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English Lakeland Ramblers has put together a trio of exhilarating walking tours through the Scots’ favorite Scotland

(TRAVPR.COM) USA - May 10th, 2013 - (Montclair, Va., April 22, 2103)   Ask the Scots to name their favorite corner of Scotland and most of them will tell you: The wild and picturesque highlands of the North West, among the islands and bonnie lochs, from Fort William to the Outer Hebrides.  It’s a place of discovery and surprises, where remnants of ancient cultures come to life around every bend and where (believe it or not) palm trees thrive and beaches of the whitest sand go on for mile after mile.

English Lakeland Ramblers has put together a trio of exhilarating walking tours through the Scots’ favorite Scotland – four departure dates, three itineraries, seven nights/eight days each, with the inclusive prices beginning at $3,175 per person. The hikes move at an easy pace along pathways carved out by generations of drovers and smugglers, four to seven miles a day, with maybe a “marathon” 10-miler to test your mettle.  You can walk for hours in these parts without seeing another soul – and when you do they might greet you in the only language they know, Gaelic.  At the end of the day there’s always a snug bedroom with private bath, a menu featuring Scotland’s finest produce (think Aberdeen Angus beef and the freshest salmon) and a cheery bar with a selection of single malts you’ll rarely see at liquor stores back home.

Consider, for example, the Ramblers 7-night tour known as ‘The Hebrides: the Islands of Skye, Lewis and Harris.’  It’s the perfect itinerary for hikers who really want to get away from it all, including two days on Skye, a mini-cruise by inter-island ferryboat to the Outer Hebrides, with three more nights on the conjoined islands of Harris and Lewis (you’ll walk from one island to the other).  Lewis is the island with beaches as white as anything in the Caribbean (maybe a bit more wind-blown – take along hot tea rather then chilled sodas), but you’ll also ramble among the majestic peaks and glens of Harris.  Along the way you’ll visit natural curios like the craggy cliffs at Quiraing on Skye (look out for the one called The Kilt), archaeological wonders like the Standing Stones of Callanish on Lewis (after Stonehenge, the most important site in Britain), ancient churches and the weavers of authentic Harris tweeds.

Read on for some of the high points of other Ramblers’ tours of Scotland.  
*  Attadale Gardens and Inverewe Gardens, where palm trees, magnolias and more than 2,500 other species have been growing for over a hundred years (on the same latitude as Leningrad!); 
*  Storied castles like Dunvegan on Skye, where McLeod chieftains have lived for 750 years, and 13th-century Eilean Donan, seat of the clan chief of MacKintosh of Kintail;
*  Overnights in romantic hotels, lovingly updated from former hunting lodges and drovers’ inns;
*  Photo-ready villages and hamlets with sing-song names -- Achnasheen and Gairloch, Glenfinnan and Lochalsh.

In addition to the Scottish tours, Ramblers has lined up a dozen inviting itineraries with a total of 25 departures in 2013, from April through September.  These tours offer a choice of 6 to 16 nights and include the Lake District, Wales, Cornwall, the Cotswolds and a London/Cotswolds combo.  Prices begin at just $2,850 per person, double occupancy, for 6 nights – including lodgings in country inns and hotels (all with private bathrooms), all meals (pub lunches or packed lunches on hikes), transfers from airports or railroad stations, transfers of luggage where appropriate, services of guides and assistants throughout, local taxes.  In other words, just about everything for less than $500 a night per person.

For reservations, call 1-800/725-8801.


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