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best route for a Highlands day trip out of Edinburgh

We are renting a car in Edinburgh, just for one day, to take a day trip into the Highlands. We would like to see Loch Ness. Does anyone have a great route they recommend that would help us make the most of our day? We will be there early June and plan on taking the day trip on a Saturday. Thanks in advance!

Posted by
5669 posts

Hi all. this is very, very long day trip. Here's a route that you could do. As you can see this route with no stops for food, gas or anything else or any traffic is nearly 7 and a half hours of driving time. In June you'll have the daylight, but that is a lot of windshield time to see a Loch, even a beautiful Loch. :(

There are other options where you would have time to get out of the car and breath the air. One would be to only go as far north as Perthshire. Check out this option. It's still a little over 5 hours of driving time, but it gets you off the A9 and seeing more of the countryside. Grant you the trip from Kinloch Rannoch to Fortingale is single track road, but it is gorgeous. It takes you past Queensview, one of the great views of road to the isles. Aberfeldy is a nice little town. If you have time you could do the Birks of Aberfeldy or just have a nice lunch in town. If you were adventurous you could out past Kinloch Ranoch to the eastern edge of Ranoch Moor. There is a great bookstore in Aberfeldy.

Another way to get a taste of the hills and lochs of Scotland is to visit the Trossachs. Loch Katrine is beautiful. Sadly the steamboat is no longer running, but I am sure that there are other options. You can visit Castle Doune on the way, where Outlander was filmed as was Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail.

So, yes you can go all the way to Loch Ness and back from Edinburgh in a day. But my question is do you really want to?

Posted by
2949 posts

Another option would be Glamis Castle. You could do a loop north to Dunkeld and Pitlochry, then eastward to the castle (by way of Blairgowrie if you take the route we took), then south to Dundee and back to Edinburgh.