nights. Picturesque Oban is known as the seafood capital of Scotland and for their wonderful single malt scotch whiskey. Our hotel is home to those friendly and shaggy Highland cows often pictured.

On Collette’s 11-day tour of Scotland and the Islands, you will fly into Glasgow to begin your journey into Scottish culture. After spending two nights here, it’s off to the bonnie, bonnie shores Loch Lomond whether by high road or low road, all arriving at the same time. We’ll see the great rural countryside and learn how border collies are trained to mind the sheep.

As we head back to the mainland, we’ll stop at Loch Ness and wander the ruins of the legendary Urquhart Castle before stopping for two nights in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. Here we cruise several firths to the Caledonian Canal before venturing to the famous Culloden Battlefield where the course of Scotland’s future was decided.

A visit to Blair Castle and Gardens is a true highlight, especially if your Scottish ancestors can lay claim to be a part of Clan Murray. The end of the tour finds us in Edinburgh for two nights. There’s a tour of the famous Edinburgh Castle, and in the old town, learn about the witch trials and visit the tartan factory to research your tartan. Stroll along the Royal Mile and stop for a “cuppa” in one of the tea shops or explore the myriad alleys.

Departing Sept. 16, the cost is $4,999 per person. Featured are 11 nights of hotel stays, breakfast daily, and seven dinners. Cost includes round-trip air from Reno, all airport transfers, free parking at the chamber office, entrance to major sites, all ground transportation, a knowledgeable guide, and more. Those who have joined us on past Collette tours know that everything is taken care of for you, and you’ll enjoy experiences you would never be able to on your own.

I love traveling with a group and making new friends. Reservations must be made by early March to lock in that price. Call my friends at the Carson City Chamber at 775-882-1565 to learn more or visit the Travel Club website at


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