7 Days road trip to Scottish Highlands

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We travel to Scotland once a year and it has now become a family ritual . The ritual is established because we fell head over heels in love with Scotland back in 2009. And I doubt there is anyone who has visited Scotland once and never went back.

Lately I have been seeing a lot of queries for sample itinerary/suggestions/recommendations for Scotland travel. So I took this as an opportunity to write a couple of blog post to help people planning their epic road trip to Scotland.

We are a big fan of road trips, and feel self drive makes your journey memorable and gives you more time to explore different places. If you are one of those who stay in Scotland or closer to Scotland border, well I envy you 🙂 For those who stay a bit far like us, let’s get started 🙂

Trip to Scotland include Scottish highlands by default. So if you are driving from far, I will recommend you to break your journey at Edinburgh for couple of days.

  1. Edinburgh

Things to do in Edinburgh:

  1. Edinburgh Castle – Worth a visit and will take half of your day.
  2. Walk on the Royal Mile Road – We have done it several times, and still enjoy this walk exploring different pubs, street shows, restaurants.
  3. Camera Obscura – It is a world of illusions, mirror maze etc and if you are travelling with kids they will enjoy it too.
  4. A stroll in Holyrood park and a gorgeous hike to Arthur Seat giving you panoramic view of Edinburgh.
  5. A small hike via steps to Calton Hill and a gorgeous view of old & new Edinburgh from the top. There is an unfinished monument at the top, a beautiful photo spot.
  6. Dynamic Earth – another interesting attraction to know more about earth and sciences.

2. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Afterwards you can start your journey towards Scottish highlands. Drive to Loch Lomond & The Troassachs National Park and stop over in various villages of the national park. Take a cruise from one of these villages: Luss Village , Balloch or Tarbet.

Even a simple stroll is beautiful & quaint in these villages. To read more, check out our blog post on Luss(Herb) Village Walk, Argyll

3. Inverary, Argyll

This little beautiful coastal town is home to Live Inveraray Jail, Inveraray Castle, Loch and beautiful cottages. You can easily spend a day or two here.

To read more, check out our blog post – Beautiful Inveraray, Argyll

4. Glencoe

Driving in the valleys of Glencoe is awe-inspiring. It is majestically beautiful yet quietly boasting different mountain ranges in it’s vicinity. We can spend weeks here and still not get bored of it. But if you have only a week, stay over a night , go for a hill walk and in night lie down outside for star gazing. Believe me it will not get any more beautiful.

5. Fort Williams

Town of fort Williams is no far from Glencoe and it is home to the highest mountain of the UK – Ben Nevis. If you are fit and up for a hike, do the hike to Ben Nevis. It is challenging but views all the way is a reward to the eyes & soul. More about the hike on this post Hike to Ben Nevis- Britain’s Highest Mountain

Do not worry, those who want to take it a bit easy. You can still get to the top of Nevis Range by visiting Nevis Range Gondola Centre 

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If you have interests in gems, fossils & crystals, a visit to Treasures of Earth will be worth it. May be bookmark it for a rainy Scottish day . More of it on the post Treasures of the Earth

Shout out for Whisky lovers, a must visit to Ben Nevis Distillery, you can take a guided tour and at the end of the tour treat yourself with real Scottish whisky while sitting in Scotland 🙂

6. Lochshiel, Glenfinnan

Not far from Fort Williams is a little hamlet of Glenfinnan.

Shout out for Harry Potter fans, the very famous The Hogwarts Express rides over the Glenfinnan Viaduct Bridge, which is closely visible by a long walk from here or you can see it from far distant from station museum.

Loch Shiel is the location of the fictional Black Lake near Hogwarts in the film versions of the Harry Potter series. To read more, check out our blog post Lochshiel, Glenfinnan

So this was our list for 7 days in Scotland. You can customize the number of days you would like to spend in each place. Hopefully it gives you an overall idea on what can you do for 7 days in the beautiful highlands.

 

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Beautiful Inveraray, Argyll

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Source- Internet

Source- Internet

During our trip to Scotland, we took an unexpected turn on to the Inveraray, on the way to Oban. On my google search on what to do in Oban- I found a link to Live Inveraray Jail and thought it might be interesting. I told Asho, let’s take a little diversion and check out this place.

It was an accidental visit, and I am glad that happened. As soon as we reached Inverary, my first reaction was “Wow”. Am In a wonderland 🙂 The castle, the loch front, cottages, bridges, everything looked beautiful.

Inveraray is a small town in Argyll and Bute, on the shore of Loch Fyne. Duke of Argyll founded this town, alongside his Inveraray Castle. The town was designed and built by the Edinburgh-born architect Robert Mylne between 1772 and 1800.

Whether you are looking for a day picnic, adventures or just a sun soaked afternoon (rare are such days 🙂 ) near the Loch, it is definitely a place to be. Quaint and quiet in its own way. Breath-taking views sweeping across a wide landscapes & seascapes, it is a treat to eyes.

