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Bike and sail through Scotland's Highlands

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Scotland Boat & Bike Tour

Active Cultural Travel Experience

Highlands, Scotland
8 Days
€ 1,190 combadi price

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Holiday Type
Fixed date
Running Period
2014: Jul. 20 - Jul 27, Jul 27 - Aug 3, Aug 3 - Aug 10

The Combadi Insight:

Hop on board a turn of the century schooner & take part in a fantastic combined cycling and sailing holiday! What a better way to explore Scotland, a country known for its dramatic landscapes & wonderful people?

Holiday Code: AL4

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You'll get a double dose of mystical Scotland in this 8 day combined holiday, biking through the Scottish Highlands and sailing the Inner Hebrides. Setting off on your classic schooner, the Flying Dutchman, you'll visit the island of Mull and the Morvern Peninsula, as well as the Kaledonian Canal. Along the way you'll experience some of the most spectacular northern landscapes, unspoiled by mass tourism.

On dry land, your cycling expeditions take you to historical fortresses and over breathtaking natural scenery, rolling meadows and coastal roads.You'll also visit Neptune's staircase and McCaig's tower - an unfinished replica of the Colosseum of Rome. Don't forget that you'll stop by inviting pubs and a distillery or two!

This combined holiday requires an advanced fitness level as daily cycling route distances range from 20 - 60 km. Most of the roads are asphalted and rarely used, while field paths may be used as well.

When not biking, you'll be sailing Scotland in a turn of the century two-masted top-schooner. 100 years after its first launch, an extensive conversion created 10 small cabins, each with bathroom and a shower. The fore deckhouse is used as a cozy dining room and lounge, with upholstered benches for seating all guests. You can also choose to sit with your captain at the stern, and even take the helm of this 39m vessel.

Day 1

(Sun) Arrival Oban Individual flight to Edinburgh or Glasgow and from there either by train or bus to Oban. Your cabins on the Flying Dutchman are ready for you as of 17.00 hrs. Should you arrive earlier, we can store your luggage on board until check-in time. You are also welcome to use our free transfer service leaving at 17.30 hrs from the train station in Edinburgh and at 18.00 hrs from the Edinburgh airport. During a late dinner, you get to know your crew and tour guides.

Day 2

(Mon) Mull Island: Craignure – Loch Buie – Craignure (biking distance approx. 50 km/31 mi.) After breakfast, you cross from Oban to the island of Mull. Here, you unload your bikes and start on your first bike tour. After only a short stretch, you arrive at Duart Castle, the ancestral home of the Scottish McLean clans. After a short tour of the site, you can use the chance to eat lunch in the tearoom. In the afternoon, you have the opportunity to visit another impressive castle, Torosay Castle, which is especially for lovers of spaciously laid-out gardens an absolute must. Whoever feels like it can, alternatively, take part in a longer bike trip and join the tour guide heading for Loch Buie. In this impressive landscape, you may see your first otter, gold eagle, or stags.

Day 3

(Tue) Mull Island: Craignure – Salen (biking distance approx. 60 km/37 mi.) Today’s bike tour is entirely dedicated to the spectacular beauty of Scotland’s natural scenery. The route takes you through hilly terrain and along the coast. Behind every bend in the road, another breathtaking view opens up. After the road divides and the few cars that you have encountered so far have turned off towards Iona, you share the road virtually only with sheep and shaggy highland cattle grazing peacefully in the bright green meadows. Along an ever-changing coastal road, you bicycle past Loch Na’ Keal to Salen, where the ship and dinner are waiting for you.

Day 4

(Wed) Mull Island: Salen – Tobermory (biking distance approx. 55 km / 34 mi) Today, you discover by bike the northern part of the island of Mull. The route passes the Eas Fors waterfall, one of the most spectacular of the island and consisting of three consecutive waterfalls. You continue your tour, heading for the brilliant white beach of Calgary Bay and its crystal clear water. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland and swimming enthusiasts should not pass up this opportunity. Afterwards, a cozy tearoom offers a welcome reprieve, and if time allows you can visit the whisky distillery in Tobermory before returning and having dinner on board.

