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Hiking in Ben Nevis on a highlands and islands road trip

At Your Own Pace

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Self-Drive Highlands and Islands

Experience Scotland’s highlands and islands on this epic road trip

Ready to explore Scotland’s rugged landscape? Discover the stunning western highlands and islands as you experience the highlights and hidden gems on this epic 14 day self-drive holidays Scotland road trip. Summit the UK’s highest mountain, taste the award-winning Isle of Harris gin, explore some of the UK’s most beautiful beaches and so much more.

Scotland 14 Days April to October 68 kg per person
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Experience the true beauty of Scotland’s highlands and islands as we let you in on the hidden gems of the Outer Hebrides. Your highlands and islands adventure will have you strolling along stunning beaches, paddling crystal clear waters and abseiling down rocky crags with breathtaking views.

14 days, zero-hassle and all this included:

  • 13 nights 3* / 4* B&B accommodation
  • Half day guided kayaking
  • Route details for Ben Nevis hike
  • 3 hour boat trip
  • Route details for Quiraing hike
  • Route details for Trotternish Peninsula hike
  • Half day guided SUP experience
  • Whisky distillery tour
  • Half day gorge walking or guided hike in Torridon
  • 2 hour rock climbing and abseiling experience
  • 3 ferry crossings
  • 24-hour emergency telephone support
  • Our recommendations for the best driving routes, places to eat and instagrammable locations!
  • 1 native tree planted in our woodland

Plus flexible booking terms as part of our Adventure Promise, including instalment payments to spread the cost of your adventure. 

Check out the full itinerary in the tab above!

For adventurers who:

Are looking for an epic road trip around Scotland’s highlands and islands! This self-drive adventure break in Scotland is perfect for couples, friends and families (14+ years)

Saturday

Welcome to Scotland! Arrive in Fort William to check into your eco-friendly boutique B&B, overlooking the beautiful Loch Linnhe and Ardgour Hills from 4pm. Fort William is the largest town in the highlands of Scotland, located in the heart of the Lochabar district. A popular base for adventure seekers, Fort William is known as the gateway to the western highlands.

With plenty of local pubs and restaurants to choose from, enjoy the first evening of your Scottish adventure exploring the town. It’s only right that your first meal includes some of Scotland’s quintessential food – haggis and cullen skink!

Settle in for the night back at your Fort William base. Be sure to get plenty of sleep in preparation for a big day ahead.

Sunday

Rise and shine. After a hearty breakfast, lace up your walking boots and leave the warmth of your B&B behind as your Scottish adventure begins at the foothills of Ben Nevis. We’ll provide you with details of a route to the summit.

Meet Ben
Although it’s designation as the highest mountain in the UK might seem a little daunting (or exciting!), as long as you are active, the route up Ben Nevis doesn’t require scrambling or specialist equipment during the summer months. Visibility may mean you can’t see the trail easily though, so it’s essential you are able to read a map and use a compass to navigate and stay on the trail.

Optional activity:
If you’re unsure about going it alone, why not allow our mountain guide to show you the ropes? Our local mountain leader can lead you up the trails to the summit – just let us know and we’d be happy to arrange this.
Cost: £195

Be sure to appreciate the views on the way up, with the iconic Scottish highlands in the surrounding landscape. After a tough ascent, why not have some lunch on the summit plateau – what better backdrop for a bite to eat!

Back at your B&B for the evening after conquering the highest mountain in the UK, rest your aching legs at one of the local pubs and perhaps enjoy a wee dram.

Monday

After breakfast it’s time to pack up your car and head north to Arisaig via a particularly magical bridge.

A Chuffing Big Bridge
The Glenfinnan viaduct played a starring role in the Harry Potter films with the Hogwarts Express chuffing across it. Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, the immense railway spans 1,000ft and towers 100ft above the ground – a definite must see as you continue your Scottish adventure.

Kayaking in Caribbean waters…
With its stunning white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you took a wrong turn and ended up on a Caribbean island! Protected by hundreds of small tidal islands known as skerries, Arisaig bay is an ideal spot to hop in a kayak and appreciate the islands from the water. On the edge of a very wild part of Scotland, you don’t have to paddle far to get the sense of wide open space and epic wilderness. Don’t worry, our guides will show you the best spots – from hidden bays to wildlife hangouts, Arisaig is home to colonies of seals and a thriving otter population.

Centred on the sheltered shore of Loch nan Ceall on the west coast, Arisaig is a pretty village boasting superb scenery. The views out to the islands of Rum and Eigg can be breathtaking, especially at sunset. This evening you’ll stay in a cosy B&B, built 200 years ago as a stone stable but converted into welcoming accommodation.

Tuesday

Pack your things, your highlands and islands road trip continues as you leave Arisaig and board the ferry to Skye. The island of Skye is over 50 miles long and the largest of the Inner Hebrides. You’ll spend the next two days exploring the island by boat and on foot.

