Scenery and Day Trips
CULLODEN BATTLEFIELD – 5 miles east. You can explore the moorland battlefield where the last battle on mainland British soil took place in April 1746 between Bonnie Prince Charlie and his supporters and the government troops and supporters. There is a visitor centre with a film, many exhibits, a shop and a café.
GLEN AFFRIC south-west – must be one of the most beautiful glens in Scotland. Take the A82 from Inverness to Fort William direction, following Loch Ness to Drumnadrochit. Turn right here towards Cannich going through Glen Urquhart. At Cannich turn left to Glen Affric.
From Inverness to the end of the road is about 40 miles and after that you have to use your feet but, if you do so, you will be surrounded by mountains and lochs and have a good chance of spotting some wildlife.
The glen starts at the entrance being narrow and wooded but opens out to reveal a spectacular vista of water, islands and majestic hills and mountains.
On the way back, take the direction to Beauly from Cannich, bringing you back in a loop to Inverness. Whilst near Beauly you may wish to go into the village to visit the Made in Scotland shop on the left, where you can admire all sorts of quality Scottish goods. (An afternoon or morning trip or all day if you take a picnic.)
GLEN CANNICH south-west – “next door” to Glen Affric but different in character. There is a likelihood of seeing deer in this glen except in the heat of mid-summer when the deer will be high on the hills keeping cool.
You may see an eagle circling high above or is it just a buzzard? In autumn the wooded verges of Glen Cannich seem to sprout all sizes and colours of wild mushrooms and fungi.
If you drive to the end of the road and then walk a little way to the shore of the loch, you may find yourself collecting some of the beautifully marked stones on the beach, often spotted with tiny purple garnets. (An afternoon or morning trip)
GAIRLOCH AND INVEREWE GARDENS west – following the A9 north of Inverness take the direction to Ullapool until you turn left to Gairloch, just past the little village of Garve. Follow this road through imposing scenery straight on towards Gairloch, cresting the hill just past Achnasheen, where a fantastic view is in front towards Loch Maree nestling beneath the mountains.
Through Kinlochewe, the road forks left to dramatic Torridon or straight on following beautiful Loch Maree, on the other side of which is Slioch (the Spear) with its summit often in cloud.
Reaching Gairloch you will see a lovely sandy beach but an even better one is at the appropriately named Big Sand a few miles along the side road left from Gairloch village.
Back on the road beyond Gairloch brings you to Poolewe and Inverewe Gardens. These superb gardens, at their peak during late May, are a gardeners delight at any time of year.
After Inverewe keep heading north through wonderful scenery until the junction with the road to Ullapool. If you have time, turn left and have a look at Ullapool, once a little highland fishing village, or turn right back to Inverness. In August the heather clad moors will delight you with their colour. (Full day trip)
NAIRN - east, via the A96, you can visit Nairn with its harbour and the old Fishertown houses. There is a splendid beach and two golf courses, including a famous championship course.
About six miles past Nairn is Brodie Countryfare where there are several quality shops and a café. At this point you can take a turn left to visit Brodie Castle, open all year and managed by the National Trust for Scotland. There are garden walks here and a beautiful display of daffodils in Spring.
The next town, Forres always has colourful floral displays and is a regular winner of the “Scotland in Bloom” competition. On the edge of the town is a huge carved stone column called Sueno's stone dating back to Pictish times and elaborately decorated.
In Elgin, which is elegantly Victorian, are the ruins of the cathedral with its colourful history. Fochabers has several antique shops to rummage around in and Baxters Visitor Centre which provides factory tours, several shops and a café. From Elgin you may take the road south to Grantown on Spey, then Carr Bridge before joining the A9 road and turning north back to Inverness. About 120 miles round trip.
CAIRNGORM NATIONAL PARK 30 miles south – the newly designated National Park covers a large area including the “Monarch of the Glen country” and parts of Royal Deeside. South of Inverness via the A9 is Aviemore. At the southern end of the village a road turns towards the mountains and climbs up past Loch Morlich towards the winter ski slopes. In August the hills are purple with heather and there are magnificent views from different points up the road. To ascend higher take the funicular railway or the ski lift for even better views.
In Kingussie there is an award winning folk museum to visit, a Scottish wildlife park and displays of sheepdog herding.
At Loch Garten is the osprey centre where in late spring it is possible to view the ospreys on their nest and feeding young.
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