Wool and Whisky – July 10-18 2017

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Wool & Whisky

Extended Summer Edition!  July 11-18

Registration Now Open!!!

 Wool & Whisky returns for the third year in a row, but rather than our usual September departure, we will be traveling to Scotland in July and extending the tour so that we can take the time to visit the Tomintoul Highland Games!  As usual, we will have the opportunity to learn about Gansey sweater patterns from Di Gilpin on the grounds of Kellie Castle, go on a yarn crawl to two of Edinburgh’s independent yarn shops, visit a whisky distillery and visit two historic wool mills – one producing yarn, and the other tartan cloth!  Extending our trip means that not only will we have time to visit a Highland Games Festival, we will visit a sheep farm producing its own yarn, and see a sheep dog demonstration!

Non-knitters are welcome, and will have other options during knitting specific activities, such as a visit to St. Andrews, or The Scottish Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. 

Day by Day Itinerary:

July 10 – Depart for Scotland (overnight flight)

Day 1 – Tuesday, July 11

After arriving at the Airport you will be transferred to Edinburgh to check in to the centrally located Parliament House Hotel.  That afternoon we will stroll over to National Museum of Scotland for a guided Knitting and Textile Tour and Afternoon Tea.  After tea, you will be free to explore Edinburgh.  Dinner will be on your own, if you require any!

Day 2 – Wednesday, July 12

After a fortifying breakfast, we will start the day with a walking tour of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, including Edinburgh Castle itself.   After lunch on our own, you can choose to meet up with the group for a slightly spooky and very quirky underground tour of The Real Mary King’s Close.  From there we will have a taxi transfer for our yarn crawl, including Ginger Twist, a vintage inspired yarn shop, and Kathy’s Knits, Edinburgh’s premier British Wool Specialty Shop.  Dinner will be together at Stac Polly – yes, Scotland does have fine cuisine!  Non-Knitters will have many options for exploring on their own in Edinburgh, or may request to be booked on a tour of The Scottish Whisky Experience.  Prices vary.

Day 3 – Thursday, July 13

After breakfast we will depart from Edinburgh and begin to explore the countryside.  Our first stop will be the Scottish Fisheries Museum for a guided tour of their surprisingly large collection of boats and examine some of the old gansey fisherman knit sweaters.  After fish and chips at the famous local chippie, we will head to the beautiful Kellie Castle where Di Gilpin will explain how she has been inspired by the traditional gansey patterns and incorporated them into her own modern designs.  She will then start us on our own wee project with gansey patterns. The Ardgowan Hotel in St Andrews will be our final destination, and you will be able to explore the lovely seaside town on your own in the evening.

Day 4 – Friday, July 14

Enjoy breakfast at Ardgowan Hotel before we embark on our journey to discover the dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.  We will visit Glamis Castle in the morning – a rather haunted castle that was the birthplace of The Queen Mother and looks like it belongs in a fairytale.  After lunch, we will continue on into the Highlands to reach Knockando Woolmill, which has been spinning and weaving since 1784.  They have recently restored the aging machinery and added new machines to increase production of both tartan cloth and yarn.  Special orders are still produced on the machines from the 1800’s.

Finally, we will visit Elchie’s Farm and see the Ryeland sheep used to produce their yarn.  We will end our day in Grantown-on-Spey at the Garth Hotel.  Dinner will be on your own.

Day 5 – Saturday, July 15

Today we go local and will spend most of the day at the Tomintoul Highland Games where you will have the opportunity to watch bagpiping and highland dancing competitions, as well as heavy athletics competitions such as caber tossing! 

Of course, we will start the day by fortifying ourselves with a tour and tasting of the local Uisge Beatha (water of life) at the Aberlour Distillery. After a group dinner, we will return to Grantown-on-Spey for another pleasant night at the Garth Hotel.

Day 6 – Sunday, July 16

Another lovely day in the highlands in store for you today, including a stop at another sheep farm where we will have a sheep dog demonstration, as well as a lunch stop at the open air Highland Folk Museum for a peak at life in the Highlands through time.  You may recognize their 1700’s Township from scenes in the ever popular series Outlander.  We will arrive in Pitlochry with plenty of time to enjoy the town before dining together at The Pine Trees Hotel.  In the evening, you can choose to knit together in the cozy lounge, or head down to the local pub.

Day 7 – Monday, July 17

Our final full day together will begin by heading down from the Highlands to Doune Castle – a wonderful partially restored castle ruin to explore and another famous filming location, appearing not only in Outlander, but Game of Thrones and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Then it will be on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of The Mill at New Lanark – a restored mill with a unique social history that has switched from producing cotton yarn as it did during the industrial revolution to a wonderful variety of British wool yarns.

Here we will have lunch, including their award winning ice cream before our guided tour begins.  We will end the day at The Belhaven Hotel in Glasgow’s trendy West End.  If you would like, you can walk down to Yarn Cake – a wonderful yarn café!

Day 8 – Tuesday, July 18

After breakfast at The Belhaven, you can take a relaxing stroll through The Botanic Gardens, or pop down to the center of Glasgow for those last few souvenirs. Then it is on to Glasgow International Airport for your flight home.


Wool & Whisky 2017  Total Cost: $3200.00*

*Discount of 3% when paid in full with check or bank transfer upon booking.

Optional Extras Include: Single Supplements and Custom Airfare

Optional Extensions Available:

Extensions are available for those wishing to arrive early or stay later to explore more of Scotland on their own.  Please note on the registration form if you are interested.

Included in the Package Price:

  • 2 nights accommodation in Edinburgh’s Parliament House Hotel
  • 1 night accommodation at Ardgowan Hotel in St Andrews
  • 2 nights accommodation at Garth Hotel in Grantown on Spey
  • 1 night accommodation in Pitlochry’s Pine Trees Hotel
  • 1 night accommodation in Glasgow’s Belhaven Hotel
  • 7 Breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners and 1 Afternoon Tea
  • Entrance fees
  • Knitting Workshop with Di Gilpin
  • Scotland Airport transfers and Private Mini Coach
  • International Airfare from New York or Boston
Not included in Package Price:
  • Soda, Alcoholic drinks and personal items
  • Gratuities
  • Yarn!

To register, please contract Heather Radl via email to heather@rowantreetravel.com. 

This group is limited to 16 participants to ensure a small group experience. Rowan Tree Travel has purchased a Group Protection Plan on behalf of all participants.*

*The Group Protection Plan may not apply to participants who are not US Citizens.  Please inquire for details.

Note: Small hotels in Scotland often do not have elevators – if you require a ground floor room, please note it on your registration.  Otherwise, please pack accordingly. Hotel staff are often willing to help if needed.

Rowan Tree Travel cannot be held responsible for the acts, defaults or delay of any hotel, coach, operator, airline, guide, restaurant or any other persons or companies, however caused. RTT is not responsible for losses in the event of force majour, such as natural catastrophes, strikes or other corresponding causes. We also reserve the right to alter routes due to road or weather conditions without prior notice. In the rare cases that there is a double booking or a good reason for moving the guest, we reserve the right to do so by providing similar accommodation or better in the same area.