Discover the Cuillin by boat
After disembarking the ferry, it’s only a short drive until you reach a gorgeous inland fresh-water loch on the south west of Skye. From the base of the Black Cuillin, jump aboard your included boat trip to discover some of the island’s most magnificent scenery from a different perspective. Home to some impressive wildlife, keep an eye out for rare species like oystercatchers, golden eagles, manx shearwaters, puffins, razorbills, cormorants, herons and sometimes sea eagles, to name just a few! On occasion, you may even spot basking sharks, minky whales, dolphins and porpoises.

Waterfalls at the Fairy Pools
Once you’re back on land, continue north to the scenic village of Portree. But not before a stop off at the Fairy Pools; beautifully crystal clear blue pools on the River Brittle. If you’re feeling brave, the pools are perfect for wild swimming.

Continuing north you’ll arrive in Portree, the capital town on the Isle of Skye. Set round its natural harbour and fringed by high ground and cliffs, the harbour continues to be used by local fishing boats. In the bustling port and thriving cultural centre, explore and admire Portree’s colourful buildings and make the most of your hotel’s proximity to the harbour at one of the local seafood restaurants.

Wednesday

Sunrise from the Summit
Skye’s landscapes are so spectacularly unique. This has never seemed more apparent than atop the Quiraing. From here, there are breathtaking views of the craggy landscape, the islands of Raasay and Rona, and the mainland of Scotland.

Picture all this with the sun peaking out from the horizon and casting a golden glow over the landscape. Ready to see for yourself? Trade your slippers for walking boots, wipe the sleep from your eyes and head out early for a sunrise hike.

The Quiraing is a landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish on the Isle of Skye. The whole of the Trotternish Ridge escarpment was formed by a great series of landslips; the Quiraing is the only part of the slip still moving. In fact, the road at its base, near Flodigarry, requires repairs each year.

Tip of Skye
As you make your way down, why not head into one of the local villages for a lunch break before continuing north to your second hike location. This walk takes you to the most northerly tip of the Trotternish Peninsula on Skye. The views from the cliff tops are stunning, on a clear day you can see most of the Outer Isles of Harris, Lewis and Uist. As you head back from the tip, you’ll have great views of Duntulm Castle, the clan seat of the MacDonalds of Sleat in the 17th century.

Evening in Portree
Spend a second night in the harbour town of Portree. After a big day of walking, you might want to get a warm shower back at your B&B and an early night ready for the next day of your highlands and islands road trip.

Thursday

Tropical Harris
Pack up your things, after breakfast you’ll hop on the ferry across to the stunning Isle of Harris. Harris is well known for its spectacular beaches, which are more reminiscent of the tropics than the north of Scotland! The island is also the perfect location to witness the natural wonder and theatrical performance of the Northern Lights.

Before you race to the nearest beach, why not pop into the distillery, home to the award-winning Isle of Harris Gin. If you have time, perhaps join in for a tour of the distillery… or skip ahead and pick up a bottle or two as souvenirs!

Land of the Vikings
Back in the car, head over to your base for the next two nights. Jo and Greig, owners of this quirky accommodation, are sure to offer you a warm welcome. The two blackhouses are over 150 years old and are surrounded by abundant wildlife. The site overlooks a stunning bay with views out over the loch and even has its own private viking harbour. Keep an eye out for the resident otter and eagles nesting nearby.

Take the rest of the afternoon to relax, perhaps a stroll along the water’s edge to take in the incredible views and feel the sea breeze.

Optional activity:
Looking for a way to truly unwind this afternoon? Your local host, Jo, welcomes you to join her for an optional Qigong (pronounced chee-kung) session.

Designed to promote the movement of Qi (energy) in the body, Qigong is a powerful type of health exercise practiced for centuries. Combining slow, graceful movements with mental concentration and breathing, the session will increase and balance your vital energy, opening certain gates and stretching and twisting energy channels.
Cost: £45 per person

Friday

Ready for a tour of South Harris’ hidden gems? Famed for its beautiful beaches, stunning white sands, wild flower-filled machair and strong sense of island identity, your highlands and islands adventure continues.

Medieval churches to hidden beaches
Your first stop is praised as ‘the grandest medieval building in the Western Isles’, and it’s easy to see why. It is one of the most ambitious medieval buildings on the islands, the form of which owes much to its links with Ireland. The late fifteenth-century church was founded by Alasdair ‘Crotach’ MacLeod of Dunvegan and Harris, 8th chief of Clan MacLeod. He died in 1547, and his remarkable tomb can still be seen in the church’s recess.

Along the shores of south Harris, over millions of years, the crashing waves crushed shells into glittering, silver-coloured sand. One perfect beach after another, just waiting for you to explore. We’ll share our favourites for you to check out.

