Even more tours to explore

Once again it is update time. I have tried not to leave it so long this time but we have been equally as busy. This last couple of weeks we have done a little rebranding and changed the picture on all the stationary. We have also added a few new exciting tours to our range as we have learnt more about our guests.


So lets start with talking about the new stationary. Trying to get the new leaflets right has probably been the toughest challenge I have had to date while I have been part of the company. I very quickly did some about a month ago using the old leaflets as a template and just changing the bits that needed doing before sending them to be printed. I was quite proud of this until they arrived a week later. The first thing we noticed was that the computer had change the world Beauly to beauty. Then we noticed that all the Eilean Donan castles where spelt incorrect due to my dyslexic brain telling me that the one that was wrong on the original leaflets was correct so I changed all the others to match… opps  so all in all we had 5000 leaflets that were rendered useless and  £300 down the drain that we would never see again. Needless to say I spent a good few hours on the next lot.

On the new leaflets we added a picture that I took of Eilean Donan castle (photography is a passion of mine) while I joined the team on tour last month. That wasn’t the only change that we made. We added a whole new evening tour in as well as changing the text to a more readable and modern style. We added little more about us and injected the teams personalty into them. The most important thing was the fact we got 3 people to proof read them before sending off for a measly 2500 but now they have arrived and look amazing!! we will be ordering some more very soon.

While we changed the picture on the leaflets we decided to order some more business cards at the same time. So I also changed the picture on them and moved the text a bit so again they look clearer and more modern. I am most defiantly very proud of the way they have turned out and hand them out any chance that I get. I’m thinking of getting some made with my name and role on them just so I can hand them out at meetings and look important hehe.

I am very excited to inform you that the first of our two vans will be getting sign written this Thursday. I can’t wait to see how the new design turns out. Once again we have decided on a modern look with the new picture we have changes the rest of the stationary to. We have also included the symbols for all the social media platforms that we use, Facebook, Instagram (my favourite) and Twitter. We have also started a new website which is tourhighlands.co.uk that one Is marks baby that he has built from the blank screen up. I have to admit he has done a cracking job, that reminds me I need to add a blog on there too….


New Tours

We started the expansion with the plan of making things simple and only use the tours that have proven to be popular in the past 4 years that Wendy has run the company and tours her self. However as, many businesses do we have changed our plans and business model as we go along. We now have a total of 5 tours and have 2 more in development. We started with just the 2 Isle of Skye tours which have been popular for many years. However we have discovered that more companies have now cottoned on to this and have set them as their main tours. So even though we offer extras that they don’t, the picnic lunch for instance, we don’t like to be the same as others. Which means we have expanded even further and added tours that suite different people. At the end of the day its our guests holiday and we want to be the highlight that they remember when they go home.

So our tours we now offer;

  • Isle of Skye, Kilt Rock – 9 hours and lunch included
  • Isle of Skye, Fairy Pools – 9 hours and lunch included
  • Local evening Tour – 3 hours
  • Ship Excursion – 6 hours
  • Walking/Hikeing – 6 hours and lunch included

We have tried to accommodate for everyones individual tastes so now we have tours that involve a lot of walking and ones that focus more on the history of the highlands. Mark has taken on the walking tours as he loves to be in the outdoors. Wendy is a much better story teller when it comes to the history side of things. We do still have Eddie as part of the team but he has taken a little step back due to other commitments so he mainly takes on the role of the evening tours.

Mark and Wendy took Bella the company’s mascot and our middle child, Faye 6, to explore the walking tour of Plodda falls and Dog falls. They had such a good day discovering the paths with the waterfalls and steams. We always test our routes to make sure they are suitable for people of all ages and abilities and Bella always loves an adventure.

As I said we have 2 new tour routes in development at the moment so make sure you stay tuned to find out what the exciting new routes area and what adventures we go on along the way.

Thank You as always for reading

Mary Craven  

New Album of Lochness Photos

Lochness today was so pretty, with the sun shinning I decided to go and take some new photos with the new camera.  Lochness was really at her best, such clear blue water with the reflection of the deep blue sky.  We also stopped and took some pictures at the Caledonian canal, something I haven’t done yet, it was lovely to see a barge on it, I haven’t seen a barge for years. i

Lochness from Dores beach

Lochness from Dores beach




Lochness Dores beach


Dores beach


original hand made nessie


Urquhart Castle from Foyers side


The Inn at Whitechapel


The craft shop, Invermoriston


Urquhart Castle


Caledonian Canal


Caledonian Canal


Yellow submerine at Dromnodrochit used to search Lochness in past times


Another boat used on Lochness

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Oban, Lochness and Skye

What a busy week its been, first a trip to Oban, then a tour all round Lochness and today Isle of Skye

Oban was a washout, I was so looking forward to it and posting some wonderful pictures but it rained so hard I used my camera once all day.  I somehow got lost coming home after dropping the guests off the other side of Oban and ended up 63 miles from Glasgow.  With the weather being as it was I decided not to visit Loch lLomond lol and drove home through the stunning Glencoe, unfortunately unable to see a thing because the rain was so hard.  I will just have to make another day to go and get pictures.  The scenery is stunning and wonderful to see.

