Tours are usually exclusive, but occasionally people offer to share their tour. If a tour is open under this scheme details will be shown in green below.
This tour visits the sites beloved by readers of “Winter Solstice”. The tour content has also been agreed by Rosamunde Pilcher. These places are strung together in broadly the right order for visitors to enjoy remembering and rediscovering the story that Rosamunde Pilcher so magically created.
This review is specifically about this tour if you would like an independent view.
It is also, however, a tour that can be very much enjoyed even by people who have never opened the book. This is because it offers much of the very best of the scenery, history and wildlife of the Scottish Highlands, incorporating visits to Castles, Cathedral, and the pretty little towns of the east coast.
Begin by travelling north from Inverness, as Elfrida and Oscar did. The town where the characters purchased essential supplies, and also bought most of their thoughtful Christmas gifts was Kingsferry (Tain). We will call in at this, the oldest Royal Burgh in Scotland (1066) on our way. You will enjoy some free time here, to either wander around the shops, or if you prefer, you may visit the characterful Collegiate Church dating from around 1400.
Oscar and Elfrida had to go to Corrydale next. Corrydale is based upon the luxury hotel to the stars – Skibo Castle, where Guy Ritchie and Madonna were married, and sadly not now open to the public.
From here we travel on past Creagan (Dornoch). One extra option that is highly recommended while travelling north is Dunrobin Castle. This huge Chateau-style castle is the home of the Earls of Sutherland, and one of the Great Houses of the North. The entry fee for the castle also covers a stunning falconry display in the grounds at 11.30am. Morning Coffee can also be taken within the castle.
Next on the agenda is Buckly (Brora), home to McTaggart’s (Hunter’s) Mills. It was here that Sam Howard was busily employed, trying to bring the mills back to life after their disastrous flooding.
On the return journey south we will take the route taken by Sam and Carrie – the narrow back road by Loch Fhada (Loch Fleet). You will have the chance to see the birds and waders, the seals, the small hamlet of Littleferry, and the ancient crumbling castle of Skelbo. This will finally bring us to the culmination of our tour; the very pretty town of Creagan (Dornoch) where our characters settled into the Estate House and had many adventures.
The old castle of Dornoch, first a Bishop’s Palace and now a comfortable hotel, is an excellent venue for lunch. Carrie and Lucy came to the Creagan Estate House later, and like them you will have free time to have a walk, see the town, the shops, and the beach and Golf Course. The photograph below shows a contender for Creagan House.
The last chapter in Winter Solstice saw Oscar becoming reconciled to the past, and playing Beethoven’s “Song of Joy” for Christmas in Creagan’s church [Dornoch Cathedral]. Our last chapter will be similar. We will visit the Cathedral – a magnificent building erected in 1224 by Gilbert de Moravia. We will see the organ which Oscar played. This was also the organ in which police found paparazzi hiding prior to the christening of Guy and Madonna’s son Rocco.
As we have come to the end of Rosamunde’s story, we turn and head south for Inverness, with a tale well told and a tour complete.
|1.30pm||Dornoch for Lunch|
|2.30pm||Free time in Dornoch|
Price: £325 for up to seven passengers. NOTE THAT THIS TOUR IS ONLY CONDUCTED BY HUGH SO PLEASE CHECK THE AVAILABLE DATES TO ENSURE HUGH'S ARE CLEAR BEFORE BOOKING.