Holidays in Glenlivet

Visitor Guide

Long Drives


Long Drives

 from Glenlivet


Reviewed March 2018


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Some examples of long day trips for those who like driving - not recommended if you are in the least susceptible to car sickness.

They are not intended as itineraries - you can't see everythng in one day, and everyone will want to see different things.

The following routes are merely skeletons that you can flesh out any way you want.  Given the amount of time needed for driving,

we haven't bothered giving details of many things to visit en route.

Read the following notes about timings very carefully.

The timings are taken from the AA Route Planner, but please remember that some of these routes can be busy in summer time

with drivers who do not know the roads, and timings can go seriously awry if you are travelling on single-track roads with passing places.

It's probably better not to undertake any of these trips unless you're prepared for them to take an hour or two longer than planned.

The timings are for uninterrupted driving and do not take account of any stops for sightseeing, eating, etc.

Please check them yourselves - and check Traffic Scotland for any roadworks or road closures that might affect the timings.

Always make sure you have plenty of fuel!


Please read this link for advice on how to drive on Single Track Roads



Lochaber - the region around Fort William and Ben Nevis

From Tomnavoulin, the route takes you to Newtonmore and then by

Loch Laggan (where Monarch of The Glen was filmed) to Spean Bridge.

That takes 2.00 hours one way.

The Commando Memorial is a couple of miles along the Inverness road from the centre of Spean Bridge.

Options -


Fort William

A round tip of 32 minutes from Spean Bridge.

The West Highland Museum is a fascinating place if you have time.


Neptune’s Staircase

A series of eight locks at the southern end of Telford’s Caledonian Canal.

The drive to Neptune's Staircase and Fort William and back to Spean Bridge would take 45 minutes.


Glenfinnan Viaduct

This is the viaduct featured in the Harry Potter films.  Check the Railway Timetable to see if you can view a train crossing the Viaduct (scroll to the bottom of the Scotrail webpage and click on Timetables).

There is a small museum at Glenfinnan Station that tells the story of the West Highland Railway.

This route to Glenfinnan passes Neptune's Staircase.

The drive to Neptune's Staircase, Glenfinnan and Fort William and back to Spean Bridge would take 1.17 hours.


Loch Ness

Travelling from Spean Bridge up the side of Loch Lochy and Loch Oich to Fort Augustus and then up Loch Ness to Inverness and back to Tomnavoulin via Carrbridge would take 2.50 hours.

There’s not much difference between the two sides of the Loch. Taking the eastern route, you could also bypass Inverness by staying on the B862 after Whitebridge and then taking the B851 until it joins the A9 - again, it's a smilar overall journey timetakes about the same time, but there is single track road.

This would make a total round trip of 4.50 hours plus whatever you might have added on by going to Fort William and Glenfinnan.



From Spean Bridge via Fort William into the heart of Glencoe takes an hour. 

Returning to Tomnavoulin by the same route would make a total trip of 6.00 hours .

Alternatively, you could return via Killin and the Falls of Dochart, along the side of Loch Tay, through Aberfeldy to join the A9 northwards towards Tomnavoulin, which would make a total of 6.33 hours.

Both of these timings ignore any trip to Neptune's Staircase or Glenfinnan, or indeed any time spent at the Glencoe Visitor Centre.



Kintail and Eilean Donan Castle

Via Inverness, down the west side of Loch Ness to Invermoriston, through Kintail,

to Loch Duich and Eilean Donan Castle.  Return to Tomnavoulin by Strathcarron on the A890 – a round trip of 5.42 hours.

Options -


Kyle of Lochalsh and the Skye Bridge.

This would add 32 minutes there and back.  You could add a few more minutes for a quick trip across the bridge onto Skye itself, but you'd probably be adding a couple of hours to do much else on the island.


You can also have a look at Skye by turning west at Shiel Bridge and going over the Mam Ratagan Pass with its stunning views over Loch Duich and Kintail - although not as many views as there were before all the trees had grown up along the roadside.   There is a ferry across the narrows Kyle Rhea, but, with limited time on your hands, its probably better to spend it visiting Glenelg and its Brochs.

