Scottish Harp Journey
with Sunita
13 days • 12 nights

2022
24th May-5th June • • 7th-19th June
2023

6th -18th June

Edinburgh • Loch Lomond • Loch Ness • Caithness • Orkney
• Shetland • Aberdeen • Cairngorms • Highlands •

Fully refundable if cancelled due to Covid-19

Full itinerary

Join Sunita for a trip of a lifetime and meet some of her friends - wonderful harpists, harp builders, musicians and family on a deeply personal tour.

Sunita's husband Fred was born in Scotland and participates in the tour. The couple are now renovating the Hamars, their historic home in Shetland which you will see on the tour.

You’ll also meet local harp players and other musicians, participate in harp sessions, and attend performances throughout the tour, in addition to visiting historical sites.

Small Group  Meet Local Harpists* Exquisite Accommodations
Visit Harp Builder   Workshops  Concerts  Culture  Guided Tours Ceilidhs
Traditional Music Events Historical Sites Nature Walks

* This tour is open for harpists and non-harpists. Tell your friends. Discount for couples, friends, spouses and partners sharing the same room.

Day 1 - Edinburgh

You'll arrive at Edinburgh airport and take tram, bus or taxi to the Kimpton Hotel in Central Edinburgh.

The tram and bus stops are just a few blocks away.  There is no organised activities on this day, but you can use the time to get over jet lag and explore Edinburgh a bit on your own.
Overnight, 
Kimpton Hotel, Edinburgh

Day 2 - Edinburgh

In the morning Sunita will meet everyone at breakfast, after which she'll go over the itinerary in detail and answer any lingering questions. Then there will be a couple of hours of free time and lunch on your own.

In the afternoon there will be an excursion to 
Alison Kinnaird's studio in the historic village of Temple near Edinburgh. Alison has been an inspiration to harp players all over the world, and her glass sculpture can be found in the collections of museums and collectors. We are honored that she welcomes our groups into her home and studio.

In the evening there will be a welcome festive dinner where you get to meet some of Sunita's husband's Scottish family.
Dinner at the hotel
Overnight, Kimpton Hotel Edinburgh

Day 3 - Edinburgh

Registration

The day will be divided between taking harp classes with Patsy Seddon, exploring the Old Town with our local tour guide Helen Ord, and meeting many local harpists.

Patsy has been at the forefront of the Scottish Harp (Clàrsach) for over forty years.  One of Scotland’s most innovative harp players and singers in both Gaelic and English, she is known for her performances with the duo Sileas, the group The Poozies and other ensembles including Clan Alba. Her classes will be tailored to the performance levels of the participants in the tour.

We will also take time to walk the streets of the Old Town, viewing Edinburgh Castle, the High Street and surrounding areas. You’ll love the narrow winding streets and ancient stone buildings, many dating back to the early middle ages and beyond.

After dinner there will be a meeting and session with members of the Edinburgh Clarsach Society, led by Scottish harp legend, 
Isobel Meiras. You'll meet a wide variety of harp players, students and teachers, who form the core of the harp community in the region.
Dinner and Overnight
in the 
Kimpton Hotel, Edinburgh 

Day 4 - Loch Lomond - Loch Ness

We will visit the famous 'Kelpies' en route to Loch Lomond. The Kelpies are 30-metre-high horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies - Celtic water spirits. Then through the beautiful scenic route via the Carron Valley to Loch Lomond.

We'll visit the waterfront village of Luss for lunch and take a walk though its charming streets.

Then we’ll drive northwest into the Highlands to Glencoe - one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland, seeped in history and tragedy. We'll visit  Fort William and Loch Ness, and maybe if we're lucky we'll catch sight of the famous Loch Ness Monster.

Our accommodations are right on the Loch at the Old Pier House. Just outside Fort Augustus, the grounds ramble on for more than 100 acres with Highland cattle and ponies that graze naturally on the heather hills, fields and surrounding woodlands.

After settling in, we'll take a walk along the water to the Lock Inn for dinner at the edge of Fort Augustus. Some of you will be in the 150 year-old main house, and others will be in the log cabins.

Later in the evening there will be a special performance by 
Heather Yule, storyteller and harper. Sunita's first clarsach was made in 1988 by Heather's father, Jack Yule.
- Lunch on your own
- Dinner at Lock Inn, Fort Augustus
- Overnight in 
Old Pier House, Loch Ness

Day 5 - Loch Ness Region - Culloden

The day will be spent travelling around Loch Ness by coach, stopping at points of interest.

We will visit Culloden Moor. The Battle of Culloden became widely known around the world through the TV series 'Outlander' which highlighted the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745-1746.

The Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart were decisively defeated by loyalist troops commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. Lunch on your own in Inverness.

No tour of Scotland is complete without visiting a whiskey distillery. Our choice is the Glen Ord Distillery, just west of the Beauly Firth.

After dinner local harper Cheyenne Brown will visit and share some tunes with the group.
Dinner in Fort Augustus - Overnight in 
Old Pier House, Loch Ness

Day 6 - The North - Caithness

Today we'll drive north along Loch Ness, visit Ardival Harps in Strathpeffer, and take a look at their workshop and their medieval harps and modern clarsachs.

After lunch and a drive to the coast is the magnificent Dunrobin Castle, the family seat of the Earl of Sutherland and the Clan Sutherland.

The coach will continue past Badbea on a rugged section of the coast, site of the notorious Highland clearances of the 18th and 19th centuries.

We’ll end the day in the far northern county of Caithness where the Nordic influence is felt more than the Celts. Vikings settled this region over a millennium ago.

