|Loch en Eilein, Cairngorm National Park, Highlands|
The highlands cover a large area - basically the north-west half of Scotland - and we stayed in Port Augustus on the lower edge of Loch Ness. We chose it as a central location and because of good self-catering options. Where we stayed, a one-bed self-catering apartment in an old convent, was perfect and I don't hesitate to recommend it. Whilst technically an apartment, it felt more like a cottage due to the generously sized rooms. The rooms were also beautifully furnished and there were lots of thoughtful touches like a completely equipped kitchen (I could have baked a cake if so inclined), books and DVDs, and lots of maps and local guidebooks.
|The Old Convent self-catering cottage|
The convent woods also had a rope swing that proved to be one of my highlights of the area (possibly even of the trip!)!
|Loch en Eilein|
To the west is the Isle of Skye, which, these days, you can drive to over a high bridge that connects the island to the mainland. Much of the driving in the highlands is stunning but the road to Skye was particularly so. There were sections winding between mountains, and then sections by water including a scenic pass by the Eilean Donan Castle. We didn't go in, but the views from the road were enough.
|Eilean Donan Castle|
On Skye itself, we did a clifftop walk with paths virtually to ourselves, and visited a clifftop ruined castle that was surprisingly busy. The surprising aspect stemmed from it having no signage from the road, and as you approached the castle, lots of signage suggesting you stay out as the castle was unstable. It didn't seem to put anyone off.
|The precarious ruined castle|
As we had a huge kitchen to cook in, our evening meals in the area were fully self-catered. We had pasta, and veggie sausages, and jacket potatoes. On our daytrip to the national park we also packed lunch food, but on Skye we stopped at Cafe Arriba in Portree. They cater to vegetarian and vegan diets and I had their veggie haggis flatbread. Alas, it was a bit too rich and I found the lack of accompanying salad or vegetables unusual, but it was nice to have a Scottish vegan option.
|Veggie haggis flat bread - not my favourite meal|
Have you visited this part of Scotland?