Glencoe, Scotland, Ten Days in the UK by Car

Loch Ness Hunter

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Loch Ness, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0044.JPG” ]

Loch Ness Hunter Tour

Early on a Saturday morning, Mary Polly and I made our way up the still dark street in Edinburgh from our room at Smart City Hostels to Haggis Adventures, a ridiculously convenient distance of 417 feet.

Smart City Hostels to Haggis Adventures. Highland Explorer, Loch Ness Explorer

We boarded a bus and headed for a part of Scotland that we had yet to see, Glencoe and Loch Ness.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Glencoe, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0010.JPG” ]

The whole bus seemed sleepy as we drove out of Edinburgh, and as the sky went from dark gray to light gray, we listened to Nick, our driver and tour guide tell us stories about Scotland.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Glencoe, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0012.JPG” ]

We stopped a couple of times on the way to Loch Ness, because it is about a 3.5 hour drive. My favorite stop was Glencoe. The word glen means “valley” in Scottish and the valleys we drove to get to Loch Ness were everything you would imagine Scotland to be, sweeping, green hills shrouded in mist.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Inverlochy Castle” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0027.JPG” ]

I also loved the short visit to Inverlochy Castle, a ruin dating back to the 13th century.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Inverlochy Castle” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0029.JPG” ]

Mary Polly and I almost wished we had the boys with us to see the old castle ruin. We definitely need to bring them back to play within these walls.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Inverlochy Castle” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0038.JPG” ]

Driving through the Great Glen, Nick continued to entertain us with stories of William Wallace, Rob Roy, The Glencoe Massacre, the building of the Caledonian Canal and many other bits of history and folklore. Later Mary Polly told me that listening to our guide while driving through the Scottish countryside was the highlight of the tour. I totally concur! (She also appreciated being on a comfy bus with plenty of space, as opposed to being in squeezed into our little car with her brothers.) I have been meaning to learn more about the history of Scotland and I’ve even bought a book on the subject, but there is something different about hearing someone who is from here tell the stories of their country with conviction that brings history to life.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Loch Ness, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0046.JPG” ]

By the time we reached Loch Ness I was singing along to the tunes of some of the traditional Scottish songs Nick played for us in between stories.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Loch Ness, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0071.JPG” ]

We were each given a sack lunch upon our arrival at Fort Augustus, and then we had two hours to spend on our own. You could spend one hour on a boat ride that takes you out on the lake to look for the monster, which we opted to do (not included in the tour). The guide on the boat said that they say that the rock slide in the above photo is where the monster tried to climb out of the water.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Loch Ness, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0059.JPG” ]

Mary Polly and I both felt that the boat ride was actually the most “skippable” (is that a word?) part of the day. In thought, one comes to Loch Ness to “catch a glimpse of the monster,” and so you have to go out on a boat. But it seemed a bit silly to be sitting for an hour of our visit when we had such a long bus ride to and from Edinburgh already.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Loch Ness, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0050.JPG” ]

The views from the shoreline were just as beautiful, so we spent our other hour walking along the lakeshore. At the end of November, Fort Augustus was fairly empty, but in exchange for solitude you get a sharp chill in the air. We had our hats and mittens though so we walked all around Fort Augustus and peeked through the bushes to get a view of this old abbey, which is now a hotel.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Loch Ness, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0047.JPG” ]

Above are the locks of the Caledonian Canal that opened in 1822 in order to move boats through the Great Glen without having to go all the way around Scotland. There are five of these locks just in Fort Augustus. It would be fun to be there when boats were actually moving through these locks, as I imagine it would take a long time.

Back on the bus, we drove a different route to Edinburgh, so I suppose in the summer you can enjoy different views since it stays light for so much longer. The days are shorter in November of course, so the sun went down quickly and we rode home mostly in darkness.

But we were happy with our November tour, and thrilled that when we got back to Edinburgh, we still had time to visit the Christmas Market.

[pe2-image src=”” href=”″ caption=”Loch Ness, Scotland” type=”image” alt=”DSCF0075.JPG” ]

Many thanks to Smart City Hostels to Haggis Adventures and our wonderful guide, Nick for a great weekend out in Scotland! Mary Polly and I won our tour vouchers through a contest on Twitter. I’m always keeping my eyes and ears open for those kinds of fun opportunities to see something new!


  1. Thank you for the very informative description of your visit.

    1. For sure! Thanks for dropping by. Hope it’s helpful. 🙂

  2. […] went to Inverness on the train and spent the day touring around Loch Ness. We loved going to Urquhart Castle, even though it was […]

  3. Oh my goodness, I just stumbled upon this post and while I loved it, it also made me very jealous! I signed up for this exact tour, including the boat ride, when I heard I would be going to Edinburgh last June to cover a medical conference. And then 3 canceled flights and 2 airport overnighters later, I got into town too late to make the tour and had no time to re-schedule. Thank you though for the lovely pics. Makes me (almost) feel like I actually got to go after all. 🙂

  4. […] Mary Polly and I had a getaway weekend in Edinburgh where we saw the Christmas Market and took a side trip to Glencoe and Loch Ness. […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: