Carpenter Holidays

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15-22 September 2019 Mendelssohn in Scotland

Sunday 15 September 2019 to Sunday 22 September 2019

Following the successful trip in 2018, Carpenter Holidays, in association with Hannick Reizen, will be repeating the "Mendelssohn in Scotland" holiday in September 2019. If you admire Mendelssohn’s music and particularly his Hebrides Overture or Scottish Symphony and want to learn more about what inspired him to write these works; if you would like to know more about Mendelssohn the man, who was admired during his life as one of the most talented and engaging people of his time; if you have a fascination with Scottish history including the life of Mary Queen of Scots in the 16th century or the Jacobite up-risings of the late 17th and early 18th centuries; or if you simply want to enjoy some of the UK’s most beautiful sights and scenery, then join this “Mendelssohn in Scotland" holiday in September 2018 which will follow in Mendelssohn’s footsteps exactly 190 years after his Scottish journey in 1829.

The tour will start in Edinburgh on Sunday 15 September 2019 and will take us to all the places visited by Mendelssohn in 1829: Melrose and Abbotsford, the Hermitage at Dunkeld, the Pass of Killicrankie, Bruar Falls near Blair Atholl, Loch Tummel (with its spectacular “Queen’s View”), Aberfeldy and the Falls of Moness, Loch Tay, Glencoe and Fort William, then to Oban, Mull and the Isle of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave, and Iona, before returning via Inveraray and Loch Lomond to Edinburgh where the holiday ends on the morning of Sunday 22 September 2019. There will also be a deviation from the journey that Mendelssohn made: a visit to the Edradour Distillery in Pitlochry (whilst Mendelssohn certainly mentioned in his letters that “Whisky is the only drink!” there is no record of his visiting a distillery!). And there will be two chamber concerts exclusive to our group by the soprano, Emma Mockett, in Dunkeld, and the award-winning Maxwell String Quartet in Edinburgh on the final full day of the holiday.

The route that we will take is same as that followed by Mendelssohn and his travelling companion, Karl Klingemann, in 1829 (see map right). Our modes of transport will be more sophisticated than theirs – coach and modern ferries, rather than horse and cart or walking or travelling in smoky steam-ferries, and our accommodation will be more salubrious: three- and four-star hotels, rather than leaky cottages sharing rooms with hens and pigs!


Sunday 15 September 2019 – Edinburgh. Independent arrival and check-in at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton Hotel from 3.00pm. Early dinner and welcome briefing at 5.00pm followed by a short walk to Holyrood Palace for our own private tour (6.30pm to 8.30pm) of the Palace and the ruined Chapel where Mendelssohn was inspired to write down the opening of his Scottish Symphony.

Monday 16 September – Abbotsford, Melrose and Dunkeld. Departing at 9.00am from the Holyrood Hotel, we take the hour-long journey down to Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott whose novels inspired so many 19th-century composers and who was one of the main reasons why Mendelssohn visited Scotland in 1829. We will have a private tour around the house, followed by lunch at the Ochiltree Restaurant.

After lunch we go to the beautiful town of Melrose. We will explore the Abbey where Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried, and where Mendelssohn found some solace on the day of his unsuccessful attempt to meet Sir Walter Scott. In the afternoon we will head for the Highlands!  Our journey will take us back past Edinburgh, over the "Queensferry Crossing", the newly opened bridge over the Firth of Forth with its breath-taking views of the Firth, the old Forth Road Bridge, and the Forth Rail Bridge built in the 1880s, through the Kingdom of Fife, past Perth, arriving at the Dunkeld House Hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner will follow in the hotel.

