Lochs and Links

Travel Partner: Dream Escape

Duration | 11 Days

Destination | Scotland

Starting Price | UK 17,416 ($24,780 USD)


Two icons of Scotland – golf and whisky – are impeccably combined in this incredible journey.J ames Braid is a name that needs little introduction to golfing enthusiasts. He was a leading golfer of his generation and winner of The Open Championship on no less than five occasions. Following this success, he went on to model and design golf courses; it is said that there over 200 courses in Scotland that bear his hallmark.

Beginning amidst the spectacular scenery of the Scottish Highlands, the journey will take you to some of Braids courses and to iconic distilleries, as well as incorporating specially arranged private experiences. Long after the trip has ended, you will be sure to enjoy a greater appreciation of the great game and the essence of Scotland.

Day 1: Nairn

Overnight – Sandown House

On arrival at Inverness Airport you will be met and welcomed by your local chauffeur-guide who will provide a safe and comfortable journey to your first accommodation. Spend the afternoon at leisure, resting and relaxing following your international flight.

Day 2: Nairn

Overnight – Sandown House

The day commences with a round of golf at Nairn. Nestling on the shores of the Moray Firth, it is said to test the talents of professionals and amateurs alike. Founded in 1887, it is now one of the best courses in Scotland, and has hosted many important championships. The course is a combination of the work of Andrew Simpson, Old Tom Morris, Ben Sayers, and James Braid. Required Handicap: 28 (M) & 36 (L).

To follow, sit back and relax as you explore Loch Ness, Scotland’s most famous stretch of water, in true style. Step aboard a luxury motor cruiser which, with a capacity for just ten guests, would be reserved exclusively for your use. The loch’s cold, deep waters are said to be home to the Loch Ness Monster, affectionately known as Nessie. It is said that the first sighting of the monster was in the 6th century by St. Columba, and sporadic sightings have been reported ever since.

Delicious platters of Scottish delicacies are served as you sit back and admire the spectacular scenery, including the brooding ruins of Urquhart Castle, which date back to the 13th century. Once one of Scotland’s mightiest strongholds, the castle boasts a history as fascinating as it is bloody.

Day 3: Aberlour

Overnight – Cardhu Country House

Whisky has been lovingly crafted in Scotland for centuries. As a result, it is a paradise for connoisseurs of the country’s national drink. Playing host to over half of the distilleries in Scotland, there can be no better place to explore than Speyside. Whiskies from this region are typically the sweetest of all Scotch Whisky Malts and many of the most popular single malts are produced here. Despite similarities in style, each has its own heritage, quirks, and secrets. Paying a visit to a distillery allows you to discover more about the passionate people who shape the taste of your favourite whiskies. A very special visit is arranged to complete the day.

Head to Speyside Cooperage which has been home of the ancient art of coopering since 1947. Here you will embark upon a private tour led by an experienced former Cooper. The experience will give you the opportunity to get behind the scenes and see Coopers and their apprentices make and repair casks against the clock. The visit concludes with a dram of 10 year old single malt whisky, produced in the Cooperage itself.

Day 4: Perthshire

Overnight – Gleneagles Hotel

Travel south, watching the stunning Highland scenery change as you pass. Nestled at the foothills of the Highlands is Scotland’s oldest working distillery, which dates back to 1775. It is home to Glenturret, a popular malt, in addition to one of the world’s most popular blends and reputedly the best-selling whisky in Scotland: The Famous Grouse. It was first made in 1896, following a royal banquet with Queen Victoria in attendance, and is a blend of two single malt whiskies; Highland Park and the Macallan. The bottles are highly distinctive, emblazoned with a Red Grouse. Enjoy a private guided tour of the distillery. As you depart, a personalised single cask edition will be presented as a keepsake. Selected by the Distillery Master Whisky Maker, these exceptional casks are rare; the bottles are only available via the Distillery.

Day 5: Perthshire

Overnight – Gleneagles Hotel

Choose to play one of James Braid’s two parkland masterpieces at Gleneagles, voted “Best Golf Resort in the World” by Telegraph’s luxury travel magazine, for an unprecedented sixth successive year, the latest in a long list of awards and accolades. Recently the Queen’s Course has seen an extensive development, restoring it to its original glory. Relaunched, it tests different skills and offers golfers a more traditional playing experience to the pristine and defined PGA Centenary Course.

The King’s has tested the aristocracy of golf for decades and is considered one of the most beautiful and exhilarating places to play golf in the world. Sweeping views towards hills and mountains add to the unforgettable experience of playing this masterpiece; Lee Trevino said of the course: “If heaven is as good as this, I sure hope they have some tee times left”.

