My fiance and I have just spent two weeks in Scotland on a wonderful trip and I thought I would share the itinerary below in case it is of interest.
So we started in Edinburgh, staying in an airbnb in the Old Town. We had about 6 days there which was wonderful - so much to see. We also did a daytrip to Glasgow. Glasgow is very much more like a normal city where as Edinburgh is very touristy but also, I think, very special.
We then hired a car from Celtic Legend - they were fantastic to deal with - they use Arnold Clark cars. Get a GPS! Phone signal is very patchy in much of Scotland so the GPS was invaluable. So we headed out of Edinburgh towards Stirling, stopping at Linlithgow Palace on the way. We stayed in a tree howf just north of Dunblane for two nights. I cannot recommend this accommodation enough. The tree howf was hand made a year ago and has a wood stove and is surrounded by countryside and farm animals - including highland coos! The website is here: http://www.craigheadhowf.co.uk/tree-howf.html
While we were in the treehowf we explored Stirling Castle (don't miss this, the views are stunning) and nearby Dunblane.
After two nights in the treehowf we headed north through the Cairngorms, passing through the Edradour distillery on the way. This is Scotland's smallest distillery and has a great tour - no need to book. We also visited the Blair Atholl watermill, a working watermill from about 1700. They have lovely sandwiches. We stayed at Cardhu Country House near Dufftown/Aberlour for two nights. This is whisky country. If you need transport so that you can taste the whiskies, you should use Aberlour taxis, they're great. Important note: they only take cash. Cardhu Country House was perfect, such a lovely B&B with delicious food.
After two days we headed west to Loch Ness, passing through the Cairngorms again - we did the reindeer walk up the hill which was wonderful - but cold! Bring raincoats. We also visited the Highland Wildlife Park which was fantastic - you get very, very close to the animals. At Loch Ness we stayed at Ballacladaich B&B which was right on the water and lovely. We took a jacobite cruise and visited Urquart castle which was okay - the real highlight was the Culloden Battlefield centre - really great.
After two days here we dropped the car off in Inverness and caught the John O'Groats express bus from Inverness to Orkney. This includes the bus to John O'Groats, the ferry across, and a pick up on the other side - all for 25 pounds! Outstanding value. They run from June til the end of August. Here's a link: http://www.jogferry.co.uk/Express-Bus.aspx
Orkney was simply amazing. We stayed in Laing House B&B a two room guesthouse right in the middle of the town which was comfortable and very well priced. Remember to book a tour for Maeshowe (spectacular) and don't miss Skara Brae. We also really enjoyed the Broch of Gurness and exploring some of the smaller tombs. Nice food at Helgi's and Kirkwall Hotel - but make sure you book during peak season.
So that's it! I hope it proves useful to some people while planning. We had an absolutely wonderful time.
Please feel free to post any questions below - I'd be happy to answer them.