With a grand total of 1048 miles, we really made the most of seeing the Scottish Highlands in a week. Aaron and I were joined by our wonderful friends Kym and Sam. We hired a car (for a small fortune because I'm under 25), and plotted all places interesting, nostalgic or Instagrammable on a map. It turned out that said route pretty much covered the whole of the highlands. After sacrificing two days to flights, we covered an average of 210 miles per day. Not bad.
Because we did so much, I've broken our trip into two posts: this one, and a post on the Isle of Skye. Everything is in order should you wish to follow our route. I would recommend downloading Scotland for offline use on Google maps, as my phone really struggled for signal for the majority the week.
We had a game called 'first one to spot the highland cow'. Surprisingly it took four days for someone to win, and six days to find somewhere to stop and photograph the cows easily. We succeeded, nonetheless. Check out that cute fringe.
Our first stop was Dunrobin Castle. There was a really amazing falconry display in the gardens that I would recommend you catch if you're paying a visit.
Eilean Donan Castle
Our second stop was Eileen Donan Castle, also known as the castle from James Bond. We were too pushed for time to head inside, but the view from the car park is worth stopping for.
The Isle of Skye
We spent two days driving around the Isle of Skye, which I have documented in a separate post. My favourite stops in Skye were the Old Man of Storr and the Fairy Pools. It's well worth including in your route if time permits.
We headed to Glenelg for Sam, who has stayed there on previous Scotland visits. We stopped on the bay for a driving break and to take some portraits and were then back on our way. Thanks to Kym and Sam for these photos!
Glenfinnan Viaduct (The 'Harry Potter Bridge')
It wouldn't be a Scotland road trip without a visit to Glenfinnan Viaduct. You'll probably recognise the bridge from the Harry Potter films. The steam train visits twice per day, with extra stops in high season. If you book well in advance you can ride the train from Fort William to Mallaig. Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit during a steam train stop, but enjoyed the view regardless.
The National Trust viewpoint isn't that great for photography. Instead, park in the Trust car park and walk: turn right from the car park exit, cross over the bridge and then turn right onto a track. That's the track we followed for the photos above.
There are loads of roadside parking options in Glencoe with beautiful views. My advice would be to drive around the area and see what you come across. Glencoe is another Scotland location to have featured in Skyfall.
Cakes in the Call Box, Argyll
We just so happened to stumble across Cakes in the Call Box in Argyll, which was on route to one of our B&Bs. We returned the following day, because the cakes were that good. The telephone box is restocked every morning, so cakes can be a bit thin on the ground if you get there in the late afternoon. If you happen to be in the area, or you enjoy a good slab of homemade cake, definitely pop by.
Towards the end of the week, we were craving a good bit of hearty food. We headed to Oban to try the local seafood, and it didn't disappoint. We also headed to the Oban distillery to test the whiskey. When in Rome.
The plan was to hire a boat at Loch Lomond, but we were so late to arrive that everything was closed. We improvised with some landscape photography and portraits, and a quick food stop before heading to our B&B for the night.
Portsonachan is one of the places we stayed. There are lots of log cabins on a hillside overlooking the lake, and all cabins have private saunas. It might be a little bit out of the way if you're not staying in the resort, but I wanted to include Portsonachan for the views of Loch Awe. We caught a golden hour there before dinner, and it was pretty darn beautiful.
We certainly saved the best for last. Or at least I think we did. Craigievar Castle is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle, and you can see why.