9. Isle of Skye, Oban, St Andrews and Highlands 5-Day Tour
Departing from Edinburgh, travel through Scotland’s Central Belt to Glasgow, here there's time to visit the magnificent Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, opened in 1901. Then cross the Kingston Bridge over the River Clyde and head north to the village of Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond. Next, it’s onwards and upwards over the steep pass of 'Rest and be Thankful' in the village of Inveraray, a town lapped by the sea water of Loch Fyne and famed for its oysters and seafood. Next head to Dunadd Iron Age Fort, the coronation site of kings and queens of Dalriada, the ancient Gaelic speaking kingdom. Follow in the footsteps of kings and queens and take the steep but thankfully short path to the summit of the hill.
After a stop at Kilmartin Museum, drive through the stunning Argyll scenery to the bustling port and fishing town of Oban, the location of your first night’s stay. In the morning discover the beautiful Glencoe, considered to be the most impressive glen in Scotland. After a short hike and photograph stop, head to the Glenfinnan Monument and Viaduct. Fom Glenfinnan travel to Fort William where you have two options – a tour of Ben Nevis Whisky distillery or a visit to Inverlochy Castle and Neptune’s Staircase. Time to head north and arrive at the southern banks of Loch Ness to get photos of the infamous monster Nessie! Your route then takes you into some of the most spectacular scenery in all of the Highlands as you pass through Glenshiel and the iconic Five Sisters of Kintail to the meeting point of 3 sea lochs – Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh – the wonderful setting for Eilean Donan Castle.
On Day 3, explore the sights of the Trotternish Peninsula to the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and the Quiraing, hear about the local folklore of how the Fairies, Fishermen and Giants created the landscape. Next, visit the Museum of Island Life, and then loop around north Skye to take in magnificent views across the sea, east to the Torridon Mountains and west to the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Journey onto the Cuillin Mountains and travel through Kyle of Lochalsh to the unbelievably pretty village of Plockton. At Plockton there is the option of taking a one-hour cruise or a short hike through nearby woodland. In the evening, visit a local highland pub to drink some Scotch whisky or beer and eat some traditional Scottish food, whilst listening to some local musicians perform.
On Day 4, visit Kessock bridge and then head to the North West Highlands. The first stop of the day is at Corrieshalloch Gorge, Scotland’s deepest gorge, and then onto the legendary North Coast 500 Route traveling passed towering peaks to the ancient ruin of Ardvreck Castle. After this fascinating slice of Scottish history, head to the very wonderful Knockan Crag to learn more about the incredible geology of this area, next head to the pretty ferry port and fishing town of Ullapool. After lunch, travel to Rogie Falls and find frothing water cascading down the falls and gentle trails among the forest. From Rogie Falls it’s a short drive to the town of Beauly, the one time favorite town of Mary Queen of Scots.
On the last day the first stop is Clava Cairns, the site of incredible standing stones and burial chambers dating back to at least 4000 years ago. Culloden Battlefield is the next stop location of the last battle to be fought on British soil. Onto Cairngorms National Park next, and then the final stop of the tour at the ancient east Fife town of St Andrews. This medieval walled town is home to St Andrews University, the oldest in Scotland, as well St Andrews Cathedral. It’s always hard to drag yourself away from St Andrews but in the early evening it's time to start winding your way through the fishing villages of the East Neuk of Fife, across the Forth Road Bridge with views of the 1890 Railway Bridge and the 2017 Queensferry Crossing, and back into Edinburgh.