Escape To The Highlands

Firstly, I do plan on doing a post about our whole time in Edinburgh after we leave. We’ve had a couple of days here, and we’ve already done so much that I’m thinking I might have to split it into two posts. Either way, I thought I’d dedicate a post to our day in the Highlands as I have so many photos that I want to share.

As soon as we arrived in Edinburgh, about three people asked us whether we were heading to the Scottish Highlands during our week here. We hadn’t really planned to (granted we hadn’t really ‘planned’ anything) but seeing as it sounded like something we should do, we booked in a one day tour straight away.

Our tour started in the morning and our first stop was Pitlochry for a coffee. It seemed like such a sweet little township from what we saw of it – which admittedly wasn’t much. We then drove about 3 hours to Inverness. Unfortunately we didn’t stop in Inverness at all, but just passed through the city until we reached Loch Ness for our boat trip out on the Loch.

The views from the Loch were stunning and we passed by Urquhart Castle before turning around and heading back the way we came. The castle used to be used for accommodation for lords and their families and has amazing views out over the Loch. We didn’t enter the castle but some tours stop there and you are able to enter the castle free of charge (I think). Fun fact – you can fit the entire world population into Loch Ness 13 times over. That’s one big Loch.

We then kept driving up through the Highlands until we reached Fort William. We knew we were pretty deep into the Highlands when the town signs were first written in Gaelic, followed by English underneath!

A little further on, our last stop was Glen Coe – a mountain range that we drove right through the middle of. The views were stunning and we luckily made it up there while the weather was still on our side.

Most of the Highlands were incredibly similar to New Zealand. In some parts, we could have easily been driving through Tongariro National Park. It’s a beautiful place and it was definitely a great decision to jump on a tour bus and explore the area. The highlights for me were the boat ride on the Loch and the drive through Glen Coe. Plus, we passed a few places that inspired parts of the Harry Potter series, including the Forbidden Forest and Hogwarts. We also passed a castle that’s used to film Game of Thrones and Outlander (which I’m reading/watching at the moment) and an area used to film a lot of Skyfall.

If you’re thinking of exploring the Highlands, I thoroughly recommend taking a tour. Our guide was great and regularly spoke to us on the coach about places we were passing through and the history/stories/folklore behind them. Be prepared to spend most of the day on a coach though. We left Edinburgh at 8am and got back at 8.30pm. Take snacks with you, although there are a few cafes you stop at along the way. Not recommended is being up half the night before with a cough and seriously struggling to keep your eyes open on your journey. Unfortunately this was the case for me and I slept on and off for about three hours of our trip.

Overall it was a great day and I feel as though I’ve learnt a lot about the Highlands and their history, as well as seeing some amazing places.

More posts to come later on (probably after we’ve left Edinburgh).

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