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  • Things to do in the highlands
  • Premier Icon Bushwacked
    Full Member

    Me and the Family (wife and 2 kids aged 12 and 15) are off on a two week roadtrip in a hired campervan to the Highlands next week. We’ve got a couple of things planned but otherwise an open agenda and an open road.

    We’re not taking bikes but are taking the dog. Any recommendations worth looking out for?

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    The tree too stuff at Fort Wiliam is pretty good and Kayaking from Arisaig use the one next to the hotel.

    Of course someone will need to dog sit.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    Drive over the Bealach to Applecross, stay in Applecross with dinner at the Inn (awesome) then the coast road to Shieldaig, all stunning, you might even see sea eagles.

    Seal-spotting boat trip from Plockton.

    Walk up to and around the Old Man of Storr on Skye.

    Have a wander around Portree on Skye, down to the harbour and around.

    Swim in Loch Ness.

    Take a lot of midge repellent.

    Premier Icon towzer
    Free Member

    Various random suggestions

    Have a hot chocolate at cocoa mountain balnakeil, Durness campsite Is ok, and can do smoo cave and could do boat/bus trip to cape wrath

    Dunnet head- coz it norther than John groats

    Wee cafe at Lairg

    Picnic down whaligoe steps and bear the in mind that when the herring were there wee lassies who could run up them with a hundredweight of fish

    Stacks of duncansby

    Noss head beach(Sinclair bay)

    Drive the clashnessie/ inverpolly area

    Steamboat trip on loch Kathrine, and bike back on quiet road (ask and you can camp in car park overnight)

    Visit Skye, quirang, talisker bay, take old car ferry and go otter spotting just n of old car ferry (dawn, dusk)

    Steam train ft william to mallaig, Harry chuffing potter

    Smidge, midge nets and mesh for van

    Arran, gigha, Easdale are lovely islands,

    *edit, lots of downloads and compendiums of games to deal with a combined lack of facilities and inclement weather – honest, and as a suggestion a willingness to pay for the odd hotel night if the van all gets to be a bit compact (*learned the hard way)

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    So. Much. Stuff.

    If I’d offer one highlight it would be Sandwood Bay.

    Look at for a selection of walks, from the simplest bimble to full-on expedition, with good directions, graded by distance and bogginess.

    Don’t forget options like Aviemore for massive amounts of child-friendly activities.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    IMO think ‘nature’, walks and similar, rather than paid things…

    I think the tourist board and brochure things only promote a few things, and miss some wonderful spots.

    Ask at the campsites, pubs and shops for nice places to go and see.

    I have an old book in the car ‘The Waterfalls of Scotland, and it has taken us to some wonderful corners and places as the masses drive by to see some viaduct from a film (or similar).

    Do climb a few hills. There are some stonking beaches. Fabulous local cake and coffee places. Lovely bothies to walk or cycle out to, just because.

    Premier Icon BigButSlimmerBloke
    Free Member

    Go to Oban. On the way visit the power station at Ben Cruachan builkt totally inside the mountain (you need to book).
    From somewhere near Oban, take a trip out to the Corrievreckan whirlpool (4th largest whirlpool in the world IIRC). I went with Seafari but there are others – check the tide tables for times of the trips and height of tides – you want a high spring tide for maximmum whirlpoolyness

    Visit a distillery – it’s the law, you have to. Oban’s pretty good.
    Catch a game of shinty – will tell you who’s playing where. Many of the pitches are in stunning locations and you’ll come away wondering how anyone survives

    Climb a munro so you can say you have. Cairn Aosda, above the ski centre in Glenshee is only 250-odd ft above the car park. Ben Nevis is about 4000 ft above the car park. Wear inappropriate clothing and see how many “look at these idiots” pictures you can get on the Scottish Mountain facebook page

    Premier Icon BigButSlimmerBloke
    Free Member

    Forgot to add – drive across the Skye Bridge, park then walk back across it. You can’t appreciate the scenery from a car

    Premier Icon munrobiker
    Free Member

    There’s loads of mountains, natural features, lochs, waterfalls, beaches and so on that are worth seeing but they’re easy to track down so I’ll offer some of the stuff you can pay for that I’ve enjoyed.

    – The Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore. It’s an open air museum with buildings showing you what life was like in the 1930s up there, which is pretty interesting, and in the 18th century, which is fascinating – it’s so primitive. Everyone I have taken to it was suspicious of it but loved it.

    – The Highland Wildlife Park. A safari park and zoo exclusively populated by animals from the tundra. There’s some really cool things there.

    – Any of the Diaggeo distilleries. Dalwhinnie, Oban, Cardhu, Cragganmore, Blair Athol (oddly, in Pitlochry) – these are all good, and if you get a Whisky Passport at the end of the first tour (the tours are a fiver, the passport is free) you get to visit them all free. The differences between distilleries are subtle but really interesting.

    – I really want to visit the power station outside Oban, it looks great.

    – The Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Oban is good. Fort William and Mallaig are grotty but the trip is lovely. If you don’t want to spend the £40 each on it the journey on the normal train is also delightful.

    – They’re a lot of money (£250 for four people) and I’m not sure if you’re planning on going this way but the Yellow Welly tours or other wildlife tours from Braemar are excellent.

    – The Strathspey steam railway in Aviemore is great.

    Premier Icon BigButSlimmerBloke
    Free Member

    If you do the Highland Wildlife Park, there’s a Land Rover tour round the open areas. Contributions voluntary but well worth doing. the priority though is to get the feeding times timetable. You wouldn’t want to miss the tigers getting fed

    – The Strathspey steam railway in Aviemore is great.

    It is but – I took it from Boat of Garten. Arrived early and there was just me and the stationmaster. Sat about chatting with him. The water tower for the boiler is at Boat of Garten so the train sits there for a bit while being filled up. Stationmaster said ask nicely and I’d probably get on the footplate while it’s stopped. So I did and I did. Recommended. Return ticket means BofG to the end of the line, then the length of the line to Aviemore, then back to BoG.

    – I really want to visit the power station outside Oban, it looks great.

    You’re right, it is. Guaranteed you’ll hear the Bond theme in the tunnel and when you see the turbine hall for the first time

    Premier Icon big_n_daft
    Free Member

    Wet suits and bodyboards, the beaches are beautiful but I used to people watch the car tourists running into the sea and promptly out again

    Pony trekking

    Standup paddleboarding

    Zip wire near Durness

    Chippy at Lairg

    Premier Icon martymac
    Full Member

    Bumper supply of midge repellent.

    Premier Icon what_tyres
    Free Member

    If you take the Strathspey train, hire bikes at the Ride Cairngorms shop at Boat of Garten station and ride back from there.
    Loch Morlich is good for the beach. Ziplines just out of Aviemore are a great few hours too. Not far from the Wildlife Park to make a day of it
    Edit: Forgot Stac Pollaidh. Best small mountain in Scotland

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