Scotland Road Trip Itinerary: Isle of Harris, NC500 + Isle of Skye
Hi and welcome to my 2 weeks around the Scottish Highlands and Islands itinerary and an explanation as to how I managed to pull it off for £950.00. In this video I'll be talking about the route that we travelled, the activities that we undertook, our accommodation, modes of transportation and even through to the foods that we ate. Let's not faff around and we'll just dive straight into the itinerary. After work on the Friday, we drove from London to Carlisle. It's a town that's just a few miles south of the Scottish border and that was so that on the Saturday, we could drive further north in the morning but then spend time in the afternoon hiking in Glencoe. That worked really well for us and we were able to stop
off at a few viewpoints in Loch Lomond and the Trossach's National Park along the way. We spent two nights in a residential neighbourhood, just across the river from Fort William and this gave us a full day to be able to hike Ben Nevis without a long drive afterwards. With hindsight though, it was quite a risky plan because had the weather been worse, we wouldn't have had that extra day to use to hike the mountain instead.
We spent the next 4 nights on the Isle of Skye in an incredibly small town called Uig in the north. We lucked out with our cottage and if it was available again I probably would stay there, but I think that Portree was perhaps slightly better located just giving shorter drive times to reach more of the attractions on the island. After the Isle of Skye, we did things a little bit backwards and drove to the Assynt region and stayed 4 nights at a road junction called Ledmore. It was about 15 minutes north of Ullapool. From the Assynt, we took a ferry across the Minch to the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides and we spent 5 nights there. We then took the ferry back to Ullapool and drove to
Carlisle to break up the journey completing the drive back to London the following day. Overall I was happy with the itinerary, but if I was to plan the trip again, from the Isle of Skye, I'd actually take the ferry to Tarbert - which is on the Isle of Harris, which is connected by road to the Isle of Lewis. After having visited the Isles of both Lewis and Harris I would then take the ferry across to the mainland in Ullapool and from there I would do the Assynt region and then end the trip on that area.
On the day that we arrived, we spent the afternoon hiking in Glencoe. We parked at the Three Sisters trailhead with the intentions of hiking the Hidden Valley, only we got distracted by waterfalls in a 'not so hidden valley' to the west of that trail and ended up hiking the wrong path. But it was stunning all the same and I'd still highly recommend it.
The following day we then hiked to the top of, Ben Nevis, which is the highest peak in the UK. The first half of the hike was absolutely stunning, hiking amongst ferns and gushing streams with beautiful views. But once we crossed the large waterfall, the hike was a little bit less interesting.
On our departure day from Fort William, we went by Neptune Staircase which is an impressive canal lock. We also stopped off at the Glenfinnan viaduct to watch the beautiful Jacobite steam train pass over as its whistle echoed across the valley and we also made a pit stop at Eilean Donan's castle. On our first day in the Isle of Skye, we visited the really well known Fairy Pools along with the tourist masses. We stopped off at a place called the Oyster Shed which is really close to the Fairy Pools and we had what's best described as a street food style lunch. It was amazing - very fresh and incredibly cheap in comparison to what we probably would have paid in a restaurant it was a bargain. We wandered around the really sleepy town of Portree in the afternoon and had what I describe as being an average dinner at what felt like the only pub that had a table available thanks to Covid.
On our second day, this was jam-packed as it looked (according to the weather forecast) to be the most favourable weather-wise. We spent the morning hiking the Quiraing which was the absolute highlight of my trip in Scotland. The views that it offered were spectacular and we had the trail completely to ourselves for about 90% of it. It just made it feel like it was a true adventurous exploration. The afternoon on that day was then spent visiting Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls viewpoint which was just steps from the car park. That was then followed by a meander at brothers point on our return to
Uig we visited - I think it's pronounced 'Rha falls', spelt R.H.A and it's just a short walk from where you can park the car. Then after that we had this magical exploration of the Fairy Glen - that last place was like no other place I've visited and it required very little effort as there was no hiking needed to get from where you could park the car to actually explore it. The following morning was spent hiking to see the Old Man of Storr. This was definitely an easier hike than the Quraing that we'd done the previous day, but it was significantly busier.
