Stirling - Glencoe - Fort William - Mallaig - Skye - Plockton - Inverness - Aviemore - Pitlochry
Your adventure starts from your hotel in Edinburgh...
All packed, we set off on the first leg of the journey to Stirling, the Gateway to the Highlands. From here there are tantalising glimpses of the grandeur that awaits you. From Stirling, we travel westwards towards Aberfoyle and enter the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
From Aberfoyle we climb over the Dukes Pass to the Trossachs and visit the stunning Loch Katrine retracing the steps of Victorian artists, writers, poets and early pioneers of tourism. This is Rob Roy country! And it is here that "Romantic Scotland" was born. We then head towards Callander on route to Crianlarich and Tyndrum.
Where alternative routes are possible, I have shown the options and points where you holiday can be extended.
Perhaps you would rather stand on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond by the beautiful village of Luss then climb to the 'Rest and be Thankful,' in the Arrochar Alps, and onwards to Inverary Castle, in Argyllshire, seat of the Dukes of Argyll, chief of the Clan Campbell, and rejoin the main road north at Tyndrum.
From this point the scenery changes as we travel across the Rannoch Moor plateau: 50 square miles of peat bogs, and streams; its surface is dotted with innumerable black lochans; surrounded by mountains that rise to over 3000ft.
We then descend into the magnificent Glencoe, the scene of the infamous massacre of the clan MacDonald in 1692. We can also visit the site where the James Bond film Skyfall was recently fimed.
Leaving the glen, we cross the Ballachulish Bridge and hug the coast of tidal sea Loch (Linnhe) through the Great Glen to Fort William, travelling in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest Mountain.
To get an appreciation of the area we can take the Nevis Range ski resort gondola onto Aonach Mor with panoramic views over Lochaber district and on a clear day, as far as the Inner Hebrides.
Overnight stop in Fort William
Need a hotel, here are my suggestions. Use booking.com to search availability and book. There are a large number of B&Bs, please ensure you stay close to the Town centre.
Explore the Isle of Skye, Wester Ross or Loch Ness
Skye is a large Island with awe-inspiring scenery. If you wish, you can spend the rest of the day and add an extra night on the island. Take a boat trip into Loch Coruisk and see "Britain's favourite view" or visit the fascinating magical rock formations on the Trotternish Peninsula.
We then cross over the Skye bridge or take the Glenelg turntableferry (if you are feeling adventurous) and continue to the iconic Eilean Donan Castle (used in the film 'Highlander') and the picturesque village of Plockton where the television series 'Hamish Macbeth' was filmed.
Either, north into Wester Ross and the Applecross Peninsula and over the Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle), that rises 2053ft in height from sea level over into the awesome beauty of the Torridon Mountains. We then make our way to Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness.
Or, if you wish to experience the full length of Loch Ness, south east via the Five Sisters of Kintail and Glen Garry to Fort Augustus, at the southern end of the loch, then travel its full length (23 Miles) stopping at Drumnadrochit and hunt for "Nessie."
Overnight in Inverness
Inverness: Invernevis B&B (my favourite) Gay owned Invernevis Bed & Breakfast is a Victorian Villa dating from the 1880's which has been sympathetically furnished. Situated to the west of the city centre, Eden Court Theatre, the Caledonian Canal and the cities bars and restaurants are all within a 10 minute walk. Inverness: Glenmoriston Townhouse Hotel 20 Ness Bank, Inverness.This stylish, 4-star property sits on the banks of the River Ness and is 800 metres from Inverness city centre. It has an award-winning restaurant, a stylish cocktail bar, free parking and free Wi-Fi in all areas.
Inverness: Glen Mhor Hotel Accommodation is divided between 4 charming Victorian town houses (please advise reception if you have a building preference). Many rooms have wonderful views across the river to the cathedral and Eden Court Theatre. Nico's Seafood & Grill House offers a variety of local, fresh and seasonal dishes.
Inverness: Beaufort Hotel Very gay-friendly. It has free parking, free Wi-Fi, a bar and a restaurant serving modern Scottish cuisine.The Beaufort Hotel offers a range of rooms, some with views over the city.
After an early breakfast we travel to Culloden, the site of the last major battle on British soil and the nearby 4000 year old burial cairns and standing stone circles known as the Clava Cairns.
Travel back to Edinburgh via the A9, stopping at one of the many major visitor attractions on route. There is so much to see in this area you may consider making Aviemore or Grantown- on- Spey a base for a few days.
Great Places to stay in AVIEMORE
On the edge of Aviemore in a fantastic woodland setting:
The Hilton, COYLUMBRIDGE
Grantown on Spey and the whisky distilleries on Speyside
we continue south on the A939 from Tomintoul to Cockbridge over the Grampian mountains on Britain's most vulnerable road (2089ft at The Lecht). We descend into Royal Deeside passing the Balmoral Estate before climbing through Glenshee and head towards Perth.
Probably Scotland's most famous export. If you are interested in whisky, there are distilleries across Scotland so no matter where you go, a visit a distillery can be included in your tour. Many of the distilleries have visitors centres and tours end in the tasting room!
When are you thinking of going? How long have you got? How many are you (1-4 max) ?