Hi, what are some sites we can see along the way between Ft. William and Pitlochery? We have one full day to spend between these two cities and we don't mind going off track a little. We will have already seen Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, Culloden. We like history, castles, gardens and great restaurants. We will be travelling on November 1, so I know there may be some places closed by this time. Would Balmoral Castle be too far out of the way? There is a garden tour that day. Anyway, all suggestions are appreciated!
I checked the Balmoral website and tours are scheduled for 11.00am, 12 noon, 1.00pm and 2.00pm.
If these times fit in with your schedule then you could go for one of them. The tour would include the ballroom, the exhibitions in the stables area and of course the gift shop. Not just the gardens. You get refreshments too, but this is only tea/coffee and shortbread.
For something more substantial to eat I'd suggest a visit to The Bothy in Braemar afterwards which is my go to place for lunch. They don't have a website, but there is a Facebook page.
According to Google maps the drive from Fort William to Laggan, Aviemore, Grantown on Spey, Tomintoul, Cock Bridge and then to Crathie for Balmoral would take 2 hours and 42 minutes. Latterly the road is anything but straight, flat and wide, but on a good day the scenery is great. Even in November it would be worth the drive in my opinion.
The drive from Crathie/Balmoral to Pitlochry (not Pitlochery) would take 1 hour and 15 minutes according to Google maps and again, the road is anything but straight, flat and wide. Again though, the scenery is great. Especially over Glenshee.
If you have the time and inclination you could stop for coffee and cakes at The Wee House of Glenshee on the way http://www.glenofthefairies.co.uk/members.asp?intent=viewmember&id=24
Sunset on 1 November 2017 will be at 4.30pm or thereabouts, which might have an effect on your plans.
Have you considered Blair Castle and/or Dalwhinnie distillery? They are right off the A9.
We visited Glamis Castle instead of Balmoral because Glamis isn't as far out of the way. We drove to Glamis by way of Dunkeld and Blairgowrie. Stopped at the TI in Blairgowrie to make sure we were headed on the right road (also to use the restrooms, which are pay entry).
I couldn't say the exact amount of time it took to reach Glamis once we exited the A9, but the estimate of 1:15 to go all the way to Balmoral seems unrealistic.
Check the November schedule for hours of opening, as some attractions may change to winter hours as of Nov 1.