Scotland Road Trip Itinerary: Isle of Harris, NC500 + Isle of Skye

Scotland Road Trip Itinerary: Isle of Harris, NC500 + Isle of Skye

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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.

2021-02-25 01:01

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