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This is a fantastic tour. Our guide for the first 5 days, Jim Donovan, was possibly the best tour guide we have ever had. He took us to both good tourist sites and off-the-beaten track places that were very interesting, and had creative ways for us to enjoy these sites, such as walking the spiral maze backward at the magical Faerie Glen on Skye, or taking us to supermarket where we could pick up picnic foods and then taking us to a short hike to a waterfall where we had our picnic, or having us pick up stones with intention and then bring them to a roadside stop where we could add to an incredible number of cairns that were started to mark a spot where someone had died.
Those of us who signed up for the whole 7 days went off for the last two days to the Orkneys, with a different guide who was also quite good. The pre-historic sites on the main Orkney island are breathtaking, absolutely not to be missed. I had expected the Italian chapel built by WWII prisoners to be hokey, but it was amazing. In Kirkwall my wife and I wandered into a very nice little history/archeology museum with very nice gardens.
The only disappointment on the whole tour was the Jacobite steam train, which was not that special, other than a brief view of a great trestle bridge as we went over it, and a chance to see the steam locomotive. It turned out to be a hot day unusual for Scotland! and there was little air circulation on the train so we were glad when we could get off. Everything else on the tour was so good that this was only a blip.
We chose to stay at guest houses. All of these were pleasant and comfortable, and had good breakfasts. At one, the Rainbow View in the town of Kyleakin on Skye, our breakfasts were truly memorable-- delicious and artistic.
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