Wilderness Walking - The Knoydart Peninsula

A 8 day trip to UK 
4.56 out of 5 stars
9 reviews

From the rise of An Sgurr to the battlements of Kinloch Castle, from the clouds over Inverie to the sunset over the Isle of Skye, the far west of Scotland is a place filled with a beauty all its own. So if you’re looking for an outdoor vacation that is truly unique, the Knoydart Peninsula is the place for you.

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrival in the Scottish Highlands

After arriving in Glasgow, you’ll ride the scenic West Highland Line—thought by many to be the most scenic railway line in all of Great Britain—until reaching its terminus at Mallaig, a major fishing port on the edge of the shores that line the Highlands. Here you’ll meet your group and guide and set out across the waters of Loch Nevis until reaching your accommodations at Doune, a rustic yet elegant resort in the very heart of the British wilderness, where the staff caters to your every wish and where the dining options are truly memorable. You’ll feel the overwhelming calm of seclusion wash over you as the sun sets over the long reach of Scottish loch, filled with wonder and awe at the undeniable grandeur of the Knoydart Peninsula.

Day 2: A View to the Islands

Today takes you past the largest village on the peninsula and up the long and cresting ridge known as Sgurr Coire Choinnichean, an impressive rise of more than 2500 feet that casts an imposing shadow over the village of Inverie that lies tranquilly at its feet. You can turn your gaze west to take in the scenic Isle of Sky, look out over the many sea lochs that line the landscape, marvel at the many verdant undulations of the Scottish Highlands and, on a clear day, even catch a glimpse of the Outer Hebrides, the western-most portion of Scotland far out in the swelling waters of the North Atlantic. You’ll be wowed by the beautiful vistas over quaint Inverie and the neighboring Inverie Bay, you’ll be captivated by the natural grandeur that greets you at every turn, and you’ll be moved by the fierce beauty of this one-of-a-kind part of the world.

Day 3: Across the Sound of Sleat

Hop aboard the decks of the sturdy and faithful Mary Doune to explore the outlying islands of Scotland for the first time. You’ll leave the Knoydart Peninsula and the mainland behind as you head out for the shores of Rum, the largest of Scotland’s Small Isles and one of the most fascinating natural and archaeological areas in the United Kingdom. Rum is known for its admirable ecological efforts, including a successful reintroduction program for the White-tailed Sea Eagles, and as a top-notch study site for ecological research, but you’ll also be captivated by the breathtaking panoramas that greet your eye, from the rippling waters of lochs to the cresting rises of the Rum Cuillin, sharp mountains composed of basalt and gabbro which dominate the island’s horizon. 

There is also an incredible history of human occupation on the island: there is evidence to suggest that the first humans in Scotland settled on Rum, and people have called Rum their home, off and on and with varying degrees, for perhaps ten millennia. Needless to say, the artifacts of this occupation are stirring: you’ll certainly want to see the Neoclassical Bullough mausoleum at Harris on Rum, as well as the Bullough family’s famous mansion, Kinloch Castle, whose intimidating ramparts and stolid defensive construction belies the fact that the home was built less than 150 years ago. The afternoon sees you back in Doune, ready to enjoy a sumptuous dining experience of perfectly prepared Scottish meats, delectable desserts and a fine selection of wines, beers and spirits.

Day 4: A Mountain Climb and a Pint on the Edge of the Map

Set out for the rugged rises of the Knoydart Peninsula today as you strike out to reach the summit of Beinn na Caillich, a mountain rising more than 2500 hundred feet into the sharp blue Scottish sky. You’ll pass by some of the west of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery before setting out to reach the top of Beinn na Caillich, where a simply sensational view awaits. Down below you stretches the deep dark blue of Loch Hourn, the gently sweeping slopes that line Barrisdale Bay, the enveloping green framed by the sparkling sapphire of water and sky, the gentle yet dramatic reach of the Glenelg Peninsula: it is truly a vista that you will never forget. 

