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Scotland scenes: Loch Ness and the highlands

One of the biggest things on "to do" lists for those visiting Scotland is a trip into the highlands and often to see Loch Ness.

On a recent trip that included a week in Ireland and three days in London we decided to try to squeeze in a few days in Scotland. All told, we're glad we did. It's a lively and interesting country full of people that can best be described as much the same. But with little time, it wasn't practical to overnight in the hinterlands. Instead we opted for a marathon 12-hour day trip into the highlands, including a stop at the aforementioned Loch Ness. 

There are a number of different outfits operating out of Edinburgh. Based on Trip Advisor reviews and a few other sites, we picked Rabbies. The cost was a reasonable 50 pounds and it also included stops in Glencoe and a few other places.

On the water at Loch Ness. At the end of the day, it's just a lake. A very picturesque lake, but a lake nonetheless.
On the water at Loch Ness. At the end of the day, it's just a lake. A very picturesque lake, but a lake nonetheless.

Loch Ness

It's a lake. And that is the beginning of the end of it. It's actually a pretty deep lake, in fairness. And the water is never warm enough to swim. We took an optional boat trip onto the loch and it's really just like any other lake in many ways. Nessie didn't make an appearance, predictably.

Glecoe pass. One of the most scenic spots in all of Europe.
Glecoe pass. One of the most scenic spots in all of Europe.

Glencoe

This is where the highlands get their name. The Glencoe pass is some of the most striking scenery in all of Europe, if not the world. Rising from the mostly barren hills are mountains of a few thousand feet, but look much taller thanks to their prominence. It's the kind of imagery that comes to mind when travelers picture the highlands.

The tour also made stops at Fort Augustus, a small settlement near Loch Ness itself. And we also saw Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Scotland at just over 4,000 feet. Our last stop was the village of Pitlochry.

Highland cows are a common sight in the region.
Highland cows are a common sight in the region.

This was a long day, but worth the time and money. While some might not like the rush pace of a day trip, they can be helpful when thinking about future trips. If you see an area you like, you can always come back and explore it in depth. If you don't like it, you're not out much.

But there's plenty to see in Scotland. We didn't see the Isle of Skye, Glasgow and any of its impressive castle ruins strewn about the country. But there's always next time.

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<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4118dce24cd2a6a90742284a474991c5.jpg" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-98d843f7c63cc9e56830c700c0e4e0ca.jpg" alt="Photo - On the water at Loch Ness. At the end of the day, it's just a lake. A very picturesque lake, but a lake nonetheless." title="On the water at Loch Ness. At the end of the day, it's just a lake. A very picturesque lake, but a lake nonetheless."><figcaption>On the water at Loch Ness. At the end of the day, it's just a lake. A very picturesque lake, but a lake nonetheless.</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7cc8f9245e22274fc488a0b6447b4bf2.jpg" alt="Photo - Glecoe pass. One of the most scenic spots in all of Europe. " title="Glecoe pass. One of the most scenic spots in all of Europe. "><figcaption>Glecoe pass. One of the most scenic spots in all of Europe. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-79cec56c5b487d32fd6ccbb0d120db5e.jpg" alt="Photo - Highland cows are a common sight in the region." title="Highland cows are a common sight in the region."><figcaption>Highland cows are a common sight in the region.</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-42bf6a810e59cd1549b635bb52d4e358.jpg" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure>
Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›

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