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Road trip to Highlands, Scotland in November: Loch Lubnaig, Glencoe & Glenfinnan Viaduct

posted by Liza 26th November 2016 19 Comments
Road trip to Highlands, Scotland in November

In this post, I would like to tell you about our recent trip to Highlands, Scotland in November, where we managed to visit Loch Lubnaig, Glencoe, Glenfinnan Viaduct, Glen Nevis and Ben Nevis and also the Fort Willian town.

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Our departure point was Edinburgh – we hired a car online using Avis (as always and I still need to write a separate post, why we are always using Avis) just 1 day before the trip and went to get it at 8:30 am to the Edinburgh City Centre Outlet. The car was ridiculously cheap – just 11 pounds for the entire day, but we had to pay 25 pounds extra for the full insurance. We always pay for the full insurance after our accident in Nice, France. As it was November, and November in Scotland isn’t precisely the most touristic month, we didn’t expect a queue in the Avis Office. However, there were some people who couldn’t hire a car, because all cars were fully booked. Because of this reason, we also got a much better car than we ordered online: instead of a tiny cheap Fiat, we got automatic Citroen C4 with diesel, what a luck! In you’re going to Highlands, Scotland in November, yes, even in November, make sure you book your car in advance, or head to the airport and hire it there.

 

Weather in Scotland in November

Weather in Highlands, Scotland in November is very unpredictable, however, I get the impression that the best time to visit Highlands is mid-autumn and early spring. It rains a lot in Highlands in summer, and it’s more expensive to hire a car, and more crowded, while in Autumn Highlands looks just amazing. All the trees are yellow and the mountains are yellow too, so you can get some beautiful shots like this one:

In spring, especially in march and April doesn’t rain so much, moreover, some days can be really warm and nice. Everything is blooming too. So I would suggest you go to Highlands, Scotland in Autumn or in Spring.

 

Our itinerary

Let’s go back to the trip. So our starting point was Edinburgh ( though if you’re based in Glasgow, it’s even faster to go to Highlands in Scotland). We used Google Maps to build us an optimal route to Glenfinnan Viaduct and if suggested us 3 routes: one (the fastest one) through Perth, another one (the second fastest) through Stirling and the third one through Glasgow and Loch Lomond. We chose the second fastest one because we didn’t want to go through Perth, since the route is not as beautiful as the other two, and didn’t want to go through Glasgow, as we would lose at least 45 minutes doing that.

In the end, we were really happy with the route we took and would suggest it to you as well. The route went through Linlithgow castle, Stirling Castle, Loch Lubnaig, Black Mount, Glencoe and Fort William.

We didn’t have time to go to Stirling and Linlithgow castles, but we stopped in front of the Loch Lubnaig to take some photos.

 

Loch Lubnaig

Loch Lubnaig is a perfect lake, which sometimes can be like a mirror and reflect the landscape, so you can get the pictures like this one, for example.
There are no problems with parking in front of the Loch Lubnaig, there is a parking lot, and staying there for 30 minutes costs just 50p.
Most of the highland tours stop there too, so sometimes the lake can get crowded, but in our case, it didn’t happen.

However, just during 30 minutes the weather in Loch Lubnaig changed 3 times: it was raining, then it was cloudy and then suddenly it got sunny and very warm. And then it started raining again.

Road trip to Highlands Scotland in November - Glencoe,, Loch Lubnaig, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Ben Nevis

After the Loch Lubnaig we visited the town Crianlarich for some early lunch at 11:45am (it’s usually my breakfast time, but during the Highland Road Trip we had to wake up early. There was only one place open in the town, the pizzeria in the Highlander Hotel and it only started serving food at 12pm, so we had to wait. The prices were a bit expensive and actually more expensive than in Edinburgh, but the food was good (we had some warm baguettes and a lentil soup).

 

Glencoe

After the quick lunch, we continued our journey to Glenfinnan through Glencoe and Highlands. The road was amazing – the breathtaking views made us stop every 1 km to take some photos. Luckily, there’re quite a few stops and parking spots for travelers, who are just like us – obsessed with photos.