Few pictures from the trip, taken on my iPhone so might come dark at few places. We had a good day, a mixture of thick clouds and few sunny intervals. I am glad it did not rain 🙂

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Treasures of the Earth

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Those who have been to Highlands in the Scotland knows very well that how they get captivated by the natural beauty around them, how those eyes can never have enough of it. But at the same time, if it is a rainy highland visit, that is the only time you get to discover the hidden indoor attractions that are truly worth a visit not only on rainy occasions but any time of the year.

So during this visit, we headed out to walk along the Glenfinnan woodlands, when it starts to pour down heavily. We needed a shade on top of the head, and while doing a google search I located a small museum/attraction called ‘Treasures of the Earth’ which displays a collection of crystals, gem stones, and fossils. It is located in the village of Corpach.

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The building has been simulated to give you a feeling of cave, mining environment with it’s dim lights and UV lights. But you will know why they did that when you start seeing the displays around you. Here you can find a display area showing off a impressive collection of minerals, as gold, silver, various forms of salts. There are displays on the concept of geological time, and on the formation of fossils, with some dramatic fossils to illustrate the process.

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There is also a section which displays a collection of minerals in natural light and UV lights which will make you wonder that these stones have such magnificent color to them.

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There is also a gift shop which sells all these stones, lucky gems, chain/ear rings etc. My mum-in-law got some pearls for herself 🙂

Feel free to take your camera along, people are very welcoming.

 

 

Lochshiel, Glenfinnan

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Once again back to my one of favorite place – Scotland. It was a week long trip with Ash and my in laws, great fun, we explored few museums, local sights etc. A lot of strenous walking was not in the trip list this time 🙂 Over the weeks you will be seeing a lot of small posts from the recent trip. Here goes the first extract 🙂

We visited Lochshiel in Glenfinnan, a 393ft deep fresh water loch in the Lochaber, Highlands. It is surrounded by the mountains, giving it a bit of Fjords look. This river ultimately drains out to the Sea.

It is a pleasant walk around the loch, a very much woodland area. While at loch Shiel always keep an eye on it’s surrounding as you might be able to spot an elusive Golden & White-Tailed Eagles, Red Deer, Black-Throated Divers, Hen Harriers , Osprey and many other species of Rare Wildlife that frequent the area. Go with a picnic basket if it is sunny out there, unfortunately weather was not that good for us that day 😦 and only thing we could spot was rain drops 🙂 There are several cruises company that organizes tour on Loch Shiel.

Get on top of Glenfinnan Monument for a mesmerizing view of the loch and to gauge it’s beauty.

Closer to the area there is a Glenfinann station museum as well as a famous attraction of the area. It tells the story of the West Highland Railway, it construction and development from 1889 till today. It also hosts the famous Jacobite Steam train 🙂

There is a Glenfinnan viaduct bridge you could see from the station museum car park area, And I am really not sure if it is the very famous Harry Potter movie bridge. But while we were there, I saw a lot and lot of people clicking pictures of the bridge and I assumed it is what people thinks. I am yet to validate that 🙂

For the harry Potter Fans- Loch Shiel is the location of the fictional Black Lake near Hogwarts in the film versions of the Harry Potter series.

Few pictures I clicked on my phone, it was raining in between so pictures might not have come great.

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WPC: Reward

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Finding happiness is every little thing you do is a Reward. Here are some of my self given rewards 🙂

  1.  This view is a reward of the view around me just before my first bungy jump 🙂
  2. Switzerland
  3. Jumping of a canyon with a fear of water (non swimmer) was a reward for me 🙂
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  5. Setting up first camping tent, after re-tries & re-tries was a reward 🙂
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  7. Hiking up the Britians’ highest Mountain with Ash was our reward 🙂
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  9. Hiking up 6miles for this view, was reward to eyes 🙂

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Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

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Fairy Pools, an another mystical place in Isle of Skye, it lies at the foot of black cuillins near Glenbrittle.It’s a pool of crystal blue water on the river brittle. As the name suggest this place is to be believed a pool of fairies. I have not seen any during my visit, but place itself is so magical that it will make you wonder and may be believe that after all fairy must have lived here.

Many people around the world visit this famous pool to experience wild swimming and stunning landscape around.

Me and my husband also visited Fairypool on a summer evening in June, it was partly cloudy and sunny weather, I was sure that I am not finishing this holiday without visiting this pool.

How to get there- The nearest village to the Fairy Pools is Carbost on the West of Skye, the start of the walk is on the road to Glenbrittle. You will notice a sign board for Fairy Pools on the way, and there is a free car park as well.

Weather- It rains almost all the year around in Isle of Skye.If you are the lucky one you may choose to visit this place on a dry day. Do not forget water will be icy cold, so you might want to carry a swim suit with you.

From the carpark, you will cross the road to opposite side with impressive views out towards the Black Cuillins, the source of the River Brittle. Your walk to fairy pool will start from the point, short walk to the first pools follows a gravel path that is in good condition most of the way, but does involve river crossings over stepping stones. It takes about 20 minutes to get the first and largest waterfall that marks the start of the pools. You can explore the pool in your own time as there are several of them some are very deep, some are shallow.

