Springtime in Scotland – Garry’s Highland Roadtrip

Firstclass | June 20, 2016

Spring, ideally May, is the perfect time to visit Scotland. While not being as warm as the summer months, you will have a far better chance for clear blue skies. We were spoiled with sunny days for almost our entire stay and a heatwave which delivered 20+ degrees for most of the trip – very un-Scottish. 

We started our trip, naturally, in Edinburgh. Old town is definitely the place to stay with traditional buildings that date back hundreds of years. The castle that overlooks the city inspired JK Rowling’s Hogwarts and is a must to visit. While you’re in the mood for royal history see if the Royal Yacht Britannia, the royal family’s private yacht, is in town to see how modern royalty live. 

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Balmoral Castle – The Queen’s summer holiday home

From Edinburgh it’s worth hiring a car to explore the surrounding countryside and sites like Tantallon Castle and Seton Collegiate Church. 

Then you can keep heading on the route north, through the seaside county of Fife, stopping off  to visit Dunfermline Abbey built over 900 years ago, before arriving in St Andrews. Not only is St Andrews a perfect locale for a spot of golf but it’s also home to Prince William’s and Princess Kate’s meeting place and university. 

From St Andrews we headed into the mountains where you can visit Glamis Castle (or Glamorous Castle as we like to call it) before continuing the castle binge and visiting Braemer and Balmoral Castle. The charming village of Ballater is a nice pit-stop if you’re a bit castled-out. 

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Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness (Image Credit: Sam Fentress)

Keep driving into the heart of the Scottish Highlands and you’ll reach their capital – Inverness. This is a great place to try some famous Scottish Haggis. Fort George is the sight to see here, an 18th century stronghold that is still in use today. 

After our time in Inverness we headed west to the Scottish Isles and along the way we finally spotted some Highlander cows for a photo-op. It turned out to be a day full of photography as we visited Loch Ness (no monsters in sight), the very picturesque Urquhart Castle and lastly Eilean Donnan Castle. 

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Isle of Skye – Nature’s island canvas

Unfortunately for us the main road north was closed on the stunning Isle of Skye, so instead we headed south and nabbed a ferry to the mainland where we found a surprising number of beautiful white-sand beaches. 

We then headed to Fort William, overlooked by Ben Nevis – Scotland’s highest mountain. Climb to the top for spectacular views of the surrounding hills and lochs. 

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Wallace Monument – Captured from Stirling Castle through the mist

From Fort William you can head back inland via Glencoe road which is a spectacular journey. Enjoy beautiful scenery as you head in to central Scotland via Kinlochleven and Killin before arriving in Pitlochry. This is an amazing and picturesque little town, possibly my favourite (though it being on the River Garry might have something to do with that). Blair Atholl Castle is a must-see, the Laird of which is the only person to still have his own private army. 

We then drove south to Crieff and on to Stirling. Stirling is home to many sights such as Stirling Castle, the Old Town Jail, Dunblane Cathedral whose tower dates back to the 6th century BC and the magnificent Wallace Monument (the highlight of our trip).

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Glenshee – Gateway to the Cairngorm mountains

From Stirling it’s back to Edinburgh and on to your next destination. 

As you can see, there’s a whole lot to see in Scotland and how much you enjoy it will often up to the weather. So do yourself a favour, come visit my homeland in the Spring to see it at it’s finest. 

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