Departing Edinburgh we immediately cross the Forth Bridges with fantastic views across the Firth of Forth, Forth Railway Bridge and Queensferry Crossing. Entering the Kingdom of Fife we will pass Loch Leven and the Lomond Hills as we cross the county border into Perthshire.
We will stop at the picturesque village of Dunkeld with its white-wash cottages and dramatic Dunkeld Cathedral. Stretching our legs on the banks of the River Tay there are refreshments available before we continue north.
As the elevation increases the landscape becomes more dramatic. The main road wynds through narrow valleys as we arrive at the highest point on the UK trunk road network and the Pass of Drumochter. The landscape changes again towards Inverness as we descend back to sea level. We’ll pass Inverness Castle and the River Ness as we continue on the route to our next stop.
Deep in the Great Glen south-west of Inverness, Loch Ness is famous as the home of ‘Nessie’, the legendary Loch Ness Monster. It has less controversial claims to fame. This spectacular loch is 23 miles long, with the largest volume of freshwater in Britain. It is the second deepest and second largest loch in Scotland, holding more water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined.
The legend of Nessie dates from 570AD, when ancient records from Christian crusaders told of a beast living in the loch. A 1933 sighting of a mysterious object in the water led to several expeditions to search for the monster. Sonar detected large moving underwater objects that could not easily be explained.
Though it was originally one of the largest castles in Scotland, only parts of it are still standing. It was probably built around the middle of the 13th century, though there may have been an earlier large fort on the site. During the 1688 revolution the Grants opposed the rebellious Jacobites but after their defeat the castle was occupied by government forces. When they left in 1692 it was blown up to prevent its occupation by defeated rebels. We explore Urquhart Castle and take in the stunning views across Loch Ness.
Optional: Take a 30 minute boat trip from the banks of Loch Ness to Urquhart Castle and learn the legend of the loch from the water. Perhaps even catch a glimpse of Nessie!
Arriving at the picturesque canal-side village of Fort Augustus complete with Victorian canal lock system, we’ll stop for a late lunch and to take in the views of southern Loch Ness. Travelling towards Fort William we continue the journey through The Great Glen, a fault line that runs through the heart of the highlands. The scenery is stunning as we drive along the shore of beautiful lochs framed by the munro peaks.
In the heart of the Western Highlands, Glencoe offers some of the finest mountain scenery in Scotland. Towering above Glencoe village, several rugged peaks and ridges rise to heights well over 3000 feet (914 metres). The Massacre of Glencoe took place on 12 February 1692 when government soldiers of the Clan Campbell received secret instructions to “kill all MacDonalds under 70 years of age”. They rose at 5 am next day to murder 38 of their sleeping hosts.
We continue through Rannoch Moor with a comfort stop at the Kings House, set into a dramatic mountains including Buachaille Etive Mhor rising 1745 feet above the valley.
On the road back towards Edinburgh we see a number of famous sites from Scotland’s history. Driving into the Carse of Stirling we will have panoramic views towards Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. At Falkirk The Kelpies come into sight, a famous modern art installation designed by renowned local artist Andy Scot before we pass Linlithgow Palace, Birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.
We arrive back in Edinburgh at the end of the day and return to your hotel or accommodation with a camera full of photos and many stories to be recounted over a dram of whisky or two!
This full-day tour includes quite a lot of travelling but is a very rewarding day. However, if you have more time and prefer to experience these places at a more relaxed pace, perhaps one of our multi-day private tours is better suited to your needs?