This full-day tour includes a lot of travelling (around 9 hours driving) 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?
Departing Glasgow we cross the Erskine bridge with fantastic views down the Firth of Clyde. Shortly we enter the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and we take a brief stop at Luss pier to take in the beautiful views over the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.
We then travel north past Crianlarich and Tyndrum as the road starts to climb onto Ranch Moor. The wide open landscape with jagged peaks beyond is a truly unique natural habitat. We’ll stop to take in the view and stretch our legs.
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.
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.
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.
We’ll stop at this picturesque canal-side village at the southern tip of Loch Ness for lunch. On a nice day there are benches outside as boats navigate the intricate lock system. If you’d rather eat inside there are a number of cosy inns and eateries!
Though it was originally one of the largest castles in Scotland, only parts of Urquhart Castle remain. Built around the middle of the 13th century, there may have been an earlier large fort on the site. During the 1688 glorious 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 the Jacobean rebels. We explore Urquhart Castle and take in the 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!
Passing Inverness, 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.
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 on the final leg of our journey south.
On the road back towards Glasgow 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. As the light fades the views of Stirling Castle are spectacular.
We arrive back at your accommodation in Glasgow with a camera full of photos and many stories to be recounted over a dram of whisky or two!