Hi, I always use forum advice to plan my trips but I have never actually asked my own question. Unfortunately this time I can't find the answers that i'm looking for and after 2 weeks of after work and weekend reading, iv'e got fed up and thought I would give it a go. So here goes...
Me and my girlfriend, both 26, reasonably fit, are going to be visiting Scotland at the end of June for 7 days in total. Reason being, we are going to a friends wedding in Pitlochry on the 22nd June. Therefore day 1 is already accounted for. We have been to many places together and we always like to cram in as much as we can whilst we are in the area. Quite often we need a holiday after our holidays, but that's the way we like to do things. We are normally on a reasonably tight budget as well so it makes sense to cram in as much as possible in fewer days to reduce hotel costs etc. I'd also say that whilst I appreciate hidden gems, we also like to make sure that we have ticked off the must do/see type things and value landmarks, touristy things, and highly talked about popular things
With this is mind I seek your advice on what we should do with the remaining 6 days. I would love to visit Edinburgh but I understand that time and logistics won't allow us to do everything as travel in Scotland can be slow. Not only that but I guess we can always get an easy train to Edinburgh again (We live in England). So I have turned my gaze to the highlands. Iv'e dismissed The Cairngorms and Inverness as a result of comments on these forums, but I haven't been able to pick out any must do things. It seems as though everything in the highlands is up for debate and there is no right or wrong answer on what to do as a priority. Skye or Mull?, Loch Ness being a dissapointment? Fort William described as a dump? What I would say is that I love rugged landscapes and whilst I am by no means a trained outdoorsman, I like to walk and would be willing to climb a peak or two. I also love wildlife (Cows are my favourite animal so I'm quite excited to see a fluffy horned one). I also love good food and drink. I would also consider camping although my girlfriend may have issues if it's likely to be muddy and horrible. The thought of driving for 4-5 hours in England at a time depresses me, however people talk of driving in the highlands with a hint of joy (We will have a car) so I am willing to travel, but not to the extent that the joy is then lost stuck in a car, bored and bothered.
So far my itinerary includes
Day 1. Pitlochry (All being well, I'll be slightly hungover on Day 2)
Day 2. Drive to Kyle of Lochalsh via Loch Ness. Do the boat tour, see Eilean Donan, and stay the night.
Day 3. Drive to Skye and fit in as much as possible, The Quiraing, Old man of Storr, Neist Point maybe? Stay the night in Skye somewhere. (Is this too much in one day)
Day 4. Maybe Talisker Distillery? Anything else we missed on Skye. Take the ferry to Mallaig and drive to Glenfinnan Viaduct (I'm not overly bothered about this but my partner loves Harry Potter, any comments as to whether this is worth it? Or should we take the skye bridge back and miss this out. Either way we will either end up in Fort William (Well I imagined we would until I read it was a dump) or carry on down to Glen Coe.
Day 5. We had planned on climbing Ben Nevis, but if we are in Glen Coe then maybe we can have a go at Buachaille Etive Mhor? Or see the Hidden Glen or basically any other exciting thing that is worth doing in Glen Coe (All suggestionsare welcome).
Day 6. Loch Lomond and Trossachs, Probably climb Ben A'an or Ben Lomond
Day 7. Chill out around Loch Lomond and travel home in the afternoon.
So our main areas are Skye, Fort William/Glen Coe area, and Loch Lomond. Is this too much in 6 days? Are we doing justice to these areas? Should we skip one of these areas and focus on just two? Would Glen Coe and the Trossachs alone offer enough variety in the trip if we were to skip Skye? If we were to skip Skye, would it still be worth driving to see Eilean Donan's castle and if not is there any other recommended castle? I even heard Applecross is gorgeous - Is this too far to fit in...Im guessing so.
I want to find a perfect balance between fitting a lot in and not getting stressed and tired. I'm not fixed on anything so any suggestion is welcome. On another note, I might be planning on proposing to her whilst we are there. Ladies...any suggestions on romantic spots? I though maybe at the top of a mountain, but with all the sweat and muttered swear words from all the climbing, plus tourists, I guess it might not be her most desired state to be in.