The next tour was from Invergordon to Lochness, taking in Urquhart castle and Foyers Falls. We had a reasonable day but again rain spoiled the pictures a little, it didn’t stop us though and we enjoyed a lovely time together.

Today it was another shore excursion from invergordon, this time we went further afield to the Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan castle and Loch Carron.  just to name a few of the places we visited.  We turned back at the old man of Storr to allow time to return to the ship.   We had a great time Sunshine and a few showers but it only rained while we drove and the sun shone when we stopped.  Everyone had a great time and we got back to the ship an hour ahead of schedule having missed out nothing.

Karen wanted to follow in her fathers footsteps

Karen wanted to follow in her fathers footsteps

Lochness shore excursion

Wonderful Week on Isle of Skye

I seem to get less and less time to write my blog, not really very good at blogs anyway lol.  This week we have been busy, heading off to the Isle of Skye.  The weather has been at its best.  It was too hot even for the Midges.  The heather is in bloom!! and so is the thistle so we have a sway of purple all over the mountains and glens.  Purple being the colour of royalty of course, it makes us glad to see it and it makes the mountains and glens look so special.  Eilean Donan castle has been her usual majestic self, always a favourite with guests and Kilt rock has been so busy we had trouble parking just to see it.  It is always wonderful to see so many people enjoying the Highlands and Islands.  I like to save the best until last, so we have a view of the highlands from the Loch Carron road and then Loch Carron itself.

pub lunch at Carboost, Isle of Skye, near talisker distillery

pub lunch at Carboost, Isle of Skye, near talisker distillery


Talisker Distillery at Carboost Isle of Skye

Talisker Distillery at Carboost Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye Heather

Isle of Skye Heather

Cuillins Isle of Skye

Cuillins Isle of Skye

on tour Isle of Skye happy guests are always a pleasure

on tour Isle of Skye happy guests are always a pleasure

on the Loch Carron road this lamb raced to the car

Feeding the Lambs

Thistle at old man of Storr

Scottish Thistle, just below the old man of Storr, Isle of Skye

This is me, just in case you wondered what I looked like. taken at Loch Carron

This is me, just in case you wondered what I looked like. taken at Loch Carron

This is me, just in case you wondered what I looked like. taken on the road to  Loch Carron the guest with me is called Lucky

This is me, just in case you wondered what I looked like. taken on the road to Loch Carron, the guest with me is called Lucky.

Lucky and her husband celebrating their 7th wedding anniversary on the Road to Loch Carron

Lucky and her husband celebrating their 7th wedding anniversary on the Road to Loch Carron

Packaging photograph of Glenmorangie - The Original

Glenmorangie Distillery, Scotland

The Glenmoragnie Distillery is another of the popular destinations in our Highlands Distillery tour. The Glenmorangie distillery produces a range of very well known (and loved) Single Malt Whiskys – at the time of writing 12 different variations ranging from the original ten year old to a twenty-five year old. Different casks are used to subtly amend the flavors of the various offerings.

Packaging photograph of Glenmorangie - The Original

Glenmorangie Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – The Original


In 1738 production of alcohol started at the Morangie farm with a brewery which used the farm’s water supply, the Tarlogie Spring. The farm was acquired in 1843 and the brewery converted to a distillery using a couple of second-hand gin stills. It was shortly after this that the distillery was named Glenmoraninie.

In 1918 The distillery was purchased by it main customer Macdonald and Muir.

Macdonald and Muir retained control of the distillery for almost ninety years until it was sold to the French company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2004. Since then the brand has been overhauled with new variants and a packaging update.

