Top 10 things to see in Scotland
Both Steffan and I have lived in the UK all of our lives and we are embarrassed to say that until this trip, we had never stepped foot into Scotland. Why?
We always assumed that we needed to go further afield to be amazed... that we could see places closer to home when we were older... but honestly, Scotland is easily one of the most beautiful, if not THE most beautiful country we have been to!
We spent a month exploring this beautiful country and could have stayed longer and cannot wait to have the privilege of returning.
Here were our top 10 things we visited!
The Isle of Skye
The Isle of Skye has to take the top spot since we spent the majority of our trip there. Two whole weeks exploring this rugged island and we even tied the knot whilst we were there..... We went full Braveheart at our wedding!
The Isle of Skye is situated off the West Coast of Scotland and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. It is a fairly small island but its beauty packs a punch. from the magical Fairy Pools to the totally underrated Quiraing.
To read all about our top things to see on the isle of Skye click here
In very close second place... almost joint first, it has to be the majestic and dramatic Glencoe! It is simply breathtaking! Towering green mountains, glistening lakes and deer wandering around just itching to make friends with you, this place is nothing short of a dream.
Have you ever seen that island on one of the recent Jurassic Park films? It Is literally like that..... Insane!
Most people just simply drive through but if you have time we would suggest stopping by the Kings House Hotel to see the wild deer and also taking the Glencoe chair lift up to the top of the mountain for epic views! It's worth it.
For those of you that are Harry Potter fans this place needs no introduction.
The filming of the second and third Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Chambers of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban took place in this area with the Hogwarts Express calling at Glenfinnan! I legit got a little bit emosh when the train went past and I am not even a huge fan! (Don't shoot me) but really guys, it's magical and whether you love HP or not, you will still totally appreciate this!
The famous Glenfinnan viaduct carries the railway to Glenfinnan Station across a 1,000 ft span, 100 ft above the ground. The Jacobite steam train runs from here to Fort William and Mallaig in summer months with regular trains available the rest of the year.
It only runs a few times a day so make sure you check the timetable and get there at least 30 minutes before its due to come past as it gets rather busy!
And regardless of whether you want to see the train or not, the drive from Fort William to Glenfinnan through the Glen definitely hit our Top five most beautiful drives in Scotland, so it's worth the trip for the drive alone in our humble opinion.
Fort William and Ben Nevis
Fort William is one of those places everyone tells you that you have to visit but once you get there you realise there is not a great deal to actually do. In its defence, we had arrived shortly after it had reopened and so we most probably did not get to see it in its full glory but even so, we would probably only use it as a base for future visits.
That said, it being home to the tallest mountain in the UK is really all it needs to do and that alone is pretty impressive.
Whether you decide to hike the Ben, just take a wander halfway up or just admire it from afar it was one of the things we didn't want to miss.
Another pretty amazing spot just a few miles outside of Fort William is the shipwreck of Corpach which is one of the most impressive things we have seen. The backdrop of Ben Nevis and the sheer size of this boat is nothing less than magnificent.
Finnich Glen also known as The Devils Pulpit
If you think and envision a scene from the Lord of the Rings you are not too far away from what you experience when visiting the Devils Pulpit.
A magical deep gorge set into the orange sandstone rock with rushing red water and walls embraced by green trees, leaves and moss. This place is truly breathtaking.
Although we will tell you that descending into this magical gorge comes at a cost.
If you google this place, you will find a few websites that are pretty direct about access..
"The entrance is pretty slippy and dangerous, enter at your own risk"
It's not easy. But rest assured I have the balance of a newly born baby deer and the coordination of Mr Blobby after consuming 10 ciders. And if I can make it you can make it. I promise.
Wear boots or trainers. Hold on tight to the rope as you make your way down the rocks and don't take too many bags with you and you will be totally fine and dandy and after all said and done, it is more worth it than I can put into words. Just nature at its best.
