4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Bealach na Ba road

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands – Tall Travel Style

If you read my posts about Copenhagen, then you know that I was determined not to travel anywhere even remotely hot this summer. I would say we definitely succeeded in beating the heat this summer since the weather in Copenhagen was certainly pleasant and the weather during our 4 days in the Scottish Highlands was borderline chilly.

The scenery in the Highlands was truly some of the most dramatic and breathtaking landscapes I’ve ever seen. Part of the charm is how uninhabited the area is with the primary residents appearing to be sheep and cows. Our original plan was to stay somewhere different every night while driving the whole North Coast 500, a 500 mile route that goes in a circle along the coast of northern Scotland. We changed our mind and decided to stay put in one place about 15 minutes outside of Inverness and then jet off on day trips.

Day 1  – Whisky Tour

What I Wore: Herringbone Riding Jacket, Polka Dot Top and Chelsea Boots (all from Long Tall Sally); Banana Republic Skinny Jeans

Since the husband’s birthday happened to be during this trip, I figured I better be a good wife and book a private whisky tour for him. The weather promised to be decent (albeit cool), and I decked myself out in 3 of my favorite LTS pieces, plus my BR skinnies.

Long Tall Sally Outfit

Outside of Achagairn Castle where we stayed

Our guide picked us up near Inverness and off we went for a day of exploring the east coast of the Highlands. Since 9:30 is a bit early to start swigging whisky (at least in my book), we first stopped in Beauly to take a look at the priory ruins which date back to 1230.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Beauly Priory

Beauly Priory

Next, we meandered toward our first distillery all the while taking in some lovely scenery.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands 4 Days in the Scottish Highlands

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands

Overall, we visited 3 distilleries – Dalmore, Glenmorangie and Balblair. I don’t care much for whisky as it’s a bit too strong for my taste but all of these distilleries were in lovely locations and the scenery along the way was quite nice as well. While I was mostly just along for the ride, I did enjoy the guided tour of the Dalmore distillery and found it novel that I was able to try a Scotch at Balblair that was older than me.  And I do have to admit that I finally found a whisky that I liked at Balblair.

Bourbon barrels at Dalmore Distillery

Bourbon barrels used for aging at Dalmore Distillery

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Dalmore

Checking out the grounds at Dalmore

Long Tall Sally Herringbone Blazer Polka Dot top

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Glenmorangie Distillery

Glenmorangie Distillery – Love the red door

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Balblair Distillery

Balblair Distillery

Day 2 – Driving west on NC500 to Applecross and Torridon

What I Wore: LTS Orange Sweater; Tallwater Slim Bootcut Jeans; J.Crew Field Jacket: LTS Chelsea Boots

After being driven around by a local the day before, we were eager to hit the road and test our my husband’s luck at driving on the left side of the road. He did a very good job driving and if I ever felt like he needed it, I would exclaim “Left left left”!! I’m sure he really appreciated that. We set off on the NC500 route from Inverness with our sights set on Applecross. Population: a whopping 544! The scenery we’d seen the day before was pretty but was rather tame compared to what we were about to see.

The day started off with very promising bright blue skies and sunshine. We stopped for a quick photo op with the hay baley thingies that I always love seeing so much whenever I’m near farmland.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands

Looky! No jacket (yet…)

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands

It’s about 80 miles from the Inverness area to Applecross but it takes 2.5 hours. Much of the reason for this is the stretch on the Bealach na Ba road (meaning Pass of the Cattle in Gaelic) – a famous, extremely narrow single track road that snakes its way up a mountain to 2,054 feet (626 meters) before descending down into Applecross. I had never heard of or been on a single track road before this trip. Turns out it means it’s (just barely) wide enough for one car. There are plenty of small “passing turnouts” that you can wedge your car into in order to allow an oncoming vehicle to squeak by. This is not the best quality picture since I’m obviously taking it from inside the car but it gives you an idea of the puny size of the road.

4 Days in Scotland - Bealach na Ba road

As you can see, our bright blue skies had vanished in favor of rain, fog and clouds. Undeterred, I threw on my scarf and jacket and hopped out the car to check out a pretty waterfall. Can you see the patches of heather behind me? It was just starting to bloom.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Bealach na Ba road

On a clear day, the views are supposed to be spectacular from the summit of the Bealach na Ba road. Alas, we were enveloped in clouds and rain by the time we made it to the top and couldn’t see a thing. Once we were safely down the mountain pass and had arrived at the water’s edge, we ducked into the Applecross Inn for a comforting and delicious lunch. The people watching proved to be superb as there were some men at the bar all decked out in their kilts (I’m guessing for a wedding).

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Applecross Inn

Cozy Applecross Inn

While the people watching was great, we unfortunately weren’t able to see the Isle of Skye or other islands from Applecross thanks to the moody weather. Undeterred, we drove back down the pass and were greeted with some interesting views as the clouds were starting to lift.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Bealach na Ba road

Pretty winding stream in the valley

Here’s another picture of the single track road. See that little car to the left inching its way up?

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Bealach na Ba road

Bealach na Ba road

We thought about calling it a day but I suggested we drive toward Torridon. I had heard the Torridon Hotel did a nice afternoon tea and a hot beverage and some treats certainly sounded enticing on this gloomy day. This ended up being a fabulous plan! The hotel not only had a beautiful, comfortable interior but also had gorgeous surroundings and a very friendly staff. While we sipped our drinks and nibbled on our tea sandwiches, scones and other treats, we enjoyed the view of Loch Torridon and the local cows out the window. It was quite relaxing and I’d highly recommend popping in if you’re ever in the area.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Torridon Hotel

Torridon Hotel

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Afternoon Tea Torridon Hotel

Afternoon Tea Torridon Hotel. I forgot to use my tea strainer hence the leaves. Novice mistake. Oops!

