The 10 Best Scottish Travel Experiences
Hike to the most remote pub on the British mainland
It’s a rewarding experience for those who don’t mind getting their boots dirty. The Knoydart Peninsula is literally sandwiched between (the lakes of) heaven and hell (Nevis and Hourn). Kinlochhourn’s 14 winding, marshy miles often feel like hell. An even tougher route traverses the “Rough Bounds” from the Harry Potter Viaduct in Glenfinnan. You will need at least one night for the old adventure; two for the longer hike. Bring a tent in case both are full. The reward is a pint at the Old Forge, the most remote pub on the British mainland, a whitewashed lady on the seafront dating back to the 1880s. A pint of local ale and a plate of prawns fresh from the boat (plump scampi in these regions) are gloriously restorative. The local community set up crowdfunding to buy the pub. Swimming ‘wild’ outdoors is a joy – the last time I did it the water was alive with bioluminescence.
How to do: For the old forge, see theoldforge.co.uk. The local community advises on current conditions for both walks; see visitknoydart.co.uk. You can get there by sailing from Mallaig; see westernislescruises.co.uk.
Sail into the Hebrides sunset
Forget towering floating cities, Scotland offers small-scale cruise ships, with a gem flotilla of family operators from Oban, Holy Loch and Mallaig. Rob Barlow is skipper and owner of Hebrides Cruises, whose two ships take you to some of the world’s most spectacular cruising waters from Oban. We’re talking hundreds of islands, starchy white sand beaches and towering mountains; deer, dolphins and even killer whales. The Elizabeth G is their sturdy sea steed, a former Norwegian rescue vessel with only four cabins. The Emma Jane sets the tone with plush leather seats in the deck – always open – and an outdoor hot tub aft. They’ll drop you off into the wild for a challenging run around Skye’s Loch Coruisk, before welcoming you back with bubbles served in this outdoor hot tub. The cabin suite is the choice of the quintet of cabins.
How to do: For Hebrides cruises, see hebridescruises.co.uk. A six-night Inner Hebrides cruise on Elizabeth G in May 2022 starts from £2,080 pp.