It used to be an old travel writer’s maxim when describing somewhere off the beaten track that “getting there is half the fun”. If you are holidaying in Scotland then the exact same is true, there is simply nothing better than arriving in style. Here are a few suggestions for kicking off your holiday with a bang and making a grand entrance.
The North Coast 500 has drawn all kinds of vehicles to the Highlands from caravans to sports cars and motorcycles. The absolute best way to enjoy it though is in a vintage convertible with the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin. It’s a bit like living in an episode of Top Gear as you cruise around the hairpins on the climb up the Beallach na Ba or accelerate out of Lochinver with the majestic peak of Suilven in your rear-view mirror. An Nead sits just off one of the most scenic and challenging parts of single-track road on the route, it has magnificent views over the Assynt hills and is a convenient drive to the white sands and delicious pies that Lochinver and Clachtoll are famous for.
For Harry Potter enthusiasts and fans of the golden age of British railways arriving on holiday by the Jacobite Express is a dream come true. This classic steam train which crosses the iconic Glenfinnan viaduct was featured in the Harry Potter films and is a huge draw for visitors. For a short break at Mullach Ruadh you really don’t need a car as there are cafes and pubs within easy walking distance and it’s only a few minutes stroll from the train station to the house. The house itself is a brilliant base for hiking in the local area and visiting the monument and museum as well as just taking it easy. Alternatively, if you arrive by car for a full week holiday then you can still take a relaxing day trip out to Mallaig on the train for fish and chips or get off at Morar to spend some time at the spectacular beach where Local Hero, another iconic Scottish film, was shot.
Arriving for a golfing holiday at one of the top courses in the country by helicopter is like something you would expect in a James Bond film. It is, however, not as far-fetched a possibility as you may realise. Denfind House is one of the few self-catering properties to have its own landing pad. Best of all is when you touch down it’s only a short drive in your golf cart to get to the famous course at Muirfield. This is the ultimate in luxurious five-star golfers’ accommodation with a hot tub on site and catering that can be arranged. With 4 super-king size bedrooms, which can also be twins, a large range of parties can be accommodated and there are enough quality golf courses in the immediate area to easily keep even the most fanatical golfers entertained for weeks. If more conventional modes of transport appeal then it’s a short walk to the train station where you can access Edinburgh in only half an hour.
Arrival by sea is always a fantastic way to begin any holiday, traditionally the Calmac ferry has been the beginning of many Hebridean holidays but with a bit of organisation it is possible to arrive directly at your holiday home by boat. For the really adventurous then sea kayaks can be taken aboard Calmac boats for free, even if you do not have a car with you. From Stornoway it’s only a short paddle out to sea and back to the shore outside Peninsula Cottage. The house here is so close to the beach it would be easy to pull your boat up and walk the short distance to the luxury and comfort of this modern house where you can ease into the hot tub to recover from your exertions. If you take the more conventional route and just tie your kayak to your roof rack then you have an abundance of choice for adventures regardless of the weather. For some people the appeal of paddling is not to get anywhere in particular, its just about the sheer joy to be had messing about on the water. This coastline here has myriad opportunities for doing exactly that and if you are lucky then your only company on a day trip will be dolphins, seals and seabirds.