Judging by the group who were with me today on the RABBIES LOCH NESS, GLENCOE AND HIGHLANDS TOUR the profile of the traveller today was a tourist based in Edinburgh for a limited amount of time who wanted to experience a huge area of the Scottish highlands with a whistlestop day tour.  However, for me, as a native Edinburger looking for an agreeable day trip I really can’t recommend this tour any higher.

Arriving at the conveniently located city centre base with an opportunity to obtain sustenance in the form of breakfast and a cuppa we were quickly whisked off to our transport for the day and introduced to our driver.  The vehicle was a comfortable mini bus seating 14 tourists and our driver expertly controlled this whilst doubling up as our tour guide for the day. As we inched out of the city traffic he engaged with all the passengers, asked them what they were looking forward to from the day and any particular interests connected with the tour.

With our group feeling sufficiently bonded with the driver we proceeded up north into the wonderfully rugged and picturesque highland landscape that visitors always marvel at.  A stop off in the tourist trap of Callander offered another tea stop in the many inviting coffee shops in the town and then we were off properly: Glen Ogle, Loch Lubhair, Glen Etive and Rannoch Moor, Three Sisters and Glencoe, Loch Leven – As often as possible our driver would pause at a suitable location and we would step off the bus to take in and snapshot the beautiful scenery stretching out in front of us.

One aspect which needs to be highlighted was the quality of our tour guide.  Not only was he spotting many sites for us to view the beauty in front of us, he was also opportunistic to add some ad-hoc stops along the way.  Hence when a photo-op to see some iconic Highland cattle presented itself we were quickly disembarking and clicking on as the unphased cows continued to gaze at us in an unconcerned manner.  What I liked especially about our driver was how he proffered information based on what his travellers had indicated they were keen too see at the outset. For example, one traveller had discussed a famous battle that took place near Stirling castle and as we drove past the battleground the driver made a point of pointing this out for the travellers benefit and furnished the story with more information as he demonstrated how much of an expert on Scottish history he was.

Our main stop of the day was Fort Augustus, on the banks of Loch Ness.  Here you had the option if you so wished to partake of a boat trip across the legendary dark waters bounded with stories of the creature allegedly living deep under its surface.  We took the opportunity to eat a meal in one of a a few bars and restaurants on offer which was fantastic in terms of quality and size which set us up nicely for our final couple of stop offs at Spean Bridge and Pitlochry before our final sightsee, a very rare opportunity to travel over the old Forth Bridge which is no longer open for cars to drive down.

So, a fantastic day, so much packed into a 12 hour trip.  Rabbies run many other trips to locations from Edinburgh but based on the tour I went on today I’m definitely looking at attending more as it was such a well run and relaxing way to see a great deal of Scotland quickly.  I feel I’ve learnt so much so final word should be back to the tour guide as he explained many historical events as we drove through the countryside such as the Jacobite movement and the massacre of the Macdonald clan, the battle to control Scotland with the royal families looking to control the nation, the travails of Bonny Prince Charlie all brought to life with the skill of our tour guides phenomenally accurate storytelling skills.

An absolute delight of a day highly recommended.

Steve Heald