However, I think that it was totally worth it: just look at the photos (*proud*)

Road trip to Highlands Scotland in November - Glencoe,, Loch Lubnaig, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Ben Nevis

Road trip to Highlands Scotland in November - Glencoe,, Loch Lubnaig, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Ben Nevis

We also managed to spot a Highland Cow not so far from Crianlarich and that was a great catch since these cows are hard to find.

Highland Cow

Initially, we wanted to hike in Glencoe for an hour or two, but soon we realized that we don’t have much time. The sunset in Highlands, Scotland in November is at around 4pm, and it was already almost one. When we reached the main parking lot for Glencoe and saw that there’s actually a trail, we just walked around for about 30 minutes.

I can’t advise you some specific places in Highlands, but I can say that this road we recommended is the best. In case, you choose this road, you’ll see the same breathtaking views we saw and decide for yourself, where will you stop and what will you capture with your camera/phone.

Road trip to Highlands Scotland in November - Glencoe,, Loch Lubnaig, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Ben Nevis

When we passed Glencoe and approached Fort William, it was already 2:30pm. We had a choice of either going to Glenfinnan viaduct or going to Ben Nevis mountain, but we decided to choose both and be really fast.

 

Glenfinnan Viaduct

So around 3:00 pm we were already in Glenfinnan, observing the marvelous viaduct from Harry Potter. Glenfinnan Viaduct is really famous, however, not many tourists manage to get there, since it’s really far from any more or less big cities like Glasgow, Perth or Edinburgh. However, there’s a special Hogwarts-like Steam Train going a couple times in the month. You can read more about it in the post of Passport Collective, since they took this ride (and we didn’t):

Riding Scotland’s Harry Potter Train

In order to get the best view of the Viaduct, you have to climb a small hill (for like 5 minutes) and then you’ll see it. The Harry Potter Viaduct, which carried the train to Hogwarts.

Road trip to Highlands Scotland in November - Glencoe,, Loch Lubnaig, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Ben Nevis

 

Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis

We were really fast and tried not to spend too much time in Glenfinnan since we were determined to see the Ben Nevis and Glen Nevis too. It took us around 30 minutes to get to the tiny 1-lane private road leading to the parking place for Ben Nevis. On our way to this road, we stopped a couple of times to take more photos of Highlands and its fauna: there were plenty of cute sheep and even a place with MANY highland cows! Unfortunately, this place was a bit far away, so we could take a photo WITH the highland cow (that’s still on my bucket list).

So we reached the end of this narrow road and parked our car. There were already 5 or 6 cars parked in the lot, so we assumed people were still hiking in Ben Nevis & Glen Nevis. We went for a short walk to see the waterfalls, but we only reached the first one and headed back, since it was already very late.

Road trip to Highlands Scotland in November - Glencoe,, Loch Lubnaig, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Ben Nevis

Later, we went to Fort William to have an early dinner in a pub (Haggis were exceptional!) and headed back to Edinburgh using the other route (through Perth). This route was supposed to be way faster, but it wasn’t any faster, so we get back to Edinburgh around 11 pm. We parked the car in front of Avis and out the keys in their locker. It’s a pretty convenient option of Avis, actually.

To summarize, I can say that visiting Highlands in 1 day and seeing the most famous places is perfectly possible, especially in spring and early autumn (and summer, of course), when it doesn’t get dark so early, but prepare to get tired of driving a lot. We enjoyed this trip a lot and would recommend you visiting Scotland in November!

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Liked this post about “A day trip to Highlands, Scotland in November: Loch Lubnaig, Glencoe, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Ben Nevis”? Save it on Pinterest!

P.S.: we also filmed a video about our road trip to Highlands, Scotland in November: the video is just after the Pin!

Road trip to Highlands Scotland in November - Glencoe,, Loch Lubnaig, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Ben Nevis

 

Video about our road trip to Highlands, Scotland in November:

Check this out

19 Comments

Taylor 27th November 2016 at 1:27 am

Scotland keeps creeping up my list of places to go next, it looks amazing!

