Before I get into the magical highlands, I have to mention that our experience was five star because of the incredible tour company Rabbies. Rabbies is a small group tour company that works out of Scotland, England and Ireland. We went on the Isle of Skye and the West Highlands 4 day tour (check it out here). The tour was held in a 16 passenger bus with one tour guide for the entire duration of the trip. I found that a small group like this, you really got to know everyone on the tour and make friends. We were the youngest on the tour and nicknamed “Team Canada” as we were also the only Canadians! Our tour guide Matthew was absolutely incredible. He had so much knowledge and information about the Highlands, he provided several opportunities for us to head off the bus and explore. You could see and feel his passion for tourism, Scotland and the Isle of Skye… even though he was an English man natively!
When you book with Rabbies you have the option to have them book your accommodation for you in the locations you stay overnight. They’re great in that they provide several options and price points for everyones budget and really try to get you the best deal possible. If you’re heading to the Isle of Skye with Rabbies, I would highly recommend booking your accommodation with Rabbies since the towns tend to be quite small with limited accommodation options. We stayed in the most incredible bed and breakfast’s that I will touch on more below.
And no, this was is not sponsored by the company, they really are absolutely incredible!
Scottish Word Lesson:
Loch: means essentially, lake
Glen: means valley
Ben: means mountain
We started our trip by leaving Edinburgh super early in the morning. Our first stop was at the Kelpies! Now, as I’ve said, Scotland is extremely magical, mythical and full of legend. The Kelpies are a mythical Scottish water horse, and although beautiful they are extremely malicious. They are believed to haunt rivers and streams. The Kelpie can appear as a beautiful horse along the water and its beauty attracts humans. Once the Kelpie attracts the human, it will drag them into the water and eat them. These water horses can also appear in human form as beautiful young women luring mean to their death. Read more about the Kelpie legend here.
After the Kelpies heading towards the Highlands our next stop was our first official Loch, Loch Lubnaig. Although we only stopped here for about a half an hour, I was captivated by the greenery and serenity of my surroundings. It was so beautiful, untouched and peaceful.
We also saw Hairy Coos! No joke that is literally what they are called. They are literal hairy cows. I couldn’t help but laugh.
After the Loch, we headed up into the Highlands started with Glencoe. Glencoe is an infamous Scottish valley due to the MacDonald clan massacre in 1692. Essentially, there was a king who asked all the Clans to sign an oath of allegiance to be under his rule under one territory (if you don’t know much about Clans, check out their history here). Whoever of the Clans didn’t sign the oath were to be massacred. The leader of the MacDonald Clan went to the wrong location, then got arrested and after that whole shebang finally signed the oath – late. Although late, the King promised the treat would be honored. Except, he lied, and they ended up slaughtering the MacDonald clan (more about the MacDonald Massacre here!). Although it’s grim history, Glencoe was breathtaking. Photos don’t do it justice. I’ve never been so captivated Earth. I could have stared at those hills and valleys for hours.
After driving through the endless green valleys and mountains, we reached Fort William where we would be spending the night. Fort William was a beautiful water front town where we found a bagpipe marching band downtown. Typical Scotland. We stayed at the Myrtle Bank Guest House and oh my God, the shower. This was probably the best shower I ever had in Europe. It was magical. I would definitely stay here again the hospitality was amazing.
We left Fort William in the morning and headed to THE FREAKING HARRY POTTER BRIDGE! I know it’s not actually called that, it’s really the Glenfinnan Viaduct BUT nonetheless Hogwarts Express drove across this bridge several times during the Harry Potter movies. It was absolutely horrendous outside. It was absolutely freezing, pouring rain and so windy you could blow way. But you better be damn sure we hiked to the top of the hill to attempt the perfect picture.
Our final adventure before hitting the Isle of Skye was to head across the ferry from Millang to Armandale.
We almost blew away. But finally, Skye was in the distance.
Stay tuned for our adventures in the Isle of Skye as we adventured with fairies and giants!