An artist’s inspiration
Stop by the arts and entertainment centre on the Isle of Harris. Owned and operated on behalf of the West Harris community, the centre overlooks the golden sands of Niseaboist Beach. The centre hosts regular cultural and social events and the West Harris Trust office staff are on hand 5 days a week for a friendly welcome and information about the islands. Visit the open artist studios, pop into the cafe for a drink or maybe you’d like to purchase handcrafted souvenirs from the foyer gallery.

As you head north along the coast with dramatic views of the sea to your left, be sure to stop off at our highly recommended lunch spot. Fast food meets seafood in a way only the Outer Hebrides could pull off!

SUP at Luskentyre
With water clear enough to see the sandy bottom of the sea from aboard your SUP, Harris’ most iconic beach is the perfect spot to follow your guide and explore from the sea. Luskentyre is one of the largest and most spectacular beaches on Harris, boasting miles of white sand and stunning green-blue water. Carved into the island on the edge of a wide bay at the mouth of a three-mile-wide estuary, Luskentyre beach is bordered on either side by vast sand dunes with a mountain backdrop on the horizon.

Spend your second night back at your quirky accommodation and relax ahead of the next day of your highlands and islands road trip.

Saturday

Pack your things, you’re heading to Lewis. The largest and northernmost island in the Outer Hebrides, you’ll spend your next two nights based on the west coast of Lewis. But there’s one more stop to make before you leave Harris.

Iconic wildlife
With some of the highest densities of breeding golden eagles in all of Europe, North Harris provides one of the best opportunities in Scotland for viewing this iconic species. Our recommendation will see you situated right in the heart of the territory of a pair of golden eagles, the perfect opportunity to watch their daily activities.

As you continue North, be sure to stop off along the way at some of the wildlife rich beaches. These beaches are perhaps quieter than some of your earlier stops, but more beautiful in our opinion! Keep your eyes peeled for white-tailed eagles, seals, otters and deer.

Pause for a wee dram
Your first stop on Lewis this afternoon is at the creator of the first single malt whisky in the Outer Hebrides since 1829. Take a tour and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the working distillery, following the spirit’s journey. Learn all about the water source, stills and ingredients that come together to create the bottles of fine whisky you can pick up from their shop.

Continue on to your accommodation for tonight. Overlooking the Atlantic ocean on the west coast of Lewis, drift off to the sounds of the waves crashing against the Aird cliffs.

Sunday

Calanais Standing Stones
Explore the stunning beaches around Uig before making your way to the Calanais Standing Stones. The stones are an extraordinary cross-shaped setting of stones erected 5,000 years ago. They predate England’s famous Stonehenge monument, and were an important place for ritual activity for at least 2,000 years. It’s an enchanting place, with an air of mystery as you marvel at these great stone columns and wonder at how, why they came to be.

Northward bound
As you continue to the northerly tip of Lewis, we recommend a stop at our favourite lunch spot at the Port of Ness. This unassuming little village has the most charming community cafe (with a veggie burger to die for!) and a stunning beach to boot.

From here it’s just a short drive to the beginning of your hike. It’s relatively short in length but it will blow your mind, in more ways than one: a couple years ago the Guinness Book of Records named the Butt of Lewis as the windiest spot in the UK! Enjoy small coves and glittering beaches on your circular walk, taking you to the most northerly point of Lewis and its towering lighthouse.

Drive back to your base in Uig for your second night and perhaps get a nice hot shower to warm up after your windy walk!

Monday

After breakfast, you’ll have time to explore the capital of Lewis and Harris before catching your ferry. Stornoway is the main town of the Western Isles with a population of around 6,953, making it by far the largest town in the Outer Hebrides. Its sheltered harbour is the reason for Stornoway’s existence and was named by the visiting Vikings as “Steering Bay” which, when phonetically translated, became the name Stornoway.

Take in the views as you ferry over to Ullapool on the Scottish mainland before your scenic drive to Torridon. This small village enjoys a dramatically wild setting beneath the mountains, on the shore of Upper Loch Torridon in Wester Ross.

Your B&B this evening is full of character, a true gem in the highlands. The owners of the property, Sarah and Felix, have a true passion for music – Sarah teaches and plays the Celtic fiddle, and Felix produces and composes music. Keep an ear out for their music in the halls!

Tuesday

Explore Torridon – from gorges to mountains
Choose your adventure this morning. Scramble over rocks and swim under waterfalls as you navigate your way through the Beinn Damh gorge with a beautiful waterfall on your gorge walking experience.

Or alternatively let our expert Mountain Leader take you to lesser-known spots with the best views as you hike to your heart’s content knowing you’re in safe hands. Torridon is home to some of Scotland’s best walking trails. The stunning seascape combined with rugged mountains means you’ll be spoiled for views along your route.

