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Best countryside

Hi, we are looking to stay in Inverness for 2-3 days and have a car hire,  would you suggest to drive north heading towards John O Groats or out west to the Isle of Skye, we are looking to do a days drive to see the beauty of Scotland in August.  thanks.


  • VisitScotlandAmandaVisitScotlandAmanda Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hello @aussietraveller! I won't comment on which is best as I sadly haven't been to either but just want to flag that Skye can get very busy in August so I would recommend you book as far in advance as possible if you decide to go there as you don't want to miss out on accom! I'm sure other's will weigh in with which option they'd suggest for you! As you'll be in Scotland in August you might also want to consider some time in Edinburgh for our various festivals too :) 
    Kiwi gal, relocated to Scotland. 

  • John O'Groats is ok but not somewhere I would linger for long. They've improved the village but it's had a reputation in the past for being a bit of a tourist trap! However Duncansby Head and Dunnet Head (furthest northerly point on mainland Britain) are great places to stop and take in the views over the Pentland Firth to Orkney. I'd recommend a visit to Dunnet Bay Distillers if you do head up that way for a sample of Rock Rose Gin, you won't be sorry! 

    As an alternative to Skye, have a look at Orkney. It's a short ferry ride from Gills Bay or Scrabster (booking in advance is essential!) and is a haven for wildlife. If you like big skies and big seas then it's the place to be. You'd need to consider staying overnight though and obviously that'll have an impact on your plans. 

    The scenery up to Caithness from Inverness is very different to what you'll get on Skye, there's a lot of open moorland up that way while Inverness to Skye is properly mountainous. :smile:

    Driving time to John O'Groats is about 3 hours, but there are plenty of places to stop along the way. Driving time to Skye is about 2 hours. If you're just looking for a day trip then I'd head to Skye doing a loop up via Garve and Achnasheen and then back via Glen Shiel and Loch Ness. If push comes to shove I'd go for Skye but with the caveat that it will be very busy.

    As you can see from the photos, they're both very different places!


    Pentland Firth  - Orkney on the right, Caithness with Duncansby Head in the distance on the left:

    John O'Groats:

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