The Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands.

For the majority of the year, Adam and I talked about doing a big road trip through northern Scotland. I’d developed a real soft spot for the country during my first visit to the U.K. in 2010 and Adam had seen glimpses of it through numerous work trips, but had never had the opportunity to explore it properly.

We managed quite a few trips north (see here and here) but never into the Highlands where we longed to go. Adam had a huge desire to give sleeping in our beloved Volvo XC70, Bjorn, a go so in late November we packed up the car and headed north.

A lot of people thought we were a little crazy to head to the notoriously wet and windy Scottish Highlands in late autumn, especially with the desire to camp and sleep in a car! It was one of those trips where we had a vague idea of what we wanted to do and see, but most days we ended up just selecting a location we wanted to finish in, ensured we had accommodation for the night and just drove, seeing where the day would take us.

Our first night away was at a lovely campsite on the shores of Ardmucknish Bay, just north of Oban. We were able to spend the afternoon reading in our ‘bed’ overlooking the water, watching the occasional dog and walker ramble past, all rugged up against the cold wind.

Camping out on the shores of Ardmucknish Bay, Scotland.

The following day (after a surprisingly comfortable night’s sleep!) we followed the A82 from Tyndrum to Fort William, which takes in the incredible scenery around Glencoe. I can’t remember how many times we stopped to pull over and take pictures.  No matter where you looked, you saw huge snow covered mountains, vibrant verdant valleys and clear fast flowing streams. It was magical.

The Scottish Highlands around Glencoe.

The weather was temperamental – glimpses of sunshine one minute, torrential rain the next. They’re the sort of conditions that make sight seeing a little challenging at times, but we were well prepared with lots of layers of clothes and tried and trusted waterproof jackets.  The crazy weather resulted in some spectacular displays of light reflecting on the peaks though, so the mild discomfort was well worth it!

The Scottish Highlands around Glencoe.

After stocking up on supplies in Fort William we decided to drive a little further north to go and see the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous in the Harry Potter films.  It really is a beautiful bridge and you can see why there has been such a romantic notion surrounding train travel for so many years.

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scotland.

The views around Glenfinnan aren’t bad either.

Glenfinnan, Scotland.

Glenfinnan, Scotland.

We had hoped to catch the ferry from Fort William across to the Isle Skye.  We assumed in late November, it’d be easy enough to just buy tickets a few hours before the trip but the ferry was completely booked out! Thankfully you can drive onto Skye via a road bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh.  It meant a few extra hours in the car, but it’s easy to sit and take in the scenery, especially when you’re taken by beautiful castles, like Eilean Donan, at dusk.

Eilean Donan castle in Scotland at dusk.

We spent the next four and a half days exploring Skye and the Isle of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides – more on that next week!

Have a wonderful weekend and best of luck with final Christmas preparations! x

15 thoughts on “The Scottish Highlands

  1. Beautiful pictures! Would like to know your tried and true waterproof jacket. Going to Norway soon and will need a good waterproof jacket. Thanks so much. Merry Christmas.

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      1. Yay, thank you. I am excited for Skye. 🙂 We will be starting in Edinburgh and then heading up toward Inverness. From there off to Skye and then back down to Edinburgh via Glenfinnan. All this in only 11 days, so I am hoping we can soak it up while we are there. 🙂

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