Itinerary - Highlands & Islands (7 nights)
The ‘Gateway’ to the Highlands and Islands has traditionally been the town of Fort William. If ever there was a recommended experience to start a tour it would be to take the Caledonian sleeper service from London overnight. Although the service can feel a little run down, there is little to compare with the joy of having breakfast in the dining car in the morning as you cross Rannoch Moor.
A Day in Fort William would have to be spent climbing Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain. The paths are good and it can be climbed with good shoes and spare warm clothing. You should check the weather forecast before setting out in order to have the best chance of a clear view on the summit. It is also recommended to visit the Neptune Steps which are the series of lochs that connect the Caledonian canal to the sea a mile out of the centre of the town.
Hire a car and drive South on the A82 signposted to Oban for about 8 miles, past the Corran Ferry to North Ballachulish. Turn left at the sign to the seafood restaurant on the B863 and drive for 5 miles to have a wonderful lunch on Loch Leven and to stock up on some seafood to BBQ on the beach in the next couple of days.
After lunch retrace your steps to the Corran Ferry and drive the A861 to Salen or on to Ardnamurchan point if feeling sufficiently energetic.
Continue on to the area around Arisaig and spend the evening watching the sunset over the beautiful Arisaig Beaches.
Take a day trip to Eigg. This is simply the most wonderful small island that you can find anywhere. You can catch a boat from Arisaig Pier or the CalMac ferry from Mallaig. Once on the island you will be able to walk around most of the coastline and climb the perfect central hill ‘An Sgurr’ which dominates the island. The history is fascinating and the atmosphere peaceful and liberating.
Take the Mallaig Ferry to Skye taking note of the Jacobite Steam train line alongside the road.
Once on Skye, press on through Broadford until close to Portree or further North. You must spend some time in Trotternish either this afternoon or in the morning,
Drive the Quiraing pass if you have time, visit both Dunvegan castle, the lighthouse at Neist Point and Glendale before leaving Skye by using the Skye bridge at Kyleakin or even better by the tiny Glenelg ferry and stopping at the Glenelg Inn for refreshment.
Drive through the Kyle of Lochalsh without stopping and on up the A890 to Plockton. This is a beautiful small fishing village much loved by artists that is also accessible via the Kyle - Inverness railway.
After Plockton drive round the corner of Loch Carron, stop at the Kishorn seafood bar for a great meal and then take the Bealach Na Ba road to Applecross as the last attraction you will have time for on your whistle stop tour of the West Highlands and Islands.
What other people say
"We highly recommend booking through Private House Stays. We organised our whole Scottish trip using it."Hank and Marlene Kopoknok