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The Hebridean Explorer

Inverness, United Kingdom
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About The Hebridean Explorer
Private Tours around the Scottish Highlands and Hebrides with a local Highland guide. Explore stunning views, dramatic landscapes, ancient and medieval history, Scots Gaelic culture and Highland traditions. John Alasdair Macdonald, is a native of the Outer Hebrides and was raised in a Scots Gaelic speaking family. Getting "off the beaten track" and discovering the best of the region is always our aim on all our Highland and Hebridean tours.
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The Hebridean Explorer
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deb r wrote a review Feb 2020
1 contribution1 helpful vote
All of the wonderful reviews are true. John MacDonald has a terrific passion for his homeland that he shares minute by minute with every glorious twist in the road. Our bucket list adventure was possible only because of John's deep knowledge of the place and beyond-belief good humor. My husband was just recovering from a difficult illness when we contacted him. Recognizing that 4 days in a car with 2 strangers and some unusual symptoms is not always a formula for travel success, I expected he would decline the tour. Instead, he immediately jumped in, planning, re-planning and re-routing our last minute trip to reflect not only our particular interests, but also limited September lodging options, new medical realities and my own travel planning fatigue. On the road, he made adjustments to the itinerary as he got to know us better. John made us both welcome. Our best decision was to simply accept his travel advice, relax in the car and his company, to experience this remarkable place through his fond eyes. He'll tell what is worth seeing (or eating or experiencing) and what is not worth the bother. (BTW, listen to his suggestions; he's always right). Better still, he is so organized that you won't realize until the very last day how driven he is to keeping your trip on track...he knows each castle schedule, ferry stop and sheep-track toilet in the Outer Hebrides. His Honda Civic seems to hold all that you might need: umbrellas and sweaters, small change for the lavs, towels, water bottles, towels, dry socks. Even now, 4 months after our return, its hard to express how special this Highland road trip was and how glad we are that John agreed to share it with us. We still think of him and smile. Maybe we will back to see him again, soon.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Debra K wrote a review Jan 2020
1 contribution
Our three day tour with John was by far the highlight of our two-week trip to Scotland this past September. From the moment he picked us up in Inverness to the drop off three days later, John went out of his way to show us the best of the Scottish highlands, including places we would not have seen on other tours. He personalized our tour to include a trip to MacRae related sites when he learned of my ancestral ties, and also fit it a trip to Culloden, which had not been part of the original plan, and which we might otherwise not have had time to visit on our own. Every day was a delight! John willingly shared his vast knowledge of Scottish history, carefully checking in to make sure we wanted to hear the details. Of course we did! We could easily have spent our entire 2 weeks with John and plan to engage him again someday when we return to one of the most awesomely beautiful places in the world!
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Mary Kay O wrote a review Jan 2020
10 contributions1 helpful vote
We just completed John Macdonald’s one-day Highland Explorer tour, and agree with the other excellent reviews. He was prompt, flexible, considerate, and a fountain of knowledge about the local area and its history. He was also a great driver, and we appreciated not having to drive on the other side of the road in unfamiliar territory. I would not hesitate to book another tour with him.
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Date of experience: January 2020
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RevNewton wrote a review Dec 2019
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It's hard to put into words what John brings to his tours. He is deeply connected to the area and its history and it comes across during his detailed descriptions of everything you see. Our time with him was easily the highlight of our trip and I can not wait to get back to Scotland. I recommend John 100% and I can guarantee you will enjoy any time spent with The Hebridean Explorer.
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Date of experience: December 2019
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Ccoss wrote a review Dec 2019
Aurora, Ohio27 contributions9 helpful votes
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This was our third tour with John and we are already planning our fourth - he’s that good! In fact, as others have noted, he is simply the best. We can’t imagine exploring Scotland without him. On this most recent trip, we spent 3 days touring in late November with John through the Highlands, Applecross Peninsula, Rannoch Moor and Glencoe and he exceeded our expectations yet again. He closely watched the weather and scheduled our chosen tour locations to best maximize the weather, visiting Applecross and Glencoe on the better weather days while leaving the day with the most indoor sights for the day when rain was forecast. He also took us to several off the beaten track spots that we would not have found on our own. I love to take pictures and he knows all the best photo spots. We echo the professionalism, punctuality, attention to detail and flexibility comments of others. But what really sets John apart for us are his keen knowledge of Scottish history (he is a part time PhD student) which he so enthusiastically shares and the fact that he is such a nice guy who goes out of his way to make sure that you enjoy the tour. Among many examples, he adjusted our start time on the second day so that he would be able to stop at a pharmacy at the start of the tour so that I could pick up Dramamine if needed. Touring with him feels like touring with a long-time friend. As others have noted, the conversations in the car are wonderfully engaging and add to the overall tour experience. All 3 of our tours with John (Isle of Skye, Orkney, and this most recent tour) have been the highlight of our time in Scotland and he is the reason we keep coming back to Scotland!
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Date of experience: November 2019
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