After your descent of Beinn na Caillich, you’ll have the chance to grab a pint at The Old Forge, the neighborhood pub of Inverie that is the remotest public house on the British mainland. Cozy up to a cup of soup and a local ale, or try on of the many whiskies available from all over Scotland, from the Highlands to the Islands.

Day 5: Ascending An Sgurr

Return to the Small Isles as you set out for Eigg, the second-largest of the Small Isles and the home to one of the most dramatic geological formations in the entire country, the sharp pitchstone ridge of An Sgurr. Formed nearly sixty million years ago after a eruption of a nearby volcano – the core of which, in fact, is known now as the Isle of Rum – An Sgurr commands the horizon of Eigg, reaching ruggedly and resourcefully more than 1200 feet above the surface surrounding it. The climb is surprisingly easy, with many access points and a fairly gentle slope, but the way up is almost as memorable as the view from the top as you encounter basalt columns in bizarre regularity, reminiscent of the columns of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. 

The panorama from the summit is, of course, unparalleled, with wide views over the surrounding island as well as the nearby Smaller Isles, especially the fecund dot of the Isle of Muck, a speck of farmland so pristine Samuel Johnson mentioned its value more than two hundred years ago. From atop this impressive crest in the very heart of the Scottish coast, you can take in all of the wild elegance that this fascinating country has to offer.

Day 6: One Grand Hurrah of Island Touring

Today you venture out to explore the incomparable Isle of Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides and one of the most famous islands in all of Scotland, where the wildlife is abundant and the history rich and the countryside breathtaking. Make your way past the many peninsulas that make up the fringes of Skye and head deep into the teeth of the famous Black Cuillins, one of forty Scottish National Scenic Areas and the site of some of the most magnificent mountain scenes in the entire nation. At the feet of these craggy peaks runs the stern stretch of freshwater known as Loch Coruisk, which Walter Scott described as “a dread lake” set amidst dark ledges of “barren stone,” but which also formed the inspiration for landscape paintings by Sidney Richard Percy and J.M.W. Turner. 

After this incredible voyage to the Isle of Skye, you’ll make a quick stop by Canna, where the sea and air simply teem with wildlife, from the many sea eagles and puffins that take wing over the waves to the dolphins that break the surface in gleeful pleasure. You can climb to the top of Compass Hill to get a scintillating survey of the surrounding area or visit the ruins of An Coroghon, the possible site of a prehistoric fort that, according to legend, was built by a jealous ruler to hold his beautiful wife. You’ll be sure to enjoy this final day of island hopping and the incredible panoply of man and nature on full display.

Day 7: Gazing Down from Ladhar Bheinn

Return to the heart of the Knoydart Peninsula one final time for what might be the most unforgettable day of your vacation, ready for the 3300 feet of the mammoth Ladhar Bheinn, the westernmost Munro on the Scottish mainland and the tallest mountain in Knoydart. An awe-inspiring approach by sea sets the stage for a memorable trek, as you round the peninsula until unloading at Barrisdale Bay on the peak’s northeast end and prepare to make the ascent, making your way past the Coire Dhorrcaill circuit and beyond the subsidiary apex at Stob a Chearcaill. After a bit of scrambling and a hike that will challenge your endurance, you’ll experience a view over the surrounding area unlike any you’ve ever known, as seemingly the entire country of Scotland spills out beneath you, giving way to mystery and magic that is truly unique. Stretch your vision far to west and crane your eyes to the edge of east: you might take in the endless blue of the ocean, or perhaps the bellowing brays of Glasgow and Edinburgh in the tame Lowlands beyond. Wherever your set your gaze, you can be sure that it will be a scene of incomparable splendor and unparalleled grandeur, the inimitable scene of an afternoon in the heart of northern Scotland.

Day 8: Returning Home

Head back from Doune to the mainland at Mallaig, taking in the small and charming Minke Whales that can often be seen just off the ferry’s bow. You can take the West Highland Line back to Glasgow, getting one final bit of Scottish scenery before heading back to your home country. Your ears will be filled with the rolling Scottish brogue, your eyes with the spectacular countryside, and your heart with the charm and joy that seems to come from every corner of beautiful bountiful Scotland.


Starting Price 

This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.