Reply
Liza 27th November 2016 at 7:08 pm

You should definitely go to Scotland, you will love it!

Reply
karen 27th November 2016 at 2:16 am

Always love doing road trips! I did a similar trip in April and Scotland was so lovely. Love your photos.

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Liza 27th November 2016 at 7:08 pm

Thanks a lot! Hopefully, the weather in April was nice too 🙂

Reply
Cherene Saradar 27th November 2016 at 5:26 am

I’m impressed you did all that in one day. I went to the Isle of Skye for one day in June and it rained like crazy. Your pictures are stunning. I want to go back and see all these places!

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Liza 27th November 2016 at 7:10 pm

It was tough, we got back home and couldn’t even eat, cuz we were so tired! Thanks a lot 🙂 It’s really sad, that it rained so much, you should return to the Isle of Skye in September maybe 🙂

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Birthe (from Wandering the World) 28th November 2016 at 7:50 am

Oh wow, I didn’t know about the Harry Potter Viaduct, cool! Sounds like a pretty busy day, but your photos are indeed awesome. Hope we make it there someday too, so I pinned it for when we do. 😉

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Leslie 28th November 2016 at 8:09 pm

I’ve wanted to visit Scotland for so long now. It’s such a great idea to rent a car to see cities away from Edinburgh, and the pictures you took of it all are so amazing! Great post.

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Joan 30th November 2016 at 9:29 am

Nice trip. Here are some tips from a Scottish person who drives this route frequently. Its quite hard to do all this in a day, so well done, but come again for longer. For lunch in Crianlarich, try the station cafe, or go on a few miles to Tyndrum where there are a few very organised places to eat, with big car parks, serving food all day. Glenfinnan is definitely worth a stop. Please go to the Old Railway Carriage cafe, run by Chris and Zoe, HUGE sandwiches and cake . It is by the old station platform, and there is a lovely wee museum about the West Highland railway. ( Some things were there before Harry Potter ! ). For an easy photo with a Heiland Coo, there is one in a field beside the tartan gift / woollen shop about a mile north of Callender, just waiting to pose with you ! Happy travels , and haste ye back , as we say.

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50 Useful Travel Tips for Scotland | Watch Me See 1st December 2016 at 10:09 pm

[…] Hiring a car is the most convenient way to get around, especially if you decide to do a road trip to the Highlands! Be careful though – a lot of roads in the Highlands and on the isles are narrow and […]

Reply
Lynn 18th December 2016 at 8:54 pm

Scotland is on my list for next year so thank you for this post. It was so helpful in planning our trip to the highlands. Hopefully we can spend more than one day.

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Liza 4th February 2017 at 2:05 pm

Thanks a lot for your comment, Lynn! It’s totally worth spending there more days

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P. Stock 11th January 2017 at 8:33 am

We are hoping to visit the Scottish Islands this year. Anybody got any advice on when and where to go?

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Liza 4th February 2017 at 2:05 pm

Hmm, Islands… like Isle of Skye, for example? Summer/Spring would be the best time I guess

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Chiera 4th February 2017 at 10:36 am

I love reading posts about Scotland, especially West Scotland, and it’s places I visited all theoughout my childhood! I’m glad you enjoyed our wonderful country 🙂

Reply
Liza 4th February 2017 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for your comment, Chiera! Scotland is fabulous 🙂

Reply
Why you need to go to the Highlands of Scotland! | 11th April 2017 at 8:55 pm

[…] Camping, Skye, Hogmanay in Edinburgh and the Isle of Muck! Or heck out this great guide to the Scottish Highlands in November. Have […]

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Geoff M 10th September 2017 at 7:37 pm

Hey, I found your photos absolutely stunning ! Very great piece of art. We intend to go to Scotland in the week of Halloween and we’d fancy take a tour in the highlands as well. However, we fear bad weather and short days… Weren’t the nights too long ?

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Liza 25th September 2017 at 1:56 pm

Thanks Geoff! Well, the nights are quite long, so you should start the trip early in the morning. We hired a car at 8am, so we had enough time to explore before it got dark around 5pm 🙂 But in summer, of course, you have more time

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