We are traveling from Edinburgh to Inverness in early June and are planning to drive along the coast through Aberdeen. However, we have a very limited time - one day travel up, one full day there, one travel day back. Should we drive or take train? We are scheduled for a day long bus tour described as - "This one-day adventure takes you thorough some of Scotland’s most iconic scenery - past Loch Ness and Eilean Donan Castle - to reach the Isle of Skye. You’ll then experience the very best that this magical place has to offer before returning home via the beautiful Black Isle." Should we do this or just drive around ourselves?
I'm slightly confused. I realize you say you have limited time, but are you going to have a car the whole time? If so, I would drive yourselves via Loch Ness to the Isle of Skye. It sounds like the tour (from your description) won't be stopping there (or Eilean Donan) but rather, just driving by those sites. I would say that Loch Ness is worth an hour stop (there is a little presentation about the loch at Uruquhart Castle and then you wan walk around the castle ruins to get a great view of the lake). I don't think you can tour Eilean Donan castle, but it's a nice photo stop if you're into photography. I'd say 20-30 minutes there as well. If your tour bus isn't stopping at those, I would say definitely drive.
Also, are you planning on staying on Skye overnight? There's certainly some terrific photo stops, hiking trails and the cute little town of Portree. You could probably find enough to do for one night. If you have enough time, I think you would like it. If not, then I would at least do a one-day tour (either driving or with the bus).
Unfortunately, I can't comment about the drive between Edinburgh and Inverness.
You can easily do this yourself and have more time to customize the trip to your liking. None of the roads are single lane. Here's a map from Viamichelin. Of course, you wouldn't have to go all the way to Portree. It depends on what you want to see of Skye. Via Michelin is a great tool for plotting potential trips. :) Here's a similar map for the Aberdeen portion. Are there particular things you want to see on this aspect of your trip? I thinkI would do this, instead, but perhaps there is something about the East coast that you're interested in?
Edinburgh to Inverness is about 150 miles, via Aberdeen will add around another 100 to the trip. The more scenic route from Dundee up the coast for Arbroath, Montrose and Stonehaven will add more time and miles.
Going via Aberdeen could easily leave you knackered for Inverness, more so if you are stopping on route and not used to driving on the correct side. If all you are up in Inverness for one full day only, I'd go direct up the middle to Inverness.
Thank you all so much for your replies.
Any thoughts about what the weather might be like in early June? Will we be guaranteed wet and dreary?
You will be guaranteed 'weather'. Potentially four seasons in one day. Being without an 'R' June will likely be warm, long days as you approach midsummer, with no rain and in the north the daylight will last well into the night. However you might also get snow, wind or rain. Failte gu Alba!
And I'll add that the weather in the west, may be different from the weather in the East. :) It's a small mountainous, country where no place is very far from the ocean, so the weather is changeable and can be very local. You can also sadly get a big black cloud over all of it. But, as MC says, you have better odds in June.