Itinerary Ideas: Scotland Road Trip (Pt. 1)

By Lynna - January 10, 2018

Scotland is one of those places that kind of lingers somewhere near the bottom of people's travel bucket lists (like it did on mine for a while) because we're all not really sure what this incredible place has to offer, and some people never get around to it just because they haven't really done much research on it and no one really talks about it.  This is really a shame, because Scotland is what I consider to be one of the most underrated travel locations that I've been to thus far.

It's a subtle, quiet place -- not very flashy or gaudy.  And that's exactly why it's a place of pure magic and breathtaking beauty.  The air almost vibrates with ancient, powerful energy of the history that's taken place there.  You can practically feel in your bones how old and wise the land is.  It's a feeling that I have never felt anywhere else, a feeling that I struggle to even begin to describe.

Being such a quiet and calming place, it's perfect for a reflective, meditative road trip through the countryside.  If you're itching for endless miles of insanely gorgeous scenery and if you're craving to feel like you're the only person around in the middle of nowhere, Scotland makes the perfect setting to do just that.

I mean, you really feel like you're the only person in existence sometimes out here.
I was actually inspired to go on this road trip thanks to this blog post by JustTravelous.  I did tweak the itinerary a bit to my liking, and added a couple of days in the magnificent Isle of Skye, which had always been on my bucket list for as long as I could remember.  So absolutely worth it!

Day 1 - Edinburgh 

We took a flight into Edinburgh from London and landed around 2pm.  The sun sets at 4:30pm here in the winter so we only had a couple hours to explore this ridiculously charming and quaint city.  It has so much character. You can feel the ancient history here, too.  The feeling is incredible, as if the narrow stone corridors and arched stairways whisper stories of times past into the swirling gusts of wind.

A fairytale city!

If you're a Harry Potter fan, you'll be delighted to know that Diagon Alley was actually inspired by one of the streets in Edinburgh - Victoria Street.  As soon as you step on this street you will instantly see how it would have influenced J.K. Rowling.

I definitely recommend at least one or two full days in this city -- it has so much to offer and so many things to see and explore.  We didn't have enough time and I will definitely be returning to explore more of it.

I also highly recommend eating at one of the numerous pubs here and trying some traditional Scottish dishes.   We had absolutely wonderful haggis, neeps and tatties at a pub called Dukes Head.  So delicious!  I might be addicted to haggis now.  I think we had it at least five times on our trip!  I still dream of it now....

Day 2 - Doune Castle, Loch Lubnaig, Glencoe Valley, Ballachulish

Early the next morning, we picked up our rental car in Edinburgh, and off we went!  To the Highlands!

First stop was Doune Castle, a medieval castle where a few famous shows and movies were filmed (Game of Thrones, Outlander, Monty Python...)  I definitely recommend doing the audio guided tour through the castle.  It's a fairly quick tour and the price is so worth it!

As we drove on, we started getting deeper and deeper into wilderness and farther and farther away from civilization, and it was the best feeling ever!  Despite being entrenched by and rain and fog, we were still captivated by the lush beauty.

Next stopover on the way to Glencoe Valley was Loch Lubnaig which gave off a feeling of mystery and intrigue with the fog rolling in.  We enjoyed the view despite the gloom.

Perfect setting for a horror movie!

We were awestruck as soon as we entered the magnificent Glencoe Valley.  Just.... speechless.  There are no words to describe how tiny and insignificant you feel in this grand valley.  The majestic energy here is so potent.  We stopped the car several times to marvel at the scenery that we suddenly found ourselves immersed in.

The sun was just beginning to set and the rain just getting a little heavier as we neared our lodging for the night.  A lovely hotel called Ballachulish Hotel, in the town of Ballachulish.  The hotel's been around for over a hundred years!

We settled in the for the night, indulging in a delicious dinner at the hotel, and some champagne too, because, why not!  I had a cozy night writing in my journal inside the hotel lobby, a hotel kitty next to me and the rain thundering and pouring outside.  It was like straight out of a movie!

Day 3 - Eilean Donan Castle, the Highlands and Isle of Skye, Uig

When in Scotland, just know you'll be seeing a castle every few hours.  They are everywhere and they are all stunning with a lush history behind each one.

Our next castle (also my favorite out of all the castles) was Eilean Donan, the picturesque castle on an island!

We had a long drive this day, through the town of Fort William, deep into the Highlands, into Isle of Skye, and finally ending our long journey in the small port town of Uig.  Everything along the way just was impossibly stunning of course.  I'm pretty sure Scotland contains more water than land... I mean the amount of lochs (lakes), waterfalls, streams, and rivers we were seeing were insane!  Around every corner was another stunning landscape.

Alas we arrived in adorable Uig!  We stayed at the Cowshed Pods up on a hill with the most fantastical view imaginable. 

It really doesn't get anymore amazing than this.
I highly, highly recommend staying at this Airbnb if you're going to be in Isle of Skye.  Probably one of my favorite accommodations of this trip.  The staff are super friendly, and the lobby where everyone hangs out is very cozy.  We spent a couple hours hanging out in there, and one of the staff even pointed out the faint glimmers of the Aurora Borealis to us!  The design and accommodations of the pods were extremely modern, chic, and trendy.

Day 4 - Fairy Glen, the Quiraing, Old Man of Storr, Portree, Waternish

We had a pretty packed itinerary the next day, so we woke up early enough to catch the sunrise glowing over our little Cowshed pod.  Just incredible views in every direction.

The sheeple!  They just make this photo even more picturesque! :)
Our first stop of the day was probably one of my favorite places we visited on this trip - the Fairy Glen.  They are little swirl-shaped cone-like hills that are just so quirky and whimsical looking that it's not hard to imagine fairies frolicking here.

My sister being a ballerina fairy!

There has to be fairies here.  There just has to be.

I can probably die happy just sitting here.

There's our wee blue car out in the middle of nowhere!

There was definitely a magical, whimsical energy swirling in the air here.  We even saw a little pink fox peering at us curiously from among the hilly grass.  Perhaps a fox spirit? :)

Next stops - the Quiraing and Old Man of Storr

The Quiraing (according to Wikipedia) is a landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Even though the rain and fog was starting to get quite heavy at this point, the Quiraing was still not a letdown.

On the road we went, intense wind and rain testing our sanity.  We drove though a small farmtown called Staffin.

We really wanted to get a good view of the Old Man of Storr but the storm clouds were just rolling over it as we stopped nearby so we weren't able to get a clear shot.  Bummer!

Not too bummed though because we saw a couple more stunning waterfalls along the way :)
Our last sightseeing stop of the day was a little fishing town called Portree which was just so charming and adorable.

After shopping and having some lunch in Portree, we headed back up Isle of Skye to end our day in another seaside town called Waternish.  We stayed the night at the best Airbnb in the world.  Cannot recommend this Airbnb enough.  Our hosts were practically angels.  Their home is beautiful and they're just the best hosts ever!  They even drove us to the local pub for dinner! We slept so well that night.  Seriously, stay here if you are ever in Skye.

The view from the Airbnb! (Waternish)

Dinner was fish n chips!  
This concludes Part 1 of our epic journey though Middle Earth Scotland!  Read on to Part 2, here!


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