After a wonderful evening in our countryside Airbnb in Kiltarlity, we were anxious to start our second day of exploring the Scottish countryside. Since Day 1 had been a long trip in the car with countless beautiful stops coming from Aberdeen «Read Here», we were excited for a day with a bit more outdoor adventuring!
Having read that Glen Affric was one of the most stunning in glens in Scotland, it seemed pertinent that it be the focus of our free day. With waterfalls and short hikes on the agenda we couldn’t help but take a moment to thank our lucky stars that once again the weather was absolutely phenomenal – not a cloud in the sky nor whisper of wind.
Our itinerary for the day, thanks in part to my Scottish bible – Scotland the Best, included driving to Cannich and following down the side of Loch Beinn a’Mheadhoin until reaching the Am Meallan viewpoint. We then would retrace our tracks, stopping at Dog Falls and head down the other side of the Loch for a lunch break at Plodda Falls. The final destination would be to head to Drumnodrochit and tour Urquhart Castle while attempting to spot Nessie over the deep waters of Loch Ness.
«Make sure to check out this information guide if you’re planning on visiting Glen Affric – Definitely helped us out a ton!»
Loch Ness + Glen Affric Road Trip Itinerary
Took A831 West heading towards Cannich and then turned left towards Glen Affric.
We couldn’t help but stop and take photos of the Highland Coo’s along the way. I really don’t think there could possibly be another type of cow cuter than these guys…
1. Old Church in Field
After Cannich, at the fork, there is an unmissable old church sitting in a small field. Standing elegantly in the morning sun and frosty morning grass it made for a quick, lovely photo-op.
Stay right at the fork and follow along River Affric and Loch Beinn a’Mheadhoin.
2. Stunning View of the Mountains over Loch Beinn a’Mheadhoin
As we rounded this corner there was a collective gasp from everyone in car at the beauty in front of us. It could have been a backdrop at a portrait studio. We spent a good 30 minutes taking photos, climbing down to the water and just appreciating that we had been able to witness this view on this warm, beautiful morning.
Continued along Loch Beinn a’Mheadhoin until reaching the ‘end’ – a small parking area.
3. Am Meallan Viewpoint
Short, hike starting on the opposite side of the parking area. Beautiful views of Loch Affric and Loch Beinn a’Mheadhoin with the stunning backdrop of the snow covered mountains. There was multiple hikes with trailheads at the parking lot, but with a day full of other adventures we just elected to do the Viewpoint and walk down to the bridge on River Affric trail.
Turned around and followed our tracks back through the glen. Stopped at the signage and small parking area for Dog Falls.
4. Dog Falls
Honestly, we weren’t that impressed by Dog Falls. The falls are a short hike from the trailhead (along the road) and then the viewpoint really isn’t that great as the waterfall is located in a narrow chasm. It’s a neat, aggressive waterfall – but definitely not our favorite stop of the day. Again, there is more hiking around the falls, but we had elected to just see the waterfall before continuing on.
Turn right at the Power Station (right next to the Old Church), turn right again and follow the glen down the other side.
We just passed through, but it was an adorable tiny town that I would have loved to spend a night or two.
Continue on, following the signage to Plodda Falls.
6. Plodda Falls
ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE! Can’t miss this waterfall while in the area. Short hike to the first small waterfalls (which are beautiful on their own) and then you walk out onto a viewing platform. It isn’t until you’re at the edge that you have the eerie realization that your standing over nothing and looking down an incredibly high waterfall!
We walked down the viewing area at the bottom with our goofy friends and enjoyed our sandwiches, wine and cookies while taking in the stunning waterfall. Luckily we got our viewing time without the accompaniment of any other tourists (as the area is pretty small) and spent a lazy lunch in an unforgettable location.
Retrace your route, driving back through Cannich and head East on A831 towards Drumnadrochit. Turn right on A82.
7. Urquhart Castle
What an amazing day to visit this castle. With the warm sun and windless afternoon, Loch Ness was shining in all of her glory. We wandered the castle, exploring the ruins and imagining how incredible life would have been here (I think the weather gave us a slightly misleading impression, unlike our snowy visit to Dunnottar Castle). Such a lovely end to the day… Especially when we spotted Nessie in the distance!
The Urquhart Castle closing time forced us to leave and make our back to our Airbnb. We tried to find a Loch Ness Brewery (but it turned out to be evasive as Nessie herself!) and ended up just drinking some of their beers at home.
Click here for Day 3 of our adventure, including a visit to the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, Culloden Battlefield, Pluscarden Abbey & our entire roadtrip itinerary from Aberdeen to Inverness!
Did we miss any special places in Glen Affric or Loch Ness? Or did you have any magical experiences at Castle Urquhart? Please share in the comments below!
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