Calling all Jocks, Do you know the Highlands?

Hi, I could do with a bit of help over advice to give to adult students who would like to visit Scotland this summer.
I told them that the best way to do so would be to fly into Glasgow airport, hire a car and head north stopping off at country pub/hotels to meet the people and drink the whisky.
However having only made it past Barry Buddon once to go climbing with the CCF in the dim and distant past, then I am at a loss as where to suggest they visit.

If you have any suggestions about must-see places, good places to stay, food to eat, (River trout for example) whiskies to try, and the like, including places to avoid, then I would be very grateful for any help.

Afterthought: If you have a really great place below the Highlands then by all means post it, I love Northumberland and the Lowlands as I hail from The Tyne.

Thanks in advance.
Oban is a great place to visit. Mallaig's a bit bleak. Tarbert (not Tarbet) is worth a look. Haven't been to Ullapool for a long time but recall it being OK.
Kyle of Lochalsh isn't very special but the village of Plockton nearby is a pleasant place to eat or stay.

Fort William is worth a look around.

I'd avoid Inverness.

There are combined rail, bus and ferry Rover tickets that are worth considering but you do have to work out an itinerary to get the best value out of them.
Like Ex-Stab said the Ferry rover or Island hopscotch tickets are great.
They must see the Western Isles. And they should stay at least a week
Land at Glasgow and hire car up A9 to First nights stop in Newtonmore. Home of the DalWhinnie distillary. (Avoid Aviemore)
Then next day drive down past Loch Laggan (Monarch of the Glen country) round to Fort William, Quick stop at Commando memorial then up along the coast of Loch Ness (nessie spotting) Cut across the Mountains to Beauly and onwards to Ullapool.
Night in Ullapool and across to Stornoway on the ferry next day.
2 days Exploring Lewis (Gods country) then Down to Harris for the best beaches in the world. Night in Tarbert and Ferry next day to Skye.
More Distiliaries on Skye.
Then drive back to Glasgow

I guarantee this route will show them the best scenery, wildlife and drinking social scene that Scotland has to offer.
As already been said get over to the Western Isles

Fort William and Ben Nevis is a must, distillery tour at the foot of the mountains is good. Commando memorial a must, some cracking scenery on a clear day

Nice driving up the side of Loch Ness and like said just by-pass the cesspool that is Inverness.

Black Isle brewery is a good trip and then on up to Gairloch, on to Aultbea (couple of nice(ish) hotels) with lashings of different Whiskies Whilst overr that way pick up the whiskt trail. Not managed it yey myself but looks an interesting your of all the distilleries.

Vandyke has covered the rest which we shall be partaking thisa autumn

Some of the scenery around the Lochs is some of the best you will ever see

Ullapool was poor last summer but still a few places to eat/dring
Just a thought but if they had the time I would suggest the West Highland Way, can be done in about 5-7 days, and there is a porter service to carry bags from one B+B to the next along the way. The way goes from Milngavie just outside glasgow, and finishes in Fort William, taking in Loch Lomond, Rannoch moor, and some of the best scenery on the west coast. And they can tackle Ben Nevis as a finale if they are up for it. Heres a Link
GlenFinnan is alto worth a quick visit and is not too far from Spean Bridge (Commando memorial). Glen Coe is worth a quick look too. All this can fit in with the Glasgow to Ft William general area.
Oban - I spent 6 weeks working there a few years ago. It's duller than dishwater as the place is a favourite for the bus tours favoured by the Darby and Joan club. It's like "Night of the Living Dead" in the hotels there. But if you have young kids you could catch the ferry over to Tobermory aka Balamory.

Ft William - same as well but there's Ben Nevis to climb if you are up for it and if youre in to Harry Potter theres always the train from FW to Mallaig which goes over the bridge on the way to Hogwarts :roll: As previously mentioned the nearby Commando Monument is worth a quick visit. Great for mountain biking, walking, climbing, etc. Mallaig is even duller than Oban or FW.

Inverness - Don't do it. Thw town centre is soulless and characterless like so many other towns and cities throughout the UK - not to mention it has its fair share of Chavdom. Nearby, Ft George and the Culloden Battlefield are worth a look however. Not to mention the fact that Loch Ness is close to hand.

Ullapool - don't bother. It's just the ferry port to Stornoway frankly. nice drive there though on a sunny day.

Gairloch/Aultbea - Beautiful area, great for walking, camping, fishing. In the summer its the dogs. Just look out for the midges in the road between Achnasheen and Gairloch though. They get everywhere - even in to your car through airvents - and are voracious.

Dornoch - great for that pile of crap they call Golf and has a beautiful beach and if you're lucky you can watch fast movers using the bombing range at Tain. The Morangie Distillery is also in Tain and is WELL worth the visit. :wink:

If you can make it out to Skye and the Western Isles do it. Its one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The Dark Island Hotel near Benbecula is a good base - cracking food, comfortable rooms, great staff and good location. You can sometimes get over to St Kilda as well from Daliburgh - but not sure if its still possible.

