Through the Highlands and the Lochs – Quick Scotland Travel Tips by Debita Ray

Through the Highlands and the Lochs – Quick Scotland Travel Tips by Debita Ray

Meet Debita. She and her family of 4 travelled to Scotland and came back with beautiful memories. One conversation with her brought us so much joy. Here’s the excerpt – 

ROAD TRIPPIN’ SCOTLAND

The movie Skyfall was a big inspiration to go to Scotland. We were there for 8 days beginning our journey at Edinburgh and stayed there for about two days before heading to Scotland.

We preferred having a car. The flexibility of having a car is pure freedom – we can stop anywhere. The country is quite beautiful. There are many places to stop on the way, even on the highway where you can park your car, stop and take photographs.

We went up to Inverness, Skye, Oban – these were the places we stayed before heading back to England. We drove to Inverness, and the drive itself was beautiful. You go through a forest, and the scenery is incredible. As soon as you turn out of the waterway and go a little into the country – it’s amazing.

HOTEL OR HOMESTAY?

I have explored everything from homestays to the 5stars. Initially, I would look at the location, and the facilities close by. If we were travelling by car, we would stay outside the town because parking is an issue, if we were travelling by EU Rail, then we would prefer to stay near the station. The quality of hotels is pretty fantastic. I make a lot of bookings through booking.com. The reviews are pretty good, authentic.

RENTING A CAR

The Indian license is good. We were advised to take an International IDP permit, but Indian license is just as good, as long as the license is in English. Booking of the car was not a problem.

We took the car from the Edinburgh airport. You don’t want to drive fast in Scotland because it is beautiful. Also, when you go to the countryside, the roads are beautiful. We took our time, made coffee stops at quaint little cafes, somebody was selling strawberries on the way so we would stop, eat, and take time.

INVERNESS, YOU BEAUTY

We were staying at the homestay, which was right on the waterfront. Inverness is beautiful, but it’s a town. It is slightly bigger in comparison to other Scottish towns. We stayed in Inverness the next day, just lolled there at the place. Next day drove to Urquhart Castle. That entire drive is through Loch Ness. You drive all along the lake. Urquhart Castle is gorgeous.

SCOTLAND FOR THE YOUNG WANDERLUSTERS

There is always something for the kids. My kids love to travel. Because they know that there will be something for them as well. The Van Gogh Museum built a game for the kids where they give you a list of cues to spot different paintings, can you see the yellow flag in the painting, etc.. So the kids get involved in these places. Even the castles will have something for the kids. The castle will have somebody dressed as a knight, engaging in sword fighting and someone dressed as a lady of the house. Super interesting!

HOW ABOUT PORTREE

Then we drove to the Isle of Skye and stayed at Portree. Portree is a little village, with very few homes. We stayed in Marmalade. This was more like an inn. We stayed here, left our kids and drove to this place called as Uig. It has 270 degrees sea view. Uig is pretty remote. We went to the northern most tip of Skye known as Duntulm castle.

BRING ON THE ADVENTURE

Scotland is very outdoorsy. There is a lot of trekking to do. Somebody who is looking for sightseeing there is nothing to see. We trekked, sat by a little stream, packed some sandwiches, just sat by any place and came back. We went for the treks by ourselves. Sometimes we get to meet others who are on the trek. Sometimes it could also get scary because there would be nobody.

CASTLES AND CASTLES

There are loads of castles to explore. After some three castles, you’ve seen them all.  All the castles will have their tours.

SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS

My husband enjoys whiskey. When we arrived at Oban, Whiskey tours are a very regular thing there. We did a whiskey tour from Oban. There’s a beach, so we went in early May. It is freezing. A friend recommended Kosha to pick up our winter wear.

PLANNED TRIPS OR IMPROMPTU

It depends. Most of it is planned. We leave a little early in the morning. We want to reach our destination by noon.  So that we have 3 / 4 hours just to explore, find out typically these touristy places. They’ll have enough brochures at the tourist center. We found out this place called as the Isle of Mull. We went to the Isle of Mull.

WHISKEY AND TOBERMORY

My husband did the whiskey tour.  My boys weren’t interested in the whiskey tour. We went to this main town called as Tobermory. Tobermory is this tiny place. A lot of sailing happens, fishing, these are the other things that people do. We just took a stroll; we sat, we ate.

RECOMMENDED WEAR

It was quite cold from Edinburgh onwards. If you are going through the islets, a windcheater is a must. Layered clothing is the best thing to. It’s better not to wear something heavy.

TERRAIN

It’s just Scottish highlands. More like highlands as they like to call it. The entire region is Scottish highlands.  It is either the lochs or Scottish islands that you go to see. Scottish Highlands is all the northern part of Scotland where as the Lake Ness is the most commonly visited Lake in Scotland. But there are lots of other things as well.

ARTSY?

Edinburgh does have art, but overall in Scotland does not have much to offer regarding art. It’s an old town; it’s big as well. Edinburgh has some museums and some stuff. When you’re driving to northern Scotland there nothing other than this place we went to which had a battle. Near this place, there was a hall which had just the photographs of that place. There isn’t much to do for people.

MUST DO

– Driving through Scotland makes the whole difference. However, there are tours from Edinburgh. You’re in a bus with big windows. If you’re at a height, it gives you a great view. Don’t expect Scotland to be a party-all-night holiday. You do get a lot of peace, mountains, nature, driving. And whiskey!

– I highly recommend Portree. As a family, I’m uncomfortable being in a remote location.

– You should try out their food. Veg – non-veg both. The produce is fresh, and the food is delicious.

Through the Highlands and the Lochs – Quick Scotland Travel Tips by Debita Ray

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