Scotland is definitely one of our favorite places, and over the past five years (2017, 2015, 2013) we’ve explored many different regions. When some well-priced tickets became available for the first week of May we naturally jumped at the opportunity, and started planning. We ultimately decided on five days of hiking in the Highlands (primarily Skye and Glencoe), then four days attending events at the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival, and one day in London on our way back home.
This time we brought along a different set of friends upon whom we unleashed an “eric & leandra style” road trip :)
813 miles driving, miles of hiking, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 whiskeys tasted!
After landing in Inverness, we checked in with the Hertz coordinator and wound up on the second shuttle to the rental location, a few minutes from the airport. We were given a Mercedes, good in theory I suppose, but the car was a bit tight with luggage and super complicated. It took a few minutes to figure out how to shift the car into drive! We made it about five miles away before realizing we couldn’t fix the persistent ‘DING’ along with a red hood “error” message on my dashboard. Returned the car and the mechanic had to crawl under the floor pedals to lift and reset the hood. Thankfully we never had another problem with the car.
Where we stayed
Morlea Bed & Breakfast – Drumnadrochit
Drumnadrochit is the center of of Loch Ness tourism, and a good stopping point for our first day. It is also conveniently located two buildings down from the great Fiddlers restaurant!
On arrival we were quickly shown to our rooms. Nice bed, very comfortable. As expected, the town is quiet at night, so sleeping was easy. Cookies and tea in the room were nice for a late afternoon snack.
The bathroom was very creaky, and the shower was tiny making it rather hard to turn around. Also, for some reason the bathroom door had a window – thankfully, it had a shade as well.
Otherwise, the B&B has off-street parking for several cars around back. Hosts were a bit quiet, not much advice or communication. We were offered a breakfast choice of continental (cereal, yogurt, fruit) or cooked (fried egg, bacon, sausage, tomato, and potato wedge). The cooked breakfast was quite filling! Eggs were fried, so Eric got a hard fry instead of scrambled. Also, we enjoyed the Tom Jones playlist.
Apartment 2, Skye Holiday Apartments, Phoenix Flats – Portree
Nicely appointed 2-bedroom apartment located just one street away from the main shops and restaurants of Portree, and including an off-street parking spot in front of the building.
One bedroom had a full bed, the other two singles. Each had some closet space, and thankfully we could slide our bags under the beds as floor space was minimal. A nice plus was the coat rack in the main hallway for drying off wet jackets.
the view from our apartment in Portree
The bathroom was a good size, with a reasonable shower, heated towel rack and a space heater. The kitchen had all the pieces we needed, though the table was a little small for four adults. And since we were on a longer trip it was definitely nice to have the washing machine.
Finally, the living room was good sized for all of us. The TV channels were quirky, but more importantly, the wifi was fast. Each apartment also has its own deck space with a grill but we didn’t take advantage of that on this trip.
Buccleuch Guest House – Fort William
An upscale B&B with private off-street parking and ~10 minute walk to the pedestrian part of Ft. William.
Our rooms were upstairs at the front of the building. Both had very comfortable beds, a small closet, and ours had a big sitting area with a great view of Loch Linnhe.
Breakfast was great with lots of cold items and a cooked-to-order component too.
Hosts were quite engaging and helpful as well. Buccleuch Guest House was a bit more expensive than other places on our trip, and justifiably so given the extra features – we’d definitely consider a return. Payment was in cash upon departure, no credit cards accepted.
Bridge View cottages – Craigellachie
Bonnie View cottage is close to the Craigellachie Hotel in the heart of downtown. The layout is a bit quirky with a bright sitting room near the street entrance, then a bedroom, bath (with large tub) and kitchen with a second sitting area up another level.
We were a little annoyed that the only bedroom had two twin beds as this wasn’t clear on the website. From the look of the downstairs front room you could sleep there as well if you wished.
The kitchen came with an oven, small dishwasher, and other cooking items. The flat does have a combined washing machine/dryer, but we found the dryer didn’t work too well for us. Thankfully the weather was nice and we were able to hang clothes on the outside lines.
We had some problems with heat the first night, but that was addressed with an email to the owners. The heated floors in the kitchen were nice, especially in the cool mornings! Wifi was fine throughout the building and we really appreciated the dedicated off-street parking spot when the whisky festival was in full swing.
Our friends had the Telford View cottage up the hill from Bonnie View, which was more up-to-date, but lacked an oven and dishwasher. It also had a nice view from the balcony!