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Scotland highlights for vistas and nature - May 2022

I'm starting to plan a trip to Scotland for May 2022 but from the looks of this forum I'm already late!
Anyway, my priorities are scenery and nature, with maybe a castle and distillery thrown in because
I should. That said, over 10-12 days what are the areas I should focus on to accomplish my goals?
I definitely want to go to Skye although having just watched a video on the other islands they look
enticing too. Think I'll stay away from the cities except to get in and out. There seem to be so many beautiful areas
to cover I'm just stuck on where to focus my energy and time We can do some short hikes/walks but nothing
too strenuous or long, 2-3 hours max round-trip. Also, we're from the US so not comfortable driving on the "wrong" side of the road.

Will probably hire a driver or take small group tours of a few days each. But want to make sure the tours actually take us
places vs. just driving by them, so suggestions in that area welcome too (driver and/or small tours).

Posted by
2791 posts

I haven't been but I would think you'd be interested in the Hebrides.

Posted by
4998 posts

Skye alone will cover your priorities, at least at a minimum. We did our own driving on the narrow Skye roads - when they’re barely wide enough for just one car, there’s no “right” or “wrong” side, as there’s hardly a side - LOL. But since we drove and didn’t research driver/tour options, can’t offer specific suggestions. If you’re staying at least 3 days and nights on Skye, you’ll likely want someone based there, who can take you to different parts on different days. We stayed in the northwest corner, rather than the city Portree.

On the western side of the mainland, Fort William, by the Bens - the highest mountains in the U.K., and Glen Coe - the valley east of there, were also spectacular, deserving a couple days each.

Driving along Loch Ness was less than spectacular, but we were in a lot of traffic (July) and an absolute downpour rainstorm.

Posted by
228 posts

If you are wanting to join a tour, then Rabbies get very good reviews for their trips.

Skye is the place everyone heads for and I must admit I do find it a tad over rated.... You will need a car for Skye as the bus service is geared up to getting people to and from work or school rather than for tourists. Skye is also very very popular with touristsd and does get busy. You need to book accommodation well in advance.

Now I'm going to offer an alternative suggestion - have you thought about Mull? it is easily reached by ferry from Oban. Mull is quieter (less accommodation choice for a start, so that immediately cuts down the number of visitors!) Senically it is as good. You also have Tobermory Distillery and Duart Castle. (Some of the older guide books still list Torosay Castle, but that is now closed although the gardens are open occasionally). There is also Iona with its Abbey, reached by foot ferry as visitors cars are not allowed on the island . You can also do day trips from Mull to the community owned island of Ulva and also Staffa. (Have a look here.
https://www.turusmara.com

Mull is renowned for its wildlife and you can do a day tour with a wild life expert to see otters, eagles etc.
https://www.isle-of-mull.net/trips-and-tours/wildlife-tours/

The bus service is possibly slightly more tourist friendly with services during the day and there are three main routes.
https://www.westcoastmotors.co.uk/services/WCMO/494?date=2021-07-28&direction=outbound
https://www.westcoastmotors.co.uk/services/WCMO/95?date=2021-07-28&direction=outbound
https://www.westcoastmotors.co.uk/services/WCMO/96?date=2021-07-28&direction=outbound

A car would make it a lot easier to see the island. Roads are narrow and slow but there isn't a lot of traffic. Driving isn't too stressful

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks so much for these recommendation and all the links. Will definitely consider many.

Posted by
513 posts

If you want to explore Skye with a private driver then I would recommend Skye Jeep Tours They will pick you up from your accommodation and build itineraries around your interests. They also run trips over to the island of Raasay, which is beautiful and has a wonderful distillery as well as spectacular scenery. They are a very small business run by a married couple.

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
163 posts

This company might be able to help. Quite a new business I think and not based on Skye, but they look as though they could take you there and to other places you wish to go. Castles and distilleries included :-)

www.wild-discovery.com