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Afternoon Tea Torridon Hotel

Afternoon tea with a view!

Here’s a better look at the lovely view from where we were sitting in the hotel.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Views from Torridon Hotel

On our way back, I had to stop for a photo of the cute sheep grazing on the hillside.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands

And this was one of our last views of the day. Stunning, right?

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands NC500 Route

Day 3 – Exploring Loch Ness

What I Wore: 38″ Inseam Grey Jeans from I Love Tall, Striped Tee from LTS, J.Crew Downtown Field Jacket, New Balance Shoes

This day, we awoke to 30 mph/50kmh winds and somewhat chilly temps. I was beginning to wonder – does Scotland even have a proper summer? We drove south to Loch Ness with high hopes of seeing the monster Nessie (kidding). We stopped to take a look at the Urquhart Castle ruins which are situated overlooking the loch. If you want to stop here, it’s a good idea to arrive right when it opens like we did. By the time we left, the parking lot was completely full and cars were backed up waiting for a parking spot.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands

Windblown hair don’t care

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Urquhart Castle 4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Urquhart Castle 4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Urquhart Castle

Trying to tame my windblown hair to no avail.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands Urquhart Castle

We continued driving along Loch Ness and I would say this picture from Fort Augustus pretty much sums up the day – grey grey grey. And no – I did not put a black/white filter on this photo. It really was that grey!

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Fort Augustus

Day 4 – Back to the west coast

So it turns out I didn’t take any outfit photos on the 4th day (except for one quick snapshot before dinner). Oops! I guess you’ll just have to settle for some nice pics of the west coast. Our first destination was Ullapool, a fishing village with a population of around 1500. Believe it or not, it is one of the biggest towns for miles around!

4 days in the Scottish Highlands - Ullapool

Actually, let me back up a bit. On our way to Ullapool we made a little pit stop and took a walk to the Corrieshalloch Gorge and Falls. It was SO windy and my silly husband hadn’t brought a jacket so the other people in their very sensible rain coasts, hoods, hats, boots, gloves etc. were looking at us like we were aliens. Oh well!

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Corrieshalloch Gorge

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Corrieshalloch Falls

OK…back to Ullapool! This was our view while eating a lazy and lovely lunch at The Arch Inn. I loved watching the little boats sway to and fro with the tide and wind.

Ullapool

After this, I convinced the husband to drive a bit more of the NC500 toward Poolewe because the weather was much more clear than the day we had gone to Applecross and I was dying for some sea views. Thankfully, I was not disappointed! I was also quite happy to see more of the blooming heather!

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Coastal heather

Look at the grass…can’t you just feel the wind blowing in this pic!

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Gruinard Bay

Gruinard Bay

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Heather 4 Days in the Scottish Highlands - Coastal heather

These sheep sure have it good…sea breezes, yummy grass, pretty scenery!

Scottish Highlands Sheep

Here are a few more scenes from our drive back.

4 Days in the Scottish Highlands 4 Days in the Scottish Highlands 4 Days in the Scottish Highlands

That night for dinner in Inverness, I wore my BR trench coat  to ward off the rain and cold.

Dinner in Inverness

After 4 days in the Scottish Highlands, my overall impressions are: fabulous seafood, friendly locals, stunning scenery, great whisky (if you’re into that) and wacky weather! It was certainly a special and memorable trip and we survived driving on the left side of the road! Phew!

Your turn…

Have you ever been to Scotland? Did you make it up to the Highlands? Do you like exploring uninhabited places or are you more into city stays?

4 Day Trip in the Scottish Highlands

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7 Comments

  • Reply Lauren August 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Such beautiful scenery, and your outfits are beautiful (as always) … I would never think to do a whiskey tour, what a great idea. Glad to hear that you even found a whiskey that you liked.

    XX,
    Lauren

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures August 28, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Thanks Lauren! I never would have thought to do a whisky tour either were it not for my husband. 🙂 It was fun even for a non-whisky lover. Glad you liked the outfits and scenery!

  • Reply Sara August 28, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    I’m adding the NC500 to my Scotland wish-list. Although I still think I’d prefer the west coast overall – temps are a bit milder, even if the wind doesn’t die down.
    Glad you had a great trip (I did try to warn you about the roads – only the main routes have a ‘side’)

    Sara x
    http://www.girlintheprettydress.blogspot.co.uk

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures August 29, 2016 at 7:36 am

      Yes! Definitely add NC500 to your wish list. I’ll be jealous if you get to do the whole thing. 🙂 And I do remember you warning me about the roads. You were right though…not too much traffic and everyone is very polite about letting each other pass so it all works out.

  • Reply Allison @ The Tall Mama August 29, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Wow, your photographs are just beautiful! Scotland is on my list of places to visit. I love all of your outfits, you have such great style! x Allison

    • Reply Tall Fashion Adventures August 29, 2016 at 7:37 am

      Thanks so much Allison! I hope you are able to visit someday. It’s really a lovely place.

  • Reply Andrea@WellnessNotes September 4, 2016 at 4:31 am

    Well it looks and sounds like you succeeded in escaping the heat… 😉 And it also looks like Scottland was absolutely worth it! Such breathtaking photos! And what a good wife to book a whiskey tour!

    I’ve never been to Scottland, but I would absolutely love to visit one day…

    Enjoy your blogging break in September!

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