In the afternoon, we then headed across the island to visit the really pretty Coral Beaches and the Neist Point lighthouse. On our departure day from the Isle of Skye, we stopped off at a place called the 'An Arid Braes' for a walk along its beach and peninsula, but the walk was really quickly abandoned because it was incredibly boggy. As we drove from the Isle of Skye to the Assynt region, we stopped off for about an hour to check out the gargantuan Corrie Shalloch Gorge with its waterfall, suspension bridge and viewing platform.
The next day we hiked Stac Pollaidh - it's a short but very steep hike which can be done in about half a day and it provides magnificent views of the Assynt region and the Summer Isles. One thing I would say about it though, is don't get fooled into thinking that it's an easier hike because of how short the distance is and the fact that it can be done in half a day! It's incredibly steep and really does take out of you. The following day we spent the morning doing a boat trip around the Summer Isles, looking for sea life. The Quiraing hike just pipped this activity to the post - only just. It was my second favourite activity of the whole trip. Lunch was at the seafood shack in Ullapool. More street food fresh from the sea that day. Early afternoon was then spent hiking to the Bone Caves just north of Ledmore Junction where we saw loads of deer and there was an underground spring that pops out above ground as well as the actual caves themselves. I then made a quick pit
stop at the Loch Na Gainmhich waterfall before the heavens decided to open on me. A final full day was spent exploring the white sand beaches walking a trail around Clachtoll village and then spending quality time with friends at Achmelvich beach playing some beach boules and frisbee as well as just having a general whale of a time flying my drone around. Our travel day to the Outer Hebrides was a bit of a write off as we experienced some of the worst weather we had all trip. Thankfully, the morning was spent inside a heated ferry but we decided to start a fresh the following day with an epic road trip around the Isle of Harris.
We started by taking a drive along the Golden Road which twisted and turned past magnificent lochs and through tiny hamlets. This was then followed by a circular walk along Luskentyre Beach and the neighbouring estuary. Lunch came from Sam's Seafood Shack in Rodel which was by a long mile the best meal that I had all trip. The afternoon was then spent trying to shed the calories consumed at lunch by hiking the short but beautiful coastal walk from Taobh Tuath out to Rubh' an Teampaill. It was a glorious ruined church perched on a peninsula and a white sand beach with turquoise sea in the background. It was on this walk when we came
across a stunning highland cow too. On the way back to Stornoway, we stopped at a lockout across Seilebost and Luskentyre beaches, providing what I felt were the best views of the day. The next day we spent the morning doing a circular walk from Eoropaidh Dunes park in the very north of Lewis to the Butt of Lewis and back again. Along the way we spotted loads of sea birds and the lighthouse which the Butt is known for as well as stunning coastal sea cliffs and we managed to find solitude on this deserted white sand beach beside turquoise waters. In the 45 minutes or so that we spent there,
we watched as cormorants hunted for fish and not a single other human being came down to the beach. That afternoon was spent at sea on a four-hour boat trip going in search of whales, dolphins and other sea life. The first three hours was slow going but in the final hour we were given an amazing show from a pod of dolphins. As our most expensive activity for the whole trip, this would
have been a huge let-down have we not actually spotted them, but with these types of excursions we know that it's always a gamble as we know that we're not exactly taking a trip to the zoo. We ate dinner al fresco on Stornoway's picnic benches in the town square, munching on Cameron's fish and chips. It was recommended to us by plenty of the locals and I definitely echo their sentiments. Hoping for a sunset, we drove across to the Callanish Standing Stones. We had the site
completely to ourselves because we got there so late in the evening, but unfortunately the clouds had set in which meant there was no sunset. The next day was very rainy so we had a lazy morning which was followed by a history tour visiting the exterior of the Arnol Black Houses. We also went to the Dun Carloway Broch which was unfortunately shrouded in scaffolding so never made it into the original vlog. We also went to the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, the Callanish
Standing Stones for visit number two and the iron age house at Bostadh beach. Unfortunately none of the attractions were open due to Covid, but we enjoyed wandering around and we decided to download a lot of information onto our phones ahead of visiting them, so that when we did arrive, we could read up about each place whilst there. A sort of makeshift museum if you will. Our last full day gave us the best weather that we had all trip. Blue skies from sunrise to sunset, so on this day we headed to Uig on the Isle of Lewis and did a there and back walk across Uig Sands. We also explored Mangersta Beach, where once again we had the whole place to ourselves for several hours and we explored the area and ate lunch perched on a tree trunk.
