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Favorite sites for 3 extra days.

Hello
We are traveling to Scotland end of June. We have plans for Edinburgh, Oban, Glencoe, Isle of Skye and Sheildag all with a pretty leisurely pace. Then we have 3 more nights to fill. Perhaps we will wait to see what we want more of at that point but I would love to know what are other travelers other favorite places after these are covered.

Thanks!

Posted by
901 posts

Hi, suttontuck,

If you're travelling at the end of June, you need to have a pretty good idea about where you're going after Sheildaig, as accommodation gets booked up pretty far in advance in the Northwest.

I'm assuming that you're taking the Bealach-na-Ba on your way from Skye to Sheildaig. After you leave Sheildaig, you could continue on up the West Coast to Gairloch, Ullapool, Lochinver, and Scourie, then turn south at Laxford Bridge, and return along the banks of Loch Shin. The scenery is stunning! I highly recommend the B869 from Lochinver to Kylesku. It's not as spectacular as the Bealach, but the views over Eddrachillis Bay are among the best in Scotland.

I hope that helps you in your decision making!

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you Mike!
How much time would this route you suggest take us?
Would you recommend using all of our remaining time in these parts more than going to other places we have not done in the first part of our trip?
Also good for me to hear about the lodging as I had been thinking that maybe once we got further from Isle of Skye we could be spontaneous on lodging.

Mary

Posted by
901 posts

Hi, Mary,

You could get as far as Laxford Bridge in a day, but you'd be seeing most of the scenery through the car windscreen. Best to do it in two days, with an overnight at Gairloch or Lochinver. It would be pretty much a full day's drive back to Edinburgh, however. Last time we were up that way, we left Skye about 11:00 a.m., stopped at the Loch Alsh Woodland Center for a walk about the grounds, watched a shinty match in Lochcarron, took the Bealach-na-Ba to Applecross, stopped to watch a mountain rescue in Torridon, and still made Gairloch in time for supper.

Gairloch is not that far from Sheildaig, so perhaps approaching Lochinver by way of Stac Pollaidh and the "Wee Mad Road" would make for a good day.

As far as accommodation goes, it's getting harder to find in summer, especially due to the popularity of the North Coast 500. It's not impossible, just time consuming. Most of the hotels, guest houses, and B&Bs will put out "no vacancy" signs when they're full, so that saves a lot of door to door searching. You can sometimes get a booking by contacting the tourist information offices. The only one still open in that part of Scotland is in Ullapool. You can still wing it as far as accommodation, but you would need to start looking no later than 5:00 p.m. The Inchnadamph Lodge, which used to be a classic Highland hotel, has been converted into an upscale hostel, so that's a possibility.

I hope that information helps. I hope that you get to travel farther up the coast, as it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. However, Scotland is full of beautiful places, so do some further research to see if there are other directions you may want to take after Sheildaig.

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

p.s.: If it's not already in your itinerary, stop by Plockton on your way from Skye to Sheildaig. You may not want to leave!

Posted by
15 posts

Hello Mike!
From what I read I am somewhat terrified of the Bealach-na-Ba so we haven't decided on that. The "wee mad road" looks beautiful.
We are planning to stop at Plockton, at some point a couple of months ago we couldn't find lodging there so we didn't plan to stay. I have been looking at all of your suggested routes and they are much appreciated.
Our itinerary currently has nothing in the East of Scotland and no Inverness area sites. As we travel back to Edinburgh for our return flight what would you say are the towns worth stopping by on the way?

I don't know if we can consider the Orkneys time wise but maybe everything is not as far as I think.

Thank you both,
Mary

Posted by
901 posts

Hi, Mary,

Actually, the Bealach is scarier for the driver on the way west. There are a couple of videos on YouTube, which I'm sure you've seen. This one's pretty good, if you haven't seen it yet: www.youtube.com/watch?v=34aH2QUYGUE I have a good friend in Aberdeen who used to drive a bread van up the Bealach to Applecross once a week. And that was before they built the coast road, so the only way to get back to the A896 was to go back over the Bealach.

Where you go from the Northwest on your way back to Edinburgh depends a lot on how much time you have left. and how much driving you feel comfortable doing in a day. You definitely wouldn't have enough time to get to Orkney. You have a couple of options which may work for you - you could take the A9 south from Inverness, and visit some of the towns along the way to Edinburgh. Aviemore, Pitlochry, Dunkeld, and Stirling, for example, with possible side trips to Loch Tay, Killiecrankie, Crieff, or Dunblane.

Another option, if you have the time, would be to visit some of the towns and fishing villages along the Moray coast. Nairn, Forres, Lossiemouth, Findhorn, Spey Bay, Portsoy, Banff, Macduff and Buckie are all great places to spend some time, as well as Elgin, with its cathedral. You could then head down toward Aberdeen, take the A90 bypass, and visit Dunnottar Castle, south of Stonehaven, before heading down the East Coast to Edinburgh.

I know it's last minute, but try to find one of the comprehensive guides to Scotland, like the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. You'll probably get some good ideas there.

Whatever you decide to do, you're going to be travelling through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Enjoy every moment!

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
1579 posts

"I've driven Bealach-na-Ba.
Not that bad."

Well, that wasn't our experience. We drove that road heading towards Applecross. At the summit, we had to hang over the cliff edge to let some fool hauling a 30 foot trailer pass us. Backing up was not an option. Trailers aren't supposed to take that road, but there is always someone out there who thinks the rules are for someone else.

Posted by
901 posts

Hi again, Mary,

Congratulations! Lochinver is a very nice small town, in a beautiful setting. We've stayed there several times over the years. There are a couple of good restaurants, as well. Suilven looks very appealing in the distance, but it's a long hike out to the base of the mountain. You may want to take the short hike out to the Falls of Kirkaig, and check out Achins Book and Coffee Shop, the farthest north bookshop in Scotland.

If the weather is decent, you could consider taking a boat over to Handa Island. It's a well known bird sanctuary, so you may have an opportunity to see puffins, and get dive bombed by bonxies (great skuas). The boat leaves from the village of Tarbet, which is near Scourie. There is a good circular path on Handa, and you get about three hours on shore. I think it's about 15 pounds per person for the boat.

There is also an excellent restaurant in Tarbet (the Shorehouse). Most of the seafood is caught locally.

If you're really ambitious, there is a good low level hike out to Sandwood Bay, which is a bit farther north. But only if the weather's good.

Best wishes once again!

Mike (Auchterless)