Saturday, June 23: Edinburgh
After arriving at Glasgow Airport, we will meet our coach and travel to our hotel in Edinburgh. We will enjoy lunch served at the hotel. After lunch, we will have some free time to relax and unwind after a long night of travel.
Sunday, June 24: Edinburgh
This morning we meet our local guide for a tour of Scotland’s capital city. We’ll drive through the heart of the city along Princes Street, famous for its shops and gardens.
We’ll see the 18th century New Town with its broad streets, spacious squares, and elegant town houses. The tour will end at Edinburgh Castle, the historic fortress that dominates the skyline of the city from its position on Castle Rock.
Monday, June 25: Edinburgh and Pitlochry
The choir will give a 12:15 pm performance at St. Giles Cathedral in the Music at Lunchtime series. This enormous cathedral will be an exciting venue for the Bella Voce singers. St. Giles Cathedral is the principal place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.
After the concert, we’ll say goodbye to Edinburgh and depart for Stirling Castle. The castle has been likened to a huge brooch clasping Highlands and Lowlands together. From high on a volcanic outcrop, the castle guarded the lowest crossing point of the River Forth for centuries. Our next stop is the lovely town of Pitlochry where we will check in to our hotel.
Tuesday, June 26: Inverness
Today we check out and travel through Royal Deeside to visit Balmoral Castle. It has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. We’ll continue our journey after lunch and we’ll travel to Inverness where we’ll spend the next two nights. Tonight the choir will sing in a joint concert with the Inverness Gaelic Choir at the Inverness Cathedral. A reception (called a cèilidh in Scotland) will follow with our hosting choir.
Wednesday, June 27: Inverness
Today we’ll enjoy a day excursion beautiful drive through the Western Highlands to see the Corrieshalloch Gorge with cascading waterfalls along the narrow winding roads adding to the charm. We also visit the Inverewe Gardens. Due to the effects of the Gulf Stream, we’ll see pre-historic trees such as the Wollemi pines to rhododendrons from China, Nepal, and India; Himalayan poppies; and Tasmanian eucalyptus. Afterward we’ll return to Inverness for the evening.
Thursday, June 28: Inveraray
After breakfast, we will check out of our hotel and depart for a boat ride along Loch Ness. Maybe we’ll see the famed lake monster!
We’ll see Urquhart Castle, which was once one of Scotland’s largest castles. Urquhart saw great conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress. Control of the castle passed back and forth between the Scots and English during the Wars of Independence.
Our boat ride ends at the village of Fort Augustus where we’ll have time for lunch. We’ll travel to one of the world’s scenic highlights – Glencoe – to see the sheer beauty and breathtaking serenity of this vast sweeping pass. Continue on to Inveraray and check in to our hotel in time for dinner.
Friday, June 29: Inveraray
Today after breakfast we’ll enjoy a walk to Inveraray Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll, Chief of the Clan Campbell. The castle has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s, although the impressive castle today was inspired by a sketch by Vanbrugh, the architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard in the 1700s. The castle was the chosen location for the Downton Abbey Christmas 2012 episode. Enjoy the remainder of the day relaxing along the shores of the lake. This evening, the choir performs a concert at All Saints Scottish Episcopal Church in the town center of Inveraray. Afterward we’ll have a festive farewell dinner at our hotel.
Saturday, June 30: Departure
After breakfast, we check out and travel via Loch Lohmond to Glasgow for the afternoon flight to Boston.