In the spotlight: Highland Classic Part 1

A field of bluebells with the Dragons Tooth in the distance

A stunning contrast in colours, a field of Bluebells, Dragons Tooth, West Highlands

Loch Ness, Fort William & Glencoe Excursion

This terrific excursion takes us north across some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenic areas of the North and West Highlands of Scotland.

From the ancient lead-mining village of Tyndrum we proceed north and are immediately confronted by the majestic slopes of Ben Doran, Ben a Chaisteil and Ben Odhar.  The route follows the ancient military road and the West Highland Railway line to Auch Glen from where we can see Black Mount and the whole of the River Kinglas laid out before us, stretching for the best part of 20 miles.  It is high here being about 1,200 feet.

As we proceed down the glen we see the glens opening up to the east to Glen Lyon and Perthshire.  These mountains are the home to wild Red Deer and there are still Highland Cattle and thousands of sheep in the area.  You can see mountain tracks going up some of the glens.  These are the access roads to small hydro-electric plants which are the mainstay of the local farming economy nowadays. 

You can also see the West Highland line clinging to the mountainsides and encompassing Auch Farm, and the famous “Horseshoe Bend” around the base of all three of the mountains.  It is a majestic sight.

Horseshoe Bend, west highland train line, Scotland

A train meanders along the famous "Horseshoe Bend" on the West Highland line 

As we proceed we see the River Kinglas below, beloved scene of the salmon ‘fishing’ exploits of a certain Highland Heritage Head Gardener in his long distant past.  He is alleged to have landed a 30lb salmon from this river and memorably 22 fish inside an hour on another occasion.  

After crossing the Kinglas we arrive at Bridge of Orchy. The hotel was rebuilt after an unfortunate fire and was run by the redoubtable Angus McDonald and the extremely competent ‘Dolly’ McDonald. They were respectively the Secretary and Guest House Manager for the Sultan of Kuwait during the Second World War.  The connection with Kuwait continued for many years as the future Sultan used to take his school holidays at Bridge of Orchy (he was educated in Scotland).

The hotel has always had a mystique about it and attracted some very notable people.  In particular, an American Mr J Heinz, heir to the sauce fortune!! He gave me a 10 bob note (ten shillings/50 pence) which was about my Mother’s weekly wage.  Thank you Jack, I’ve never forgotten and it went straight into the bank!!

We pass Bridge of Orchy and proceed up the east side of the River Orchy to Loch Tulla, and onto Black Mount where we take in the most glorious scenery stretching for miles in all directions.  One of the most beautiful places on the planet for sure. 

Black Mount estate is owned by the Flemming Family Trust, of banking and 007 fame.  It has been a holiday home for close on a century and provides employment for many gamekeepers and local tradesmen where there would be nothing.

rannoch moor and loch ba

The magnificent Loch Tulla, Black Mount

Once we cross Black Mount we come upon Rannoch Moor and Loch Ba and then the White Corries Ski Lift, before seeing Buachaille Etive Mhor (The Shepherd of Glen Etive), which stands guard at the entrance to Glen Etive and Glen Coe

This was the land of the MacDonald Clan who bestrode the roads to the south and east, they required to be fully rewarded for the passage of anything. This led to feuding with the Campbell Clan and eventually a massacre of the MacDonalds with the Government’s sanction on 13th February, 1692.  This event has gone down in history and folklore and to this day the subject is still somewhat raw in MacDonald circles!! (‘tis said).

fantastic view of Glencoe

Glencoe is perhaps Scotland’s most famous and most scenic glen. 

Proceeding on through the majestic Glen Coe we pass towering cliffs, waterfalls and a perfect little loch at the bottom before emerging at Glencoe village and the shores of Loch Leven, before we cross at Ballachulish and proceed north to Fort William, passing the Corran Ferry to Ardnamurchan, and the shores of Loch Linnhe before arriving in Fort William. 

There is little left of the old historic Fort built to control the wild Highland clans to the north and west who did not ‘understand’ the concept of a ‘King’ in Edinburgh, or far less one in London!!

Fort William is known as the outdoor capital of Great Britain and is home to lots of outdoor sports such as skiing, paragliding, mountaineering, hill walking and all things dangerous.  We sometimes use the chair lift on Ben Nevis and also the Nevis Centre for our Highland Day Concerts.

Ben Nevis and The Caledonian Canal at Corpach near Fort William, Lochaber, Highlands 

Ben Nevis and The Caledonian Canal at Corpach near Fort William, Lochaber, Highlands 

After Fort William we proceed north past Ben Nevis and the Aonach Mor chair lift to the ski slopes.  Further north we arrive at the Commando Memorial where our elite troops trained during the Second World War, based at the home of Cameron of Locheil who lent his estate for training men who could shoot and think like his gamekeepers after a few months on these hills.

We are now in the Great Glen and come to Loch Lochy and Loch Oich, joined by the Caledonian Canal which connects the Atlantic to the North Sea.  We finally arrive at Fort Augustus and Loch Ness, and normally have lunch here before retracing our steps south. 

Loch Ness is of course famous for the mythical Monster – often seen by Innkeepers on Friday and Saturday Nights!!

Your best day ever in Scotland is now only half way through!!

With 4 full day excursions why don't you book your Highland Classic Tour today?

 

Other excursions in the Highland Classic Tour includes:-

  • Falkirk Wheel and The Kelpies
  • Blair Castle
  • Oban, Atlantic Shores and Highland Concert

The Highland Classic Tour is no longer available, please see our latest tours at click

 

Fort Augustus and Loch Ness

Fort Augustus and Loch Ness 

most iconic photo of nessie, loch ness monster

Nessie - The most common speculation among believers is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaursThe "Surgeon's Photograph" (pictured above) is purported to be the first photo (1933) of a "head and neck", and is one of the most iconic Nessie photos