How to find the most unique places on your Scotland Road Trip
Posted on 23/05/2019 by Charlotte I Guest Post
Scotland, a land of Scotch whiskies, kilts, and the Loch Ness monster! We spent a week exploring the Highlands of Scotland. During these seven days, we had one mission: to find the most unique places on a Scotland road trip! In this blog, we will tell you all about the special places we found and what makes them so unique.
Our itinerary and how did we travel?
We believe the best way to explore the Scottish Highlands is to go on a road trip! We hit the road with Agent Dunham: a big silver campervan which brought us to the farthest reaches of Scotland, offered us a comfortable bed to sleep in and, when it was raining, was our cosy living room.
Agent Dunham was waiting for us at the Spaceships branch in Edinburgh (an easy half an hour trip from the city centre by bus). For our Scotland road trip we set off north towards the Cairngorms National Park and Inverness before turning west to the Wester Ross. After experiencing the Wester Ross Coastal Route, we ventured to the beautiful Isle of Skye and continued to Fort William and Glencoe. Our final stop before returning Agent Dunham home to Edinburgh was Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park where we hiked the incredible Ben Arthur. In total, Agent Dunham carried us over 1023 miles and allowed us to enjoy a large chunk of the stunning Scottish Highlands.
Unique Place 1: Loch Uaine, the Cairngorms National Park
Of course, the Cairngorms itself is a unique place with its range of scenery and rugged landscape. As the biggest National Park of Scotland, its well known as a place for nature lovers with its white snow-capped peaks of Cairngorms Mountains, multiple lochs, enchanting forests, and varied wildlife (including Britain’s only herd of reindeer!). However, while we were camping at the beautiful Loch Morlich (in Cairngorms National Park) we found a special place which is not so well known: Loch Uaine. This lovely loch is nestled in a small valley surrounded by large pine trees. With its green-blue waters (Loch Uaine means ‘the green loch’), its quiet tranquility and peace, it’s a truly magical spot.
You reach Loch Uaine by hiking the ‘Ryvoan trail’ starting at the tourist information office in Glenmore. It’s a fairly easy 60-minute walk (one way) with medium elevation through forests and across little streams.
Unique Place 2: Dolphin Spotting at Chanonry Point
Just 20 minutes north-west of Inverness lies the peninsula, Black Isle. Overlooking Moray Firth and Fort George is the charming little town of Fortrose. North of Fortrose is Chanonry Ness, a spit of land extending into the Moray Firth. The beaches of Chanonry Ness are some of the best places in the world to spot dolphins. Both bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises live here year-round. The sand and gravel of the spit running out into the Moray Firth creates strong tides in which the dolphins love to play and fish. You can spot them sometimes from just a few meters away!
Road Trip Tip
You have the best chance of spotting the dolphins when tides are rising. Make sure to bring your binoculars and something warm to drink! Then you can sit back, relax, and wait to see if they will reveal themselves!
The best spot to search for dolphins is next to the white lighthouse at Chanonry Point near the end of Chanonry Ness. There is a small parking area nearby, but arrive early as it fills up rather quickly.
Unique Place 3: Magic at the Fairy Glen Falls
Near Fortrose, also on the Moray Forth peninsula, are the Fairy Glen Falls. Hidden in the forest you will find these adorable waterfalls. If fairies do exist, this is definitely the place they would live, flying through the small rays of sun shine dotting the green and lush waterfalls. Fallen trees and stepping stones bring you close to the falling water and little staircases guide you to a twin fall.
Fairy Glen Falls are a 60-minute walk up from the nearby town Rosemarkie. If you go by road, be aware that there are no parking spaces near the falls.
While cruising the Coastal route in Wester Ross, you’re sure to experience roads winding through the mountains alongside blue sea water. The Coastal Route guides you by sandy beaches, through cute little coastal towns, and to peaceful sea lochs.
Unique Place 4: The Wester Ross Coastal Route
This beautiful part of Scotland, just north of Isle of Skye, has few tourists. You can sometimes drive for hours without passing another car. We loved the stretch from Dundonnell, driving along Little Loch Broom, all the way to Mellon Udrigle, where you will find a beautiful sandy beach with herds of sheep grazing alongside.
The Wester Ross Coastal Route runs from Ullapool to Auchtertyre. It consists of the A832 road, the A896 road and the Applecross Peninsula. Often the road has just one lane. To get the whole experience, remember to take your time and make stops at the coastal towns. Are you up for a hike? Then walk the short or long route at Beinn Eighe, where you will find the last original Caledonian pine trees.
Road Trip Tip
Looking for a nice place to camp? Stay at the campsite Northern Lights to have magnificent views over the Little Loch Broom.
Unique Place 5: Amazing seafood at the Kishorn Seafood Bar
When driving the Coastal Route in the Wester Ross, make sure to build in time for a lunch break at the Kishorn Seafood Bar. This vibrant blue restaurant serves mouthwatering seafood. All their fish is extremely fresh as its sourced from the nearby lochs and sea. We ordered the selection of salmon, which was rich and very tasty, and the crab claw special consisting of thick white crabmeat full of taste. Both were served with fresh hot buns and the best mustard sauce we’ve ever tried!
You will find the Kishorn Seafood Bar at Kishorn, on the A896. Prices range from £12 to £17 for a lunch main course.
Unique Place 6: Loch Coruisk and the boat trip towards it!
In the southwest of the famous Isle of Skye, you will find a hidden loch: Loch Coruisk. This beautiful lake is very remote, only accessible by foot or by boat. It lies at the foot of the craggy Black Cullins, it’s a quiet place with endless nature to experience and rocks to climb on. Or is there something else to this peaceful lake? According to legend, Loch Coruisk is home to a mystical water horse. A hike around the lake takes three to four hours and gives you plenty of time to spot this water creature! There is no real path and be prepared to walk on boggy terrain.
The boat trip towards Loch Coruisk is just as pretty as the hike. You sail 45 minutes towards the sea of Loch Na Cuilce, enjoying views of the Isle of Rum and the Isle of Soay on your trip. Here you will definitely see some of the 170 seals living here, resting on the rocks. You will also have a chance to spot puffins, dolphins and (very rarely) orcas or humpback whales.
You can book a boat trip to Loch Coruisk with Misty Isle Boat Trips or Bella Jane, departing from the small fisherman’s town Elgol. Don’t book the shortest trip since this will only give you 30 minutes at Loch Coruisk. Go for the ‘normal’ (three hours) trip or the longest one.
Road Trip Tip
Are you travelling in high season (June-September)? Then you should book ahead because is the boats for Loch Coruisk have limited availability.
Unique Place 7: Strathfillan Wigwam Village
We have seen some really nice campsites on our road trip, but our favourite was definitely the Strathfillan Wigwam Village in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. In addition to the cute sheep that keep you company, you also have an amazing view of the Crianlarich Hills! There is a little camping shop which sells organic food. For kids, there are treasure hunts and for adults, there is the possibility to roast your food on a fire you build yourself. Extra bonus: the campsite has a kitchen and a living room where you can cook, eat and relax during cold (or rainy) days.
You will find Strathfilland Wigwam Village at Tyndrum in the North of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, just of the A82. The price per night for two people in a tent/campervan is £16. Staying in the Wigwams is possible from £40 a night, but book ahead.
We are Charlotte and Ries, creators of the travel bolg, Charlotte Plans a Trip. We hope this gives you the inspiration to find more unique places on your Scotland road trip in your own Spaceship!
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