We are flying into Inverness mid day on Monday June 18. We are renting a car and heading to Edinburgh. We Fly back to London at 7PM on Friday the 22nd of June. What would be a recommended itinerary. We would like a mix of scenery and interesting places to stop. My husband thinks going via Loch Lomond and Trossachs would be his preference if it make sense time wise.
Have you got a RS guidebook? Great to help you figure where to go. I would recommend a stop at Pitlochry. There is a unique Whisky distillery there.
Also, if you head straight to Edinburgh you will miss Culloden Battlefield, which is well worth a stop.
Basically, you have three full days to explore Scotland. It isn't enough! Do you need to spend time in Edinburgh, or are you going directly to the airport on the Friday? You need a little bit of time to return your hired car and get to the terminal.
First of all, if you already have the RS guide, you should supplement it with another guide, i.e.: Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. The RS guide is good, and very detailed for the various locations which it promotes. However, it leaves a lot of the in-between places by the wayside. That said, as you only have three full and two half days to explore Scotland, you may need nothing more than information which you can glean from the internet.
Given the time that you have, you have several choices. If you fancy a true appreciation of Highland scenery, you could take the A82 south to Invermoriston, the A887 to Loch Cluanie, and the A87 west to Auchtertyre. You'll see Eilean Donan Castle along the way. From Auchtertyre, you have th option of making a flying visit to Skye, or taking the A890 north to Strathcarron, where you will meet the A896. Turn west on the A896, and you have the option of taking the Bealach na Ba pass to Applecross, then the road around to Shieldaig; or continuing through Glen Torridon to Kinlochewe, where you can turn back to Inverness (making a tiring, but scenic day trip), or heading north to Corrieshalloch, where you can either (again) turn back to Inverness, or head on to Ullapool. You could, if you go that way, overnight in Ullapool, then head directly back to Inverness on the A835.
You'd be traveling through of some of the most spectacular scenery which Scotland has to offer.
Another option would be to follow the A82 south to North Ballachulish, stay on the A82 through Glencoe, then take the A85 east from Crainlarich. At Lochearnhead, take the A84 south to Kilmahog, where you can pick up the A821 for Aberfoyle and the Trossachs. Loch Katrine would be a nice stop for a hike. From Aberfoyle, take the A81 south to the A811, turn right toward Balloch, where you'll meet up with the A82 once again. You can explore the south end of Loch Lomond from there, or if the notion strikes you, you could take the B837 from Drymen, along the east shore of the loch, past Rowardennan, and climb Ben Lomond.
Ben Lomond is the easiest of the Munros to climb, and you get a great view of the loch from the summit.
There are many ways to return to Edinburgh from Loch Lomond. Personally, I'd opt for heading back along the A811 for Stirling, and visit the castle, and possibly the Wallace Monument.
I am assuming that all of this is happening the week after next. Accommodation is going to be at a premium, both in availability and in price. If you can, try to figure out where you are overnighting before you travel, and make appropriate reservations. It'll save a lot of driving about in the evening, trying to find somewhere to stay. At least you'll be in Scotland at the solstice, so there will be lots of daylight.
Best wishes for a stress-free holiday!
What a great detailed reply! Need to get a good map to be able to see the routes you have recommended. Hopefully we can make it work. Would love to see the spectacular scenery. We wanted to go to the Isle of Skye but figured we might have to eliminate it due to distances. Thank you for your help.
Hi again, hoodoorunner,
You could visit Skye, but you may have to skip most of what is north of there. You could easily make Skye on your first evening, but your problem is going to be accommodation. If you're spending the night on Skye, you really need to arrange for accommodation now.
If you do spend Monday night on Skye, you could take the Armadale to Mallaig ferry back to the mainland, then take the A82 south out of Fort William to Ballachulish, and follow the directions south from my last reply. Or, you could take the A87 back across the bridge and head north. It can still be done if you spend the night on Skye, but it involves a heck of a lot of driving.
Whichever way you go, the scenery is amazing. But hey, you folks are from Colorado, so you have some amazing scenery of your own. However, you'll definitely want to go back to Scotland on a future adventure, but for a longer period of time.