While on holidays in Edinburgh we rented a car for a day and went on a whistle-stop tour around the Scottish highlands. Our main aim for the day was to see Loch Ness and Urquaht castle, all while taking a few snaps on the way.
We set off early, my AE-1 in hand, to get us prepared for the day ahead we started with a fuel stop (of sorts) in Krispy Kreme on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Every good road trip is fuelled by some form of sweet treat and this one was no different! After filling up we got back onto the road and began our trip for real, heading north away from Edinburgh and towards the highlands.
The roads changed from motorway, to dual carriageway, to country road as our surroundings quickly changed from houses, to fields, to trees and then mountains. An hour into our trip we turned a corner and watched the trees subside to present us with ‘Loch Lubnaig.’ We pulled over for a leg stretch and photo opportunity.
From there we resumed our trip northwards with the aim of making it to Fort William for lunch. As we traveled further and further north, the terrain got more and more mountainous to the point where our ears were popping as we drove on. At one point the road started snaking up a mountain and I just had to get out and take photo of the view from the top, the surrounding mountains were so high they were snow-topped, the view was just phenomenal.
As we continued on the first leg of our journey we passed through many small towns and villages. We stopped in one, Glencoe, which is said to be home to the most beautiful glen in Scotland, unfortunately the clouds had come in thick, blocking our view of it and so we weren’t able to appreciate it. Soon after we arrived in Fort William, we got there earlier than we thought and so purchased a picnic lunch and set off again, this time in the direction of Urquaht castle.
Fort William is the town at the base of the Nevis mountain range, Ben Nevis’ snowy peak, the tallest point in Scotland (and the UK) towers over the town and when we came to a viewing point on the road I just had to snap a photo of the range.
We quickly found a picnic stop on our way at Loch Lochy, as we sat there eating our sandwiches we were in awe of the sight before us, the calm clear water and the huge hills behind it, it was, without doubt, the most beautiful spot I’ve ever had a picnic in!
After finishing lunch it was a relatively short time before we reached the base of Loch Ness at Fort Augustus, despite all the other lochs we’d seen that day it still stood out. It stretched as far as the eye could see and as we drove on the road that draws it’s outline, we began to understand it’s immenseness, in total it took over an hour to drive it’s length.
On our way along it we stopped at Urquaht castle, the site of an ancient castle from which hundreds of acres of the highlands used to be ruled. It is now but a ruin, having been destroyed bit by bit in many sieges over the years, but none the less makes an excellent walk and provided an excellent view out onto the loch.
And so ended our time in the highlands, from Urquaht we went straight back to Edinburgh via Inverness unable to make any more stops in order to drop our rental car back in time! Our final sight was the stunning Forth Rail Bridge as we drove over it’s road equivalent as we arrived back into Edinburgh, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it then but I did out the window of our flight home the next day.
The Scottish highlands were stunning and well worth seeing however I recommend if you want to visit them that you don’t try to do it in one day, we did a lot of driving for one day, probably too much! Booking a hotel or two along the route and splitting it up could really make for an interesting trip if you have the time and funds to do it.
All my photos from my trip to Edinburgh can be seen here and below is a map of our route showing all the places we stopped.