You will spot rucksac-laden walkers on the West Highland Way as we traverse the moor. Each year, there are around 30,000 people who complete this famous 98-mile trekking route between Glasgow and Fort William.
A short drive later and we come across the Black Mount. Here you’ll find a range of four Munros (mountains over 3000 feet high) that gives way to Glencoe. This was also the setting to one of the most shameful periods in Scottish history – the Glencoe Massacre. In view of its history and stunning beauty, we will make a stop here to stretch our legs to admire Scotland’s most famous glen.
From beautiful, haunting Glencoe we’ll drive through the Highland holiday destination of Fort William which sits in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain.
We’re now following the Great Glen, a natural fault-line that divides Scotland from coast to coast. It was in 1822 when one of the world’s great waterways, the Caledonian Canal was opened. This linked the Great Glen’s lochs so that ships could have safe passage across the country therefore avoiding the dangerous waters around the north coast.
One of these lochs is legendary Loch Ness and at its southern tip lies the historic hamlet of Fort Augustus where our small group will stop for lunch.
Fort Augustus gets its name from the fort built to help suppress the Highland Jacobites after their uprising in 1715. Later it was transformed into a Benedictine Abbey, the gothic style buildings are now a holiday destination. Today’s tourists often enjoy watching the boats of all shapes and sizes passing through the series of locks on the canal.
Enjoy the superb views as we hug the shoreline of Loch Ness to the ruins of Urquhart Castle , the spot of many ‘claimed’ Loch Ness monster sightings. With a little under two hours to spend at Loch Ness you can explore the castle and visitor centre or enjoy a leisurely monster spotting cruise.
As we wave Nessie goodbye, our return journey to Glasgow will take us through the Highland capital of Inverness. As we cross the River Ness you will see Inverness Castle. Shakespeare’s Macbeth was supposedly based in the earlier 11th century Castle, the location of Duncan’s murder. In Addition to this, it is said that the kingly apparition of Duncan is seen walking along the banks of the Ness, near the castle.
Next, your friendly driver-guide delivers you to the Cairngorms National Park and Grampian Mountains. We’ll also pass the historic Ruthven Barracks which you can’t miss atop its mound. Built by George II’s government to police the area after the 1715 Jacobite rising, it was later taken by the Jacobites and was their mustering point after their defeat at the Battle of Culloden.
On the day after, 3,000 battle weary men gathered here with intention of continuing the fight. However, the message from Bonnie Prince Charlie was that every man should save himself the best he could. The Jacobites torched the barracks and dispersed to escape the government and the haunting site you see today is pretty much how it was left after they fled in 1746.
We’ll call in to the Victorian resort town of Pitlochry for our final refreshment stop before heading south through picturesque Perthshire. We’ll pass Stirling Castle and you can glimpse the National Wallace Monument, a 67-metre high tower. This monument overlooks the site of the battle of Stirling Bridge where Scots patriot William Wallace defeated a much larger, advancing English army in 1297.
From Stirling it’s a short drive to drop you off in Glasgow where your Loch Ness tour will end.