This would add about an hour there and back from Shiel Bridge to the Brochs - i.e. a total journey of 6.42 hours



Torridon and Loch Carron (Applecross)


Via Inverness and Garve then by Achnasheen and through Glen Docherty with its lovely views down Loch Maree.  Turn south at Kinlochewe and drive through Glen Torridon to Shieldaig passing the magnificent mountain of Liathach.

Options -


Retrace your route by Achnasheen and Garve to Tomnavoulin.

Total driving time 5.25 hours.


Take the A896 from Shieldaig to Kishorn and Lochcarron and return to Tomnavoulin on the A890.

Total driving time 5.40 hours.


Take the A896 from Shieldaig to Kishorn, but turn west to Applecross a couple of miles before you get there.  This will take you over the Bealach na Ba (the pass of the cattle).  Return over the Bealach na Ba to Kishorn and then return to Tomnavoulin through Glen Carron on the A890.

Total driving time 6.35 hours.


Take the coastal route from from Shieldaig to Applecross via Fearnmore with its views across the sea to Raasay and Skye.  Then head for Loch Kishorn across the Bealach na Ba and return to Tomnavoulin through Glen Carron on the A890.

Total driving time 6.42 hours.


Take the coastal route from from Shieldaig to Applecross, cross the Bealach na Ba and then head north to Shieldaig and return to Tomnavoulin by Glen Torridon.

Total driving time 7.06 hours.


There are cycle races across the Bealach na Ba on 12th May and 1st September 2018 - so best to avoid those dates.  The road will also be closed overnight between the hours of 6.00 pm and 7.30 am between 11th June and 20th July.


Loch Maree and Inverewe Gardens

Via Inverness and Garve and then west on the A832 to Loch Maree and Poolewe.  Inverewe Gardens are just along the road.

Options -


Continue north from Inverewe Gardens via Gruinard Bay to the junction with the A835 at the Corrieshalloch Gorge.  Return to Tomnavoulin via Garve.

Total driving time 5.45 hours.

This is only ten minutes longer than retracing your route back up Loch Maree.

A detour to Ullapool and back from the Corrieshalloch Gorge would add 34 minutes.


Travel back from Inverewe Gardens to Kinlochewe and go down Glen Torridon to Shieldaig as described in the previous tour.  Retrace your route back to Kinlochewe and return to Tomnavoulin via Garve.

Total driving time 6.38 hours.

Remember that you'll need at least an hour, if not two, if you visit Inverewe Gardens.




Via Bonar Bridge and then by the A837 to Lochinver.

Travel south from Lochinver on an "interesting" single track road, turning left at the road junction towards Ullapool.  Then travel by Ullapool past the Corrieshalloch Gorge to Garve and back to Tomnavoulin.

Total driving time 6.39 hours.

The purpose of this trip is to see the famous mountains of Assynt, especially Suilven and Stac Pollaidh, so there's no point doing it unless the skies are clear.


Tongue, Strathnaver and Strath Halladale

Take the A9 north to Evanton, turn left onto the B9176 before Alness and then join the A836 to Bonar Bridge.   It's worth stopping in the layby at the Struie Hill Viewpoint before dropping down the hill towards Bonar Bridge.

Follow the A836 north past Ben Loyal to Tongue.

Continue eastwards on the A836 until you turn south on to the A897 through Strath Halladale and the Forsinard Flow Country to Helmsdale and the Moray Firth.

Turn south on to the A9 and make your way back to Tomnavoulin.

Driving time 7.36 hours.



Believe it or not, this is possible - I did it myself many years ago.

A bus picks you up in Inverness at 7.15 am and drops you back off at 9.00 pm.  You have about six hours on Orkney and are taken to see Skara Brae, the Standing Stones at Brodgar and Stenness, Kirkwall (where you can visit the twelfth century St Magnus Cathedral) and The Italian Chapel.

The drawback is that it takes 75 minutes to get to the Bus Station in Inverness, and you probably should allow an extra 30 minutes for parking and any unforeseen delays en route.  Add half an hour for getting up and away, and you have to get out of bed by 5.00 am!.

The other thing is that the trip involves a ferry crossing over the Pentland Firth, so you probably want to check the weather forecast before booking your trip!

See the Go Scotland Tours  or Jog Ferry websites.





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