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What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

Crewe
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What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

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.

Edinburgh...
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11. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

"Once you have seen a Scottish mountain have you seen them all type thing?"

Sacrilege! Every mountain is different, even the ones that look much the same because they're round and heather-covered :-)

Torridon, Skye, The mountains round Ben Nevis, Glencoe are all very different in their nature, largely due to their underlying geology, which is extremely complex.

People do describe Fort WIlliam as a bit of a dump, partly because the road planners have allowed too many concrete monstrosities. It's a place where mountaineers and skiers go, because of the surrounding mountains, and it's the local town for people in the area. Outdoorsy people drink in FW - well because that's what climbers do. As they do at the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe.

One excellent half day walk would be to go into Glen Nevis, and stop at the car park at the end of the road - and Walk to Steall Falls - or beyond. You're right in the centre of a ring of twenty-plus mountains, the glen itself is well worthwhile, as it the walk in via the gorge, as is Steall cottage and its (optional) wire rope.

If the purpose of the trip is to get hitched, Elgol or Steall will do it. I challenge anyone to be in a bad mood in either place.

walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/steallfalls.…

If you haven't registered, do so because you get access to really good maps.

Vancouver, Canada
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12. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

I planned a three week trip through the Highlands three years ago, and my one biggest regret was not spending more time on Skye (I just had no idea it was so beautiful and had so much to offer until we were actually there!) So yes: take the time to see Skye properly. Get an ordinance map, mark out places you're interested in (there's lots to see in the northern half), and go nuts.

Most of my trip to the Highlands was spent on islands (Orkney, Skye, Harris, Lewis & Mull), but I felt satisfied that I got my scenery fix driving to and from these destinations . . . even when rain & mist obscured half the mountains. Because you only have seven days, don't drive (pun fully intended) yourself crazy by trying to get to a lot of locations. Focus in on one or two and save the rest for a future trip.

Personally, I thought the most romantic places were the vast sandy beaches on Harris and Lewis (specifically Traigh Mhor and Luskentyre) . . . and very few people were at either when I was there . . . although I'm not sure why I'm mentioning it, since it's kind of beyond the scope of your 7 days. The Quiraing is a pretty magical place. To me it was like something out of Tolkien: http://www.flickr.com/photos/98731125@N00/4115836998/in/set-72157606738006743

Whatever you choose, I wish you good weather and good luck!

Manchester, United...
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13. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

Sound advice from Cadenza2.

Crewe
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14. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

Ha, I knew I might ruffle a few feathers with that comment about mountains. I understand that they are all going to have their own merits and will be completely different. But with time constraints, I wouldn't only want to be walking up peaks is all I meant. But thanks, your advice has been invaluable and Glen Nevis seems to be worthy of a day out and knees up in Ft William.

Nice pictures again, it looks like you were blessed with good weather!

Skye is expensive to stay on but Ive looked into camping maybe a couple of nights which seems to be much more flexible and affordable.

So I think its going to look more like this

1. Pitlochry

2. Drive to Skye via Kyle

3. Skye

4. Skye

5. Skye

6. Early ferry to Mallaig, Drive to Glen Nevis, then on to Glen Coe and stay here

7. Drive to Loch Lomond and spend a few hours here for lunch and maybe Ben A'an (As I believe it is easy but the views worthy of the little effort - Anyone agree?) before going home.

So last questions,

1. Would anyone drop Loch Lomond and save it for another trip, spend the day perhaps in Glen Coe and just suck up the longer drive home in the evening?

2. how do people feel about wild camping?

3. I have a rod license so how do people feel about flash fishing? Is it illegal/morally wrong to fish in the wild or on owned property that is in the middle of nowhere? I like the idea of catching a fish and cooking it in the wild but i'm happy to accept that I need a reality check on this one as it is really hard to catch a fish and maybe frowned upon, unless paying to fish on designated waters.

Thank you all so much

Manchester, United...
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15. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

So last questions,

1. Would anyone drop Loch Lomond and save it for another trip, spend the day perhaps in Glen Coe and just suck up the longer drive home in the evening?

Wait and see, and decide on the day. The weather could be a deciding factor, for example.

2. how do people feel about wild camping?

It's accepted and legal in Scotland, but you need to be sensible about where you do it - well away from housing and roads. And of course, deal responsibly with litter, human waste etc.

3. I have a rod license so how do people feel about flash fishing? Is it illegal/morally wrong to fish in the wild or on owned property that is in the middle of nowhere?

A freshwater loch will almost certainly be on someone's estate, and that would make it poaching, I fear. :-O

Crewe
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16. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

Good idea, in my head it is going to be glorious sunshine and everything will go exactly to plan, but no harm having a contingency I suppose.

We won't be Wild camping for more than a night or so, if at all, and we have a car so litter etc. will be easily gathered if there is any. I'm used to camping in mild areas, but wasn't sure if we should anticipate bruising howling winds, sleepless nights, roaming cows treading on tents, glastonbury bogs etc.

Ha, Poaching! Whilst your absolutely correct, I normally associate the term that carrys a bloodied history with mammals of an exotic nature, as opposed to me catching a fish(Probably more trying than catching). From what I read no man can claim ownership of a fish except it's captor as before it is captured, it is a wild animal. However a man can claim ownership of the right to captor. So I just need to find a place where man does not begrudge me catching my food rather than buying it already caught from the market. The sea I guess? What happened to Gods country, Gods rules! This reminds of the oxfam adverts - Give a man a fish and he can feed his family for a week. Give him a fishing rod and he can feed his village for a lifetime (except when battles have resulted in mans claim to land and code of law has been established to inhibit a man and his rod). I'll leave the rod at home I think, just thought it would be cool to barbecue a fish that we had caught ourselves.

I'm very greatful for the advice and looking forward even more so now.

Edinburgh...
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17. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

Fishing: you need a local licence from the appropriate estate whether river or loch fishing, and even if well away from roads. However attitudes to that do vary. Locals have little respect for the rights of absentee landlords. Most people have great respect for estates which are in the ownership of the local community. Why not ask in the pub when you get somewhere that might have interesting fishing?

Crewe
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18. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

Thanks Derek, I'll do that. But I'll make sure we swing by Morrison's just in case the fishing bares no fruit. Last time I went fishing for food we spent £90 which entitled us to keep 6 trout but the only food we had for the BBQ were the shrimp we bought as bait! Hence my reluctance to spend a lot of time, effort and money planning it all for the Mrs to get bored after an hour or so and us leave empty handed. I might see if its possible to spin off the rocks in Skye. I'm not 100% but no-one owns the sea around coasts right? I think sea fishing from shore is OK in England so I guess Scotland will be OK but I'll read into this. Thanks again, youve been very generous with your advice

Manchester, United...
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19. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

' I'm not 100% but no-one owns the sea around coasts right? I think sea fishing from shore is OK in England so I guess Scotland will be OK but I'll read into this.'

No problem - anyone can fish in the sea, any time! Good luck!

The Stunning...
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20. Re: What to include in our 7 day Highland visit

Just want to second DH's and Dereks advice.......I'd pack the rod and happy fishing ;-)