Loch Ness and Glencoe: A Day in the Scottish Highlands

November 14, 2013 by

Europe, Places to Go, Things to Do, Travel Advice & Inspiration

Years ago I saw pictures of the Scottish Highlands and knew that it was a place that I needed to visit, but as things sometimes go, time passed by and other trips took higher priority. Then one night while watching an episode of Downton Abbey, the family took a trip to the Scottish Highlands where they traipsed across lush green hillsides and were regaled by the sound of bagpipes, and suddenly I knew I had to make that trip happen.

The Scottish Highlands are so vast that it’s difficult to know where to go and what to see, which is exactly where the Loch Ness, Glencoe and Highlands tour came in handy.

The Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands

This almost 12-hour tour was a perfect way to get a taste of what the Highlands are like, and offered up some of the most unique and gorgeous scenery I have ever seen. With every corner turned, the bus erupted with “oohs” and “aahs” as my fellow tour goers and I frantically snapped photos of every green hill, plunging waterfall, Highland coo, and viaduct.

The Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands

The tour left from Edinburgh and passed by the Stirling Castle and Wallace Monument en route to Glencoe, where the landscape changed and the Highlands finally began to come into view. This particular route is one of the most scenic in Scotland, and made for some incredible photographs, even when snapped through the bus window! Along the way, our wonderful tour guide, Bruce, gave us a brief history of the country and the historical significance of the sites we passed, lacing the lesson with some hysterical anecdotal humor.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

At lunchtime, we stopped in Fort Augustus, home to the famous Loch Ness, where we had the option of paying an additional fee to take a boat tour of the Loch, trying to spot the elusive Nessie. I opted not to take the tour in favor of spending the hour popping into the local shops, getting some takeout from a pub, and having a small picnic on one of the benches to do some people watching and enjoy the rare day of sunshine. In the end, I was happy with my decision to spend the hour in the small town.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness

Back on the road, we took a different route home, giving us more opportunity to see the countryside, stopping along the way for photo opportunities. At one of our stops to take photos of the landscape, there was a bagpiper, which absolutely made my day—the Highlands and bagpipes together at the same time! As we pulled away from the stop, Bruce told us that the bagpiper actually wasn’t very good; all of us were foreigners, not having grown up with an ear for “good” bagpipers, so we didn’t notice the difference.

Bagpiper

Bagpiper

When we finally returned back to Edinburgh, I was completely exhausted after the long day, but I was happy to have plenty of memories, photographs, and stories to show for the day.

Book the Loch Ness, Glencoe and Highlands tour

-Megan Smith

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2 Responses to “Loch Ness and Glencoe: A Day in the Scottish Highlands”

  1. Ian Smith Says:

    I hope that having rushed round this part of the Highlands in my beautiful homeland you will excuse me for being a little insulted your stay was so brief. I understand time constraints, and I also understand the amount of time that can be wasted if you get lost on your own, but for goodness sake, give yourself about 2 weeks out of your busy life and go back to God’s own country and see it properly.
    You might even see a genuine non touristy bagpiper, and eat some genuine not for the tourist haggis.
    Just don’t go in the summer or the midgies will kill you!!

  2. Megan Says:

    Hi Ian,

    I just wanted to let you know that after this brief tour of the Highlands, I did in fact go back and spend more time there. The point of this post was to highlight the experience I had on the Viator tour I took.