Hello there - If anyone has a chance to review my trip plan I'd appreciate it; I'm trying to see how "doable" it is (it seems like it'll work fine to me). Initially I had way too much packed into my time frame, then I slimmed it down to spending too much time in too few places, so this is my "final" iteration :)
Day 1 > Inverness: Fly from Manchester to Inverness (land at 12:30pm) and get rental car (be "with car" by 1:30pm) and drive to hotel in the city. Expecting to be all squared away by 4. Maybe then will walk around and check out Botanical Gardens or Victorian Market.
Day 2 > Skye: Begin drive to Skye in early morning. Stop at Urqhardt/Loch Ness for an hour or two, drive to Kyle of Lochalsh and spend an hour or two at Eileen Donan, then drive to where I'm staying (currently trying to decide between Portree or nearer to Talisker). I expect the travel time to take about 8 hours. My "allotted" stop time includes 6 hours including the drives but I've been adding a couple extra hours here and there to absorb other delays.
Day 3 > Skye: Fairy Pools (I hear this takes around 2 hours?), Fairy Glen further north, check out a restaurant for lunch, maybe drive around the island a little more. Stay near Portree/Uig at night.
Day 4 > Skye to Harris: This is where things get complicated. Initially this began as a spiritual trip and I'd deeply like to see the stones. I'd be on Skye until 2pm, where I would take the ferry from Uig to Tarbert and arrive on Tarbert at 3:50pm. Then it would just be an hour's drive to Stornoway where I'd stay for the night and explore in the evening hours.
Day 5 > Lewis: quite literally ALL I have for this day is the Callanish Stones. I planned for this to be a lazier day of my trip.
Day 6 > Lewis to Ullapool: would take the 7am ferry to Ullapool and land at 9:30am and drive to Inverness. On the way to Inverness I was thinking about stopping at some of the sites west of the city like Beauly Priory. I also deeply want to do the Fairy Glen walk in Rosemarkie, which looks to take only an hour or so.
Day 7 > Inverness: Culloden, Clava Cairns, maybe stop to see a village. Generally easy day.
Day 8 > either Inverness or Cairngorms: heard about the Reindeer Walk in Aviemore. Might like to see Kingussie or Newtonmore. If we don't go to the Cairngorms I would probably relax and drive around the Inverness area. Maybe go see Dunrobin Castle (even though it will be closed when I'm there).
Day 9 > fly home from Inverness Airport.
How does this all sound to you? I know it's busy but it doesn't seem too busy because, despite there being full days, I have lots of days without much going on.