We will be traveling to Scotland at the end of September and beginning of October. We will be driving and doing the Highlands loop starting from Edinburgh. Is there a better direction for the loop scenery-wise going to the below mentioned cities? We are undecided, at the moment, as to whether we are going to fit Glasgow into our 11 full day itinerary (not including travel days). We are also considering staying in Culbreach Castle and day tripping to Stirling at the end of either itineraries. We kind of thought it would be unique to have a real castle stay, and it appears the Culbreach Castle is the only one that fits in our itinerary.
Option 1 - Edinburgh, Oban, Portree/Skye, Inverness, Stirling (or Glasgow or Culbreach Castle) and back to Edinburgh airport for our flight home (day 12). Note we will be staying at each location for 2 nights except for Edinburgh which will be 3 nights.
Option 2 - Edinburgh, Inverness, Stirling (or Glasgow or Culbreach Castle) and back to Edinburgh airport for our flight home (day 12).
We would also like to see fall foliage if we are fortunate and the leaves are turning colors while we are there. So, the route options will be for seeing scenery along the way as well as trying to be in certain areas at the right time for fall foliage - but perhaps we are too early to really see the leaves turning color.
Your comments and advice are very much welcomed.