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Exploring Two Celtic Nations: The Scots and the Manx

Scotland and the Isle of Man –
September 17-29, 2012

A Personalized, Custom Adventure designed and led by Sandy Lydon

An unhurried and thoughtful itinerary with well-located hotels and time to decompress.

Itinerary –
Depart SFO, Monday, September 17

Edinburgh (3 nights): We will spend three nights getting to know Edinburgh, the first two days with built in sightseeing, and the third day completely free. Our Edinburgh headquarters will be the Royal Terrace Hotel, a stylish upscale hotel tucked into a lovely century-old building. The hotel is extremely well-located, on a quiet, tree lined street with views of the Firth of Forth, and a short five minute walk from the city's theater district, and another five to the old city core. The hotel is a wonderful place to retreat after a busy day of sightseeing.

An overview of Edinburgh looking east – note snow on the mountains.

Exterior of Royal Terrace Hotel, our home base.

Sign announcing Newtonmore, a lovely village in the Highlands.

The River Nairn, near Culloden Moor, inviting us to ramble.

Even though it is a modern city, Glasgow has that lovely old-European look.

Robert Louis Stevenson came to the Monterey Bay Region in late 1879 and left behind some of the best descriptions of that period in Monterey's History.

Douglas Bay, directly opposite the town of Douglas

The Sefton is the best hotel on the Isle of Man and a lovely mix of modern and traditional.

The Manx landscape as seen from North Barrule. We have been invited to hike up there by a local Manxman who has lived his entire life here.

The Manx Steam Railway runs on a set timetable every day, carrying commuters and visitors. It has been running here for over a century.
Inverness (2 nights): We will then travel up into the Highlands, through Pitlochry, stopping at vistas and get an introduction to the somewhat brooding and difficult country that characterizes the Highlands. Newtonmore is really a village located in the Cairngorm National Park, with mountains rising up behind it, and rivers and lovely countryside nearby. From here we will spend one day on an expedition to the Culloden Battlefield, one of the most powerful locations in all of Scotland as well as the infrequently-visited Clava Cairns. The landscape around Culloden is wonderfully intimate, with stone walls, narrow roadways, gorse, and limestone-colored rivers.

Glasgow (1 night): We will travel from Inverness to Glasgow via the rift valley that contains two of the most famous lakes (lochs) in Scotland. Loch Ness of the infamous Nessie, and Loch Lomond the namesake of Santa Cruz's City Water Reservoir. And, above, looms Ben Lomond, yet another namesake for Santa Cruz County. We will be staying in the Glasgow Marriott, located far enough away from the somewhat raucous city center that we won't be disturbed.

The Local Connections: Immigrants from Scotland played a major role in the history and development of the Monterey Bay Region. In fact the first foreigner to settle permanently in Spanish California was a Scotsman – John Cameron Gilroy who jumped ship and settled here in 1814. Gilroy was followed by a number of Scots, including David Spence, Jack Swan, William McKee, and David Jacks, the largest landowner in 19th century Monterey County.

One of the attractions for many of the Scots who came to the region was its striking similarity to Scotland. The brooding, fog-shrouded landscape evoked the misty Scottish countryside. Perhaps the most famous of all our Scotland connections was Robert Louis Stevenson who described the Monterey Peninsula as being like "a dozen spots in Scotland." There are also a number of Scottish place names in Santa Cruz County, including Ben Lomond, Loch Lomond and Bonny Doon.

Scotland as the entree – Scotland is our entree into the Celtic realm, the place where we'll see it all rugged and sturdy. It is a big-shouldered place of mountains and deep lakes, a landscape into which the Scots literally throw themselves on their holidays.

The Isle of Man – the dessert – The Isle of Man is the treat, a sweet, human-scale island with stunning views and open space at every turn. We put the Isle of Man at the end of the itinerary because we believe that going FROM the magical island to Scotland would be jarring and discordant. In fact, we've found that going anywhere after the Isle of Man is just a bit of a let-down.

