Touring West Coast Scotland
Car Road Trips are great and a nice way to explore many untouched places. The car group Kev is part of has some knowledgeable and experienced tourers. That is lucky for us because they plan and we just follow. It is always hard to get the balance between covering more areas or/and exploring a town further especially when partners don’t join drivers. I am pretty flexible and don’t mind the drives as long as we have cake stops! It is nice to explore a bit of the town and some occasions we have been able to.
A lot of Scotland is still opening post lockdown and many of the towns we stayed in were really quiet. This was good in a way because I didn’t miss out on browsing shops and tucking into cafe and coffee from the independent shops. It also gives us a reason to go back to explore more.
Here is the summary of our route:
DAY 1: LEICESTER TO MOFFAT
We started off our trip with a drive down to Moffat, The dark sky town. Moffat is known for the dark sky because on a clear night it has the darkest skies that show off twinkling stars. The ram statue in the centre of the town is a tourist attraction that stands proudly. It is the symbol of the town’s rich history and connection to the sheep and wool trade.
We stayed at Seamore House Bed and Breakfast from £35pppn (Academy
A lot of the eateries were open to residents only. Tea & Coffee shops were shut by 3 pm apart from one, Cafe Ariete. We managed to have some Ecclefeeham Tart & a nice chocolate brownie just before 5 pm. A much-needed treat after the drive up from Leicester.
For dinner, we went to Brodies, a gin bar & restaurant. We had to reserve a table and I am glad we did because
DAY 2: MOFFAT TO PORTREE (ISLE OF SKYE)
Skye is somewhere I have always wanted to visit. I remember someone told me they had palm trees there because the gulf passes through. We didn’t see any palm trees on our trip which was a shame. I think they are in their tropical gardens and you have to know where exactly to go. We saw some lovely sights in Skye and there is a lot of “places to visit” there. On route to Portree, where we were staying, we visited Loch Lomond, Bridge of Orchy, Spean Bridge, The Commando Memorial, and the Eilean Dornie Castle. Portree is a pretty seaside town with
The prices double when you come to
We checked into Antlers Rest on a B&B basis at £115 (Viewfield Road,
Isle of Skye, Portree, IV51 9ES). The hotel had continental breakfast services and to take extra precautions, they delivered the breakfast in a basket to your room in the morning. The breakfast basket was left outside the room at 730am. The owner was really helpful and ensured we were comfortable.
We ate at the Antlers bar & grill, part of Portree Hotel. No booking no dinner ( we had booked so it was fine but many were turned away which was acceptable). They had sectioned the tables off using screens. Kev & I shared a two-way salmon starter and I tucked into a delicious Lamb Sunday roast. The service was great and
DAY 3: PORTREE TO MALLAIG
We drove around
The ferry to Mallaig was a quick one. We could not leave the cars but that was fine for the
Once we got to Mallaig, we ventured out to see the Jacobite Express. For Harry Potter fans, this was the Hogarths Express. This was where I got bit by midges.. I must have walked into a swarm of them because I had about 20 bites on my face and neck. Note to self..when visiting West Scotland take insect repellent.
We stayed at West Highland Hotel at £110 B&B (Davies Brae, Mallaig, PH41 4QZ).
This was the only hotel where we had to wear masks everywhere apart from when we were eating. The policies were strict and staff also
The hotel looked partly renovated. Our bathroom was modern but the actual room was dated. Breakfast was average. We had to preorder what we wanted.
When we got to Mallaig, I really fancied seafood. We stumbled across The Cabin Restaurant and had the best scallops. Fresh and picked by a local diver, the chef showed us the scallops before making them. We enjoyed them with a portion of chips overlooking Mallaig.
We had dinner at the Hotel. I tucked into langoustines which were delicious. After dinner we watched the sunset from the hotel balcony. The location is perfect.
DAY 4: MALLAIG TO KILCHOAN
The sun was out and we explored some amazing beaches on route to Kilchoan. I was blown away by the fine sand and beautiful blue sea especially the silver sands of Morar. The beach was untouched and so peaceful. We almost wished we could just set camp there for the rest of the day (though I would have liked it about 10 degrees warmer).
