Depart Edinburgh at 08:15 and travel west, past Stirling castle to your first stop at Doune Castle. This area of Scotland has certainly seen its fair share of fighting and warfare. Stirling castle was once known as the ‘Key to Scotland’, and it was here that William Wallace (immortalised by Mel Gibson in the film Braveheart) defeated the English army in 1297. After William Wallace’s death it was Robert the Bruce who continued the fight for independence and you will pass the site of his most famous victory in 1314 at the Battle of Bannockburn. Then you arrive at the fantastic medieval stronghold of Doune castle. Built for Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, over 600 years ago the castle is still in great condition and you will have time for photos. You might even have seen the castle before, it was made famous by the film ‘Monty Python and The Holy Grail’, with many scenes filmed here.
You then continue a little further on to Callander. After a short coffee stop you cross the Highland boundary fault line leaving the rolling farms for the wild mountains and forests of the Highlands. You will make a short stop at Loch Luibnaig before you continue over the Braes of Balquhidder, the final resting place of Highland outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor. Made famous by Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy was a sort of Highland Robin Hood, he stole from the rich, but never quite got round to giving it to the poor!
From Balquhidder the tour winds its way through the tough knot of mountains known as Breadalbane (meaning the ‘high country of Scotland’) before we stop for lunch in a small West Highland village. Shortly after lunch you stop for the short walk out to visit Kilchurn Castle, a magnificent ruin situated in the middle of Loch Awe and former home of the Campbells of Breadalbane. You will continue along the banks of Loch Awe through Campbell country to the picturesque town of Inveraray on the shores of Loch Fyne. Here you can visit the 18th-century castle and home of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the Campbell clan. (castle open Easter to mid-October). The town was built at the same time as the castle and has the air of a classic 18th-century planned village with its straight wide streets and dignified Georgian houses. You can take time to explore the town and maybe call at the Old Jail or the maritime museum, the Arctic Penguin.
Leaving Inveraray, you take a drive up through the steep-sided mountains known as the Arrochar Alps to the great viewpoint at ‘Rest and Be Thankful’. It was given its name in 1753 by the weary soldiers who had just finished building the old military road up through Glen Croe. From here you skirt around Loch Long and down to the Bonnie, Bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. This is Scotland’s largest loch and it takes its name from the mountain Ben Lomond on the eastern shore. You make a short stop at the conservation village of Luss, with its quaint houses and stunning views across the loch. At 17.30 you make your way back to Edinburgh, with a short photo stop underneath Stirling Castle.
Return time: 18:30 approx