Me and my husband took dip in couple of pools, but as water was cold and it was getting dark and misty we head back to car park after spending a good hour over there.

Sharing some of the pictures.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: A long way to the Edge

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Neist Point Lighthouse

Neist Point Lighthouse

One of the most amazing places in Isle of Skye- The Neist Point. Beautiful cliff edges, a poised and long zig zag way to reach the end 🙂

Lake District

Lake District

One of the beautiful hill in Lake District. A Zig Zag way takes you the edge of a mountain.

In response to : http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/zigzag/

 

Elgol Village

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Isle of Skye has no shortages of picturesque villages, get-away for a calm and quiet holiday, local food, lakes, mountains. Elgol is one such village lies on the shore of river Scavaig, with holiday cottages, wild camping sites, two restaurants and boat trip services to near by islands. You want to be away from city commotion, pack a bag pack and stay in Elgol for that peace, stroll around the shore. One of the many beautiful places in Isle.

Elgol Lake Shore

Elgol Lake Shore

 

Whimsical Loch Coruisk

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Loch Coruisk

 A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~Henry David Thoreau

The lines above holds true meaning for the Loch Coruisk. It is one of the most beautiful fresh water lake lying at the foot of Black Cuillins and surrounded by other small islands makes it even more enchanting.

There are a couple of ways to get to this lock either by trekking from Sligachan or from Elgol (but you will have to cross the very famous Bad Step to get to the loch) or via boat trip from Elgol Village. Easiest way is a boat trip, and there is Bella Jane Boat Trips and Misty Isle Boat Trips that offers various packages for boat trips around various islands.

Pack some lunch, carry Midges repellent and get on to the boat for a mystical ride around the loch. The boat trip organizers will give you good information around the islands around, will take you through seal colony and then drop you at lock to explore it on foot.

We spent a good two hours on the loch and loved it. As per our boat man, Scavaig river flows through here and it is the smallest river of Europe.

Sharing some pictures instead of words to describe the beauty of this place.

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Hike to Ben Nevis- Britain’s Highest Mountain

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It was two months ago when me and hubby were watching this series on Mountains by Griff Rhys Jones. It was about mountains in england, Wales, Scotland the highest peaks, challenge associated and the surrounding mystical landscape. Till that moment I had no idea about the Ben Nevis or being it a highest mountain. But without a blink it was a mutual decision that Yes!! We are going to hike Ben Nevis Summit this summer!

At Ben Nevis Summit

At Ben Nevis Summit

Sometimes you don’t have to go through your bucket list to check what is next. You just add spontaneously something in to your list and that’s how on 28th June 14, we were on the summit of Ben Nevis.

It is a beautiful hike of 17Kms with some magnificent views around, that pushes you to walk further up. But once you complete the Summit, that rigorous walk of 8 hours gets replaced by sweet pain of accomplishment. You have a mixed feeling of happiness, proud and not to forget soreness :):)

Few pictures from our Hike.

Breath Taking View

Breath Taking View

I was not even Half way through till this point.

Not yet Half way through till this point.

As we climbed Up, View Was Getting More Awesome

As we climbed Up, View Was Getting More Awesome

Temp dropped down to -5 Degrees

Temp dropped down to -5 Degrees

It is true that one can rarely get a clear view from the Summit and it happened with us as well. As we were reaching towards Summit, there was snow and the whole thing was covered by thick clouds.

So once you reach at top of Britain, you will not be able to view anything down 🙂

Near to Summit, Everything is covered with Clouds

Near to Summit, Everything is covered with Clouds

Few details if anyone is planning to hike Ben Nevis:

1.Accommodation: Fort William is the perfect base. If you love camping as much as us, I will suggest you to stay at Glen Nevis Holidays Park. The location is awesome and it is cheap, you will be put up right at the foothill of Ben Nevis, over looking Ben Nevis Peak. Hike to Ben Nevis starts from visitor centre that is just 0.5 miles away from this site.

2. On hike: Waterproofs ( never forget them, it can rain or snow, never trust mountains weather), map, compass, water bottle, small snack box, fleece, thermal socks, walking poles, whistle, torch, mini first aid kit and most importantly a good walking boots.

3. Insect Repellent : Summer is great in highlands, but beware it’s Midges time. This tiny insect will suck the blood out of you, make sure you apply this creams or use a net.

4. A good level of fitness is required as it is not an easy mountain. You will be steeply climbing up till Summit and while returning, it’s a steep descend all the way till down. So tone up those muscles around knees, calves,feet.

5.Take a map along with and make sure, you are on a correct path that takes you up via Five Finger Gully and not via North Face. To climb Ben Nevis via North Face is a serious mountaineering experience.

6. Once completed the Summit, there is a nice Ben Nevis Pub right near to visitor centre. A pint will be a good way to celebrate.

Please free to get in touch with me if you need any specific information regarding hike or Fort Williams.