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West Highland Lochs & Castles
- Doune Castle
- Lochside walk at Kilchurn Castle
- Highland village of Inveraray
- Rest and Be Thankful mountain pass
- Luss and Loch Lomond
Departing Edinburgh we travel west past Stirling Castle to our first stop at Doune Castle. This area of Scotland has certainly seen its fair share of fighting and warfare. Stirling Castle was once known as the ‘Key to Scotland’, and it was here that William Wallace (immortalised by Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart) defeated the English army in 1297. After William Wallace’s death it was King Robert the Bruce who continued the fight for independence and we’ll pass the site of his most famous victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
We arrive at the fantastic medieval stronghold of Doune Castle. Built over 600 years ago for Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, the castle is in great condition and we stop for photos. You might have seen the castle before – it was made famous by the film ‘Monty Python and The Holy Grail’ and many scenes from ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Outlander’ have been shot here.
We continue a little further to the village of Callander. After a short coffee stop we cross the Highland boundary fault line, leaving the rolling farms for the wild mountains and forests of the Highlands.
We make a short stop at Loch Lubnaig before continuing over the Braes of Balquhidder, the final resting place of Highland outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor.
From Balquhidder the tour winds its way through the tough knot of mountains known as Breadalbane (meaning the ‘high country of Scotland’) before we stop for a short walk at Kilchurn Castle, a magnificent ruin situated in the middle of Loch Awe and former home of the Campbells of Breadalbane.
We’ll continue along the banks of Loch Awe through Campbell country to the picturesque town of Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne. We have lunch here and there’s an opportunity to visit the 18th-century castle, home of the Duke of Argyll and chief of Clan Campbell.
The town was built at the same time as the castle and is a classic 18th-century planned village with straight wide streets and dignified Georgian houses.
You will have time to explore the town and maybe call at the Old Jail, famous whisky shop or the maritime museum, the Arctic Penguin.
Leaving Inveraray, we take a drive up through the steep-sided mountains known as the Arrochar Alps to the great viewpoint at ‘Rest and Be Thankful’. It was given its name in 1753 by the weary soldiers who had just finished building the old military road up through Glen Croe.
From here we’ll skirt around Loch Long and down to the ‘Bonnie, Bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond. This is Scotland’s largest loch and it takes its name from the mountain Ben Lomond on the eastern shore.
Our final stop is at the conservation village of Luss, with its quaint houses and stunning views across the loch. From here we make our way back to Edinburgh, with a short photo stop at Stirling Castle.