Road Trips With Avis: Scotland
Highland fling - Scotland's back garden
Discover this mountainous, rugged region on an Avis road tripHit the Highlands, one of the last areas of the UK where you get truly open roads, surrounded by soaring mountains and icy lochs that will take your breath away. As soon as you leave Glasgow, you're out into the big country.
Test drive this two-day tour for the best of Scotland
Pick up your Avis hire car from Glasgow Airport and head north on the M8, then onto the A82, hugging Loch Lomond. This is the start of the Highlands, where the land is awash with heather in late summer.
Approach Oban via Inveraray to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Argyll's residence. Head for Ben Nevis before looping back south, crossing the peaty waters of the Tummel and Tay, through Pitlochry, Crieff and Stirling, back to the airport.
High points en routeLoch Lomond – Water world
On the drive up, the A82 threads through epic, open countryside that will tempt you to stop every few miles. When you reach Loch Lomond, you won't be able to resist any longer. Along with Loch Ness, this is one of the most famous lakes in the world. The 24-mile loch has 38 islands, one of which – Inchmurrin – even has its own hotel.
Loch Tay– Learning to dap
Loch Tay is one of the top salmon fisheries in all of Scotland. If you're struggling to switch off from life in the fast lane, spend a leisurely afternoon "dapping" – one of the purest forms of fly fishing, where you hold the rod still while the wind moves the fly about on the water.
Climb Ben Nevis – Scotch mist
One of the most famous hikes in the UK, you'll need to set aside the best part of a day to complete this – and leave your car in the car park. After 3-4 hours of panting your way to the top, you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view, if it's not too cloudy ...
Fowlis Wester, near Crieff – In touch with history
Pronounced "Fowls Wester", this ancient village is home to the 13th-century Church of St Bean. Inside you'll find a piece of tartan that was carried to the moon by astronaut Alan McBean. Just down the road, look out for a strange-looking little hill covered by trees - a 5000-year old burial mound.
Free time on your hands? Take your pick from the following gems1. Mountain biking – Who scares wins
Scotland has some of the best mountain biking terrain in the world. The showpiece is the downhill course outside Fort William – a firm favourite with World Cup racers from all over the world. While this course is challenging to say the least, there are also tamer trails to suit all ability levels.
2. West Highland Hawking, Kinlochewe – The eagle is landing
Even if you've had the privilege of seeing a golden eagle before, handling one will blow your mind. David Ford, owner of the West Highland Hawking centre, will show you how it's done (in a word: carefully). As well as eagles, his collection includes owls, falcons and buzzards.
3. Kayaking in the Moray Firth – Whale of a time
The Moray Firth is one of the most important areas in the UK for whales, dolphins and porpoises, and it's not unusual to see all three while you're out paddling. Kayak Scotland organises trips here throughout the year.
4. Cawdor Cottages – Country living
Book yourself into one of these designer country cottages, in the grounds of Cawdor Castle. Owned by an ex-Vogue stylist and her husband, there's a whole "village" of them to choose from. If you can’t be bothered to cook, a chef will prepare a meal for when you arrive.
5. The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye – A taste of modern Scotland
It's a long way to come for a meal, but worth every mile. Ask owner-chef, Shirley Spear, to rustle up one of her king scallop salads while you gaze out the window at Loch Dunvegan. If you're feeling sleepy after all the food, you can always book into one of the rooms next door.