8 Day Tour of North West Highlands and Skye
- From Four Seasons Campers at Gallangad Lodge head west towards Balloch and take the A82 north on the West side of Loch Lomond towards Fort William taking in the spectacular scenery of Rannoch Moor and Glencoe on route. Lots of photography opportunities. From here continue along the A82 towards Fort William to The Neptunes Staircase which is a series of canal locks that link the Caledonian Canal to the open sea and is well worth a visit. At this time of year you should spot some beautiful Scandinavian yachts coming through the canal on their way to the beautiful West Coast and Inner Hebrides. Continue past Neptunes Staircase on the A830 towards Arisaig and Mallaig. The road runs parallel to the Jacobite Steam train railway line made famous in Harry Potter as the route the Hogwarts Express took. At Glenfinnan you can visit the Glenfinnan monument which sits at the head of Loch Sheil and was built as a monument to the final uprising by Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites rising. Turn off the A830 at Arisaig where there are an abundance of campsites and beautiful beaches that look towards the Inner Hebridean Islands of Eigg and Rhum. The Beach past Traigh was made famous in the movie “Local Hero.” You can also wild camp at Traigh beach next to what used to be the public toilets but is now locked up and is directly on the beach with stunning views. Another option for wild camping is further along the B8008 just before Morar next to some public toilets. There are no views but the fabulous Morar Sands are 30 meters down the hill. There is also a certificated site at Arisaig which offers water and rubbish disposal for members of the Caravanning and Camping Club and I will enquire re costs if you are interested. We have a privilege membership meaning you can use these sites and also get a discount. The certificated sites vary in facilities as are for wild camping.
- From Arisaig continue onto the fishing port of Mallaig where you can get the ferry to Skye. Another option is to take a day trip to Britain’s most remote mainland pub at Inverie on the Knoydart peninsular from Mallaig. The Old Forge can only be accessed by boat and does excellent seafood and often has impromptu music playing. The ferry to Skye takes you to Armadale. Wild camping is an option but if you are looking for a campsite then there is one located at Glenbrittle which is close to some great scenery and the Talisker Whisky Distillery which does fantastic tours https://www.nickscape.co.uk/isle-of-skye-photography-locations A walk to the Fairy Pools which are located along the road from Merkadale to Glenbrittle is recommended. The walk starts at the Forestry Commision carpark signposted ‘Blumagan Na Sithichean.’
- From Skye drive back to the mainland over the Skye bridge through Kyle of Lochalsh. You can either take the A890 towards Wester Ross or take a slight detour north after the bridge round to Plockton which is a really pretty seaside village with palm trees and some great pubs. Once on the A890 continue onto the Achnasheen and then head west along the A832 towards Loch Maree and onto Gairloch where there are some great beaches and ample opportunity for wild camping.
- From Gairloch take the A832 north past Little Gruinard and along the south side of Little Loch Broom until you get to the A835. Head north towards the northern ferry port of Ullapool for some lively music, great pubs and fantastic fish and chips! The campsite at Ullapool is located on the stony beach and there are amazing views along Loch Broom towards the Outer Hebrides. There are plenty of walks around Ullapool either along near the lighthouse at Rhue or in the surrounding area of Assynt . Stac Pollaidh at 613 metres offers a great small hill with incredible views over the lochans of Inverpolly for some amazing photos and out towards the Summer Isles. Or if you are looking for a bigger walk Suillven and Quinag are within easy reach. Whilst at Ullapool you may want to take the Caledonian MacBryne ferry for a day trip to Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.
- From Ullapool head up the north on the A835 to Ledmore and take the A837 north past Ardvreck Castle at Loch Assynt and north onto the A894 towards Kylesku which offers a great wild camping spot just north of the bridge on the east side of the road. We camped here last year and were surrounded by a herd of stags.
