Coming up in a few weeks, I'll be driving from Edinburgh to Inverness, and I'm wondering about the best route for me. The plan is to do this drive in a day - admittedly, a long day with lots of driving, punctuated by regular (but brief) stops to enjoy the scenery and a few of the more noteworthy sites along the way. I know this will not be a high speed motorway (that's OK), and I know much of the route will be beautiful (that's great), I'm just trying to pick the optimum route that balances speed/efficiency and scenery (I know we'll get mostly scenery, maybe not a lot of speed/efficiency). We would like to finish this route along the Caledonian Canal/Loch Ness, so we can make the obligatory Nessie stop (silly as that is, my dear wife wants to) and Urquhart castle.
I see several possible ways to do this trip. Opinions on the merits of each?
- The route that appears most "direct" would be taking M90 north, west of Edinburgh, via Perth, then following A9 through Pitlochry, Kingussy, Carrbridge, etc. However, this would bypass the Caledonian Canal/Loch Ness/Urquhart castle so it doesn't seem like the right route for us.
- Edinburgh, Falkirk, Stirling via M9, then to Glencoe and Fort William, via either A811-A82 (Dryman, Balloch, Inveruglas) or A84-A85 (CallanderStrathyre, Auchlyne), on through Crianlarich and Tyndrum - from Tyndrum, either west on A85 (to Connel) and north on A828, or north and then west on A82 (Achallader, Altnafeadh, Glencoe), in all cases following A82 from Corran to Fort William and eventually to Inverness.
Some version of route #2 above seems like it would provide a nice mix of scenery (an understatement, I know) but would still be do-able in an (admittedly long) day. But I'm not sure which variation to follow. Any opinions from those that know the area?
And yes, I do know that this is a long drive, though some of Scotland's most scenic regions. We do have just one day to make this drive. I'm just trying to make the best of it. Which way would you recommend?