These tours have proved very popular with many of our guests.
As the tours are so popular we have drawn maps of these tours with instructions on the back in a laminated file in your cottage, so that you can take it with you on your tour. We will leave these in reception, and as with all our freebies, please give a donation to Mountain Rescue when you use these.
1 Oban to Taynuilt via Glen Lonan
The hanging valley of Glen Lonan, the old burial route of kings, offers some of the most stunning scenery it is possible to drive through, even in an area full of wonderful views. Leave Oban on the road to Glen Cruitten Golf club and climb the hill. Turn right at the T junction just after and then first left shortly afterwards. The route is straight forward then to Taynuilt, the views of Ben Cruachan and upper Loch Etive superb. There are plenty of opportunities to stop for walks, picnics or just to take in the view. Watch out for the highland cattle, there is often a herd of several hundred up there, usually sat on the road!
If you’re going from Taynuilt, you go towards the A85 to Oban, but at the Taynuilt hotel you turn left and immediately right (almost straight on), and this takes you up Glen Lonan.
2 Glencoe Circuit
Head east along the A85 through the pass of Brander to Dalmally. One mile beyond Dalmally take the sign posted road left along Glen Orchy towards Bridge of Orchy. The river Orchy runs along side the road for much of the way offering wonderful views of rapids and waterfalls. There are numerous places to stop and look at the river or take a short walk. At Bridge of Orchy turn left and follow the A82 across the famous Rannoch Moor to the entrance of Glen Coe and the stunning views of Buchaille Etive Mor (pronounced Bookle-at-if-moor) towering above, one of the most famous sights in Scotland (a possible detour here is down to the head of Loch Etive on the singletrack road, quite some distance, 12 miles each way, but worth it for the views).
Glen Coe provides plenty of opportunity for stops to take in the breath-taking scenery or a gentle walk. The National Trust visitors centre is at the east end of Glencoe village , and has a tea room. 'Art & Crafts' is also an excellent tea room stop off (see tea room section). Stopping for a more elaborate meal, it is worthwhile to go just under the bridge on the Oban road at the Ballachulish Hotel.
Another possible detour from Glencoe is to go to Kinlochleven, and visit the Icefactor, the tall building on the right just beyond the tourist info and Alcan story. Anyone is welcome to go inside and use the tearoom while watching people on the climbing wall and the 'deep freeze' ice climbing wall. Also you can book a session for climbing, best in advance if you have your heart set on it, but quite often possible just on site, also for kids.
On leaving Glen Coe turn right at a small roundabout sign posted to Oban. This road runs along the shores of Loch Linnhe (pronounced Linny) providing fantastic views of sea, mountain and islands. Particularly stunning is the view of Castle Stalker sat on its tiny island - beware of cars in the road. There is a tea-room and craft shop with fantastic views over the castle on the right hand side.
The short diversion to Port Appin is worth the time. Also the short walk starting from behind the Pier House Hotel which goes in a loop along the peninsula. Please note that the latter part may be quite muddy.
The road continues south through breathtaking scenery until it joins the A85 again immediately after the Connel bridge (below this are the famous Falls of Lora). Finally head west along the A85 back to Taynuilt.
3 Loch Awe Circuit
Take the Glen Nant road (B845) from Taynuilt through wonderful woodland to the hamlet of Kilchrenan ( for those who wish to let time float by we suggest a detour to the Ardanasaig Hotel for a pot of tea) and follow the road down the side of Loch Awe through woodland to the tiny settlement of Ford at the southern end of Loch Awe, there are plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the scenery or take a walk ( It is possible to shorten this tour by taking the tiny road to Kilmelford passing Loch Avich). On joining the A816 it is worth the small southward diversion to Kilmartin to visit the Heritage Centre there before following the coast road northwards past the sailing centre of Croab Haven and the fabulous NTS gardens of Arduaine. The views along this stretch of coastline are superb. Also worth a visit, though perhaps best saved for a day by itself is the island of Easdale, for many one of their favourite spots in Scotland.
