Summer is fast approaching, and we know many of you are already planning your first (or fifth!) motorhome adventure. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of suggestions to make your road trip fun and memorable, whether you’re into castles or kayaking. Always make sure to plan ahead and book where possible and enjoy Scotland responsibly.
1. Visit a castle
Scotland has no shortage of castles (it’s estimated that there were once up to 3000 castles here!) so wherever you end up on your motorhome adventure you’ll always find a selection of castles nearby to visit. If travelling up north to the Highlands you’re likely to pass by the stunning Eilean Donan castle and it’s definitely worth adding this to your route map.
Highly regarded as one of the most iconic castles in Scotland it has featured in many films including Bond film The World is Not Enough and it’s not hard to see why. It sits on its own little island at the point where three sea lochs meet, overlooking the Isle of Skye and surrounded by forested mountains. A truly breath-taking sight, especially so on a clear day when you can see the castle’s reflection in the water.
The castle and exhibitions will be open to visitors after current restrictions lift and there’s also a visitor centre with a gift shop and coffee shop. Find out more at the website.
2. Bag a Munro
For those who enjoy an active motorhome holiday, you can’t get much more active than by climbing one (or a few) of Scotland’s many peaks. A Munro is a Scottish mountain with an elevation of more than 3,000 feet and you can ‘bag’ one by reaching the summit.We do however recommend that you are anexperienced walker with good navigation skills before attempting a Munro orclimb with an experienced guide. Stunning views and sightings of rare wildlife await – but which Munro should you climb first? Here are 3 suggestions:
uachaille Etive Mór in Glencoe is one of the most recognisable mountains in Scotland. This beautiful ridge is only a short drive from Glasgow and is home to two Munros: Stob Dearg and Stob na Broige.
Ben Macdui is the second highest peak in Britain, behind Ben Nevis. Macdui sits in the centre of a vast wilderness in Mar Lodge Estate, and the remote hike from the Linn of Dee up to the summit (avoiding the ski slopes on the Cairngorm) is 18 miles long.
Liathach in Torridon is known to many hillwalkers and climbers as Scotland’s finest mountain. With breath-taking views over the neighbouring Beinn Eighe and Beinn Alligin, as climbs go, the route along Liathach’s ridge is hard to beat.
Find out more about Munro bagging at Walkhighlands.
3. Enjoy a wee dram at whisky distillery
Scotland is, of course, the home of whisky. If you enjoy a wee nip of the good stuff or are just curious about the production process, a distillery tour is an excellent day out. There are of course many, many distilleries across Scotland and its islands but the Speyside region is arguably the most famous production area, being home to more than 50 distilleries. Many of these working distilleries are open to the public and offer free whisky tasting sessions as part of a guided tour – see Visit Scotland for more information. Slàinte!
4. Go sea kayaking
Paddling to an island that is entirely deserted and then having a barbecue on the beach might seem like something you can only achieve in a dream, but it’s perfectly possible to achieve in the Outer Hebrides where almost all of the 200 plus islands are uninhabited. And the best way to experience the archipelago? By boat, of course. The surrounding waters are crystal-clear, and the destination is prime territory for sea kayaking.
Fortunately, for those with little to no experience of kayaking, there are local professionals who will take you out. To get started and pick up your kayak, visit the isles of Harris, Lewis, Barra, or Uist. Not travelling quite as far as the Outer Hebrides? You’ll find also find sea kayaking expedition companies around the West Coast and the Small Isles.
5. Take the greatest railway journey in the world
A visit up north wouldn’t be complete without a journey on the Jacobite Express steam train (or the Hogwarts Express to Harry Potter fans!). Considered to be one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world, this 84-mile round trip takes you past some of Scotland’s most impressive landscapes.
Starting at Ben Nevis, the journey visits the UK’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig, passing by rivers and lochs and stopping en route to Mallaig at the village of Glenfinnan after crossing the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct.
Past Glenfinnan you’ll see the stunning villages of Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar and Mallaig. If you choose to alight at Arisaig and you get lucky with the weather, you will be able to see the ‘Small Isles’ of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye. The train then continues on from here passing Morar and the silver sand beaches seen in the films Highlander and Local Hero.
The train departs twice a day, 7 days a week between the 26th of April and the 29th of October and advance booking is essential. For more information on prices and times, visit the website.
6.Go dolphin spotting
Seeing dolphins rise gracefully above the waves is one of life's greatest pleasures and thankfully Scotland is more than blessed when it comes to places to spot these intelligent and playful creatures.
Known as the ‘Dolphin Coast’, Banffshire and the Moray coast are the places to go for anyone wanting to see bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment. The Moray Firth is home to the most northerly colony of bottlenose dolphins in the world and is one of only two resident populations in the whole of the UK.
The Moray Firth dolphins are also rather unique in that they are the biggest bottlenose dolphins in the world, growing to 4m in length and weighing up to a whopping 350kg. For the ideal spotting location, head to the Chanonry Point area, near Fortrose, as not only does it have some spectacular views, it's also a popular place for dolphins to feed. You can enjoy a dolphin spotting boat trip from here too.
7. Visit a white sand beach
While Scotland has more picture-perfect stretches of sand than you can count, Luskentyre Beach on the west coast of South Harris has frequently been named one of the best beaches in the world. One of the most jaw-dropping places on the planet, its striking white sands sit at the edge of turquoise waters as if it belonged in the Caribbean. Spot wild ponies grazing along the dunes, or catch a glimpse of the otters, seals, dolphins, eagles and deer that all call this island home.
During your road trip in Scotland, you should definitely plan 3 or 4 days to visit Lewis and Harris. You can reach the island by boat from Ullapool or from Uig, on the Isle of Skye.