WHAT’S UP THE ROAD

cows on the road to scotland

If you have some time on your hands and you don’t know what to do with it, stuck in the far north-west corner of Europe, there is Scotland, remote, maybe not the sunniest, but still the country quite full of astounding sights, sounds and things to do. Weather in Scotland can really be hit and miss. It could be almost t-shirt weather in February or nearly winter in the summer.You shouldn’t miss the rain, it seems to be always there. Fishing, hunting, biking, unique culture, men in skirts :), bag pipes, there are million ways you could fill your time with on holiday in Scotland. Extensive road, railway and ferry network, and many airports throughout Scotland make your trip nothing but easy. We are going to travel by car all the way to Shetlands, stopping by a few, in my opinion, interesting places on our way- something like “Route 66” trip, UK version:) Let’s get on the road and see what’s worth to see up the hill. Our first stop is Edinburgh.


Edinburgh Castle

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London – Edinburgh: 422mi / 7h.  Edinburgh Castle, set on the top of the volcanic rock, dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh. The area was inhabited by humans in the 9th century BC, and is one of the oldest known European settlements. Having approximately 1,25000 visitors each year, it is second most visited tourist attraction in Uk after Tower of London.

  • Location: Edinburgh. Estuary of the North Sea. Scotland’s east coast.
  • Travel from London: 422 miles, 7 hours drive. Flights- London Airport.
  • Activities: Sightseeing, Xtreme Karting, Delta Force Paintball, Cycling, Boat trips.
  • Places Of Interest: Military Tattoo Musical, Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Park, Gilmerton Cove.

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Stirling Castle

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Edinburgh – Stirling: 36.5mi / 1h. Stirling Castle is located in Stirling, renowned as the Gateway to the Highlands and is one of the largest castles in Scotland. The castle sits atop a huge crag which forms geological formation of quartz-dolerite, which is around 350 million years old. This formation is also called Stirling Sill. Stirling is also the place where the Battle of Stirling Bridge took place in the First War of Scottish Independence. On 11 September 1297, the forces of William Wallace and Andrew Moray, defeated the English forces near Stirling, on the River Forth.

  • Location:  City of Stirling. Central Scotland. 26 miles from Glasgow, 36 miles from Edinburgh.
  • Travel from London:  418 miles, 6 hours and 30 minutes drive.
  • Activities: Sightseeing, Trekking, Horse Riding, Cycling.
  • Places Of Interest: National Wallace Monument, Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, Deanston Distillery, Stirling Old Town Jail.

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Loch Lomond

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Stirling – Loch Lomond: 38.8mi / 1h. Loch Lomond is a freshwater loch which is the largest inland stretch of water in Great Britain. It also contains thirty or more other islands, including Inchmurrin, the largest fresh-water island in the British Isles. Its region is steeped in legend, folklore and history. The snow-capped peaks, glimmering lochs and sheltered forests with fascinating wildlife, make Loch Lomond another spectacular place to visit.

  • Location:  Highland Boundary Fault. One hour drive from Stirling.
  • Travel from London:  426 miles, 6.5 hours drive.
  • Activities: Sightseeing, Kayaking, Wind Surfing, Jet Skiing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Ship Cruising, Sea Plane Flying, Fishing.
  • Places Of Interest: The Trossachs National Park, Bird of Prey Centre, Kilchurn Castle, Clydebank Titan.

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Glen Nevis

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Loch Lomond – Fort Williams: 78.4mi / 2h. Picturesque Highland Glen Nevis is located just a few minutes from the town Fort Williams and is well known for its appearance in the movie “Brave Heart”. The Glen Nevis can boast a great Range ski, snowboard and mountain biking centre on Aonach Mor. Downhill mountain bike track centre is a host to the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in June every year. It is also the start/end of a Great Glen Way’s walk/cycle way. Close to the town, there is a footpath to the top of the mighty Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles (1334m).  Also The village of ‘Lanark’ (“Brave Heart”), place where the young William Wallace grew up, was built in the Glen Nevis Valley, right at the foot of Ben Nevis.

  • Location:  Fort William, Highlands of Scotland.
  • Travel from London:  500 miles, 8 hours drive.
  • Activities: Sightseeing, Trekking, Mountain Biking, Quad Biking, Climbing.
  • Places Of Interest: Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle, Glen Roy, Steall Waterfall, Jacobite Steam Train.

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Eilean Donan

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Fort Williams – Eilean Donan: 65.2mi / 1h 30min. A picturesque castle situated on the small tidal island in Loch Duich. This picturesque place is one of the most photographed spots in Scotland and frequently appears in films and television. It featured in movies like “Highlander”, the James Bond film “The World is not Enough”, and most recently in the “Maid of Honour”.

  • Location: 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the village of Dornie in western Highlands of Scotland.
  • Travel from London:  590 miles, 10 hours drive.
  • Activities: Mountain Biking, Trekking, Dolphin Watching.
  • Places Of Interest: Eilean Donan Castle.

