This was one of the top three excursions we took while on our 12-day British Isles cruise. We booked this on our own though Trip Advisor and are so happy we did. There were only three couples traveling in a van vs 50+ people riding in a bus.
We were picked up at the cruise port in Invergordon for our tour of Cawdor Castle, Inverness, Culloden Battlefield and Loch Ness. Our guide, Barbara, was very knowledgeable of the history, culture, geography, and information about the places we visited. She was easy to understand and very qualified to lead this tour.
We first visited the Culloden Battlefield site, where the final battle of the Jacobite uprising of 1745 took place. Fans of the Outlander books and TV series will really appreciate this tour.
Next stop was at the nearby Clara Cairns, a Bronze Age circular chamber tomb cairn, named after the group of three burial cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, to the east of Inverness in Scotland. One of the most incredible things about Clava Cairns is the fact that its stones are aligned perfectly with the wintertime setting sun. The standing stones are similar to those which were depicted in the Outlander series and which allowed Claire to pass back and forth in time.
We next toured the stunning Cawdor Castle was built around the 15th century and it’s lovely gardens were added in the 18th & 19th centuries. The castle is currently home to the Dowager Countess Cawdor, stepmother of Colin Campbell, 7th Earl Cawdor. The castle is furnished and is only open to visitors for a few months of the year, when the Dowager takes up residence elsewhere on the grounds. The gardens are spectacular to see, whether you are an avid gardener or just appreciate the beauty of the plant life and sounds of the birds on the grounds.
Upon return to the cruise ship we stopped along the way to see the Loch Ness. No signs of Nessie, but the Loch itself was beautiful.