Lunch was followed by a tour of the wonderful 'mom and pop' style, Abhainn Dearg whiskey distillery. Late afternoon was then spent on Reef Beach which kept going for a mile or two and it had so few people on it and it just had this gorgeous soft white sand. I'll start with the roundup of the activities costs as you've already been able to see those broken down individually. My activities total came out at £141.50
and this was based on two people sharing a car. Quite a few of the activity costs that were very small and negligible were actually down to car parking charges so with two of us in the car it meant that we could halve the parking costs. Our biggest expense was the four-hour sightseeing boat trip from Stornoway which came out at £85.00 per person, so had we not done
that activity, our activities cost for the whole two weeks would have been an impressive £56.50. Next up is transport. Because I live in the UK and I'm a car owner, I chose to drive all the way from London up to Scotland and then it meant that I had my own set of wheels to get around. This helped keep costs a bit lower because I didn't have to purchase flight or train tickets and I didn't have car rental at the other end either. The fuel overall came out at £130.00
per person and that included the fuel to get me from London up to the Scottish Highland as well as to get around the Scottish highlands whilst I was up there. In addition to the fuel, we also had to purchase a return ferry that took us from Ullapool out to Stornoway and then back again. This worked out at £71.70 per person again based on two people sharing the car. Moving on now to the accommodation costs. We stayed in Fort William for two nights and this came out £38.95 per person. This unfortunately was a more expensive area than the other places that
we stayed on our Scotland trip and unfortunately it was added to, because our Airbnb hosts let us down. They cancelled on us which meant that quite last minute we had to find some accommodation and all of the cheaper places... or the better value for money places had already been snapped up by other people. We just had to make do with what was left and try and pick the best out of a bad bunch. I personally wouldn't recommend the place that we stayed so I'm not going to link it down below, but some of the other ones that I would recommend, I will leave a link in the comment section. Our cottage on the Isle of Skye worked out £27.42 per person per night and that was based
on 4 people sharing the cottage. The cottage did actually have 3 bedrooms and would have slept 5, so could have made it a little bit cheaper still. I would highly recommend this cottage. Whilst I don't think it was the absolute perfect location, perhaps Portree would have been a little bit better situated it was only 20 minutes up the road and it was quite close to things like the Quiraing hike, the Fairy Glen - not to be mixed up with the Fairy Pools and also other things such as the Rha Waterfalls. I'm leaving a link
to that Airbnb property in the comment section down below if you are interested in it. The cottage that we rented in the Assynt region worked out at £27.00 per person per night and that was an absolute bargain. That was actually based on 4people sharing it, but there's three bedrooms each with either double beds or twin beds - they could make it up in in either way in which you wanted it it could have worked out even cheaper at less than £20.00 a night if there were 6people sharing. It was an absolute steal - I
would personally highly recommend it. I almost don't want to on this video just through fear that it might get snapped up for any future trips that I might want to take but it was an amazing find and I would highly recommend it so I've linked it in the comments section down below. We said goodbye to our friends after our time on the mainland and it was just me and my other half who made it over to the Outer Hebrides. So to try and keep costs down a little bit, we decided to rent a spare room in someone's house using Airbnb. this worked out at £23.40 per person per night. I do often find that the quality of everything that you get in this style of Airbnb's tends to be much higher than if it's a holiday rental, in part because it is the owner's actual home and we had all kinds of lovely home comforts and had access to all of the communal areas in the house including the kitchen.