Tuesday 17 September – the Falls of Braan at the Hermitage, Edradour Distillery, Bruar Falls, and Killiecrankie. Our day begins at 9.30am when we take the short walk up to the Hermitage and the Falls of Braan near Dunkeld which were sketched by Mendelssohn and, a little further up the valley, there is Ossian’s Cave, the supposed dwelling place of the fictitious 3rd century Scottish bard. This is followed by a deviation from Mendelssohn’s itinerary when we do something that no 21st-century tour of the Highlands would be complete without: a visit to a distillery. The Edradour Whisky Distillery in Pitlochry is the smallest traditional distillery in Scotland, dating back to 1825 to just before the time of Mendelssohn’s journey in 1829. We then journey on the short distance to the House of Bruar Visitor Centre where there will be time to walk up to the Bruar Falls after taking your own lunch and a browse around the many gift shops at the Centre. In the afternoon we visit the Killiecrankie Visitor Centre where there is an exhibition giving details of the Battle of 1689 in which the Jacobites led by “Bonnie Dundee” defeated the government army of William of Orange. There will also be a chance to view the famous “Soldier’s Leap” where Donald MacBean, a government soldier, avoided certain capture or death by jumping 5.5m (18.5 feet) across the River Garry. Back to the Dunkeld House Hotel for dinner followed by a recital of music by the soprano, Emma Mockett, to include piano works by Felix Mendelssohn and songs by Felix and his sister, Fanny.

Wednesday 18 September– Loch Tummel, Aberfeldy, Glencoe to Oban. Departing at 9.30am from the Dunkeld Hilton, we head westwards across the Highlands past Loch Tummel (where will we pause to look at the fabulous “Queen’s View”) and Tummel Bridge where Mendelssohn spent a rain-soaked night on 3 August 1829, and over the hills to Aberfeldy where we will have a chance to explore the Falls of Moness (sketched by Mendelssohn, and also made famous by Robert Burns in his poem, The Birks of Aberfeldy). In the afternoon we will drive on past Loch Tay and Glencoe where we will stop at the Glencoe Visitor Centre with its exhibition on the Massacre of 1692, arriving in Oban to check into the Oban Bay Hotel where we will have dinner together.

Thursday 19 September– We will take the 0950 ferry from Oban sailing past Dunollie Castle which lies just north of Oban, and which is unchanged since Mendelssohn sketched it on his Scottish journey, to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, arriving at 10.50 and then travelling by coach to the attractive town of Tobermory where Mendelssohn stayed in August 1829. After lunch under your own arrangements, we travel back to Craignure to check into the Isle of Mull Hotel for two nights. Dinner together at the hotel.

Friday 20 September – Mull, Staffa (including Fingal’s Cave) and Iona.  Departing at 0815 from the hotel we will make the hour-long coach journey to Fionnphort and, weather permitting, a boat trip out to the Isle of Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. We will land on the Island for an hour and, as well as walking round to the mouth of Fingal’s Cave, we might be lucky in seeing puffins and basking sharks. After Fingal’s Cave, we will land on Iona and spend an hour or two exploring the island (including the ruined abbey) before travelling back to our hotel by coach for dinner at the hotel. NB in case of inclement weather, we may not be able to sail to Staffa and Fingal’s Cave. In this eventuality, we will visit Iona in the morning and Duart Castle in the afternoon.

Saturday 21 September – Mull to Edinburgh. Up early to catch the 8.40am ferry from Mull to Oban and from there continue on the final leg of our journey back to Edinburgh through passes and glens, and along the shores of beautiful lochs. We travel via Taynuilt and along the Pass of Brander which hugs the northern shore of Loch Awe, to Inveraray which overlooks Loch Fyne. Skirting Loch Fyne, we then head down the beautiful western shore of the Bonny, Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond, stopping at the Cameron House Hotel on the southern shore of the Loch, affording us the same views that Mendelssohn sketched in 1829. We will have lunch at the Boathouse Restaurant and then return to Edinburgh via Stirling, arriving at around 6.00pm. Dinner followed by a final concert of music by the award-winning Maxwell String Quartet and overnight at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton.

Sunday 22 September - Independent departure home.


