Driving tour in Scotland

Feb 21st, 2019, 06:05 AM
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Driving tour in Scotland

We were in Scotland for 2 weeks in September (two years ago). I know this is long overdue but thought it might give some insight into our drive. We flew into Inverness and rented a car. Very small airport with rental car place right as you walk into the terminal. As we did not want to drive too far we stayed in Speyside for 2 nights to do some of the whisky trail. Stayed at Thistle Dhu b&b which is right near the Glenlivet distillery. Loved it and it had great hosts. Beautiful rooms and an wonderful breakfast. We visited quite a few distilleries for some tastings. They will give you the tastings to go so you can enjoy them at night if you would like (or if you are driving). My husband enjoyed comparing the whisky while we were safely back in our B&B. I tried but never really acquired the taste for it. There is a beautiful area called the Cairngorms which we loved driving through and would like to hike the next time we are there. As we were there in September all the heather was in bloom.

We drove from there over to Aultbea on the coast. We stayed one night at the http://www.aultbeahotel.co.uk/. It was in a beautiful location and we went to a gorgeous beach nearby when we got there. The hotel offers gourmet dinners. Food was phenomenal! Hard to believe as there is not much nearby.

The next day we drove over the the Applecross Peninsula and drove over the Balach Na Ba (spelling?) before heading to Skye. It was a pretty narrow road but definitely doable and quite picturesque. Of course it rained when we got to the top so our view was a bit obscured but I would recommend this drive as the entire trip was fantastic.

We then headed to Skye with a stop at the Eilean Donan Castle. It is one of the ultimate views when you think of Scotland and it lives up to what you imagine. We then drove over the bridge and up through Portree and stayed at a place called The Snug in Edinbane. Can't tell you how much we enjoyed staying here. We had our own tiny house in a great location to explore. The host gave us a few sample itineraries and we followed them and it was great. First day we went to Fairy Glen and loved it. Be sure to go early as there is limited parking but it is so worth it. We then went to the Quirang and did a hike. Can't even describe it. We were there in September and got a lot of rain. We did not bring rain pants which I wished we had and will do next time. Even with the rain it was a great hike. We then had a super lunch at the Flodiigarry Hotel in the bar. Highly recommend it. There are not too many places to eat in this area of Scotland so either bring your lunch or plan where you will stop. We then went to Kilt Rock and Old Man of Storr. I was running out of gas by then but my husband did climb up to the top (and got rained on again). I got some great pictures of rainbows. We had dinner at the Skeabost Hotel. They had bagpipes in their courtyard. The food was excellent. The next day we did the Neist lighthouse and went to Fairy Pools. I wasn't as enthralled with Fairy Pools. This was the place we found the most midges and there were tons of them. It was a very pretty place but be sure to bring insect repellent.


Kilt Rock

On the day we left we drove down to the southern end of the island and took the ferry and drove along the coast until we got the ferry over to Mull. It is a smaller ferry and you do not need reservations. It was a beautiful trip and we had great weather. We landed in Tobermory and then drove down to our B&B (High Oatfield). I was a little taken aback when I saw it as the hosts really rent out the two bedrooms on the top floor of their house. The room was large and clean, the hosts were fantastic and they delivered breakfast to our room. What more could you ask for? There really is not a tremendous amount of lodging on Mull so it worked for us. If I go back I will splurge and stay at Glengorm for at least one night. We had a gorgeous day our first day to explore the island and we did a fantastic walk at Glengorm and they have a tearoom where you can have lunch. We drove around the entire northern part of the island which was well worth the drive. It is gorgeous!!! The next day we did Duart Castle in the pouring rain. They had a wonderful tearoom with excellent soup which we needed that day. We decided to go to Iona even with the weather. The drive there was interesting as it was quite foggy but we just pretended we were Scottish and got on with it. It's a really short ferry ride to Iona (no cars) and the abbey is right there when you get off the boat. We only did the abbey as it was literally raining sideways. We tried to walk up to the beach but... didn't make it. The ferry ride back had 6-8 foot waves so it was a bit of an experience.

Tobermory, Mull

We then took the Craignur ferry over to Oban. Again, it was pouring rain so we explored a little but then left for Onich. I LOVED the Lochview B&B in Onich. Young couple owns it and were so nice. It was immaculate! Huge rooms with lovely views. They even have Hairy Coos on site and one of them had a baby! I loved them. They recommended the Lochleven Seafood Cafe and it was some of the best seafood we had on our trip! We drove over to Glencoe (very short drive) and did some hiking. Again, we got quite wet but it is such a beautiful part of Scotland. If you go be sure to do the Glen Etive drive.

When we left there we drove down along Loch Lomond and into the Trossachs. We stayed in Callendar and to be honest it is the one place I Scotland I would not go back to. If you are staying in that area I would recommend pushing on to Stirling as it is not very far.

We drove from there to EDI and dropped our car off. Took the tram into town (extremely easy) and stayed on the Royal Mile. As we were only there 2 days I wanted to stay near the sights. We climbed Arthur's Seat (and got wet again). Every time we got to the top of a mountain in Scotland it rained on us. It got to be quite funny. We went to the castle. We went down to Leith one day to go to a seafood restaurant. Found a small restaurant called the Lighthouse for lunch. It was terrific. Take the bus down (we walked which was a bad idea. It was a LONG walk). We took the bus back. The bus is a great way to get around and quite easy.


Took the tram back to the airport and flew home. I must say it is one of the easiest airports to get to and navigate. We loved Scotland and canít wait to go back!
Sberg is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 09:10 AM
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This was the route we took. We did go to Ullapool for lunch on the way to Aultbea. From Aultbea to Applecross you go through Torridon which is gorgeous!
Sberg is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 09:22 AM
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Thanks for the terrific report. Makes me miss Scotland. Great pics!

maitaitom is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2019, 01:09 PM
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I loved your trip report! Thanks for sharing.
willowjane is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2019, 01:34 PM
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Lovely report. Yep - sideway rain is always (always always) a possibility

>>We stayed in Callendar and to be honest it is the one place I Scotland I would not go back to. If you are staying in that area I would recommend pushing on to Stirling as it is not very far.<<

What didn't you like? The accommodations, the town, or something else? To me the area has some amazing scenery and wonderful hikes/lots of waterfalls/lochs and the really lovely Inchmahome. Callander and Stirling are less than 15 miles apart so the scenery round about is very similar. But if you just meant Callander the town - it is really just a typical country town, convenient for accommodations and services but not a 'beauty spot' like Tobermory. Easier to get in and out of than Stirling which can be quite congested.
janisj is online now  
Feb 23rd, 2019, 04:21 PM
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Janisj we liked the area around Callander but the town itself didn’t really thrill us. We didn’t like where we stayed which didn’t start out the stay very well. The place had an old and musty smell and we were not able to change our room. Then there were few restaurants open so we ended up eating in a pub with not so great food. It seemed like a ghost town as there were not many people around. Might have been we had bad timing. As it was our only bad night of the trip I consider myself lucky. As I said we loved Scotland and hope to get back someday.
Sberg is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2019, 04:43 PM
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>>Janisj we liked the area around Callander but the town itself didn’t really thrill us.<<

That explains it . . . Callander is mostly good because of its location - the town itself isn't particularly picturesque. In fact out of the probably 11 or 12 times I've stayed nearby I've only stayed right IN 'downtown' Callander a couple of times. Too bad about your B&B -- there definitely are some old fashioned/'fusty' B&Bs and it sounds like you got one of them. There are some really wonderful accommodations in and near Callander though.
janisj is online now  
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