On route to Kilchoan, there was a roadblock. Unfortunately, with a lot of Scotland, there is only one road to your destination. Until they clear the road you can’t go anywhere. We tried to get food at a couple of the pubs nearby (the area we were in was remote) and nowhere was happy to serve us. I found this a bit strange because the kitchen was still open and the pubs were dead (also from what I gathered they were happy to serve the locals). We got drinks and then just had to wait. 5 hours later we had the green light.
The closest hotel to the most western part of the UK, we booked
The hotel was clean and is in the process of being renovated. We enjoyed a nice breakfast (which we had to
DAY 5: KILCHOAN TO TOBERMORY (ISLE OF MULL)
It was a wet start to the day. We Drove to Sanna Bay via the underground volcano. Sanna Bay is supposed to be beautiful but the weather was not great so we didn’t stay long. We drove to the most Westerly point and walked up to see the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse. Our next ferry was at
I was quite excited because Mull was where I was going to get to see highland cows (something I have wanted to see for ages). We got into Tobermory, the ferry port and where we were staying for the night. It was too early to check-in and we straight went to explore the Isle of Mull. We stopped off at Fionnphort to have a look at the port and drove past several local Blackface sheep that were so cute and some wildlife.
Tobermory, the centre of colourful houses, was the perfect stop for the night. The quaint little shops sold brilliant local produce. It was a shame their distillery was shut at the times we wanted to go. Their local gin is supposed to be great.
The hotel was clean however had that “old” smell to it. The bar and restaurant
The food in the lodge did not sound appetising so we booked a table at the recommended seafood restaurant, Mishnish. Mishnish is a hotel, bar and restaurant. There was a delay in our table so we went to the bar and had a drink. The bar was quirky and I would recommend it. For dinner, I went for the seafood chowder which was delicious followed by Mull oysters which were great too. The restaurant had a great
DAY 6: TOBERMORY TO ISLE OF ARRAN
After having another quick look around
The only place open for fish & chips was Marine Bistro. It was sad to see how many cafes were still shut on what would have been their peak summer trade. The drive to Campbeltown then to Arran was beautiful with the picturesque hills (reminded me of Switzerland especially with the cows) and bits of the sea popping up every so often.
After driving down a dirt track ( and wondering if the cars would get through), we arrived at the beautiful Butt Lodge, £100 B&B (9 Newton Rd, Lochranza, Isle of Arran KA27 8HQ). Owned by a lovely couple, Cath & Mac took over the Lodge in January. You get a warm cosy feeling when you walk in and feel at home. All
We had The Lighthouse booked for dinner. The location of the restaurant was perfect, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. There isn’t a lighthouse around, the current owners just kept the name that was there before. The food was great. I went for prawn cocktail, venison and shared a structured Eton mess. The restaurant does not serve alcohol but they are happy for you to bring your own. This worked out great however not for the drivers :).
DAY 7: ARRAN TO PORTPATRICK
Our last night before heading back home was Portpatrick. It was also our last ferry, from Brodick to Ardrossan. This was a big ferry and we could walk around too. It was quite a busy ferry too, I am guessing because it was a way to get back to the mainland.
Before catching the ferry we had a little drive to Kildonan and popped into the Lagg Distillery to see what malt was on offer. We also made a stop at Arran Aromatics. Apparently, they supply many high-end hotels with their toiletries. There is no outlet here (a lot of reviews online say there is), it is just the factory and shop.
Driving down to Portpatrick we could see Ailsa Craig, the island where granite is mined. Portpatrick was another lovely harbour town. I managed to find a local bakery and get a few goodies for the journey home. There is a great walking route that takes you high up to get some breath taking views of the town.
Our hotel was facing the harbour, and was a perfect location. Hard to miss, the Waterfront Hotel was £110 for DBB. This was
It is hard to pick a favourite spot, but if I had to, it would be the White Sands of Morar in Mallaig followed by the coloured house in
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