Skye High: Exploring the Highlands with Haggis

The Scottish Highlands have been high on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. When the opportunity to visit the Isle of Skye arose, I couldn’t believe my luck. Following a few days in Edinburgh (see my city guide here) I was set to embark on a three-day excursion with Haggis Tours.

To be completely honest, I’m not usually a tour kinda gal. When I travel, I’m armed with a laundry list of sights, shops and restaurants I want to visit. That said, the best (and only) way I was going to make it to the Highlands was on a tour. And you know what? I’m so glad I decided to book in with Haggis. The experience was enriching in every way imaginable. It was informative and entertaining, and I left with a handful of new friends from all corners of the globe.

We began our adventure in Edinburgh, on the Royal Mile before setting off for the Highlands. Our first stop was the Wallace Monument in Stirling (if you’ve seen Braveheart, you’ll know all about Sir. William Wallace and his contribution to Scotland). We then carried on towards Glencoe and even encountered a family of highland cows (or hairy coos). The ever changing landscape was suitably moody throughout the three day excursion and the Highlands were more gorgeous than I could’ve ever imagined. After Glencoe, we stopped by the Eileen Donan Castle, which has featured in several movies like James Bond 007: Skyfall.

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The second day of our tour was the highlight for me. After leaving our accommodation in Kyle of Lochalsh, we explored the Isle of Skye beginning with a two hour hike up to the Old Man of Storr. Windy, rainy and muddy, the views were remarkable! After the climb, we had lunch in Portree, a quaint seaside village. Personally, I loved all the brightly coloured (pink!) houses. Later on, we ventured to our second accommodation at the southern end of the Loch Ness in Fort Augustus. As you probably know, the large loch is famous for hiding the infamous sea monster, Nessie. Unfortunately we didn’t spot her during our stay, but we did encounter some amazing local pubs, gorgeous cathedrals and castles.

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The final day was spent travelling back to Edinburgh, stopping in quaint villages along the way and for a whisky tasting at Tomatin Distillery. We also spent some time at the Culloden Battlefield where the 1745 Jacobite rising came to a tragic end. The harrowing mass war grave is an incredibly powerful and sombre experience. We then ventured on towards Inverness and Dunkeld, where we stopped for our final lunch. I had the best coffee and sandwich of the trip!

Our guide, Gillian was hilarious and full of energy. She spent the three days cracking jokes (often of the ginger persuasion) and telling us legends about every monument or sight we saw. I’ve never had such an entertaining tour guide in all my travels.

Not only is Haggis the most affordable tour available, they cater to individuals travelling alone. Our group of thirty or so was incredibly diverse and we all got along so well. Skye High takes you to all the Highland highlights. In fact, we packed in so many sights and activities, that I left feeling as though I’d embarked on a five or six day tour.

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Photography by Cooper Morrison-Smith

This post is in partnership with Haggis Tours, but all words and opinions are my own.

 

 

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