Day 5

(Thu) Morvern Peninsula: Lochaline – Corran – Ft. William (biking distance ca. 50 km/31 mi.) Early in the morning, you start with the ship from Tobermory and cross the Sound of Mull. The destination is the small ferry landing at Lochaline on the Morvern Peninsula. Here begins an interesting bike tour. After a first ascent, you reach an almost traffic-free road leading through virtually treeless highlands. The route runs along hillsides, wild mountain streams and moorland and leads finally back to the coast, where you ride along the rocky coastal road to the ferry landing at Corran. Here, you have the choice of going either by ship to Fort William or to cover the remaining 15 km by bike. The ship anchors in the first lock of the Caledonian Channel, where it can lie undisturbed by the tides. By bus or taxi you can easily get to Fort William, where numerous cozy pubs in the lively pedestrian zone are eagerly waiting for your visit.

Day 6

(Fri) Caledonian Channel (biking distance ca. 50 km/31 mi.) An initially level route takes you along the foot of Ben Navis and the Caledonian Channel. This channel connects on a length of ca. 100 km the North Sea with the Atlantic and consists for the greater part of rivers and lakes connected by canals. The first highpoint of the bike tour is Neptune’s Staircase, the longest chain of locks in Great Britain. In eight consecutive locks, the ships negotiate here an elevation difference of 20 meters. You then continue to follow the Channel until you reach the shore of the first lake, Loch Lochy, which you follow for a short distance. A detour takes you then to yet another waterfall. On the way back to the ship, you cross a mountain ridge, which offers a fabulous view across the highlands. After a meal en route, you return to the ship, which remains in Fort William for another night.

Day 7

(Sat) Mainland and Kerrera Island (biking distance ca. 20 km/12 mi.) n the morning, the ship casts off for the last time and you start the fairly long trip across the Firth of Lorn in order to return to Oban. Depending on the weather, you still have time to visit the distillery here or to take a ferry across to the small island of Kerrera located directly opposite Oban. A short bike tour on the island rounds off the cycling programme of your tour. Prior to the Captain’s Dinner, you still have time for a stroll around Oban, where McCaig’s Tower, a never completed replica of the Colosseum in Rome, is well worth a visit.

Day 8

(Sun) Disembarkation and return home After breakfast, individual return trip home from Oban or group transfer to the Edinburgh airport.

  • 7-day cruise on a tallship with crew
  • 7 nights in a double cabin with shower / toilet
  • 7 x half board
  • 6 guided cycling tours as described in itinerary
  • Bed linen and towels
  • Overview-maps for the daily tours on board
  • Collected transfer Edinburgh (17:30) /Edinburgh Airport (18:00) – Ship in Oban
  • Collected backtransfer Oban – Edinburgh Airport (07:00 to reach flights starting from 12:00 on)
  • English speaking tour guide

Not included in the basic tour price

  • Drinks on board (tally sheet)
  • Entrance fees to museums and sights
  • Meals on land
  • Tips for crew and tour guides

Additionally bookable

  • A ½ double cabin can be booked
  • Single cabin, surcharge: 300 euro (limited, on request)
  • Rental bike: 21-speed hybrid bike with pannier or (on request): 70 euro, Electric Bike (i:SY Flyer Eco) with pannier: 140 euro (limited number, on request)
  • Insurance against theft and damage of the 21-speed rental bicycle: 10 euro/week or of the E-bike: 20 euro/week (not insured: deliberate damages)
  • Additional nights in Glasgow or Edinburgh: on request
  • Transfers ship – airport (Glasgow/Edinburgh): Price on request (besides the two above mentioned collected transfers)

Discounts

  • Children up to age 18 receive a discount of 25% on the basic tour price (not combinable with the 50% discount).
  • The third and forth person in the quadruple cabine receive a reduction of 50% on the basic tour price.

Children We believe that only children in a good physical condition and with a minimum age of 10 and previous bicycle tour experience are able to master the bike-tours on their own strength. Please note that the minimum height for a rental bike is 1.50 m (4 ft 11’)

Requirements (grade 2-3)

Moderately difficult tours in mostly hilly stages of 12 – 37 mi (20 km – 60 km) on usually quiet asphalt roads. In some instances, field paths are used as well. Main roads without separate bike paths are used only exceptionally for brief stretches. This tour includes some longer and steeper ascents where, however, bikes may be pushed any time. Strong headwinds may also be encountered. Helmets are mandatory on our tours. A limited number of rental helmets are available (reservation necessary). A bike trip may at any time be substituted by a sailing tour. The daily programme depends on the weather and the captain’s orders.