At the end of the day, retreat to The Blue Bar. Complete with leather sofas, plush throws and a large circular fire pit, it is the ideal al-fresco venue to indulge in some whisky and a Cuban cigar. Here, discover the art of whisky blending, and have a go at creating your own blend with a private masterclass. During the experience, learn how to identify and savour complementary flavours and blend your very own whisky to take home

Day 6: Perthshire

Overnight – Gleneagles Hotel

Travel to the east coast to play the Championship Course at Carnoustie Golf Links. Required Handicap: 28(M) & 36(F). Although the course wasn’t originally designed by James Braid, it was his re-design in 1926 that brought it up to Open Championship standard. With the great game having been played at Carnoustie since the early 16th century, there can be no better place to test your golfing prowess.

The course has a fearsome reputation amongst amateurs and professionals alike; as Sir Michael Bonallack put it, “When the wind is blowing, it is the toughest golf course in Britain. And when it’s not blowing, it’s probably still the toughest.”

Day 7: Perthshire

Overnight – Gleneagles Hotel

Enjoy a day trip to St Andrews, which has its place firmly in the history books as being the home of golf. Play a round on one of its eight magnificent courses. Perhaps play the New Course; often regarded as the oldest “new” course in the world, it was built in 1895 by the legendary Old Tom Morris. It is said to be St Andrew’s best kept secret; the course is a classic links with undulating fairways and delightfully challenging greens.

Alternatively, you may prefer to reserve a tee time on the Jubilee Course, named in honour of Queen Victoria who celebrated her Diamond Jubilee on its opening date. Situated alongside the New Course, the raised tees on the course offer stunning views across St Andrews Bay to the east. It is widely regarded to be the most challenging and the toughest of the courses in St Andrews – full of variety and character to compete with its more well-known neighbours.

Following a leisurely lunch, enjoy a privately guided walk on the famed fairways of the Old Course. Commonly known as The Old Lady, it is one of the world’s greatest courses. Your walk will let you encounter iconic landmarks and an unparalleled insight to its history. It has played host to 29 Opens and has a habit of throwing up winners who are the best of their generation. Before returning to Gleneagles, take time to browse the Tom Morris Store. Opened by

Day 8: Edinburgh

Overnight – Waldorf Astoria – The Caledonian

The Kingdom of Fife is known as the ancestral home of Scottish monarchs and as such has always been at the heart of the nation’s history. Here, enjoy an incredibly special visit to Lindores Abbey Distillery, the spiritual home of Scotch whisky since 1494. The earliest written reference to Scotch whisky, which was then known as Aqua Vitae, named Friar John Cor, a Lindores monk, as having been commissioned by King James IV to turn 8 bolls of malt into whisky. This would have been enough to make about 400 bottles of today’s whisky!

Following a 500-year break, single malt distillation is occurring once again on this historic site under the watch of Drew McKenzieSmith, whose family have owned the 12th Century abbey and neighbouring farm for more than 100 years.

Drew will take you on a privately guided tour of the distillery, giving you a personal insight to the history of the sight, as well as the decades of planning behind the revival of the distillery.

Day 9: Edinburgh

Overnight – Waldorf Astoria – The Caledonian

Spend the day exploring Edinburgh. Sometimes referred to as the “Athens of the North”, it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It has two distinct areas; the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress, and the neo-classical New Town, dating from the 18th century. The harmonious connection of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character and what saw it be awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 1995.

A local guide will be on hand to ensure that you experience the very best day possible.One of the best things about Scotland is that no matter where you find yourself, a castle is never far away. As integral to the Scottish landscape as its pristine lochs and lofty mountains, the country’s castles rank amongst the most iconic in the world.

Edinburgh Castle positioned on top of the volcanic mound, Castle Rock dominates the skyline and is one of the country’s best visits. As you might expect, this iconic fortress has had a lively history to say the least. It’s been marked by violence, political and religious intrigue, and the rise and fall of monarchs. Learn of the battles fought and the struggles for control of the nation.

Day 10: Edinburgh

Overnight – Waldorf Astoria – The Caledonian

Travel east to North Berwick to play The West Links at North Berwick Golf Club. Handicap required: 24(M) & 36(L). The course is an Open qualifying venue and one of the best and most scenic links courses in Scotland, offering views over the Isle of May, the islands of Fidra and Craigleith, the Bass Rock and across the Forth to Fife.

The course is sprinkled with top-notch holes and rewards strategy and guile. It starts and finishes at the clubhouse within the town, having wound its way along the Firth of Forth. There are stunning views over white sandy beaches, islands and across to the hills of the East Neuk of Fife.

The day continues with a visit to Glenkinchie Distillery. Your guide will take you around the distillery on a privately guided tour, allowing you to discover how “The Edinburgh Malt” is made. To follow, retire to the bar for a complimentary tasting of the Glenkinchie Single Malt.

Day 11: Edinburgh

Your chauffeur-guide will provide a safe and comfortable journey to Edinburgh Airport where you will board your flight for onward travel.

Prices are per person, based on two people sharing. Room categories, dates of travel and changes to services will affect the price. Dollar conversions shown (if applicable) will fluctuate throughout the year. Contact the Andrew Harper Travel Office to customize this itinerary to fit your needs.

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