4 Island of Mull Circuit
It's not really possible to drive Mull in a day, but the best part of Mull is the North West coast. Take the ferry from Oban to Craignure, head up to Tobermory on the A849. Glengorm castle is worth a detour from Tobermory. Take some time to explore Tobermory, the prettiest fishing town in Britain. There are also short walks on the south and north side of Tobermory, through the forest along the coast (steep drops to the side if you are on the south side). Then head up the B8073 to Dervaig and onto Calgary Bay. This is the stunner. There is a tearoom/gallery just before the hill down to the bay on your right that's highly recommended by us. Carry on round to Killiechronan and across the B8035 back to Salen, and down to Craignure. Ulva island is also worth a detour, with a walk of up to 2.5 hours from the ferry, and a tea room.
You're best leaving Iona and the southern peninsula for another day.
5 Loch Shiel Circuit - very long
More to drive, with very different scenery and mainly single track twisty roads. Head north on the Fort William road, and cross over the Ballachulish Bridge towards Fort William. Take the left turn signed to the Corran ferry across to Ardgour. Take the road left from the ferry, and towards Strontian, the A861. Go through Strontian, towards Salen. If you have time to spare, it is worthwhile making a detour to Glenborrodale, where there is a visitors centre and distillery (the B8007), and carry on the Ardnamurchan point, the most westerly point of the British mainland, 23 miles west of Land's End. Else continue along A 861 to Acharacle .
You need to make a slight detour beyond here to the legendary setting of Tioram (pronounced Cheeram) Castle. This used to be the centre of the 'King of the Isles' as it was so accessible (no longer the case now we have roads instead of access by sea). Continue along the road to Lochailort on the A830.
You could make a detour to Mallaig, and the road to it is very nice, with stunning white sandy beaches north of Arisaig. Head back along the A830 to Fort William, stopping off at the National Trusts Glenfinnan monument.
6 Loch Ness- very long
Many people like to see Loch Ness, for something that it's famous for. I've no idea what it is. The roads are pretty straightforward, up the A82 to Fort William and onto Fort Augustus. About 2.5 hours drive to get there. There is a large visitors centre at Drumnadrochit, and just before the Urquhart Castle, which now has extensive parking by it. It is worth while when you're this far to drive the A831 to Cannich and on to Glen Affric. This is the classic Scottish setting of Scots Pine forests, lochs and dramatic mountains. There are a few short, as well as many longer walks in the forests and around the loch.
7 Loch Tay Circuit
This excursion goes East to the centre of Scotland. Head east from Taynuilt, towards Tyndrum (pronounced 'tine - drum') on the A85. Turn right to Crianlarich on the A 85, and continue through Crianlarich. Take the left turn to Killin on the A827. Killin is a very picturesque village with impressive waterfalls in the centre. Take the road north of Killin towards Aberfeldy. During the summer you could continue north to Glen Lyon and re-join the route at Aberfeldy, and continue East on the A827 to Aberfeldy. At the head of Loch Tay, turn right towards the Crannog centre, to see a house in the water (tea-room on site). Or carry on to the picturesque village Aberfeldy, where you turn left to Castle Menzies. The castle grounds have lots of nice forestry walks up the hill side, with artists sculptures around. The converted barn of the castle houses the best tea-room according Damon, with a gallery and gift shop.
From Aberfeldy you can turn right towards Crieff on the A826, then the A822. Crieff has several galleries, and is more affluent than the west coast. There is a distillery on the west side of Crieff, and some gentle walking up Glen Turret. A very different building style. Drive back via the A85 along Loch Earn, and back up to Crianlarich.
8 Isle of Skye- very long
Another favourite romantic place. Again, the drive is very obvious, and stunning the whole way. The bridge across to Skye is now free after a long battle. Head for the pretty fishing village of Portree, then a circuit around Dunvegan (see the castle of the McDonalds), to Drynoch and back. The Talisker distillery at Carbost is worth visiting. It would be better to do this trip over two days, staying one night B&B on Skye, so that you can take in the Storr mountains on the A855, and the corral beach north of Dunvegan. If you like a short walk, go up the Quirrang, steep and scree, but so dramatic and impressive, from the link road between Brogaig and Idrigill.
'The Three Chimneys Restaurant' (01470 511 258) on the road to Colbost (B884) comes out as the best restaurant in Britain time and time again. Also the Bracadale tearoom is excellent (and more affordable). The best view of the Cuillin (pronounced Coolin) mountain ridge is on the road from Dunvegan to Drynoch. From Sligachan you get an excellent view to Sgurr nan Gillian (pronounced Skoor nan kil-lee-an), and the red Marsco.