Touring the Scottish Highlands: Driving from Edinburgh to Skye

Being somewhat of a Romanticist at heart, mountains, lakes and rugged valleys have always seduced me—so, naturally a trip into the Highlands was my top priority for my trip to Scotland. Although there are many

Being somewhat of a Romanticist at heart, mountains, lakes and rugged valleys have always seduced me—so, naturally a trip into the Highlands was my top priority for my trip to Scotland. Although there are many organised tours wiling to take visitors north, this was one trip that I wanted to organise by myself; so myself and a friend hired a car from Edinburgh airport.

Excited about the journey ahead we left Edinburgh early to make our way through Glasgow, and on to Mallaig on the East Coast. This was where—we had been informed—we could drive the bridge onto the Isle of Skye.

Happily leaving the busy cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow behind, we wound our way up through Glencoe—an area of Scotland recently used for filming the climactic scenes of Skyfall. Driving through the peaceful  foothills of the mountains, which are quite possibly some of the most romantic countryside in the world, it is difficult to imagine that the hills of Glencoe bore witness to a brutal and bloodthirsty massacre between warring clans in 1692.

Frozen lakes in Scotland

For hours we drove along winding roads flanked by majestic mountains; grandly robed in a cloak of brown, orange and purple, and crowned with snow.

Spectacular scenery on the way to Skye.

The crisp February air hovered around zero degrees, coating the lakes in a thin layer of crystallised ice that shimmered in the sunlight. Surprisingly, there was even the first hint of warmth in the weak winter sun.

With perfect weather for driving; as well as for viewing the ever-changing scenery, we stopped plenty of times along the road to take pictures. With every turn of the road it seemed that the countryside became more and more spectacular.

By the time we reached Mallaig it was late afternoon and we arrived to see the last ferry of the day serenely sailing out of port. There was no sign of the bridge that we had been promised. A quick enquiry confirmed our suspicions that our informant had been wrong, and that the bridge was a further 3-hour drive away—this was my first indication that the Isle of Skye is bigger than you might imagine.

Despite our detour we managed to drive across the magnificent Skye bridge just as the last remnants of daylight were sinking into the sea, and it is impossible to be angry about a three-hour drive that takes you through some of the world’s most scenic countryside.

Keep posted for more beautiful pictures of the Isle of Skye in my next post.

Have you been to Scotland? Which area should I visit next time I come here–because I will be returning to Scotland, oh yes!

12 thoughts on “Touring the Scottish Highlands: Driving from Edinburgh to Skye

  1. Elaine you really do not know how inspirational you have been to me, always look at your posts on facebook and the occasional article, just spent 2 hours reading nearly everything.
    My daughter leaves for Uni at the end of the year and I am planning to move back to Italy and make it my base, I have family there.
    My dream is to travel Asia and also back to Africa where I lived when I was young (Malawi, dad was a Cof S missionary).
    You have given me confidence to do it, I will doing it solo!
    Keep up the good work, you are truely a amazing woman. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words – it means a lot to hear them 🙂

      I love Italy. I think it would be the perfect country to move to; great food, great climate, great people!

  2. Inveraray and Kilmartin Glen were enjoyable for very different reasons when I was driving around Scotland with 2 teenage daughters. The prison at Inveraray was worth the visit and Kilmartin Glen just seemed a mystical place.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I’ve always said that if I ever go back to live in UK it would be in Scotland, and you just confirmed that. I stand to be corrected, but I don’t think there is countryside anywhere else in the world quite like Scotland. I’ve been at every possible time of year, and it’s always stunning. Look forward to the rest of your posts!
    Linda recently posted..Is There Spring on the Island of Eternal Spring?My Profile

    1. I agree with you. I have always said that Britain has countryside to rival anything that you see overseas, and Scotland really has it all! The Highlands were easily as beautiful as anything I saw in South America.

      When you move to Scotland, I will be in line for a visit!

    1. I think that is what I’ll do next time. I only had a week, so couldn’t really take my time to travel. I have most time in the summer, but think it will be quite busy in those months. I loved having clear roads to drive along 🙂

  4. Hi, great to read such a positive account of my homeland! Glad you enjoyed it so much. Can also recommend Harris up beside Skye and Calendar and Fort William in the central belt if you’re into climbing! Happy travels, hope you make it back 🙂

    1. I am adding all of these recommendations to my list. I really hope to come back sometime. When is the best time to come, do you think? I imagine that the summer months get very busy.

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