I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Scotland since the early nineties when a yearlong Fulbright teaching exchange took me there and ignited a passionate and insatiable curiosity about the world. A few years ago I was back in Scotland for the Adventure Travel World Summit and met Irene Lane, owner and founder of Greenloons, an ecotourism tour company.

Today, I’m excited to partner with Greenloons on a fun new Facebook campaign in which we giveaway one of my Scotland landscape photographs as a free, downloadable screensaver. I invite you to join the fun. It’s free and easy. Click here to get started today

If you’re ready to launch your own Scotland adventure, here are three eco-friendly trips—a Highland safari, family adventure and Scottish train experience—from Greenloons to get you there…

Why go:

Whether you want to discover your ancestral roots or participate in a hiking, cycling or wildlife festival, 2014 is the year to visit Scotland. Focused on the great outdoors plus the cultural heritage of these fun-loving people, each trip takes in a range of activities and coincides with one of the local Homecoming Scotland 2014 festival events.

“These select journeys offer opportunities for travelers to gain instruction about indigenous wildlife and local folklore, participate in cycling, hiking and cooking activities, stay at distinctive lodgings, and immerse themselves in the local culture.” says Irene Lane, founder/owner of Greenloons. “We are proud to showcase the beauty, mystery and fun of Scotland.”

What to expect:

Scottish Highlands Safari Getaway that will have you walking and cycling your way through the Highlands by day, and relaxing in an authentic castle, replete with all modern conveniences and services by night.    

Highlands Family Adventure that includes activities such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing and wildlife watching. You will visit world famous attractions, such as Loch Ness, historic Urquhart Castle, the Glenlivet Distillery and Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve and be treated to a family-friendly twist as you’ll be taken for a kilt fitting, a visit to a whisky emporium, served up a Burns Supper and have a fun day out at the Highland Games.  

The special charms of a Scottish Train Experience provides you with distant views of tremendous cliffs and ancient castles, of empty moorland and misty peaks, of lochs and glens that give way to isolated beaches of white sand and dreamy vistas over the Hebridean islands (pictured above), or to a picturesque fishing village. You’ll learn about the achievements of pioneering engineers, such as the world-famous Forth Railway Bridge and the bold viaducts of the West Highland Line as well as be provided an insider’s guide to the best hiking and canoeing trails, shopping, swimming and culinary delights.       

Rates and dates:

Scotland Highlands Safari

A perfect complement to visiting Edinburgh and with flexible departures offered from April through October 2014, the Scottish Highlands Safari starts at $ 550 per person double and includes accommodations, Scottish breakfasts, one picnic lunch, activities and cycle hire. Not included is international or domestic airfare or train tickets to Pitlochry.

Highlands Family Adventure

This family holiday, which offers the best of Scotland’s fun filled activities with a family twist, offers flexible departures from April through September 2014.  The Highlands Family Adventure starts at $1,295 per person double and includes full board accommodation, entry fees for the Highland Games and other attractions, cycle hire, domestic transfers and transport, and local guides. Not included is international or domestic airfare or train tickets to Aviemore.

Scotland Railway Adventure

This most comfortable and flexible journey by train is offered weekly from April through October 2014.  The Scottish Train Experience starts at $1,750 per person double and includes 8 nights in three or four star boutique hotel rooms, 8 full Scottish breakfasts, 7 three-course dinners, all train, ferry and bus journeys in the itinerary, Edinburgh City Tour and airport transfers by bus.  Not included is international airfare.

Ready to go?

These resources & companies make it easy:

Discover country highlights, things to do, travel tips, image galleries, and more at VisitScotland.com.

For 2014 season information, tours, availability and reservations, visit http://greenloons.com/green-vacation-collection

Read Irene’s blog post about her active, yet restful, sojourn through the Scottish Highlands.

What is Ecotourism?

About Greenloons:

Greenloons (http://greenloons.com), is a premier ecotourism resource dedicated to inspiring people to think different, be different and travel different – in ways that help to ensure a more sustainable planet. In addition to being a recipient of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime, Greenloons is an advocate of social empowerment, financial viability, and environmental preservation connecting mindful travelers with unique and eco-certified travel experiences all over the world.  Explorers choose from a carefully curated collection of green travel experiences that spotlight cultural immersion, adventure, nature & wildlife conservation and culinary discovery. 

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".