Kyle of Lochalsh and the beautiful Eilean Donan castle
Kyle of Lochalsh is a village set on the Northwest coast of Scotland. It's not somewhere we had heard much about until we drove through it but it deserves a mention because aside from the journey through the majestic Glencoe this was the next place that totally took our breath away. Loch after loch decorated with small islands housing trees and wildlife with a backdrop of sweeping mountains. It was gorgeous. So naturally beautiful.
If you drive to Skye or travel to see the historic Eilean Donan Castle then you will no doubt drive along the A87 and get to experience this scenic route yourself but even if those two places are not on your itinerary we suggest you make the journey anyway. One of the most beautiful roads we travelled along in a month.
The castle needs little to no introduction and it really is as beautiful in reality as it is in photographs. If you are a photography fan then be aware that it is located where the three sea lochs meet which means that there are tides unlike a lot of other lochs in Scotland. This means you can capture this 13th-century castle with water hugging the island or surrounded by rocks and land. Totally different perspectives but both equally as beautiful.
Due to the previous three months, Scotland had spent in lockdown, the castle was not yet open but we believe you can usually enter and join in on tours to learn more about the history of the castle.
The Cairngorms are a mountain range in the eastern Highlands of Scotland and became part of Scotland's second national park in 2003.
We didn’t expect to be too in awe of the Cairngorms in all honesty. I mean we had fallen head over heels in love with Glencoe and spent two magical weeks on Skye! What more could Scotland have to offer but we were so flippin wrong!
The Cairngorms were so different from what we had seen so far on our Scottish road trip …. More open… more vast… rolling mountains covered in purple heather, views for miles! It is simply beautiful! But totally different.
There is so much to see and do from the Cairngorm mountain itself, Ben Macdui (The UK's second-highest mountain!), a herd of reindeer, yes reindeer, a green loch and plenty of activity centres to suit all interests and abilities.
Although our favourite thing was just going for a really long drive through the mountains and stopping frequently to take it all in and of course take a photo or two.
The Loup of Fintry
Loup of Fintry is a notable waterfall on the River Endrick with a total height of 94 foot. It's a shortish but narrow and slippy walk of about five minutes from the road to the waterfall with plenty of space to park on the roadside.
I have to be totally honest, I have a love-hate relationship with the Loup Of Fintry. It is where we spent our first night on our month-long trip and we had decided to wild camp in a 6 man tent with no food aside from dry grains and a papery cereal bar. That combined with a sleepless night filled with borderline hyperthermia and the noise of teenagers coming and going who apparently use this is social gathering spot way past midnight, meant that some of the warm fuzzy glow of this stunning waterfall was extinguished.
But it's beautiful all the same. And I would totally go back minus the wild camping.
The Loup of Fintry blessed us with a beautiful sunset and sunrise and even a rainbow. You are forgiven.
Loch Lomond is a lake in southern Scotland. It’s part of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park and often considered the boundary between the lowlands of central Scotland and the highlands.
We spent four nights here camping at the start of our trip and found the area to be almost bewitching and worthy of its reputation despite the thick fog and pouring rain. It is the largest lake in Great Britain by surface area and the surrounding area is home to red deer and oak woodlands.
Loch Lomond is home to many footpaths and cycle trails across Ben Lomond mountain and the smaller Hills surrounding it.
We would also recommend you stopped by The Falls of Falloch which we discovered on one of our drives about the park. A totally stunning waterfall which has a Jurassic feel to it with a short, easy and forgiving walk to the viewing point which quite honestly is a luxury in mountainous Scotland.
Loch Ness needs no introduction. Despite not having a much-hoped-for encounter with the legendary Loch Ness monster we can confirm the trip there was still all together worth it.
Located near Inverness the loch is shrouded in mystery and as such, you can jump aboard a number of boat tours and trips to hear more about the legend and try and spot the beautiful Nessie for yourself.
For us, we just loved walking along the edge of the famous loch and discovering what seemed to be abandoned wrecks and boats which we are sure had their own stories and legends to go with them.
If you fancy exploring the old shipwrecks for yourselves, you can find them on the West Side of Loch Ness.
To read all about our top things to do on the stunning Isle of Skye click here