I'm in the planning process for a trip to mostly the Highlands in early June (2021). We're a group of four, and we prefer avoiding really touristy things, like to hike, explore castle ruins, and prehistoric sites. Not so interested in touring posh castles, or seeing sheep and llamas. After several trips to Ireland, I'm trying to stay put in one place for two days to avoid the frantic rush to the next place. We'll have a car and two drivers. We're not interested in tour buses/vans.
In a nutshell:
Arrive in Glasgow in early afternoon [1 night] Two of us will be arriving from Dublin, but two will be stumbling off 14 hour flight.
Drive/Ferry to Arran Island to Brodrick [2 night]
Eas a'Chrannaig, Giants Grave, Kildonan, King's Cave, Machrie Stones, Auchagalilon, Goat Fell, Brodick Castle
Ferry/Drive to Oban [2 night] - I know it's touristy, but we want to got to Staffa for puffins.
Lochranza Castle, Skipness, Tarbert, Easdale, Arduaine, McCraigs
Drive to Fort William [1 night] - mainly for the morning Parkrun
Glencoe, Steall Falls, Ben Nevis, ParkRun, Invergarry
Drive to Portree [2 night]
Fairy Pools, Ben Tianavaig, Skorr, Lealt, Kilt Rk, Staffin, Quiraing, Duntulm, RHA falls, Fairy Glen, Clach Ard
Drive to Inverness [1 night]
Urquhart,, Culloden, Clava
Drive to Scrabster for ferry to Orkney/Kirkwall [2 night]
o'Groats, Earl's Place, Saint Magnus, Big Tree, Cuween, Gurness, Birsay, Skara, Brodgur, Maeshowe
Ferry/drive back to Inverness [1 night] - Inverness is split in two separated nights to ease daily mileage
Drive to Edinburgh [1 night] - again, a Parkrun
The Hermitage, Edinburgh Castle, Parkrun
Drive to Glasgow [1 night]
Fiddach Glen, (Stirling?), Walking tour, Records Office for family?
Fly home early afternoon
Two day stays will typically have a driving loop to visit a handful of places, with time on the ends for walking about. Finding trad music is highly important - although I realize early June might be tougher than later in the summer. Pub suggestions please!
I've considered trading Orkneys for Islay, especially considering the driving time. Also thought about flying to Kirkwall from Inverness, but no car on Orkney is too dear a tradeoff.
Any items on our list that are just stupid, or anything clearly missing would be appreciated. Any effects of Brexit would be useful.