Scotland is said to be amazing in August, hence this apropos post with a guide of the main areas to visit there. Personally, I did not get the chance to organise my trip at this time of the year, but I enjoyed it anyway : the end of May offers a few sunny days and I made the most of them with my family. After sharing with you my guide of the best things to see in Edinburgh, let me present you my driving tour guide across Scotland. A perfect way to discover this rich and singular country!
From Edinburgh to Loch Lomond (79 miles, 2h20)
We left Edinburgh and headed towards Loch Lomond. On the way, we stopped for a little while in Stirling (1h away from Edinburgh), where we admired the beautiful city center and had a glimpse at its famous Castle.
Unfortunately, we had not planned to visit it as we had a busy agenda, but this Castle is renowned for its rich history (during the Wars of Independence, including civil wars among the Scots and opposition between Scotland and England, the castle changed hands eight times in 50 years!) and impressive building (dominating a vast volcanic rock above the river Forth). Also, the many events organized there make it very interesting to explore.
We arrived at Loch Lomond in between two heavy showers… The sky was as dark as the water, but we enjoyed our walk there and I took pictures from a nice vantage point (and at some point I focused on these beautiful bluebells …).
Loch Lomond is a lake in southern Scotland, that is part of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. The loch contains thirty or more islands and has a rich fauna and flora. A beautiful nature with a lot to explore!
For those interested, Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s premier boating and watersports venues. You can also admire there The Maid of the Loch, which was the last paddle steamer built in Britain (she operated on Loch Lomond for 29 years and is currently being restored at Balloch pier).
I have to say the scenery in that area of Scotland reminded me of the trip we made a few years ago in the Lake District. Big lakes, large tracks of land and forests, luxuriant nature… A paradise for the walkers!
Loch Lomond to Fort William (76 miles, 2h)
I loved the scenery along this route. Truly breathtaking. This is my favorite part of this trip across Scotland!
Opting for a driving tour can be exhausting in such a big country, but the joy we had along the route, discovering amazing sceneries and wonderful colors could just satisfy our thirst for discovery (the sky changed all the time, either accentuating the dark colors of the nature or on contrary revealing paradisiac clear turquoise waters and bright green grass).
In this part of our trip, we came closer to the mountains.
Actually 10 miles before reaching Fort William, we stopped to admire Ben Nevis, “the highest mountain in the British Isles” (1,345 metres above sea level). The place was very crowded, but we enjoyed the surrounding view on the mountains (some still covered with snow at the top).
If you wish to climb Ben Navis (or just hike there), you could visit this website which will provide you with all information needed.
Fort William – Glencoe
Even when people told us they had never seen Fort William other than under the rain, we remained optimistic. And we were lucky enough to spend 2 days there, both sunny. Fort William itself presents little interest, but it is an essential starting point for many walks in the area.
So, on the first morning we opted for a trail walk called “Glencoe Lochan”, situated in the quiet woodlands behind Glencoe Village. We started from the Glencoe Lochan car park and came back there a couple of hours later.
As we learnt while staying in this part of Scotland, a “lochan” is a “small loch” (understand “lake”) and this “Glencoe Lochan” trail lead up and around this small scenic lake.
We could not dream of a better place to enjoy silence, beauty and quietness… I really recommend this walk as the perfect introduction to the Scottish Highlands.
On the second morning, we headed to Glen Nevis and the Steall Falls.
The walks we selected were usually family friendly. Quite easy, but not without effort though. The scenery was so varied and beautiful we had no difficulty staying motivated all along the way…
After a first part walking in the forest, we could enjoy a large overview of the surrounding mountains and discern the Steall Falls in the distance…
Just before reaching that ultimate point, we stopped at “the Rope Bridge” where everyone (tall – and brave- enough, though) can unlock his/her inner adventurer spirit!
Fort William is a perfect cross-roads of several amazing walking routes, which offer a great variety of sceneries so that everyone will be satisfied: mountains, forests, woodlands or canalside views. We were really pleased with those two walks and could only regret not to be able to stay more in the area to fully explore it …
At this point, we were half way through our trip across Scotland and still got a lot to discover. Stay tune on my blog to discover the next article dedicated to this road trip across Scotland!