Classic Scotland Road Trip

Summary

Scenery and history in abundance on this comprehensive 12 day fly drive.

Activity code: SFD01

Duration: 12 days/11 nights

This 12 day fly drive will take you from the thriving metropolis of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, along the shores of vast lochs to experience some of the fantastic scenery on the NC500. The fly drive also includes two nights on the beautiful Isle of Skye.

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Itinerary

Fly into Glasgow & transfer to your city centre hotel for 2 nights. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax or explore.

Stay in Glasgow for 2 nights on B&B.

Today is at leisure to explore this fascinating city. You can either take the hop-on hop-off bus or, to really get under the skin of the city, we recommend a private historic walking tour. This will start at the mediaeval cathedral at the top of the historic high street & finish on Glasgow Green, the oldest public park in the city. You'll learn about the origins of the city, how it grew and flourished through the centuries into an industrial powerhouse and what the future might hold.

Pick up your rental car from the city centre and drive north to the world-renowned Loch Lomond, immortalised in song by many. You may wish to take a stroll along its shores or even a relaxing boat trip. One of the villages on its shores is Luss, a pretty conservation village with houses dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Stay on the shores of Loch Lomond on B&B.

From Loch Lomond travel north over wild Rannoch Moor and down into atmospheric Glencoe, site of a massacre in 1692 when the MacDonald clan was butchered by the Campbells. Your route will then take you along the shores of picturesque Loch Linnhe, a sea loch, to Fort William, which lies at the base of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.

On the way to Mallaig look out for Neptune's Staircase on the Caledonian Canal - the canal was constructed to link up Scotland's natural lochs in order to provide a safe route through the country from west to east. Neptune's Staircase is an amazing feat of engineering which raises the canal by 19m (62ft) over a quarter of a mile. It is the longest staircase lock flight in Scotland.

You'll pass through Glenfinnan with its famous viaduct - this carries the railway across a 1,000 ft span, 100 ft above the ground and was featured in two Harry Potter films.

From Mallaig take the ferry across the sea to Skye for a two night stay.

Today will be at leisure to explore Skye, the largest of the Inner Hebrides, home to some of Scotland's most iconic landscapes, mountain ranges, dramatic coastlines and intriguing history. There are many walking and exploring opportunities here.

Make your way to Kyleakin and across the Skye bridge to the Scottish mainland. You might like to take a short detour of a few miles to Dornie and the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, which has been featured in many films and television programmes. 

You will then be heading north and there are a few places of interest on the way: Attadale Gardens (on the east bank of Loch Carron), Lochcarron Weavers,  Bealach Beag (Shieldaig and Applecross circuit) a beautiful but twisty road, Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve and the Victoria Falls near Slattadale. 

Stay near Gairloch.

This morning, depending on the weather, you might like to visit the Inverewe Gardens, Aultbea Perfume studio, Falls of Measach, then drive up the shores of Loch Broom to the picturesque fishing town of Ullapool.

Just outside Ullapool is the Knockan Crag National Nature Reserve, popular with those interested in geology. Here you'll find sculpture and poetry trails as well as breathtaking mountain views.

On the shores of Loch Assynt lie the ruins of 16th century Ardvreck Castle. As you branch west around the peninsula you might consider walking to see The Old Man of Stoer, a 60-metre-high sea stack of Torridonian sandstone. 

Stay near Scourie.

Time to tackle Scotland's scenic north coast, which is deeply indented by a series of sea lochs and river estuaries. The widest and longest is Loch Eriboll, which has deep water anchorage and was used by the Royal Navy during WWII.

The ancestral home of the Dukes of Sutherland is beside the Kyle of Tongue (its gardens are occasionally open to the public). Just north of Thurso is the little harbour of Scrabster which is where the Royal Yacht Britannia used to dock when the family were visiting the Queen Mother in the nearby Castle of Mey.

Stay in Thurso.

East of Thurso, Dunnet Head is the most northerly spot in mainland Britain – it's a bird nature reserve, owner by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). Castle of Mey was owned by the Queen Mother and you may wish to pop in for a visit. From this part of the north coast you’ll have great views of the Orkney Islands. It's also worth making a quick photo stop at John O' Groats, the official most northerly point in Britain.

Driving down the east coast now Wick was once the herring capital of Britain and this history is detailed in the Wick Heritage Museum. Wick is also home to the Old Pulteney Distillery, which has an award-winning single malt.

Close to Golspie is Dunrobin Castle, another ancestral home of the Dukes of Sutherland. Skibo Castle lies west of Dornoch and it is where Madonna married Guy Richie - the day before the wedding they baptised their son at the 13th century cathedral in Dornoch.

Stay near Dornoch.

On the south side of the Dornoch firth (estuary) but north of Tain is the Glenmorangie Distillery.

Proceeding south you will arrive at Inverness, capital of the Highlands, which has a lovely riverside walk if you need to stretch your legs. Just outside Inverness are two places of interest: Culloden, site of the last battle on British soil in 1746 and the prehistoric burial Clava Cairns. These cairns were the inspiration for the premise of the Outlander series of books.

From Inverness it's a straight road south along the shores of Loch Ness, passing through Drumnadrochit (centre for Nessie!). Just past here is Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness.

Overnight near Loch Ness and a chance to go monster-spotting!

You can either retrace your steps back down to Glasgow via Spean Bridge, Fort William and Glencoe or try a different route south from Spean Bridge then east towards the Cairngorms and down to Pitlochry, which lies at the southern end of the Cairngorms National Park.

The town developed in the 18th century as the military access road was routed through it and it quickly increased in size to cater for the travellers. Pitlochry also received the patronage of Queen Victoria and this turned the town into a popular holiday destination.

From there head south to Perth, then Stirling and from there back to Glasgow.

Drop off the car and overnight in Glasgow *

Alternatively you could choose to drop off the car at Glasgow Airport the following day.

 

Depart from Glasgow.

You could also either choose to extend your stay in Glasgow or take the train across to Edinburgh for a few nights.

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