Further north, Brora is lovely nice little town with the usual bloody golf course. Wick and Thurso - well, not really much to be said about them to be honest. But a fairly spectacular drive, you may find the Berriedale Braes a tad amusing. :lol: John O'Groats and Dunnet Bay are close by and the views across to Orkney can be spectacular.

There are distilleries all over the place of course if you like the old uisge beatha. A lot of them have visitor centres which are worth a wee look.

I have to say that, basically, if the weather is crap, you're going to have a crap time. Sun comes out - you're laughing.

Am a local so if there is anything else I can help you with please drop me a PM.

I can highly recommend the Island of Arran.
A brewery and a distillery. Great scenery and wildlife, plus Goat fell for walking.
And all just an hour from Glasgow.
Yeah should have highlighted that Ullapool is only worth going if your getting the ferry, nothing else worth seeing there.

If they do make the mistake of going near Inverness then I agree Fort George has to be top of the list for a visit.

St kilda can still be got too but it is expensive and hit or miss weather wise for the sail out there, Although I am from Lewis I am ashamed to say I have never been but promise myself i will go one day, I know many that have and they all say it is an experience they will never forget.

It is unusual that so many people have replied with the same answer, but I guess that shows how stunningly beautiful this area of the world is.

Rather than a tour another option is to rent a cottage for a week somewhere then use that as a base, Although it is a huge area you can cover a lot each day in a car and all around you is the scenery and wildlife.
Kinlochbervie, about as far north as you can get, stunning scenery, with Oldshoremore beach 1 1/2 miles of stunning golden sands, Sandwood Bay where there's a mermaid, beautiful food and guid drink.
Machrihanish, if only because they will never be able to spell it...
Marvellous response.
Grateful thanks to you all so far for taking time for those suggestions.
Murphy_Slaw said:
I can highly recommend the Island of Arran.
A brewery and a distillery. Great scenery and wildlife, plus Goat fell for walking.
And all just an hour from Glasgow.
Fly into Prestwick, hire a car, take in the beauty of the Ayrshire coast, hop over to Arran via Ardrossan. Then take the ferry from Lochranza to Claonaig and drive off to wherever they fancy.
If you're doing the Far North - don't bother with John O'Groats, touristy sh1tehole. Aim for Dunnet Head nearby, that's the real end of the UK. And there's a ferry to Orkney from Gills (just along the coast) - if you go that far you may as well go all the way to the home of Highland Park. And lots else to see/do in Orkney.

The Old Pultney distillery in Wick is good - and you can fill and label your own bottle. Nothing else to see in Wick, depressing hole.

If time allows the NW bit around Cape Wrath/Durness is superb - but no distilleries.

Driving – the little ‘laybys’ on single track roads are for passing not picnicking; nobody cares if you dawdle and take in the scenery – but pull over to let the locals past now and again; be prepared for delays (a few years ago a convoy of a dozen German campervans brought chaos with their somewhat less than Blitzkrieg like advance through the Highlands); petrol stations can be far apart/closed/empty – keep your tank topped up.

Should have said, one thing to consider is flying into London, rail sleeper to Ft William or Inverness, car hire from there. Needs a bit of planning to get cheap fares but definitely, in my view, the civilized way to go.

It all depends on what they want to do.
Agree with all about the west coast, however, if they are golfy types then east coast is worth a thought St Andrews and other Fife courses, Carnoustie, next to Barry also courses up beside Aberdeen and along the Moray Firth.
If it is for wild life, Firth of Forth for "ra burds", Moray also has blue nosed (sorry Mr Creo) dolphines as well as ospreys eagles etc, on West coast seals, whales and dolphines.
And distilleries from East Lothian all the way up and around and then back down the West coast. In Dunbar you also have the Belhaven brewery where you can organise a tour and sample. And in same vein, In Edinburgh you have the Caledonian Brewery, where I spent a very good night out 2 weeks ago.
Mr_Creosote said:
If you can make it out to Skye and the Western Isles do it. Its one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The Dark Island Hotel near Benbecula is a good base - cracking food, comfortable rooms, great staff and good location. You can sometimes get over to St Kilda as well from Daliburgh - but not sure if its still possible.........
Seconded. Skye would have been my first recommendation, I am planning a trip there later this year. Regardless of weather, take walking gear.

Arran - Goat Fell is a good walk too as previously mentioned. There are plenty of B&B type places as soon as you get off the ferry or you could take a tent and the willingness for a lock-in in the local pub.
Great area the West coast and Islands. There has been no significant rain for a month. One piece of advice. Anyone going West is advised to take plenty Avon skin so soft (original stink), it works brilliantly against the wee black bastards, midges.


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Badenoch and Strathspey is a wonderful area for a holiday.

It's massively cheesy but you really can't go wrong with Aviemore if it's outdoorsy things you're after; skiing, mountain biking, water sports (steady) and the like. It's very central for Kingussie, Granton on Spey, Netwonmore and so on.

You're also slap-bang in the middle of the Cairngorms National Park (climbing, hillwalking).

Last time I was in the area we stayed in Nethy Bridge which is also fun in a pissed-up teuchters kind of way :)

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