Scotland is one of Europe’s most scenic countries, with abundant wildlife and some really interesting tourist attractions. We’re sharing some tips on how to make the most of your time with 48 hours in the Scottish Highlands, in association with Pearlshare, the handy travel guide app. They’re a great source of information on hidden gems and local tips.
Getting there and around
Many people imagine that the Scottish Highlands are incredibly remote but surprisingly that’s not the case at all. There are regular flights from Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham, London and Manchester to Inverness in the heart of the Highlands. It’s also a pleasant journey on the Virgin Train East Coast line. Once you’re there, I highly recommend hiring a car as although there’s public transport, it’s not always regular and many of the sights are off the beaten track.
You can’t visit the Scottish Highlands without looking for the Loch Ness Monster. Well you could but frankly why miss out? Start your day at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition before the crowds arrive. It’s actually quite a scientific place and it debunks several myths about the monster, although some mysteries remain.
For lunch, head to Fiddler’s Highland restaurant nearby. It’s an attractive place with outdoor seating if you happen to be lucky with the weather.
Afterwards, take a walk along Loch Ness and keep your eyes peeled for the monster.
Urquhart Castle is the second most visited monument in Scotland and occupies a picturesque spot on the lake. Construction started in the 13th century and ever since it was finished, there have been battles to gain control of it.
Glen Strathfarrar has to be seen to be believed. This spectacular valley will take your breath away with its beauty. It’s a private road and there’s a limit to the number of cars allowed in each day. At times you may be the only vehicle for miles around.
Alone with nature, you’re free to contemplate the majestic surroundings. At the end of the drive, you’ll find Monar Dam. This arch dam is the largest in Britain and wouldn’t look out of place in a Bond movie.
Plodda Falls is another fantastic sight that is well worth a visit, close to the village of Tomich.
Walking through the forest, you’ll come to a clearing where the water gushes down onto the rocks below from a height of 46 metres. The sheer force of it is mesmerizing.
As you drive back through the stunning Glen Affric, you’ll come across a statue commemorating the Golden Retriever dog breed. They were first bred on this estate in 1868 by Dudley Marjoribanks, Lord Tweedmouth, when he crossed a wavy-coated retriever with a Tweed water spaniel.
There are also many sheep along the way, happily grazing on the hillside.
If you’re a thrill seeker or simply want to try something different, don’t miss dog sledding at Eagle Brae. This collection of luxury cedar wood lodges is also a great place to stay. They can arrange all sorts of activities for you including wildlife photography and fishing. Our dog sledding session was organised by
Leask Racing Sled Dogs, who instantly put us at ease. The dogs themselves are huskies rather than hounds and very good natured. The dog sledding takes place in a meadow where the Sled Dog Association of Scotland recently held their races and it’s a truly exhilarating ride. Your main task is to hold on for dear life while the dog sled driver puts the hounds through their paces…and boy, do they love to race! It’s somewhat of a bumpy ride but a real bucketlist experience. Afterwards you’ll give the dogs water – all that sled pulling is thirsty work!
There’s so much to see and do in the Scottish Highlands but we hope that these highlights have given you a taster.
Have you ever been to Scotland or the Highlands?