Olrig House, our home in Caithness for a couple of days is a grand historic mansion set in a classic estate. The house is a warren of hallways and rooms. Each bedroom is uniquely furnished and decorated, and some of you will be sharing bathrooms.
Dinner and overnight 
Olrig Guest House

Day 7 - Olrig House

Today is our driver's well deserved day off. You'll have an opportunity to sleep a little later, relax, walk the estate, or take a taxi into Thurso or other local town for some independent sightseeing.

During the morning there will be an optional 2-hour walking tour of the estate with Graham the groundskeeper and gardener. Graham's deep knowledge and articulate delivery brings to life the ancient land, and the plants, animals and trees that inhabit the forest canopy and meadows.

From 4 - 5.30pm there will be a harp workshop. Local harpists and musicians will be invited to the evening ceilidh after dinner, sharing music, stories, poetry, and communal fun.
Dinner & Overnight, Olrig Guest House

Day 8 - Orkney

After a leisurely breakfast, we'll depart midmorning and visit Scotland's most northern point - John o'Groats. We'll have a picnic lunch on board the ferry to the Orkney Isles. After debarking the ferry, there will be a driving tour to visit Skara Brae, a restored Neolithic village, and then to the The Ring of Brodgar, a large collection of monolithic standing stones in a perfect circle.

Late afternoon you'll be turned free in Kirkwall. You can walk the old town, find a nice spot for a view or a nap, or indulge yourself with shopping for some fine traditional crafts from the many small shops. Local musicians will meet us at Helgi's for a musical evening.

Late in the evening we'll take the overnight boat to the Shetland Islands. You'll have a cabin and breakfast in the boat.
Dinner at Helgi's Pub • Overnight
on the Ferry

Day 9 - Shetland

Today is your fun day in Lerwick, capitol of Shetland. After a leisurely breakfast on the ferry, We'll debark and visit Jamieson and Smith Shetland Wool Brokers for a presentation of the entire process from sheep to ball of yarn to knitted garments.

You'll have an opportunity to learn from the masters, and browse their extensive collection of yarn and finished woolen products. We'll then walk past the harbor and into the old town.

You'll be on your own for lunch and for the afternoon, to shop, wander the waterfront or old town, or just relax and take it all in. Mid-afternoon we'll drive north to check in to the 17th century Gifford Mansion known as Busta House. Now a charming owner-managed boutique hotel.

The building is reputedly the oldest continuously inhabited house in Shetland. You'll have the opportunity to walk the grounds of the estate, through a managed woodland to the waterfront and harbor.

- On your own for lunch
- Dinner and overnight at
Busta House

Day 10 - Brae Region - Shetland

After breakfast we'll meet our local guide and  drive north to view the cliffs of Eshaness. Few places in Shetland can rival Eshaness, either for scenery or historical interest.

The area boasts a wonderful range of wildlife and habitats. seals, otters, porpoises and occasionally Dolphins and whales can be seen from the cliff tops. Inland expanses of peat and heather are home to Mountain Hares, Rabbits, Polecats and a multitude of birds.

No trip to Eshaness is complete without a visit to Tangwick Haa Museum. Different aspects of regional life through the years are illustrated by using a mixture of artefacts and photographs. We'll stop for lunch at the Braewick Cafe with a spectacular view of the cliffs we have been visiting.

In the evening we'll meet local harpists before dinner.
Dinner and overnight at Busta House.

Day 11 - Unst

After breakfast we'll drive to the tiny port of Toft for the short 20-minute ferry ride to the isle of Yell where we'll visit the Shetland Gallery of local fine art, and the adjacent Global Yell, featuring an exhibit of looms and locally woven textiles.

Then off on another short 10-minute ferry ride to the Isle of Unst, the most northern island in Scotland. Lunch will be served at Victoria's Tea Room in the village of Haroldswick, right next to the 300 year-old house being restored by Sunita and her husband.

The afternoon there will be a 3 hour light 
hike to Muckle Flugga - the most northern point in Scotland. The name comes from Old Norse, Mikla Flugey, meaning "large steep-sided island". The hike is over rough heath and requires good general fitness and proper footware.

For those of you not wanting to hike, we offer a driving tour of local sights on Unst, including a restored viking boat, and a visit to the Unst Heritage Centre with its fascinating museum and exhibit of local knitting and lace.

Evening concert by Sunita and local fiddlers. The concert will benefit an island charity.
Dinner and overnight at Busta House.

Day 12 - Brae to Lerwick

We'll say goodbye to Busta House and drive down through the main island visiting several interesting sites, along with Les's banter.

Lunch will be at the village of Hoswick, a quant community on the south side of the main island. The village also is home to several shops featuring Shetland's woolen products - for those of you in need of last minute souvenirs.

A highlight of the day is the  village of Bigton with its 'tombola', a unique strip of sand that links to Saint Ninians Isle. If the weather is fine, you'll be able to walk out to the Isle.

Dinner and overnight on the ferry to Aberdeen.

Day 13 - Aberdeen - Edinburgh

After breakfast on the ferry, the group will meet up again with Helen our guide for the tour from Aberdeen through the mountains and glens to Edinburgh. Our first stop will be the Victorian village of Ballater, in the heart of Royal Deeside,  at the eastern gateway to the Cairngorms National Park.

After a stroll around the village, we will tour Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852. The drive through the Cairngorms National Park is awesome - a huge mountainous wilderness region with some of the highest peaks in Scotland.

On your own for lunch at Balmoral Castle.

On arrival in Edinburgh you'll be dropped off in the center of the city, at the transport hub convenient to trains, buses and taxis. You may want to spend a day or two exploring on your own in Edinburgh before returning home, or schedule your return flight for late evening.

What to pack? Electric questions?  
Click here for details about how to prepare for the trip.