Inverness & the Isle of Skye
- Glen Coe
- Glenfinnan Viaduct
- Ferry to Skye
- Isle of Skye day tour
- Eilean Donan Castle
- Fort Augustus
- Loch Ness
- Culloden Battlefield
- Blair Athol Distillery
- Queen's View
- Hermitage woodland walk
Leaving Edinburgh we pass Stirling Castle, the National Wallace Monument and Doune Castle before our first stop in the Trossachs. Time for coffee and Highland cow photos.
As we continue north the mountains and lochs provide a dramatic backdrop for our journey to Glen Coe, perhaps the most dramatic of all Scotland’s glens. This narrow valley is where the bloody massacre of the MacDonalds took place in 1692. On a lighter note you may recognise this part of the Highlands which was used in the movie ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.
After lunch the ‘Harry Potter’ theme continues as we visit the most famous bridge in Scotland. The Glenfinnan Viaduct features in ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ‘as the ‘Hogwarts Express’ train crossed the bridge.
It also stars in two subsequent Harry Potter films, ‘The Prisoner of Azkaban’ and ‘The Goblet of Fire’. We continue along the famous Road to the Isles to Mallaig. We then take the ferry over the sea to Skye, and drive to Portree, the island capital, our base for two nights.
Example accommodation: www.pinkguesthouse.co.uk
A whole day touring the Isle of Skye. Our day begins with a scenic drive alongside the dramatic Trotternish Ridge and includes stops at Lealt Waterfall and Kilt Rock. After a walk at the Quiraing, amongst the unique and unusual rock architecture, we drive to Uig for a short coffee break.
After coffee we explore the magic of the Fairy Glen, a delightful miniature Highland landscape and legendary home of the ‘wee people’! We endeavour to eat lunch somewhere typically Scottish; our favourite stops being Jann’s Cakes or the Red Roof Cafe.
After lunch we drive to the most westerly point on Skye and walk to Neist Point lighthouse (spectacular views to the Western Isles) and see some of the most dramatic sea cliffs in Scotland, sea birds and maybe even marine wildlife. We return to Portree, the island’s capital, early evening.
Crossing the Skye Bridge and returning to the mainland we begin a spectacular journey towards Inverness. Our first stop is Eilean Donan Castle, perhaps the most iconic image of Highland Scotland and used as the backdrop for countless famous movies. It is perfectly situated on a tiny island, surrounded by water and awesome scenery. A ‘must-see’ Scottish castle!
We drive past the Five Sisters of Kintail – a high mountain ridge rising steeply from Glen Shiel to a maximum height of 3,501 feet. The five distinctly pointed summits are a well known landmark.
Next stop is famous Loch Ness – Scotland’s legendary lake – best known for the alleged sightings of a monster.
We have lunch in Fort Augustus at the southerly tip of Loch Ness after which you will have the opportunity to walk by the shores of the loch or along the canal and lock system, built by Thomas Telford in the early 1800s.
There will also be time for an optional boat trip on the Royal Scot or the fast ‘Ness Express’.
After Nessie spotting and photo stops at Urquhart Castle we drive to Inverness. You will be staying close to the city centre; many of the pubs and restaurants offer live traditional music and great value meals. Our favourites include Hootananny Inverness.
Example accommodation: www.glasdairhouse.com
After being collected from your accommodation we visit 4000 year old stone circles and burial mounds. It’s then onto Culloden Moor where the Jacobites were finally defeated by government soldiers in 1746. As we drive south into the Cairngorms National Park you’ll learn some more about this wonderful wilderness.
Next it’s onto Ruthven Barracks, once the dangerous domain of Alexander Stewart ‘The Wolf of Badenoch’, now a haunting reminder of the doomed Jacobite rebellion led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. We explore this 18th century historic fortress (free) and admire the fabulous views from the hilltop.
Lunch is in Pitlochry, a lively Highland town with an elegant main street packed with shops and resturants. During our break here there is an option to visit the Blair Athol Distillery.
After lunch our scenic drive takes us to Queen’s View for the much-admired view towards Schiehallion and the distant peaks of Glen Coe.
Our final stop is a gentle walk through Big Tree Country to the famous waterfall and salmon leap at The Hermitage. As we return to Edinburgh we cross the River Forth and you’ll have a photo opportunity of the Forth Rail Bridge. It amazed the world when it was completed in 1890 and has become an enduring symbol of Scotland’s engineering heritage.