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The road (A830) from Fort William northwest to Mallaig, though narrow and winding, is one of the classic routes of Scottish touring and is popularly known as the Road to the Isles. Similarly, the Great Glen road (A82), from Fort William northeast to Inverness, is a vital coast-to-coast link.
If you are heading to Mallaig, you'll definitely want to venture over to the Isle of Skye or perhaps to the Small Isles. For those with more time, a trip around the Great Glen could be combined with forays north into the Northern Highlands, east toward Aberdeen and the Malt Whisky Trail, southeastward to the Central Highlands, or south to Argyll.
If You Have 2 Days
Base yourself at Fort William so that you can take in the spectacular scenery of Glencoe and Glen Nevis and also get a glimpse of the western seaboard toward Mallaig.
If You Have 4 Days
Spend two days each at one of two bases at each end of the Great Glen, say Inverness or Nairn at the north end, and Fort William at the south end. On the first day travel to Nairn from Inverness, and from Nairn go eastward to take a quick glance at Findhorn and/or Forres before traveling southward via Cawdor Castle and/or Brodie Castle to Grantown-on-Spey. Then follow the Spey as far as you like via Boat of Garten, with its ospreys in spring and early summer; Aviemore and its mountain scenery; and Kingussie, where the Highland Folk Museum does a good job of explaining what life was really like before modern domestic and agricultural equipment made things easy. The next day explore Loch Ness, traveling down the eastern bank as far as Fort Augustus and returning up the western bank via Drumnadrochit before returning to Inverness. On the third day travel south to Fort William or Ballachulish, taking in the Caledonian Canal. Explore Glencoe. Spend a day doing the trip to Mallaig through Glenfinnan, or stop in Arisaig and take an unforgettable day cruise among the Small Isles.
If You Have 7 Days
Seven days will give you plenty of time to visit all the highlights of the Great Glen area. Base yourself at Inverness (or Nairn) for two nights, taking time to investigate the ecological community at Findhorn, then spend a night at Kingussie and a night at Drumnadrochit. Moving west to the Fort William area, either stay in Fort William itself, or go farther west and spend two nights in Arisaig. Either base will allow for a day at sea among the Small Isles and a half day or day amid the grandeur of Glencoe or Glen Nevis, behind Fort William. You may also want to make excursions farther north and west.
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