You are here:

Scotland/Highlands, Skye, Orkneys

Advertisement


Question
Four of us, all in our 70s, are planning to drive around the Scottish Highlands, Skye, and Orkney Islands in late August and early September.  we have driven in Great Britain several times in the past.

Can someone suggest a scenic itinerary for a two- to two and a half-week trip?  Suggestions for good B&Bs and/or pointers to good B&B lists would also be appreciated.

Answer
Hi Norman.

You are looking at a nice route, but I am going to make it a little better.

First, the best possible website for finding anything and everything about Scotland, is

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/

They have a section called "driving tours", which is quite interesting, but they have extensive sections on each area and most attractions.

The area North and East of the Skye bridge makes for an excellent day tour.  Eilan Donan Castle, the village of Plockton, the Bealach na Ba mountain pass, Applecross Inn on the other side.  The coastal road from Applecross to Sheildaig.  All brilliant.

Take the Road to the Isles from Fort William to Mallaig and the ferry to Skye.

After Skye, ferry to the Isle of Harris from Uig. A beautiful island - do not miss the St. Clements Church and make sure when you drive around the island, to come North from St. Clements on the single track road on the East side of the island.  Truly stunning and the best stretch of road in Scotland.  You will stop so many times.  The best beaches in the world are on Harris. Lewis North of Harris has Calanish Stones, Carloway Broch, a black house village and the quirky wee Abhainn Dearg distillery.

Ferry back to Ullapool, then head North with various side trips to the coast, ending up at Durness.  There is an option near the top to take a little ferry and a minibus trip to Cape Wrath n the North West corner  Along the North coast past a string of beautiful  beaches and superb scenery, until you reach Dounreay nuclear reactor (closed, thankfully and only another 320 years until the residual radioactivity is gone).  Not so scenic now but you are almost at the ferry from Scranbster to Stromness.  This is only 90 minutes but a nice route and all kinds of seabirds often visible on the route, as is the Old Man of Hoy Rock Stack and the cliffs along the South of the island of Hoy.  

On Orkney, there are a host of prehistoric must-see sites, but the most important of all, the Ness of Brodgar is only being excavated for seven weeks of the year and I think you may well miss it.  If not, please do it.  For a donation of GBP100 (just GBP25 each), the site director Nick Card, will give you  a personal tour of the site. Even when the dig is finished, he would do that and tell you of the significance and show you some of the finds and show the relationship to the many other prehistoric sites visible from the Ness.  Wonderful place!!!  Worth every penny, whether it is open or closed.  Contact him through the local university or the library.  Don't miss the Italian Chapel and the Churchill Barriers on Orkney.  I hope that helps you.  

For the best value car in Scotland, go to http://www.celticlegend.co.uk/car  We are agents for Arnold Clark, Scotland's largest rental company, but our prices are lower than theirs, free drivers while they charge, half price GPS, lower priced deductible waiver.... Cheers, Willie.

Scotland

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Willie Wallace

Expertise

I live in Edinburgh and travel a lot, myself, in Scotland. I`m especially keen on the many beautiful and remote islands, whisky distilleries and golf and can help with travelling around and good places to stay. Also reknowned, locally, as an expert on Edinburgh pubs :o)

Experience

I run a tour company bringing visitors to Scotland - Whisky Tours and golf tours mainly, but general tours also. I am already listed as an Expert in the UK section.

Publications
Wrote for Fodor's Guide to Scotland. Wrote "Stray Out There" on Backpacking in Ireland and UK. Also wrote a guide on Backpacking in Australia, for Australian Tourist Commission.

Education/Credentials
Some college. Traveled and lived all over the world. You can't beat that for an education!

Past/Present Clients
Two of our whisky tour clients - Hotel Waldhaus in Swizerland - Largest number of malt whiskies in the world - over 2500 (Guinness Book of Records) and Dundee Dell, possibly the largest collection of malts of any bar in the US. Regular visitors.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.