To meet demand the number of stills increased from two to four in 1977. In the eighties it was decided that the distillery’s water supply needed to be protected to ensure both quality and quantity, and, land surrounding the Tarlogie Spring was purchased. In 1990 another four stills were added. Two new fermentation vessels were built in 2002 and a further four stills were added in 2009, bringing the total to twelve. It’s surprising to learn that over all this time and with the expansion from two to twelve stills that the staff responsible for the distillery, the ‘Men of Tain’ as they are known, remains constant at just sixteen people. The ‘Sixteen Men of Tain’ are responsible for keeping the distillery operating 24×7 throughout the year, with breaks only for Christmas and essential maintenance.

In addition to Glenmoragnie the company also produces the Ardbeg single Islay malt from its distillery based on the Island of Islay.

Visiting the Glenmorangie Distillery you’ll notice a unique feature, which began with the purchase of the second-hand gin stills. The stills are the tallest in Scotland at 26ft 3in (8.00 metres) tall, with 16 ft 10.25 in (5.1372 metres) necks.

The Stills at Glenmoragnie. Photograph: Jack Shainsky

The Stills at Glenmoragnie. Photograph: Jack Shainsky

Map – Glenmoragnie Distllery, Tain, Scotland

View Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain, Scotland in a larger map

Google Street View of the Glenmorangie Distillery

View Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain, Scotland in a larger map


Glenmoranigie Distillery Website Note. You have to confirm you are over 18 years of age before you can enter the website.
Glenmorangie on Wikipedia

A photograph of the award winning 'The Singleton of Glen Ord' whisky. Photograph: Cognis PR. - www.ionahighlandtours.com

Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland

The Glen Ord Distillery is one of three distilleries we visit on our ‘Distillery Tour’. The distillery has passed through several hands since it started life in 1838. It is now owned by Diageo Distilling, which was formed when former owners Guinness merged with Grand Metropolitan in 1997.

A photograph of the award winning 'The Singleton of Glen Ord' whisky from the Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland. Photograph: Cognis PR. - www.ionahighlandtours.com

The Singleton of Glen Ord only available in Asia – or the Glen Ord Distillery visitor centre in Scotland

The distillery specializes in providing whisky for blending, and specialist brands to the Asian markets. If you are a fan of The Singleton of Glen Ord, the distillery visitor center is the only place outside of Asia where you can buy it! If you like ‘a wee dram’ you’re in luck. The £6.00 price of the guided tour of the distillery itself includes a sample (price checked August 2013).


The history of Glen Ord is entwined with Scottish lore and the MacKenzies of Ord. The Glen Ord distillery was founded in 1838 by Thomas MacKenzie. Originally called Ord, the distillery was re-named Glenoran in 1882. It finally became known as Glen Ord in 1923, when it was sold to John Dewar & Sons. Dewar’s are well-known for their blended whiskies, and still use Glen Ord whiskies in their blends to this day.

The current distillery has an annual production capacity of five million litres. Six new copper stills are being added to the distillery in 2013/2014 to double the production capacity to ten million litres a year. The remainder of the whisky, not used for creating blends, is marketed as single malts exclusively in south-east Asia and Japan.


For health & safety reasons, children under 8 years old are not permitted in the production areas of the distillery.

A full list of opening hours and prices is given on the distillery website

[dacallout type=big]Due to construction work ‘mini tours’ only are available between August 20, 2013 and November 18, 2013. Admission is reduced to £3.00. The good news is you still get a sample![/dacallout]

Map – Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland

View Glen Ord Distillery in a larger map

Google Street View of the Glen Ord Distillery, Scotland

Interestingly you can ‘drive through’ the distillery with the Google car in Street View! There are lots of signs of the impending construction to be seen.

View Glen Ord Distillery in a larger map


Dunrobin castle near Glenmorangie Distillary

Dunrobin Castle

Wow I haven’t been to Dunrobin Castle in a long time,  but off we went, we particularly wanted to see the Falconry display which was at 11.30 am  it was a bit hit and miss but we got there only five minutes late. (it was a last minute decision) What a great choice it was, the sun was out the display was wonderful, look on pinterest later for the pics.  on the Way back we stopped at my favourite out of town cafe for some home made food and banofee pie,  at Tomich.


Dunrobin castle

Day out with Fred and Lucy

Just back, what a wonderful day of discovery we had, this is today’s chosen picture, the weather was a misty and wet but when it really mattered it cleared enough for a few photographs. Thank you for a lovely day out with Fred and Lucy Read more

Eilean Donan Castle

I took this lovely picture of Eilean Donan Castle yesterday while out on the Isle of Skye tour. I do hope you all like it. It reminds me of an oil painting the way the colours catch it.

Photograph of Eilean Donan Castle - Scotland. www.ionahighlandtours.com

Eilean Donan Castle