I fell in love with the Scottish Highlands after a five-day tour at the beginning of 2017 and vowed I would return to discover more of this stunning land. In September 2017, I found myself with a week free and purchased a £18 return coach ticket with Megabus (from London to Glasgow return); it was time to explore. Here’s the highlight of my trip and the Scottish Highlands things to do you shouldn’t miss.
Scottish Highlands Things To Do – What Tour Should You Choose?
I based myself in the Scottish city of Glasgow and stayed in a centrally located hostel called Euro Hostel. Whilst at the hostel, I was recommended a local tour company called Timberbush, for tours to the Highlands. I had a list of places I wanted to visit, but given my tight budget and timeframe, I found two one-day tours with Timberbush to be perfect.
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Scottish Highlands Things To Do – Day 1 Tour
My first tour was the ‘Loch Lomond, The Trossachs National Park, and Stirling Castle’ tour. Our tour guide, Charlie, was fantastic. He entertained us with Scottish music, songs and folktales, and wowed us with his knowledge of places we visited and historical icons like Rob Roy MacGregor, Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie Stuart and the Jacobites.
If you take the same tour, it will take you to the ‘bonnie, bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond where you have a choice of an hour cruise (extra cost) or to stroll the stunning village of Luss. As Loch Lomond was one of the places I wanted to visit, doing the cruise was a no-brainer for me. The landscape surrounding Loch Lomond was breath-taking beautiful and being in the shadows of Ben Lomond gave me a real ‘wow’ moment.
After your cruise, you’ll head to the gorgeous Trossachs National Park where you’ll stop for lunch and have other exploring and photo opportunities. I admitted, on more than one occasion I had my nose and forehead pressed against the coach window being mesmerized by the passing small pretty villages.
In the afternoon, the tour will bring you to Sterling. Sterling Castle is located on top of a volcanic rock which with the most stunning views of the surrounding landscapes; just the sights themselves at Stirling Castle is worth the reasonable entry fee into the Castle.
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Whilst inside, I highly recommend the free 45 to 55 minute Castle guided tour where you learn about the Castle’s history, its many face-lifts and its strategic roles in many battles and wars. After taking my fill of photographs of the Castle gardens, buildings and the surrounding country landscape, I enjoyed sitting by the Castle high wall and looking out over the city of Stirling and landscape beyond the city. After nearly 2.5 hours at Stirling Castle, it is time to head back to Glasgow.
Scottish Highlands Things To Do – Day 2 Tour
The following day I found myself heading back up to the Highlands on my second-day tour, ‘Loch Ness, Glencoe, and The Highlands’, with a new tour guide, Stephen. Stephen was a veteran of this tour taking over 300 tours up into the Scottish Highlands since starting with Timberbush. Stephen showed us some hidden treasures during our many exploring and photography stops and shared awesome recommendations like trying a ‘McCloud’ at Pitlochry.
The tour will start by taking you into some of the most dramatic landscapes like Rannoch Moor, Loch Linnhe, the Great Glen and the ‘most haunting glens’, Glencoe. Glencoe is one of those places that you can only dream of and see in movies like James Bond’s ‘Skyfall’, it’s also the site of the McDonald massacre in 1692. Glencoe is a photographer’s dream. On our way up to Loch Ness, you’ll have the chance to meet and greet some highland ‘coos’ – the highland cows.. if only I could take one home.
Visiting Loch Ness has always been a girlhood dream of mine so exploring the ruins of Urquhart Castle and to take a cruise (extra cost) on the Jacobite was a ‘must’ for me. Being on the cruise gazing at the magnificent sceneries of Loch Ness whilst being on the ‘lookout for Nessie’ had me giggling with glee like a little school girl.
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On our way to the ‘Capital of the Highlands’, Inverness, Stephen kept us entertained with stories of Waterhorses and Fairies and traditional Scottish songs. After stopping for some sightseeing opportunities and afternoon tea in Inverness, we headed into the glorious Grampian Mountains until we reached our final stop at Pitlochry for an early dinner. I fell in love with Pitlochry with its traditional old Victorian buildings and friendly people.
When in Pitlochry, you must try the ‘McCloud’ – soft serve flavored ice-cream in a cone wrapped in fairy floss – it’s a sugary delight you must experience. After an awesome day packed with some of the highlights of the Scottish Highlands, it is time to head back to Glasgow.
I had the best days exploring the Scottish Highlands on the two 1-day tours with Timberbush Tours. The guide driver-guides were fantastic and the coaches were comfortable, and I could tick off many places and experiences I wanted to visit and experience in a short term of time. The best part was I could stay within my budget – in two days I spent £50 – that includes all extras, food and some nick-knacks I brought along the way.
I highly recommend Timberbush Tours if you’re in Glasgow wanting to experience the Scottish Highlands. For more information about the different prices, tours lengths and feedback check out Timberbush Tours check out their website.
I hope you have found this article helpful. I look forward to hearing any feedback and your experience visiting the Scottish Highlands. Until then, you can find me on Instagram @roaming_footprint
Travel safe, be brave, look after yourself and the mother nature. 🙂
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About the Traveler
Hiya, I’m Sonia Holloway and I have a love for the simple sustainable budget lifestyle and travel; photography; volunteering; general exploring and everything in-between. Though my blog and Facebook pages, The Roaming Footprint, are under construction, this hasn’t stopped me from documenting my experiences and travels, and I can’t wait to share with you.