For the occasions when we chose to eat out, we had a pub evening meal after we'd hiked up Ben Nevis and back just because we were absolutely exhausted and really didn't want to have to cook for ourselves or wash up afterwards. That came out to be £10.00. On the Isle of Skye we then went to the Oyster Shed for a street food style meal that also came out at £10.00 for my salmon and chips that was an absolute bargain because the salmon was huge - it's like a massive slab of fish. I then had just a starter of haggis, neaps and tatties at a pub in Portree which came out at £9.00 which definitely felt a lot more expensive for what it was when I compared it to the lunch that I'd had at the Oyster Shed. We also stopped off for a pizza from a place called Pizza
in the Skye. It was just a pizza van outside of a Howden's kitchen's warehouse just outside of Portree on the Isle of Skye and that was £5.00 We also went for quite a fancy seafood restaurant evening meal at a place called the Sea Breeze and we kind of went to town a little bit on that because two of our friends it was their last night and I think that came out to be about £30.00.
Once we got up to Ullapool, we went to the Seafood Shack which again was more like street food and I ended up spending £8.50 on my lunch. Once we got over to the Isle of Harris, my favourite meal of the whole trip was at Sam's Seafood Shack and it worked out to be £12.50 for the roast potatoes the fish goujons and also the fish chowder, so a bit of a bargain when I think about just how much food we ate.
Whilst also in the Outer Hebrides, we stopped off for a fish and chips takeaway at Cameron's fish and chip shop for £7.50 which again when comparing it to London prices was an absolute bargain and then on our final day when we'd had to vacate our Airbnb property and it was a Sunday so we were grappling for somewhere to eat, we found a restaurant that was attached to a hotel. It really was nothing special but it was somewhere that was open and we ended up spending just shy of £20.00 on that. It's not something that I
would have recommended unless of course it's a Sunday and like us you're quite desperate. If on the off chance you've been sat there with a calculator pounding all of these numbers into it adding it up you may have noticed that it doesn't actually come to £950.00 as per what the thumbnail had suggested and that is because you would be right. I have put together this spreadsheet which goes over a breakdown of each of the individual days to begin with you will be able to see that it's not actually a two-week trip so I lied a little bit with that as well it was 16 days in total. It explains where we spent our overnights, what activities we took part in, what our daily expenditures were for and that can range from things like really small parking costs and cups of coffee through to really expensive activities such as the boat trip that we took in Stornoway and also accommodations for the night. Then next to it you've got the amount
and of course there were certain things such as a cup of coffee and some coffee and cake I just didn't put into the main part of this video. Down at the bottom you can see quite clearly that it was £935.18. There are probably one or two things that I might have missed off, it's just easier to round it up to £950.00... but actually it came out slightly less than what I brought you into this video to have a look at. So
hopefully you don't feel cheated by the fact that it's not bang on £950... it's a little bit less. In addition to the spreadsheets that I've put together, I have also made a 'my google maps', you can click on each of the little icons which I tried to be helpful and I've put a little picture of a hiking person for where it's a hike and I've put the p for parking, when it's been a castle, a picture of a castle looking type building and if you click on each of those little icons, I've tried to include a photograph of what the place looks like so it can give you a really good idea as to where all of the different places were that you've seen in either this video or the series if you've been watching the whole thing. I am including a link to that google map in the comment section down below. I would really love to hear what you guys think about this itinerary. Are you thinking about planning your own Scotland trip? Is this something that you're going to use? Are there any places that you've seen in the video that you are now thinking I definitely want to go and visit there? Heck are there places that we went to where you're just thinking I really wouldn't want to do that - for example would you hike Ben Nevis? Are you maybe a local in Scotland? Have you got any tips and ideas of things that I could do in a future trip or for any other viewers who've watched this and are reading the comments - is there anything that you would recommend that they would do? I'd love to hear your thoughts, make sure that you share them in the comment section down below. As for now thank you very much for watching this, thank you very much if you've watched the Scotland series as well and we have got a really nice and exciting autumnal series coming up from the southeast of England.