Scottish Highlands Adventure
So you’re planning your Scottish Highlands adventure and trying to:
- organize the best trip
- for the perfect amount of time
- at a price you can afford.
I’ve got some great tips and a photo journal to help you plan the trip of your dreams to the Scottish Highlands. Come on! Pack your bag! You’re headed to the Scottish Highlands!
So you’re headed to Scotland! Maybe you plan to spend some time in London, Stratford-Upon Avon, or even Oxford. If you are driving, just head north to find the Scottish Highlands! There’s is only a couple motorways if you want to get there “fast”. You could also meander your way along and enjoy the countryside, Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, and all points in between. You could also just hop on a train & enjoy the relaxing ride to your next destination. Any way you do it, it’s going to be an ambitious adventure.
The next big city on your list up north will likely be Edinburgh or Glasgow. I prefer Edinburgh (don’t tell my Glaswegian friends, k?). From Edinburgh (or Glasgow) you can do a loop into the Scottish Highlands. No matter which way you go, it’s going to be fantastic. If you like, you can get some sweet deals on rental cars and drive these scenic roads for yourself. It will give you the most flexibility
and adventure. But if that’s too much, then plan for some enjoyable scenic train and bus rides to get you from one side of Scotland to the other, and back again.
Our recent trip took us from Edinburgh to Perth, then onto Pitlochry. We hugged the edge of the Cairngorms National Park until we got to Dalwhinnie. Here’s where (just past the distillery) you turn left and head west across the Scottish Highlands. This winding road will take you through the villages of Laggan, Strathmashie, Kinloch Laggan, Ardverikie (known by some as “Glenbogle”). Then it’s on through Inverlair, Spean Bridge and all points north or south of the western Scottish Highlands.
You’ve arrived at the west side of the Scottish Highlands!
SUPER Tough Decision!
When you get to Spean Bridge, you have some tough decisions to make. If you go right (north-ish), you can go past Loch Lochy and on to Loch Ness & Inverness. Going this way lets you get to the northernmost points of Scotland.
If you decide to go left (south-ish), you are headed toward Fort William and can make your way to the Isle of Sky and the Hebrides Islands.
If you have the time in your trip, you could do both.
A few extra days in your trip could allow for an Edinburgh, Perth, Aberdeen, Inverness, Fort William, Isle of Skye & Hebride Islands itinerary. Then head back to the mainland and head for Glencoe, Loch Lomond, and back into Glasgow and Central Scotland.
Ok, so we took the left at Spean Bridge, this time, and headed for the Isle of Skye. We stopped for lunch at Eilean Donan Castle. Magical! Everywhere you look is beauty only found in the Scottish Highlands.
After lunch, it was on to the Isle of Skye!
Let’s just say I was not prepared for the beauty of this island. It’s the largest of the Scottish Hebridean Islands but with the small village pace (and single track roads) you would expect. I was left speechless by the unique landscape carved by thousands (millions?) of years of glaciers, ice flow, volcanoes, rivers and storms. The rugged mountains, wind, and rock formations left me awestruck with a beauty and splendor I had not seen in any of my travels.
Here’s a wee photo journal* of the best of the 800 (!) pictures I took of our trip from Dalwhinnie to the Isle of Skye! No photoshopped, or prettied up images here! I don’t boast in my photography skills (I’m a work in progress in that area). These are just me trying to grasp the beauty, and simplicity of the region. Enjoy & Stay Captivated!
The spectacular drive from Dalwhinnie to Skye made us decide to go home that way too. If you decide to head for Glencoe and through Loch Lomond, the journey has it’s own picturesque beauty not to be missed. More on that in an upcoming post.
What’s on your Scottish Highlands itinerary? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.