- From Kylesku head north towards Rhiconich and take the B801 towards Oldshore Beg. From here there is a 4 mile walk into the spectacular beach at Sandwood Bay. It is well worth a visit! You can then either continue up north to Durness or I would recommend returning back down the A838 to Loch Assynt and taking the A837 west to Achmelvic where my favourite beach in Scotland is and a lively campsite beside it. You can also visit Lochinver which is a working fishing port and has a fantastic pie shop with a choice of over twenty different pies!
- From Achmelvic take the A838 south and onto the A835 to Ullapool and head on towards Inverness. From Inverness take the A81 south down the Caledonian Canal to Fort William and back through Glencoe. There is a great wild camping stop is at Glen Etive which is located just before the turnoff for Glencoe Ski Centre. This one track tarmacked road offers numerous places to park up and enjoy the scenery and the fresh burn that weaves it way towards the sea loch Loch Etive. It takes approximately two hours to travel from Glen Etive to Gallangad Lodge to return the vehicle
Two Week Tour of North West and East Highlands
- From Gallangad Lodge head towards Balloch and take the A82 north on the West side of Loch Lomond towards Fort William taking in the spectacular scenery of Rannoch Moor and Glencoe on route. A great wild camping stop is at Glen Etive which is located just after the turnoff for Glencoe Ski Centre. This one track tarmacked road offers numerous places to park up and enjoy the scenery and the fresh burn that weaves it way towards the sea loch Loch Etive. The Bridge of Orchy Hotel is a great place to stop for food and refreshments.
- The Neptunes Staircase at Fort William is well worth a visit. You can wander along the Caledonian Canal towpath that leads onto the three natural Lochs of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness or take a detour along the A830 to Glenfinnan and the Glenfinnan monument which sits at the head of Loch Sheil and was built as a monument to the final uprising by Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites rising. The famous “Hogwarts Express” line from the Harry Potter books runs from Fort William to Mallaig if you fancy a trip on a steam train.
- From Fort William head north up the A82 which runs parallel to the Caledonian Canal. There is a campsite at Fort Augustus which is a lovely place to stop, called Cumberlands Campsite cumberlands-campsite.com which seems to have good reviews on TripAdvisor. An alternative wild camping spot is at Gairlochy. It’s a lovely spot to stop but you cannot camp beside the canal. If you take the B8004 off the A82 down towards Gairlochy there is an area to the left of the road which is flat and ideal for camping and offers fantastic views of Ben Nevis etc… It can be cooler for sitting out as it is up the hill from the glen.
- From there you can follow the A82 up Loch Ness and enjoy some Loch Ness Monster visitor attractions or just stop in a lay by and enjoy the views with a cup of tea.
- Either drive on up the A82 north of Inverness or a great 11 mile (18 km) flat walk can be found at Glen Affric around Loch Affric. To get there head west at Drumnadrochit towards Cannich and then take the road to Glen Affric. There is also a campsite at Cannich should you wish to stay the night.
- From Inverness head up to Ullapool on A835 for some lively music, great pubs and fantastic fish and chips! The campsite at Ullapool is located on the stony beach and there are amazing views along Loch Broom towards the Outer Hebrides. There are plenty of walks around Ullapool either along near the lighthouse at Rhue or in the surrounding area of Assynt . Stac Pollaidh at 613 metres offers a great small hill with incredible views over the lochans of Inverpolly and out towards the Summer Isles. Or if you are looking for a bigger walk Suilleven and Quinag are within easy reach. Whilst at Ullapool you may want to take the Caledonian MacBryne ferry for a day trip to Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides.
- From here head up West coast towards Lochinver and camp at Achmelvic which is a couple of miles further north. Achmelvic has a lively campsite located on the most beautiful golden sand beach – my favourite beach in Scotland! Lochinver is a working fishing port and has a fantastic pie shop with a choice of over twenty different pies. Lochinver is home to Highland Pottery and has a shop here although the Ullapool shop offers much more choice. There is a lovely 5 mile walk over from Achmelvic to Lochinver.
