Campervan Road Trip Itinerary around the Highlands

Campervan Road Trip Itinerary around the Highlands

Campervanning the Highlands: A Magical Journey of Discovery

As I sit here, gazing out at the rugged, heather-clad hills and sparkling lochs of the Scottish Highlands, I can’t help but feel a sense of pure, unadulterated bliss. This wild and enchanting land has completely captured my heart, and I’m about to share with you the story of how I discovered its wonders through the ultimate mode of exploration – a campervan road trip.

It all started with a dream, one that many of us harbor deep within – the fantasy of buying our own cozy campervan, complete with all the creature comforts, and setting off on a grand adventure. For my partner and I, this dream was first ignited on a road trip through New Zealand, but it was solidified during our 975-mile, four-day rally through the Scottish Highlands.

Eager to uncover the true essence of this mystical region, we entrusted our journey to the experts at Big Tree Campers, a family-owned business based in the Perthshire region. From the moment we stepped into their showroom, we knew we were in good hands. The team provided us with a slew of tips and maps, ensuring we hit all the best spots, and they even stocked our fridge and cabinets with everything we could possibly need – from linens and pots to milk, eggs, and a surprise bottle of champagne and brownies!

Exploring the Cairngorms and Beyond

Our adventure began just beyond the Big Tree Campers’ office, where the 11th-century Blair Castle stood proudly. We couldn’t resist the temptation to take a peek inside this fully furnished medieval fortress, marveling at the ballroom adorned with hundreds of mounted antlers.

With the castle in our rearview mirror, we set off into the Cairngorms National Park, the largest national park in Britain, spanning a staggering 1,748 square miles. As the mist shrouded the majestic mountains, we couldn’t resist the urge to explore them up close. We hiked along a cascading waterfall, hopping from rock to rock, half-convinced we’d stumble upon a gnome or something straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale.

Leaving the Cairngorms behind, we made our way to the bustling city of Inverness, the so-called “Capital of the Highlands.” With a population of a mere 80,000 people, it felt almost quaint compared to the vast, untamed landscapes we had just experienced. But the city still managed to captivate us with its charming streets, historic landmarks, and the enigmatic Loch Ness, home to the legendary Loch Ness Monster.

Chasing the North Coast

As much as we enjoyed the Highlands’ major hubs, our hearts were set on exploring the more remote and rugged corners of this remarkable region. And so, we set our sights on the North Coast, where rocky cliffs crash into the sea and heather-covered hills roll from one to the next, with sparkling lochs nestled in between.

Rounding the northeastern bend of Scotland, we arrived at the Castle of Mey, a museum that offered a unique glimpse into the private life of the Queen Mother, who used to summer here from 1952 to 1996. Judging from her VHS collection, she was quite fond of the British comedy classic, “Fawlty Towers.”

But the true highlight of our North Coast adventure was the experience of wild camping. Unlike the RV parks and designated campsites you might find elsewhere, wild camping in Scotland allows you to park your vehicle virtually anywhere – on a beach, by a loch, or nestled in a forest – as long as there’s no signage prohibiting it. It’s like having a private, ever-changing hotel room, with the most stunning views imaginable. And that’s exactly what we discovered when we laid eyes on the breathtaking Durness Beach, which we proudly claimed as our home for the night.

Exploring the West Coast and Loch Ness

As we continued our journey south, we couldn’t resist the temptation to take every winding coastal road we could find, even if it meant adding hours to our trip. The detours were well worth it, as each bend in the road revealed another jaw-dropping vista, from rugged cliffs to hidden coves and sweeping vistas of the North Atlantic.

Eventually, we made our way to the Balmacara region, where we reluctantly had to start heading inland. But our journey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the legendary Loch Ness, home of the elusive Loch Ness Monster. While we didn’t spot the mythical creature, the sheer size of the loch and the imposing Urquhart Castle that overlooks it were more than enough to satisfy our curiosity.

Epilogue: A Campervan Love Affair

As we returned our trusty “Larch” campervan to the Big Tree Campers team, we couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness. Our three-night adventure had barely scratched the surface of this remarkable region, and we knew we had to come back for more.

In fact, we’re already planning our next campervan escapade around the Loch Ness Shores campsite and the surrounding Highlands. Because when you’ve experienced the freedom and serenity of carving your own path through this wild and enchanting land, it’s a feeling that simply can’t be replicated. The Scottish Highlands have well and truly stolen our hearts, and we can’t wait to continue exploring them, one winding road at a time.

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