Working out the details of our 2 week driving Scotland vacation. I have 3 nights to spend in the Highlands, sandwiched in between Oban and Pitlochery. Without a good feeling of the scale of the place, should I stay in Glencoe for a night, then work my way up to Fort William and Inverness, or should I stay in Inverness for 3 nights and make day trips? My family would like to do some hiking in Glencoe, and hopefully we will see Loch Ness and Culloden battlefield somewhere in there. While I'm not fond of "1 night stands", sometimes it beats backtracking. Suggestions?
Oban to Inverness is 109 miles, projecting by Google Maps at 2h 45m. Consider a "repositioning day" - Oban=> Ft. William, Ft. Augustus, Glen Coe, Loch Ness, => arriving Inverness to spend night(s). Then you can day-trip to NW Highlands, Culloden, Speyside,etc. I also would recommend you consider going west at Ft. William and driving through some of the northwest highlands - Skye, Ullapool, Assynt. before arriving Inverness. Food for thought...
Inverness is a lovely central location for making day trips out to various places, east, west, south and north. And when you come back at night there are lots of food options and music.
On the other hand, I have stayed in smaller towns near Inverness and had the same location benefits and just enjoyed the small town aspect. We stayed in Strathpeffer at the Richmond and in Fortress at The Anderson. I am not sure if the Richmond still offers dinners, which is key. The Anderson does and has a great whisky bar and a pub.
Susan has a good suggestion. "Hiking" takes a bit of time and you'll need to eliminate some of those city stops. We didn't feel that Ft. William and Ft. Augustus (if you haven't seen boat locks before, you could stop and see them here) offered a lot in comparison to the scenery we enjoyed instead. We drove through Glen Coe with a stop at the visitor's center. Glen Coe has stunning scenery and there are a few short walking paths in there that you can stop for a 30 minute wander. I would take a drive up for about 30 minutes and come back the same way. Then I'd head up along Loch Ness, which is basically just another big o' lake (although pretty). We enjoyed a visit to Urquart Castle which is on the west side of the Loch. However, we also drove up the more remote east side where the scenery was even more stunning - more like Glen Coe. We actually stayed a week in Aviemore, which is a smaller town with good restaurant and housing options. It is easy to take day trips from here in the Highlands (Culloden, whisky country) and into Inverness. From Aviemore, it's an easy drive to Pitlochry.