Driving from Edinburgh to the highlands of Scotland, you would experience the bliss of nature’s beauty to an inexplicable extent. The unparalleled beauty is guarded by lush verdure and peaceful lakes (also called Lochs).
The itinerary of this tour named ‘Isle of Skye-Highlands and Loch Ness’ on Tourradar seemed just the right pick for our 3-day encounter with nature. Check the prices and itinerary of the Isle of Skye tour here!
The tour was operated by Timberbush tours . Our guide, Andrew, was a witty man and he claimed with joy that he hadn’t had a bad drive across the Highlands for years! Our co-travelers, around ten in number, were courteous and excited about the exotic destinations that lay in store for us.
We departed from Edinburgh around 9 a.m. and stopped at Glasgow to collect other passengers. This was followed by a myriad of stories that confine the Scottish land. Each destination seemed to be a silent raconteur, speaking a thousand words to glorify its beauty. Here is a list of destinations we encountered on Day 1 of this memorable tour!
On the way to Skye
The little village of Luss
At the boundary of Scotland lowlands and Highlands lies the beautiful little village called Luss. We headed over to Loch Lomond, as our guide reiterated the tune of ‘”The Bonnie Banks o’Loch Lomond’. The loch has a number of fresh islands and is one of the first lakes (or lochs) that you would admire on the way to Scottish highlands. With hills around and small eateries lining the boundary of Luss, you would feel like sitting and admiring the infinite stretch.
We explored the village on foot, deciphering the life and culture of the Scottish people residing here. The cottages of Luss are picturesque. The village lies within the stretch of The Trossachs National Park.
The drive between Rannoch Moor and Glencoe
Tyndrum is a small village that you would encounter on the way to Fort William via Glencoe. We stopped by Loch Tulla for a picture with the beautiful valleys and gorges. Our guide recounted the massacre of Glencoe. This occurred in 1692, when many members of the MacDonald clan were killed, owing to pressure by the new monarchs. Those who survived were forced to leave for Fort William. A memorial has been constructed in Glencoe, in the memory of this clan.
The drive between Rannoch Noor and Glencoe valley was a treat to eyes. The surroundings were carpeted with a layer of green and a tinge of purple ( owing to the beauty of heather blooms). As we reached Fort William, we got a glimpse of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the United Kingdom. Fort William has the second highest population in the Scottish Highlands after Inverness. It has seen the rise and fall of monarchs. The Glenfinnan Viaduct, around 17 miles away from Fort William, has become famous as the bridge was featured in Harry Potter films. Moreover, the area around the three sisters of Glencoe has also served an important role during the shooting of Harry Potter movies.
The drive to Skye
The Caledonian canal
We crossed the Ardnamurchan peninsula and our guide showed us the vast expanse of the Caledonian canal, a stretch of water which connects Fort William to Inverness. He informed us of his plans of getting over a ferry on Day 3 of our tour, so as to get a view of the much-awaited place of our tour, Loch Ness. Yes, our excitement and wait doubled, for the views were getting more splendid every passing minute!
The Commando memorial
This memorial is located in Lochaber and is a tribute to the British Commando forces who sacrificed their lives during World War II. The memorial lies around a mile away from the Spean Bridge.
Loch Lochy and Loch Garry
Loch Garry is in one of the most heavenly settings of Scotland, and it lies north of Fort William. Photography near the Loch would give you a new perspective on nature’s beauty. Another loch near to Loch Garry is Loch Lochy, a freshwater loch which is the third deepest Loch in Scotland.
The beautiful lochs and mountains
The Skye Bridge is a huge bridge over the Loch Alsh. We were all excited when our guide told us of our entry into the Isle of Skye! We were just a few miles away from the mesmerizing city of Portree.
Eeilan Donnan castle
In the last leg of the journey, we found ourselves outside the Eeilan Donnan castle. Only to find that we were ten minutes late and it had been shut down for the day. Yet the backdrop was perfect for a few more pictures! The castle, built in the thirteenth century, has witnessed a lot of clans, monarchs, and destructions. It was revamped in the twentieth century. It is built on a small island connecting three Lochs, and a small footbridge connects it to the mainland.
Finally, we reached our destination, Portree. With daylight always smiling upon the shallow sides of mountains, the city is a small yet poignant example of God’s creativity. Yet, there was more to explore in the heart of Portree. With these closing remarks, our guide dropped all the members of the tour to their respective BnBs(bed and breakfast setups by the locals), hostels and hotels. Staying at Portree would cost each person around 25-40 pounds a day.
What to do at Portree?
Relax and explore the small town on foot. There is a central market area with a number of restaurants offering different cuisines. You would find all your daily needs at the Co-op store,which is a supermarket chain.
Finally, gear up because Day 2 is going to be a joyride, more than you would have expected!