Tuesday 17 September

After dinner at the Dunkeld House Hotel, there will be a private recital to be given a young singer from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The repertoire may be subject to change but the provisional programme is:

Felix Mendelssohn    “Three Fantasias or Caprices” Op 16
Felix Mendelssohn    Frühlingslied Op 71 No 2 and Herbstlied Op 84 No 2
Felix Mendelssohn    Song without Words Op 102 No 1 in E minor and Song without Words Op 62 No 6 in A
Felix Mendelssohn    Mary’s Dream and We’ve a Bonnie Wee Flower from the Six Scottish Songs
Robert Schumann      Maria Stuart Songs Op 135
Felix Mendelssohn    Es lauschte das Laub so dunkelgrün Op 86 No 1
Fanny Mendelssohn  Italien

singer and pianist to be confirmed

Sunday 21 September

A post-dinner concert at the Edinburgh Carlton Hilton

Maxwell String Quartet

Mendelssohn String Quartet in A minor, Op 13
Haydn String Quartet in B flat, Op 71 No 1

Travel Information

This holiday is being promoted in association with Hannick Reizen who offer a package which includes return flights from Amsterdam to Edinburgh, the details of which are:

Sunday 15 September Amsterdam-Edinburgh KL1281 dep 12.15 arr 12.40
Sunday 22 September Edinburgh-Amsterdam KL1286 dep 15.50 arr 18.20

For those people not wishing to take these flights but to make their own way to Edinburgh, there is a land-only price for the tour (see below).

Edinburgh is easily reached by train or air from all major UK cities. Regular services take around 4 1/2 hours from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley, which is a 5-minute taxi ride from the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton. There are also regular flights from all London airports to Edinburgh which take around 1 hour. A taxi journey from the airport to the hotel will cost around £30, or the airport shuttle bus to Waverley Station costs £3.50 one way. In booking your train journey or flight, please bear in mind that there will be an early welcome dinner in the hotel at 5.00pm on Sunday 15 September, followed by a private tour of Holyrood Palace. At the end of the holiday, we stay again at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton and you will be able to plan your journey home for the morning of Sunday 22 September.

Price per person

Tour price: €2,295
Land-only tour price: €1,995
Single room supplement: €350
Booking charge: €25 per booking
"Calamiteitenfonds": €2.50 per person
Deposit: 15% of total invoice per person

Tour price includes: Accommodation, breakfast daily, five dinners (one with wine), two lunches (one with wine), private recitals in Dunkeld and Edinburgh, private tours of Holyrood Palace, Abbotsford and Edradour Distillery, visits to Melrose Abbey and the Glencoe Visitor Centre, coach transportation throughout, ferry crossing to the Island of Mull and boat trip to Staffa and Fingal's Cave, the services of Stephen Carpenter and Thiemo Wind as tour managers.

Excluded is your travel to and from Edinburgh (unless you join the group travelling from Amsterdam), lunch on days three, four and five of the tour when you are free to make your own arrangements for lunch which will be readily available at the carefully selected stopping points.

Cancellation Policy:

Hannick Reizen has a cancellation policy as follows:

Cancellation costs up to 42 days before departure of the trip: deposit

Cancellation costs between 42 days up to 28 days before departure of the trip: 35% of the total invoice

Cancellation costs from 28 days up to 5 days before departure of the trip: 75% of the total invoice

Cancellation costs from 5 days up to day of departure before departure of the trip: costs of the total invoice

Hannick Reizen can only accept cancellation written or by phone during office hours (Monday – Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm)

To Book

Booking is through Hannick Reizen.

Contact Hannick Reizen on info [at], or telephone+31 70 319 19 29. The postal address for Hannick Reizen is:

Veersedijk 95
3341 LL Hendrik Ido Ambacht
The Netherlands.

The office at Hannick Reizen will be able to help you with the booking process. For those wishing to make their own travel arrangements for getting to Edinburgh rather than travelling with the Hannick Reizen group from Amsterdam, they can organise the land-only price.

Please note that there is a 4.3% charge if you pay by credit card, so you may prefer to book by bank transfer direct to Hannick Reizen's account, details of which you will be able to obtain from Diana and her colleagues.

If you have any further questions about the “Mendelssohn in Scotland” holiday, please contact Stephen Carpenter by post at: 67 Stuart Road, London, SW19 8DJ; by email at: stephen [at]; or by phone on: +44 (0) 20 8946 6821 or +44 (0) 7730 817891