Scotland’s western and northern isles are a dream destination—and for many, a long-awaited return to ancestral homelands. Culture, heritage, and natural history abound here, echoes of Europe’s ancient past.
In Medieval times, an already-archaic society in the Hebrides evolved into the Lordship of the Isles, a sea-kingdom blending Gael and Viking under the powerful domination of Clan Donald. In the north, Orkney and Shetland were wed into a formidable Scandinavian earldom. Both island groups preserve some of the oldest monuments in Europe, dating back to the Stone Age.
Kinship and community are two of the constants in this story; Gaelic-speaking clans retained their independence despite acknowledging the Lords of the Isles, while free Norse landholders battled the forces of feudalism in the Northern Isles.
Aboard the Ocean Endeavour, we’ll enjoy contemporary comforts as we explore our way out from Glasgow, through the western isles and the Pentland Firth to Orkney and Shetland. Abundant ecology and spectacular geology beckon adventurers for a closer look. June is an ideal month to visit Scotland in search of birds, with breeding well underway, and avian enthusiasts will be rewarded with excellent opportunities. Photographers will be in their glory amid the gorgeous scenery; small-group tutorials will help shutterbugs capture the experience at its finest.
Island folk have always been extremely conscious of the natural environment, as its bounty has sustained them. We’ll experience a bit of island life too—with music and laughter in community halls and local pubs. Though modern touches grace many homes, the people who live here still remain close to their roots, tracing traditions to the original settlers who first made their homes here centuries ago.
What’s Included ABOARD
The expertise and company of our expedition staff
Onboard educational programming
All shipboard meals, including on deck barbecues & afternoon tea, 24-hour coffee, tea and snacks
Hors d’ouevres & snacks during evening recaps
24-hour documentary and film programming
Fully stocked library
Nikon Camera Trial Program
$250 USD Discovery Fund Fee
Introductions to local people and customs
Museum entries, park accesses, port taxes
Access to pristine wilderness areas
Zodiac tours and cruises
On-site archaeology workshops
Community programming: local performances, presentations, and demonstrations
What’s Not Included
Commercial and charter flight costs
Gratuities (suggested at $15 USD per person per day)
Pre- and post-trip hotel accommodation