I really love the one-day organised trips from Glasgow as for me this is the perfect way to visit a lot of places in a day with a tour guide. You might have already read about my Oban trip with Rabbie’s which I took a few years ago with my friends (here). The first trip my boyfriend and I took was the Oban and Western Highlands Castles and Glencoe tour with Discover Scotland or a trip discovering Scottish Castles, eating the best seafood, visiting Glencoe and a haunted inn. They had a bit of a different itinerary to the Rabbie’s Tour, so I was excited to visit some new places as well.
The starting point of the tour was George Square in Glasgow, similar to other organised tours which start from Glasgow. Our first stop was Loch Lomond. As it was a bit windy, we stopped only to snap a few pictures. Then we continued to the Rest and Be Thankful. If you have been on tours to Oban, you might know that Rest and Be Thankful is a favourite stop. You get a beautiful view of the valley and you can see the old valley road built by soldiers. “Rest and Be Thankful” are the words inscribed near the junction on the A83 and B828 roads placed by the soldiers who built the road.
Our first main stop for coffee and breakfast was Inveraray, which is not far from Rest and Be Thankful. Inveraray is a small town in Argyll on the shores of Loch Fyne. Here you have the option of visiting Inveraray Castle, the home of the Duke of Argyll. Some of you might recognize it from Downtown Abbey as it was the location for the Christmas 2012 episode. However, the castle was closed for visitors that day, so the driver offered to drive us to Dunstaffnage Castle before going to Oban for lunch. If you want to visit the castle gardens you should check on their official website for the best time to do so. With Inveraray castle closed, we had a bit of time to walk around the town. The previous time I only went to the castle to take some pictures. So this time I was happy to discover another interesting building to visit Inveraray Jail. It is a well preserved prison and court house from the 19th Century. There are definitely things to see and do in Inveraray if you want to stay there for a whole day. We went to grab coffees from the coffee shop in the Inveraray Woolen Mill and sat on a bench on the shores of Loch Fyne to have our breakfast. It is the perfect spot for eating breakfast.
As the tours include visiting castles in the Western Highlands, we stopped at Kilchurn Castle on the way to Dunstaffnage Castle. Kilchurn castle situated on the north end of Loch Awe was built in the late 1400s and was owned by the Campbells. You can visit the castle free of charge. There is a path that leads to the ruins of the castle, but going to the castle was not included on our Discover Scotland tour. Interestingly, Kilchurch Castle is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland so we snapped some photos too. What do you think?
Dunstaffnage Castle was our next stop. It is possible to visit the ruins of the castle for only £5 per person. The castle is one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland build before 1240. You can climb up to the battlements and enjoy the beautiful view of the surroundings and the shores, as Dunstaffnage castle is built on a rock above the Firth of Lorn. We had around 20 minutes to look around the castle grounds.
Oban, Seafood Lunch Stop
It was almost lunchtime when we reached Oban. There we had an hour and a half for lunch and exploring the city. Oban is the seafood capital of Scotland, so here you can find the best seafood. We had lunch at Eeusk. I had the most delicious fish cakes I have ever eaten, iand my boyfriend tried the mussels, which were lovely as well. I had had them on my last visit to Oban. We finished our lunch very quickly as we wanted to go up to McCaig’s Tower. I was very excited to go there, as the previous time I was in Oban, I didn’t have the time to do that. If you have the chance to go there you will get a magnificent view of Oban and the islands of Mull, Kerrera and Lismore.
If you don’t feel like going to the tower you can pop up to Oban Distillery and buy a bottle of Oban single malt scotch whisky. (I visited the distillery in May 2019 and they have a special Game of Thrones range of single malts.) If you like chocolate then you should definitely try the handmade chocolates from Oban chocolate shop.
Back on the bus, we drove to Castle Stalker, where this time I learned something new. Apparently, Castle Stalker was featured in a favourite British comedy show called Monty Python, in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. My boyfriend was surprised that I didn’t know that. So after the trip he showed me some videos from the series.
Our next stop was the mighty Glencoe. Although I have been a few times to Glencoe before that trip, it has never ceazed to amaze me. I am always taken aback by the natural beauty here in Scotland. Glencoe is one of the places that if you live in Scotland you should visit at least once. On the way there, the driver played Skyfall by Adele and just made the already perfect trip, more perfect. Since it was December, I was hoping to spot the festive lights from Hogwarts between the Three sisters, but I guess they are not visible for the muggle’s eyes.
Another thing our guide knew was a hotel close by where, if you are lucky you can spot deers. He drove us there, so we can try to meet one. Apparently, deers are used to seeing people around, as a few of them came so close to us that we could pet them.
A Haunted Inn
Our last stop before going back to Glasgow was the Drovers inn. The inn is one of the first licensed inns in Scotland and opened in 1705. There is a story that the Drovers inn is the most haunted inn in Scotland. You can read the stories on their website if you are interested in spooky stuff. Of course, after a whisky or two, the ghosts are pretty easy to spot. The Drovers inn offers all kinds of whiskys, from the 6 whisky regions of Scotland. This was the first time, I tried peaty whisky. I went for Ardberg and it was a bit too smoky for my taste. However, whisky is always good especially if you are in the Highlands on a cold December evening. With that our day trip came to an end and we were safely back in Glasgow for dinner.