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Scotland; the Highlands and the Hebrides trip report

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Hiyeh,

Just back from a little under two weeks and here are some recommendations and thoughts. We were there from July 21-Aug 2 and had unexpectedly fine weather and no midges.

We flew in and out of Glasgow, staying at the Argyll Hotel across from the Kelvingrove Park and Museum. Sweet, small, hotel; very nice people and good food at the restaurant. Newly renovated museum was really great. Willow Tea Room a disappointment; go look at the room upstairs (third floor) and find food elsewhere IMO.

As others have said; do not underestimate the drive times; 100 miles will take about 4 hours. The road north of Tarbet at the top of Loch Lomand is windy, narrow and terrifying, even though the maps make it look just like the rest of the nicer, wider A82.

Drove up North toward Fort William, stayed at a nice B&B in Onish (really Upper Ballachulish) called Aultbeg. Nice views, very nice people, fantastic shellfish at Lochleven Seafood Café nearby.

While in the Fort William area, we took the diesel train to Mallaig; runs on the same rails as the Jacobite Steam Train and is 1/3 the price. Great trip. Glad I wasn't driving it.

From Ft William we headed to Skye, with a stop at Eileen Donan Castle. Very, very glad I went in, because that was the only "castley" castle we saw for the rest of the trip. The only other one we explored was Dunvegan in Skye, which felt like a large historic house (though the gardens where AMAZING).

Skye was MUCH bigger than I imagined; it took 1.5 hours to drive from Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree. We had two nights 10 miles north of Portree and we really didn't have enough time to explore Skye; it needs 3-4 days or more. The B&B we stayed in had nice views (Corran guest House). We had a good meal at "The Isles" in Portree town square. We also had a wonderful lunch at Loch Bay Seafood restaurant on the Waternish peninsula; gorgeous food and views.

We took the ferry from Uig to Lewis, stayed one night each in Lewis and Harris and three nights in North Uist. We LOVED where we stayed in all three places; Crowberry B&B in Back, north of Stornaway in Lewis and Hirta House on Scalpay in Harris were both upscale very well appointed B&Bs with outstanding food, beautiful furniture and fixtures and very gracious hosts. In N. Uist we stayed at Temple View Hotel, which was sweet, warm and wonderful run by the nicest couple in the world who made us never want to leave. Their homemade meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) were huge and delicious.

While on Lewis and Harris we saw the Callanais Stones, the Arnol Black House, Lews Castle, saw amazing white sand beaches (Luskentyre!) and weird moonscapes (the Jupiter scenes in 2001 were shot on Harris). St Clement's Church on the southern tip of Harris was magical.

On the Uists, we went on walks given by the RSPB (Royal Society for the protection on Birds) and did lots of driving around looking at scenery. We never got all the way down to the bottom of South Uist because the weather finally became typical and it wasn't fun to drive in the rain and wind.

After the islands we drove back down to Glasgow, stopping near Oban on the way and staying at an Inn/restaurant called The Wide Mouthed Frog; surprisingly nice lodgings! Good food! Nice views!

I appreciate the reports I read before I left. Hope this one is helpful.

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