After an action-packed morning, take the scenic coastal road to Applecross and check into your cosy B&B to rest up ready for your next big day of adventure. Owner Tery is a designer, originally from Edinburgh, and runs her printing and interior design business from her home studio in Applecross. As a trained screen printer, keep an eye out for her wallpaper and hand printed textile designs in your stylish room.

Wednesday

Climbing and abseiling in the local crags
Time to get the adrenalin pumping! Today’s thrilling excursion will give you the chance to scale the rocky crags of picturesque Applecross. Our experienced, qualified instructor will be there every step of the way and will provide you with all the equipment you need before you listen to a full safety briefing. It’s then over to you to climb as high as you like, learning how to belay – keeping your partner safe as they climb – and taking in the epic surrounding views as you go. After climbing the rocky crags, you’ll learn how to abseil, lowering yourself off the edge of a cliff right down to the ground below.

Enjoy a free afternoon to wind down from an epic morning of rock climbing and maybe spend time exploring Applecross. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, our recommendations will keep you busy.

An evening at Applecross isn’t complete without dinner at the local inn. With amazing local seafood and big hearty portions, you’ll be more than able to refuel after an action-packed morning.

Thursday

Say goodbye to Applecross and head south to Fort William to enjoy the final night of your Scottish adventure. On route, you’ll drive over the infamous Applecross Pass. Originally a droveway, a track used to move livestock from one place to another, its Gaelic name is Bealach na Bà, (pronounced byee-alluch nuh bah), which means “pass of the cattle”. It was the only access in and out of Applecross until 1975.

The road is beloved of cyclists keen to test their legs. It has the steepest ascent of any road in the United Kingdom, starting from sea level and rising to 626 metres. Its challenging hairpin bends are a magnet for bikers and its outstanding views over to the Isle of Skye. However, even as a drive it is not for the faint-hearted!

After taking in the stunning views, be sure to stop off for lunch at Eilean Donan castle, one of the most recognised castles in Scotland, and probably appears on more shortbread tins and calendars than any other! Located on its own little island, overlooking the Isle of Skye, at the point where three great sea-lochs meet, and surrounded by the majestic splendour of the forested mountains of Kintail, Eilean Donan’s setting is truly breathtaking.

If you aren’t over alcohol just yet, along the route to your final base you’ll pass a roadside gin shop and micro distillery!

Arriving at your B&B in Fort William, enjoy the final night of your highlands and islands road trip.

Friday

Enjoy one last delicious breakfast before packing your bags and checking out. It’s time to hit the road and leave Scotland’s highlands and islands behind. After 2 weeks of epic mountains, breath-taking beaches, delicious food and enough wildlife to make David Attenborough envious, memories of your Scottish adventure will stay with you forever.

What's Included

  • 13 nights 3* / 4* B&B accommodation
  • Half day guided kayaking
  • Route details for Ben Nevis hike
  • 3 hour boat trip
  • Route details for Quiraing sunrise hike
  • Route details for Trotternish Peninsula hike
  • Half day guided SUP experience
  • Whisky distillery tour
  • Half day guided hike or gorge walking in Torridon
  • 2 hour rock climbing and abseiling experience
  • 3 ferry crossings
  • 24-hour emergency telephone support
  • Our recommendations for the best driving routes, places to eat and instagrammable locations!
  • 1 native tree planted in our woodland

Supercharge your trip

Even more ways to take your adventure tour to the next level! Simply let us know if you’d like to add these experiences when you make your enquiry:

 

  • Private guide on Ben Nevis
  • Gin distillery tour
  • Qigong session

What you need to bring

  • Sturdy, waterproof walking boots and walking socks
  • Day backpack – to carry snacks and essentials when out walking
  • Waterproof clothing – even if the forecast looks good, the weather can be very changeable in the mountains
  • Warm layers – even in summer the mountains and the coast can be chilly, especially in the evening
  • Trainers you don’t mind getting wet when stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and gorge walking (if chosen)
  • Swimwear – to wear under the wetsuits provided
  • Towel – to dry off after the water activities

What you need to know

  • Enjoy the reassurance of flexible booking terms, part of our Adventure Promise
  • Bookings close 4 to 6 weeks prior to departure, or as soon as places fill
  • Dates are booked to suit you – please ask about availability of your preferred dates using the enquiry form
  • Suitable for age 14+ years (accompanied by a parent or guardian)
  • This is your adventure and you’re in control – if you’d like any additional experiences, hiking routes or an extended stay, simply let us know when you submit your enquiry
  • We’ll manage all the bookings and arrangements to make your experience perfect, you simply need to arrive for each experience at the agreed time

At Adventure Tours UK, we set out to create the kind of breaks people like us go wild for. People who get their thrills in the outdoors and want to care for it too. Who want to disconnect from the daily grind and reconnect with nature. If you’re in search of adventure, you’ll find it with us.

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