- Either head North from here up to Durness where you can visit the Smoo caves or climb the most northerly Munro called Ben Hope. A steep but relatively short climb with amazing views. The beaches along this coast line are beautiful but very exposed.
- Alternatively take the A837 to the East Coast and Tain where I can highly recommend The Glenmorangie Distillery Tour. You can actually wild camp at Meikle Ferry on the North side of the Dornoch Firth and overlooking the golf course and beach on each side. If you prefer a campsite, my parents would recommend Rosemarkie at Fortrose which is directly on the sea front and where you may see Dolphins from if you’re lucky. There is a Tesco Superstore at Tain which may be useful for stocking up on supplies.
- From the Black Isle head towards Inverness and east along the A96 towards Nairn which is an old Victorian holiday town with great beaches and golf courses. There is a Camping and Caravan Club site at Nairn. The Moray Firth Coast line runs from Inverness through Nairn, Forres, Elgin, Buckie and Macduff and is home to Scotland’s infamous Malt Whisky Trail which runs through Speyside. You can find more information on this maltwhiskytrail.com I would also recommend a visit to the Culloden Battle Field which is a National trust attraction and offers a great interactive and atmospheric experience. It is located 20 minutes east of Inverness.
- From the Moray Firth coastline head south towards Grantown-on-Spey where you can visit Osprey Centre at Boat of Garten and wild camp overlooking Loch Garten. Or continue onto Aviemore and camp at Glen More Campsite on the sandy shores of Loch Morlich where you can enjoy watersports or take a short journey to the bottom of the Funicular railway at Cairngorm mountain range. There is a good café and access to walks at the top. Loch-an-Eilean which is nearby also offers a lovely forest walk around the loch that surrounds the castle in the middle.
- From Aviemore head down the A9 towards Loch Tummel where there is a campsite at Ardgualich Farm. Queens View at the head of Loch Tummel is worth visiting. Alternatively continue onto Aberfeldy where there is the Aberfeldy Distillery or if you are looking for adventure you can do White water rafting at Splash. There are lovely shops and cafes at Aberfeldy. A good walk is Ben Lawers which is located west of Aberfeldy along the A827.
- From Killin at the south end of Loch Tay take the A85 towards Lochearnhead and then the A84 down past Loch Lubnaig towards Callendar. You can then take either the A821 west or continue onto the A81 to Port of Menteith and take a boat across to Inchmahome priory. A great place for peace and a picnic. From the A81 head towards Drymn and take the B837 up the east side of Loch Lomond to Cashel Campsite which is a thirty minute drive from Gallangad Lodge.
Attractions and Restaurants links:
- Neptunes Staircase – Fort William where the Caledonian Canal meets the sea A series of gates and locks at the end of the Caledonian Canal. Great to watch the boats going through and nice walks along the canal https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g2060349-d4868388-Reviews-Neptune_s_Staircase-Banavie_Fort_William_Lochaber_Scottish_Highlands_Scotland.html
- Jacobite Steam Train https://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/jacobite-steam-train-details.cfm
- The Ceilidh Place Ullapool – great for a drink in the beer garden or food or music https://www.theceilidhplace.com/
- Lochinver Larder – delicious pies lochinverlarder.co.uk
- National Trust Culloden Experience https://www.nts.org.uk/culloden/ Very atmospheric walking across the battlefield and great indoor experience too
- Glenmorangie Distillery – north of Tain on A9 https://glenmorangie.com/en/age-gate
We had an excellent tour here and can thoroughly recommend
Look at website https://www.discovering-distilleries.com
- Osprey Centre Loch Garten https://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/reserves/guide/l/lochgarten/
- Mountain Café in Aviemore does great breakfasts, lunches and cakes mountaincafe-aviemore.co.uk
- Ski-ing Doo restaurant in Aviemore for great steaks and burgers in a casual atmosphere
- For a Scottish shopping experience House of Bruar – A9 near Pitlochry https://www.houseofbruar.com/