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Day Trip suggestions from Inverness

Hello-
In mid September a friend and I will have a free day and a rental car while staying in Inverness. We will have already visited Culloden at that point. We are also spending time in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Any suggestions for a good day trip out of Inverness? Is it worth it to try to fit Isle of Skye in? Is there an interesting drive north? Something east we should see?
Thank you for any suggestions.

Posted by
10236 posts

I did a day trip from Inverness to Skye and the scenery was amazing.

Posted by
28 posts

If you have not been to Loch Ness it is worth the trip; it's maybe 10-15 miles west of Inverness. Sure, there probably isn't a monster in the loch, but it is very scenic. Castle Urquhart sits right on the shore the loch. The Loch Ness Center tells about the various searches of the Loch.

Posted by
527 posts

It is 2 hours drive from Inverness to the Skye Bridge, and then another hour to the Trotternish peninsula, which is the 'classic' circular route around the north of Skye. You could certainly get to Skye and see a bit of it, but there's no way you'll have much time for hiking or getting away from the beaten track and the tourists.

Posted by
263 posts

We took a drive from Inverness to John O’ Groats and back same day. It is a long day, but there was a lot of interesting sites along the way. Dunrobin Castle is gorgeous inside and in the immaculate gardens, and Cairn Liath is an wonderful and generally unpromoted ancient site just up the road. Both are near Golspie, not too far from Inverness. Further up you will find a lovely ruined castle just outside of Wick perched on a desolate seaside cliff that we found totally alone and away from any tourist crowds (Sinclair Girnigoe) and it was so dramatic. John O’ Groats is itself a waste of space, but it is something to say you made it there and nearby is the far more impressive sea stacks and views of Duncansby Head. We loved this day trip to the seaside highlands north of Inverness, and best of all we were back in a pub in Inverness in time for dinner that night to relive it together as a family. No matter where you go you can’t lose as Scotland is so special. Enjoy!

Posted by
38 posts

Just got back from Inverness. We spent 3 days there. Honestly, the right thing to do for you is all about the weather and your interests. From what I learned, Skye is great if you can see Sky (the blue stuff) and want to spend lots of time in a vehicle (guided tour bus or your own car). If it's raining, you won't see many of the sights Skye is known for. We spent a 12-hour day doing that. Next day, we wandered the city/downtown, explored the shops, took a fantastic walk along the river Ness through a absolutely lovely/well maintained trail system that goes for miles, and capped it off with a Proclaimers concert at Bught park. I think, even though I'm a scenery guy, I enjoyed the day in the city itself more. Again, personal preference. But if I had 1 day, I'd focus on the river walk (going south from downtown) and exploring the scenic downtown.

Bob

Posted by
38 posts

Oh and yes, if you are a hiker and the weather is good, you can easily get up early, drive a few hours south to hike Ben Nevis (or pick some other nice short hike). All can be done in a long day trip from Inverness. That would be another good option.

Posted by
1859 posts

There is no way I would consider Skye a day trip from Inverness, unless spending time in your car is a day trip. Check out Dunrobin castle in Glospie as the previous poster suggested. There is a wonderful falconry demonstration there and it is one hour by car each way from Inverness. We also did a short hike on our return.

Posted by
768 posts

Hi Jodi -

Picking up on what Bob said above if you plan to hike up Ben Nevis (and why not, it’s certainly what I’d do if in the area) be advised that route via the ‘tourist path’ takes about six hours or thereabouts for a round trip by the average, experienced walker/hiker. And be also advised that the top is clear on average around twelve days a year!

So you’ll need to be confident with route finding (map and compass) and well equipped. For instance we set off up the Ben on a glorious, warm and sunny day in September in shorts and t-shirts and by the time we reached the summit I was wearing every piece of spare warm clothing I had with me and had even resorted to borrowing my wife’s spare pair of woollen mittens! By the time we reached the bottom we were back in shorts and t-shirts again.

But it is a fun, if strenuous walk to the top although nearer the summit you need to have your wits about you as there is plenty of ‘plummet potential’. The very large stone cairns near the top mark the compass bearing in bad weather off/to the summit but are not actually on the path which winds alongside and through them.

Have a great trip.

P.S. A day driving to and around Skye is not enough in my opinion. It rewards more detailed exploration!

Posted by
5020 posts

There are plenty of things to see nearer to Inverness that don’t involve driving half way across Scotland and back in a day.

Skye is too far other than to tick a box to say you have been there. It takes time to get round the island. When I was there a couple of years ago, the mist didn’t lift for days.

John o’Groats is a 3 hour drive each way and there’s nothing there, but it’s the starting point for a boat trip to Orkney, but the 6 hours just to get to Jo’G makes it a very long day.

Ben Nevis a 2+ hour drive each way.

Nearer to Inverness - Cawdor Castle is worth seeing and Clava Cairns. The Cairngorms National Park is a stunning area if you want countryside. North of Inverness is the Black Isle - it has a brewery and is good for wildlife spotting including dolphin trips.

Posted by
63 posts

Thank you all! I think skipping Skye for something closer is the way to go and these suggestions are great!