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route help please

I am planning a road trip next week and can't seem to figure out an itinerary. Perhaps there are too many good options. We have 6 days/nights beginning and ending in Glasgow. Would like to keep drives under 4 hours/day if possible, less would be better.
We would like the most scenic options with opportunities for a little hiking and charming villages. We would like to head northwest on a route that includes road to the isles, Skye (nights 2 &3), Bealach-na Bo, Wester Ross (the coast or Torridon to Inverness area?), and back down to Glasgow (night 6). I do have a reservation in Oban for night 1 which I would be willing to forego if Road to the Isles is spectacular.

Any thoughts or recommendations of how to break up the trip would be greatly appreciated. My head is spinning!

Posted by
5625 posts

If it's raining (which it seemed to do about every other day last month), that may affect your scenic views, but even low, gray clouds and swollen streams gushing down the hillsides makes for a spectacle. If you're passing thru Glen Coe on your way to or from Glasgow, there appear to be lots of hiking opportunities and scenic beauty there - we didn't get to fully appreciate it as we were following traffic in a downpour the day we were there.

A few days earlier, we'd been driving from Inverness to Skye in another downpour, and heard later that mudslides had closed part of the coastal road in Wester Ross. That was over a month ago, and I trust the road is now open and safe for passage.

Posted by
5669 posts

Hi Hilary,

Personally, I would skip Oban. In my view the real value of Oban is that it takes you to Mull and other islands. I would head north. And if you are willing to be flexible in your lodging then pay attention to the weather. Watch where the rain is.

If you just drive straight to Fort William from Glasgow--A82 north--Via Michelin says 2.5 hours. So, you would probably do it in 3 to 3.5 hours--you will stop for pictures! This route takes you through Glencoe and over Rannoch Moore. The Road to the Isles isn't really drivable. It starts in the East near Queen's View and Loch Tummel, and Loch Rannoch, which is where the current road ends. You basically can't cross Rannoch Moor. You will see Rannoch Moore on the A82 as you head into Glencoe. You will probably also want to stop and visit the visitor's center for Glencoe and see some the water falls on your way through the Glen. If you want to take the ferry to Skye from Mallaig, you could continue west on the A830. It's a beautiful drive. You pass the Glenn Finnan Monument (where Prince Charlie landed) at Loch Schiel and you'll see the Harry Potter viaduct. You could probably find an interesting B&B along the way.

It's a wonderful drive from Skye to Applecross. It really is stunning. Bear in mind that Skye is bigger than you think. For example it's a little over two hours to drive from Portree to Applecross, but an hour of that trip is on Skye! You drive over the bridge to Kyle of Lochalsh and take the A87 west past Eilean Donan. You head north on the A890 north to Loch Carron. Then head west again on the A896. This is a stunning drive. You take a wee road west to Applecross. This road is even more stunning. BTW there is a nice place for lunch in Applecross--The Potting Shed. You can continue north and the road does wind around to the A896. Go north and it will take you through Glen Torridon. You could go west to Gairloch and stay there or stay near Kinlochewe.

Take the A832 east to where it joins the A835 (check out the waterfalls.) You have a couple of choices. You could continue east to Inverness. Another alternative would be to take a side trip to Ullapool. There are some lovely walks in the hills with marvelous views of Loch Broome.


Posted by
2 posts

Pam, thanks for your thoughtful reply. Any thoughts on driving A861 to Mallaig ferry? Any clue how long would that drive would take at a leisurely pace? A Scottish friend told me that is her favorite drive in the country, but she couldn't say how long it would take or compare it to A830. Thoughts?

Thanks, in advance.

Posted by
5669 posts

I did do that drive as a circular drive around and back to Fort William. It was a day trip for me and it was lovely. Michelin says an hour to Strontian from Fort William, but I think it will be longer. You'll want to stop and take pix. It's another hour and a half to Mallaig from there. I wanted to go out to Ardnamurchan, but decided I really didn't have the time or gas. Do gas up in Fort William! You'll want to stop for a bit at Glen Finnan. I got a great misty eerie photo of Loch Shiel there.