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Cuillin Hills

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Eilean Donan – Isle of Skye: 58mi / 1h 30min. The Cuillin Hills, most spectacular rocky mountains located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Sharp ridges and most terrifying walkers summits make this spot one of the favourites amongst climbers. Many of their summits require quite an effort and even some rock-climbing skills to reach. 15 km treks can take as long as 7-10 hours to complete. Coastline can be as spectacular as mountain range, huge cliffs and dramatic waterfalls make this place something else.

  • Location:  Isle of Skye.
  • Travel From London: 638 miles, 11 hours 20 mins by road. Island is connected with the main land by a road bridge spanning the sea between the villages of Kyle and Kyleakin. You can also board the ferry from Glenelg to Kylerhea Skye.
  • Activities: Golf, Cycling, Swimming, Diving, Horseback riding, Speed Kart Xtreme,  Kayaking , Rock Climbing, Hiking.
  • Places Of Interest: Fairy Pools, Coire Lagan, Faerie Glen, Neist Point, Dunvegan Castle

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Isle of Harris

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Isle of Skye – Isle of Harris: 57.2mi / 3h 20min (Ferry: Uig Skye – Tarbert Harris). Although Isle of Harris is not an island itself, it is frequently referred to as the Isle of Harris, being the more mountainous part of Lewis and Harris Island. Cliffs, moorlands, mountains, wild-flower meadows, lochs and miles of white sand and turquoise water, make this place one of the most scenic in the world. Worth the trip to get to it.

  • Location: North west corner of the group of Islands known as Western Isles or the Outer Hebrides.
  • Travel from London: 678 miles, 13 hours 20 mins by road. You will need to cross Caledonian MacBraynes car ferry “Mv Hebrides” from the Isle of Skye to Tarbert in North Harris. Planes fly from Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis,on a daily basis. From there you will have to travel 56 miles by road towards South Harris.
  • Activities: Golf, Cycling, Swimming, Surfing, Kayaking and Rock Climbing.
  • Places Of Interest: Luskintyre Beach, The Isle of Taransay, Scalpay Lighthouse, Kilda and Shiant Islands.

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Loch Ness

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Isle of Harris – Drumnadrochit: 153mi / 5h (Tarbert Harris Ferry – Uig Skye ferry). Loch Ness, best known for alleged sightings of the Loch Ness Monster, crypto-zoological creature also known as “Nessie”. Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch by surface after Loch Lomond, and second deepest loch after Loch Morar. At the depth of 189 meters, it exceeds the height of London’s BT Tower. Its length of 23 miles, covers a vast area filled with many different points of interests and attractions.

  • Location:  Scottish Highlands. Approximately 23 miles south-west of Inverness.
  • Travel from London:  566 miles, 9 hours drive.
  • Activities: Sightseeing, Kayaking, Wind Surfing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Boat Cruising, Fishing.
  • Places Of Interest: Urquhart Castle, Falls of Foyers, Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

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Orkney Islands

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Drumnadrochit – Kirkwall: 167mi / 6h (Stromness – Scrabster ferry). The Islands of Orkney consist of about 70 islands and skerries. Kirkwall is the main town and Capital of the islands. There you find cafes, hotels, restaurants, bars, and a variety of festivals and events happening throughout the year. Historical sites, variety of wild-life and sea-cliff scenery with dramatic hills and valleys, make these islands another great place to stop by.

  • Location:  Orkney Islands.
  • Travel from London: 711 miles, 14 hours drive. Ferries from Aberdeen, Scrabster, Gills Bay. Flights from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness.
  • Activities: Archaeology Tours, Kayaking, Trekking, Biking, Boat Cruising, Scuba diving, Fishing.
  • Places Of Interest: Tomb of the Eagles, Ring of Brodgar, Maes Howe, Noltland Castle, The island of Hoy

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Shetlands

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Kirkwall – Lerwick: 167mi / 10h (Kirkwall – Lerwick ferry). At the very top of the road there are Shetlands, subarctic archipelago of Scottish Islands. Shetlands are a great place for anyone who loves nature. Apart from stunning scenery, it is the place to come to if you enjoy animal watching. You will see there different range of rare sea birds, small mammals, Minke Whale, Orca, and if you are lucky, at the right time of the year and the right place, you may also see Aurora.

  • Location:  Lerwick. 100 miles (160 km) off the north coast of mainland Scotland.
  • Travel from London: 796 miles. 23 hours drive. Ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick. You can also fly to Sumburgh (20 miles south of Lerwick). Flights from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Kirkwall.
  • Activities: Mountain Biking, Fishing, Scuba Diving, Golf Playing, Whale Watching, Kayaking.
  • Places Of Interest: Mousa Iron Age Broch, Clickimin Broch, Noss National Nature Reserve.

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