Douglas, Isle of Man (4 nights) – We have scheduled our longest stay in Douglas because there is just so very much to do on the island. We have selected the Sefton Hotel, the island's best, a lovely property inside a century-old building facing the Strand and the Irish Sea. The Sefton is located a block from Douglas' main shopping district and museums are close by. The island is crisscrossed with historic transportation, most notably the Manx Steam Train, and the electric train that enables one to travel all along the eastern coast of the island. A Heritage Pass that permits unlimited riding on the historic trains as well as giving admission to many Manx Heritage sites and museums is included in the price of the tour. We believe that the Manx museums, and Castle Rushen are some of the finest interpretive institutions in the world. We have many friends on the Isle of Man, and they are all eager to show you those special places of which they are so understandably proud.

Rambling and Roving - The Scots and the Manx are inveterate hikers, and those of our group interested in doing some hiking will have opportunities to do so, particularly on the Isle of Man.

London (1 night) – It is difficult to fly from Douglas to San Francisco in one day. So, we have scheduled an overnight in London, in the Thistle Marble Arch hotel, located very near Victoria Station. We have had our groups stay here before, and the location is great for dashing off and seeing a bit of London as time allows. We would also recommend that you give serious consideration to extending your trip and staying longer in London, or using the city as a springboard off into other parts of Europe.

Price: $5,245 per person, double occupancy
(+additional fuel surcharges and airport taxes of $621 due at final billing)
Single Supplement - $700

Deposit: $1,000 per person

Note: Deposit must be made by check. Make check out to Pacific Harbor Travel.
Remainder of trip can be paid by credit card.

Note: Wendy Simon (or your own travel agent) can make arrangements for you to extend your stay in London, or travel elsewhere in Europe. Price will be reduced if you choose to travel separately from the group, using frequent flyer miles, etc.

Application: Deposit must be accompanied by a completed application. (Applications for recent Lydon trips since 2000 are limited to an updated personal data form.)

Click here to download application:

Pre-Trip Sessions: There will be three required pre-trip sessions for all participants living less than 150 miles from Aptos. Sunday afternoons. Topics include histories of the Scots and the Manx, culture, along with travel details, staying healthy, local money, and Ann Lydon's amazing packing demonstration.
June 10
July 29
September 2

Air fare from SFO to Edinburgh, Coach Class
Air fare from Glasgow to Douglas, Coach Class
Air fare from Douglas to London. Coach Class
Air fare from London to SFO, Coach Class
Sightseeing and guided tours in Scotland
Special, personal and unique guided tours on the Isle of Man
All arrival and departure transfers, baggage handling and tips to porters.
Deluxe hotel accommodations based on double occupancy.
Single rooms available at a supplement of $700
All breakfasts and three dinners
Three pre-trip instruction sessions, including history of Scotland and the Isle of Man, history of Scottish and Manx immigrants in the Monterey Bay Region
Instructional materials and newsletters
Gratuities to tour guides and bus drivers.
National Heritage Explorer Pass on Isle of Man
Personally escorted by Sandy Lydon with instruction and discussion throughout the trip.

Items of a personal nature, optional sightseeing, telephone, fax, computer charges,
room service, laundry, shopping, etc.
Travel Insurance – highly recommended - $225/person.
Single supplement of $700, whether by choice or circumstance of the group's final number
Final fuel surcharge, airport fees, security fees – currently estimated at $621
Baggage fees imposed by airlines
Transportation from home to airport and return.
Optional Excursions and entrance fees
Items not listed in the Included section.

Age limitations: We do not accept group members under the age of 21.

Scotland and the Isle of Man – in late September – The weather can always be changeable in this part of the world, but the hordes of visitors will be gone. A good chance of autumn colors to decorate the already stunning countryside of both places.

Questions and Answers:

For further information – e-mail: salydon@aol.com

Travel Arrangements by
Insight Vacations through Wendy Simon,
Pacific Harbor Travel, Santa Cruz.

519 Seabright Ave., Suite 201,
Santa Cruz, CA 95062.