Join us for this unique expedition aboard the 95-passenger MS Serenissima as we discover the history and legacy of the Kingdom of the Isles and the majestic beauty of the Hebrides. The Atlantic seaboard of Europe has long provided a sea route for the occupation of the islands around Scotland and Argyll and the Hebrides boast some remarkable remains from these earliest prehistoric peoples. Those that resisted the Roman Invasion were proud Celts – Picts and Scots who forced the legions to retreat, leaving Hadrian’s Wall as the Empire’s northernmost boundary.
The period from the 3rd to the 12th centuries is sometimes referred to as ‘the Dark Ages of Hebridean history’, the detail surviving in obscure ancient texts or in oral tradition. However, in the midst of spectacular scenery and impressive wildlife, there is much to be seen and interpreted on the ground and, as history has attested through these centuries, a small ship is the ideal way to experience it. The ancient and proud legacy of Gaelic culture and language was for long suppressed but, as the Romans, the Vikings and the English kings found out, could never be extinguished. Norse and Gaelic place names survive throughout Scotland and the Isle of Man where a strong Norse tradition thrives.
During our voyage, we will learn about this often overlooked history of the region and discover some of the figures who were intrinsic to the story of the Kingdom of the Isles. We track the paths taken by early Christian missionaries and discover leaders such as the Viking Godred Crovan, Somerled ‘the Lord of the Isles’ whose sons and grandsons founded the powerful clans including Clan Donald, Robert the Bruce and the Campbells of Argyll. We will visit the places where this history was made including the monastery at Iona, Armadale Castle and Finlaggan where installation of the Lords of the Isles took place.
Over the course of eight nights, we will explore scenic lochs, beautiful gardens and walking trails and visit some secluded places where we hope to spot some of the amazing wildlife. Joining us on board will be John Love whose knowledge of Scottish history and wildlife, and of the Hebrides, was instrumental in helping us devise this unique itinerary.