Catering

The cook on board is a member of the crew and prepares the breakfast and one warm meal a day. The full catering starts with the dinner on the arrival day and ends with the breakfast on the departure day.

Boat Flying Dutchman

Standart Tallship FLYING DUTCHMAN (Shower/WC in every cabin) We are pleased to announce that in 2011 we could add to our fleet Captain Klaas's Flying Dutchman, an ocean-going, two-masted top-schooner. Thanks to her extensive safety and navigation technique, the Flying Dutchman has the world-wide permit to carry out sailing tours. With a sail surface of 480m2, it is usually possible to cover the stretches between islands under sail, and Captain Klaas appreciates any assistance offered by his guests.

The Flying Dutchman, once a herring logger, was launched in 1903. The conversion took place in 2004: the ship was equipped with 10 small but functionally furnished cabins, each with a shower and WC. The front saloon in the deckhouse serves as a cosy dining room and lounge with upholstered benches for seating all guests. At the stern, you can sit beside Captain Klaas at the wheel and perhaps even steer the 39-m-long vessel for a while.

Journey

How to get to Scotland Possible connections are as follows:

London (Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted), Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris have the best international connections to Edinburgh.There are also regularly scheduled flights directly to Edinburgh from the USA and Canada.

Most UK airports have regular connections to Edinburgh. In particular there are regular flights from Birmingham and Manchester. Other domestic connections can be found from smaller regional airports such as Cardiff, Bristol and Belfast.

Gratis transfer between Edinburgh and the boat On the embarkation and disembarkation day we are offering a gratis collecting transfer between Edinburgh and the boat.

At 5.30pm the transfer bus can pick you up at the central station at St. Andrews Square in the center of Edinburgh; otherwise you can get picket up at the airport at the arrival area at 6pm. The transfer to Oban takes 3 hours. If you arrive in the morning already you have the possibility to take the public bus to St. Andrews Square (every 10 minutes). Your baggage can be stored at the central station in a safe deposit box and you can enjoy the whole day in Edinburgh.

On the disembarkation day the transfer takes place from 6.30am and later. Transfer will be arranged to the airport Edinburgh on time, otherwise to a hotel in Edinburgh or to the central station.

Should you require a transfer other than during the mentioned time we are happy to send you an offer for your individual transfer.

How to Get to from the Airport to the Ship

In order to reach Oban from Edinburgh Airport, you have to include a driving time of approximately 5 hours. The same applies for the return trip from Oban to Edinburgh. From and to Glasgow airport it takes about 3.5 hours. Therefore, we recommend that if you travel via Edinburgh you should at least spend one night in this lovely city on your way home. By taking a stop in between it is certainly the more relaxed version .

Here are some examples from last year's summer timetable (the actual timetable is not yet available):

From Edinburgh Bus Station via Glasgow to Oban with 1x change-over

Weekdays: Edinburgh dep. 06:46 h – arr. Oban 11:12 h (4 hrs. 27 min.) Edinburgh dep. 10:50 h – arr. Oban 15:18 h (4 hrs. 28 min.) Edinburgh dep. 16:40 h – arr. Oban 20:48 h (4 hrs. 8 min.)

Saturdays: Edinburgh dep. 07:05 h – arr. Oban 11:12 h (4 hrs. 7 min.) Edinburgh dep. 10:50 h – arr. Oban 15:18 h (4 hrs. 28 min.) Edinburgh dep. 16:40 h – arr. Oban 20:48 h (4 hrs. 8 min.)

From Glasgow Bus Station to Oban

Weekdays: Glasgow dep. 08:30 h – arr. Oban 11:12 h (2 hrs. 48 min.) Glasgow dep. 12:30 h – arr. Oban 15:18 h (2 hrs. 42 min.) Glasgow dep. 18:00 h – arr. Oban 20:48 h (2 hrs. 48 min.)

Saturdays (same as the weekdays)

On the Traveline Scotland site, you can calculate the precise connections using all types of transportation. Currently, access to dates later than 7 April 2012 is not yet possible. As soon as the summer timetables are available, the above mentioned connections can be requested.

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