We're thrilled to announce the next Go and Write! retreat will be held in Scotland this autumn, September 15-27. We've secured private use of Lunga House, a charming seaside castle. We'll have full use of this beautiful, ancient estate for readings, workshops, and one-on-one meetings to discuss your individual writing projects. Then we're off to the Scottish Highlands, venturing through beautiful Glencoe to Inverness, with tours of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, and sites such as the moving Culloden Battlefield and the standing stones at Clava Cairns, inspiration for author Diana Gabaldon's famous Outlander series.
We'll also visit Macbeth's Cawdor Castle and enjoy a full day tour of the incomparable Isle of Skye, then pass through the quintessential Highland villages of Pitlochry and Dunkeld and on to Edinburgh via Cairngorms National Park. We'll cross the Firth of Forth, then spend three nights in Edinburgh, where we'll take the Book Lovers Tour and Literary Pub Tour to visit the haunts of Edinburgh's literary legends, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ian Rankin, and J.K.Rowling. We'll spend time at Edinburgh Castle and take day trips to see The Kelpies and Doune Castle - a.k.a. Outlander's "Castle Leoch."
With a great balance of writing, sightseeing, and mingling with other like-minded souls, this 12-day Scottish literary adventure promises to be our best Go and Write! retreat yet. Space is limited on this retreat, and you should book by April 29 to hold your spot.
The first leg of our journey starts on September 15 with a morning coach ride from Glasgow Airport to Lochgilphead, where our Go and Write! group will have exclusive use of a charming Scottish seaside castle for 6 nights. Originally built in the 1500s, Lunga House is located in a remote area on the west coast and enjoys spectacular sea views stretching across to the Isle of Mull.
While we're ensconced at our very own "little castle with a big heart," Gerard will teach three writing workshops and will also host a one-on-one session with all writers. These private coaching sessions are focused solely on you and your writing - Gerard will provide detailed feedback on the writing sample you send him ahead of time, and it's a great opportunity to talk about your writing goals and come up with strategies to meet them.
When you're not writing, you're free to explore the nooks and crannies of Lunga House, or take a horseback ride at the Lunga Riding Stables, right on the Lunga Estate. Enjoy stunning ocean views looking over the isles of Jura and Scarba, as well as hilly forest treks, with opportunities to ride across open hills for more experienced riders. A 10-minute walk down the road takes you to the village of Craobh Haven where you'll find a grocery store, a craft and coffee shop, and boat trips and yacht charters are available from here. The Lord of the Isles Pub serves great bar meals and has an excellent restaurant, and often has live music. The windows and patio overlook the Marina and boats and is an excelent place to sit and watch the world go by.
Having the run of Lunga House means we can host our group readings where we please, when we please. The castle will be filled with our group (some writers also bring a family member, friend, or spouse), and there will be many opportunities for socializing - there's even a piano in the ballroom, where music's sure to break out. Gerard encourages a balance of time spent in the company of other writers and time dedicated to your own writing: "Being alone is essential for the creative process, and we need to respect each others' space throughout the retreat." Besides the workshops, Gerard offers individual writing prompts and exercises throughout the retreat, and as your writer in residence, he's is available for consultation throughout the trip.
Scottish Highlands, Kingsmills Hotel
The next leg of our journey sees us having a final breakfast at Lunga House on September 21, then we'll board our coach and head up into the Scottish Highlands to Inverness, with stops at Spean Bridge and Commando Memorial. We'll also explore Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle before we land at Kingsmills Hotel, our home for the next three nights.
If you're a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book and television series, your trip to Scotland has to include a tour through Glencoe and visits to Culloden Battlefield, where Gerard will offer onsite writing sessions, and we'll visit the standing stones at Clava Cairns, which provided inspiration for Gabaldon's Craigh na Dun. In keeping with a literary focus, we'll also check out Cawdor Castle, from Shakespeare's Macbeth - also known as "The Scottish Play."
We'll then take a full day tour of the Isle of Skye, where we'll see the ancient Eilean Donan Castle and experience the jaw-dropping wonder of this incredible island - and write about it on the spot - before returning for a final night at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness.
Edinburgh, Bonham Hotel
In the morning, September 24, we leave the Highlands and head south via the famous Cairngorms National Park - also seen in Outlander - on to Perthshire and the quintessential Highland towns of Pitlochry and Dunkeld; finally, we'll cross the Firth of Forth as we make our way into Edinburgh proper and the Bonham Hotel, the last hotel on our Scottish journey. While in Edinburgh, we'll visit Edinburgh Castle and join the Book Lovers Tour and Literary Pub Tour to visit the haunts of Edinburgh's literary legends, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ian Rankin, and J.K.Rowling.
We'll meet to talk about our writing challenges and Gerard will provide tips on how to maintain the momentum we've gained on our retreat. On our final day, you can explore Edinburgh on your own, or take a day trip to The Kelpies, Stirling Castle, and Doune Castle of Outlander fame, a.k.a. "Castle Leoch." Then it's back to the Bonham for our last night together before the end of the retreat.
Includes taxes, land transfers, 12 nights hotels, all breakfasts, six suppers, three lunches. Does not include airfare. See bottom of page for other currencies.
Isle of Skye
Cost: $4,499 double or $5,435 single CAD
September 15 - 27, 2019
Local Lord of the Isles pub
Eilean Donan Castle
Lunga Riding Stables
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The majestic Isle of Skye
Jane Simpson, administrator and "boots on the ground" tour coordinator
Fans of the Outlander series will enjoy these tour highlights:
Doune Castle, a.k.a. "Castle Leoch"
Reviews from previous Go and Write! retreats
"Thank you for a wonderful week of writing at the Rossmount Inn. You are special people with an obvious love for writing... Don't change a thing! I enjoyed our musical evening too. Thank you for sharing your talent."
"Gerard's style of being gently direct works for me. He can focus on concerns with precision, in a kind manner."
We're pleased to offer this Go and Write! retreat to Scotland through Freedom Tours and Travel, our partner since we offered our first international retreat in 2017. Freedom has helped us pull together a great itinerary, and no wonder - they've been in the business for more than three decades!
Before booking your flights, please contact Freedom to confirm timing to catch our coach, which leaves Glasgow Airport for Lunga House in Lochgilphead the morning of September 15! You're welcome to book your flights and other travel arrangements yourself, but Freedom is also happy to do this for you, and they can help if you want to use travel points and/or make other connections.
Cost of retreat: $4,499 double or $5,435 single, CAD
Includes taxes, land transfers, 12 nights hotels, all breakfasts, six suppers, three lunches. Does not include airfare.
We welcome participants from all over:
US funds (approx.): $3,390 double, $4,090 single
Pounds sterling (approx.) £2,560 double, £3,090 single
Euros (approx.): €2,980 double, €3,600 single
To book your retreat, contact Freedom Tours and Travel, Mon. - Fri., 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. AST, at
1-800-561-2324 toll free in North America, or 1-506-632-1012
Questions about the retreat? Contact Gerard Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org
The World's End Pub
Images of Lunga House
Call Freedom Tours and Travel to book by April 29:
Bakehouse Close, a.k.a. Outlander Print Shop
With award-winning author Gerard Collins
Dr. Gerard Collins, your writing mentor and workshop leader