Last week Sophie and I spent the week driving up to and around Scotland. We did this 8 years ago, traveling up to Loch Ness – and wanted to do it again. It’s a long drive up from Reading, but the scenery is great and if you share the driving it is not too bad. We decided not to book anywhere again and just to drive until we found somewhere nice or were tired. This is quite a fun way to explore somewhere and means you don’t have to be at certain places at certain times. You can also stay longer when you find somewhere nice!
This time we bought the Lonely Planet Guide to Scotland which made the journey more fun as you can read up on the places before deciding whether to stop.
Roman Camp Hotel
We wanted to stay in Killin, although all the accommodation listed in the guide book were full. We carried on up a bit further north and came across the Roman Camp Hotel at Callendar. Rooms were great and dinner was excellent. Also the gardens were pretty impressive.
B&B in Pitlochry
We didn’t fancy driving all the way up to Loch Ness from Callendar so chose somewhere else to stop on the way up. We stayed at the Home from Home B&B which was very nice and 5 minutes walk from the main high street. We arrived at Makays bar to use their free wifi, but ended up staying till late to partake in their free whisky tasting session.
Pitlochry is a great place with a few good pubs. Also they have an impressive Hydro Electric Dam you can walk across and if it is the right season see fish jump up the fish ladder.
Inch Hotel and Loch Ness
8 years ago when we visited in August we managed to pull up at the first B&B we liked the look of in Drumndrochit and stay there. The ‘no vacancy’ signs being displayed as we drove around however made us realise this time it wasn’t going to be so easy!
After driving around the Loch for a while we came into Fort Augustas and the first main hotel we came across luckily had one double room left for 2 nights – so we quickly snapped it up. The hotel is very nice, with great views of the Loch from the garden and also from our room. The food was also great.
There is plenty to see and do at Fort Augustas, from Loch Ness tours to watching the boats use the 5 or 6 locks to get out of Loch Ness and into the canal. We enjoyed eating and drinking at the Loch Inn, their fish n chips and sticky toffee pudding were especially nice!
Abbey Bridge B&B
On our journey back from Scotland 8 years ago we wanted to stop off somewhere on the way back to break the journey up. Diving off the M6 to take a view of Hadrians Wall we came across a nice looking pub with accommodation called Abbey Bridge (Pub, Inn or Hotel – not sure back in 2003). Upon calling to make a booking this time the place had been taken over and turned completely into a B&B. It’s still a great place to stay with really nice rooms, an honesty bar for drinks, yummy breakfasts and lots of things to see and do close by. Lanercost Priory is only 2 minutes down the road, and Hadrians Wall about 20 minutes walk away. Brampton is the closest small town and is a £5 taxi ride away. We ate at the Howard Arms (http://www.howardarmshotelbrampton.co.uk/) which served really nice food and had a friendly atmosphere.
Overall a fantastic week, hopefully we won’t wait 8 years before going back to Scotland. Don’t be put off by the long drive, the scenery makes it all worthwhile.