Invergordon (Inverness), Scotland, United Kingdom
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Approximately 8 Hours
Begin your day with a panoramic drive from Invergordon along the banks of the beautiful Cromarty Firth. Descending a steep hill, you will see splendid Loch Ness -- the largest volume of fresh water in the UK -- home of the Loch Ness Monster. Enduring legend, clever hoax, or the real thing? You decide. Pause briefly for photos on the banks of Loch Ness; then, head south, skirting the banks of the loch en route to the hamlet of Invermoriston.
Continuing through some of Scotland's most rugged and wild landscapes, you'll pass Loch Clunie and Glen Shiel, with a dramatic ridge that boasts no fewer than seven Munros (mountains that stand at more than 3,000 feet). This is the site of a famous Jacobite battlefield.
Magical, iconic, and unforgettable Eilean Donan Castle is your next destination. This astonishingly graceful castle presides over the once strategically important confluence of Lochs Alsh, Long and Duich. Its imposing tower rises from the water's edge and is joined to the shore by a narrow stone bridge, with the sheer mountains as a backdrop. Spend two hours exploring as your guide provides detailed information on the castle's vivid history, which dates to the 13th century.
The drive back to the port at Invergordon is a three-hour scenic adventure through the wilderness of the Highlands. You'll see some of Scotland's most awe-inspiring countryside -- breathtakingly rugged landscapes, seascapes, and towering mountains. Pass Loch Carron, Glen Carron, and the forbidding Achnasheen ('field of storms'). A series of four tranquil lochs (Achanalt, A Chuilinn, Luichart and Garve), and the impressive Victorian town of Strathpeffer, ease you back to Invergordon.
Photo stops are time and traffic conditions permitting. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Photography is not allowed inside the castle. Bags/backpacks cannot be taken into the castle.