But without local knowledge how do you make sure each day is jam-packed with the best sights and activities each area has to offer?
That’s where we come in. We’ve used our experience to round up the very best things to do, see and eat on a trip from Loch Lomond and Skye. At 200 miles, it’s a manageable journey that will take about four hours one-way, but by splitting it up you can make the most of the towns you’ll pass along the way.
This is Scotland off the beaten track. All you need to do is drive
Loch Lomond > Arrochar (10 miles)
Just ten miles out of Loch Lomond you’ll find Arrochar – a great base for climbing and walking. The town is home to the Cobbler, one of Scotland’s most distinctive mountains thanks to a tall, rocky outcrop at its peak. Paths are clear and walkers can expect a relatively smooth ascent and descent with some steep parts. As you would expect it’s a particularly popular route on sunny days so start early to avoid having to overtake groups every five minutes.
If the Cobbler’s not enough of a challenge, Arrochar is also at the foot of the Argyll Forest Park and is situated at the head of Loch Long. After a brisk stroll or swim, refuel at the Village Inn – a well thought of restaurant with rooms offering hearty grub.
Arrochar > Glencoe (53 miles)
Glencoe is one of the most picturesque settings in Scotland and is best accessed via the south. It’s a great spot to ski, weather permitting: there are 18 runs and routes on Glencoe Mountain as well as seven lifts. Because of the wild scenery, it’s a thrill to discover the locale by bike – mountain or otherwise. Take in waterfalls, corries and pyramidal peaks as if you were back in a high school geography class all over again. Glencoe Café, in Ballachulish, is a good place for a cake and a coffee, while something more filling can be found at Bulas Bar and Bistro, part of the Ballachulish Hotel. Pull up at the Glencoe Camping and Caravanning Club Site for the night and wake up the next morning to unparalleled views of Argyll.
Glencoe > Kinlochleven (6 miles)
Eschew strenuous activity for a trip to River Leven Ales for enjoyment of a more drinkable kind. Established in 2011, the brewery isn’t open to the public but its brews are available in pubs in the general area. Take a look at the historic, riverside factory that the brewing equipment is housed in before making a beeline for nearby pub. Alternatively, spend an afternoon at The Ice Factor – an all-purpose center for indoor ice wall climbing.
Kinlochleven > Dornie (87 miles)
No trip to Skye would be complete without a peek at the wold-famous Eilean Donan. Situated on a small tidal island in Kyle of Lochalsh, this castle has appeared in myriad films including James Bond – The World is Not Enough. It also has an incredibly rich history revealed on a tour of its walls and grounds, though check its opening hours as they change slightly with the seasons. Shielbridge Caravan Park and Campsite is a good place to stay overnight, and is located just seven miles from the castle.
Dornie > Skye (58 miles)
The last leg of the journey to Skye is also one of the most spectacular, with vistas of Scotland at its wildest and most beautiful. Travel over the toll-free Skye Bridge to access the island before cruising up Skye’s east side, taking in the neighbouring islands of Scalpay and Raasay along the way. Stop off at Portree, the largest town on the island, where the Aros Centre is situated. Take in a show, watch a film or have a bite to eat at its on-site restaurant.
Skye -> Fort William (123 miles)
Found just before Fort William, The Ben Nevis Distilery is worth a look - book a tour 24-hours in advance and enjoy tastings in the boardroom before picking up a bottle or two in its shop. Fort William itself, otherwise known as the ‘outdoors capital of the UK’, has plenty to offer active types. The West Highland Museum is where more studious visitors can lose themselves for a few hours while others enjoy the Great Glen Cycle Route, mountaineering, or check out Claggan Park – the home of Fort William Football Club.
Fort William -> Crianlarich (51 miles)
The A82 en route to Fort William flanks the glorious Loch Linnhe, while the country’s tallest mountain Ben Nevis can also be seen. Crianlarich is at the heart of the lush Trossachs and is a haven for climbers looking for steep slopes to try out. Ben Lui, a range of mountain peaks designated as a National Nature Reserve is close, as is the Colin Burt Reserve, where visitors can learn about wildlife indigenous to the area (and there’s also a café). Spend your last evening star gazing in the un-obscured night sky from the Glen Dochart Caravan Park.