Travel Tips for a Perfect Stay

Top Tips for your Scottish Adventure

Eilean Donan Castle

Of course every good guide book has a section dedicated to useful hints and travel tips, and we are sure that they have plenty of advice about all sorts of things to help you during your stay. However, we have found that they usually miss out some of the most useful information that you really need to know. So, in an attempt to fill in some of the gaps, here are a few tips based on the experience with our guests at Inverglen Guest House. We hope this will help you during your travels in Scotland. If you think there are other things we should include in this guide then please let us know.

Travelling Around Scotland

If you are spending most of your time visiting the large cities or towns then it is perfectly possible to do so by public transport. Good links exist between major cities like Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness, and once there you will also find getting around the city by public transport or taxi is relatively easy. However, if you intend to explore our wonderful countryside then you will either need a car or the services of a specialist tour provider.

Many people are worried about driving on the “wrong”  side of the road, but be assured that it is simple and you’ll be fine as long as you take it carefully. We only have 5 million people living in the country so away from the major cities you will rarely be in heavy traffic.

Day tours to Skye with WOW Scotland
Day tours to Skye with WOW Scotland

Don’t despair if the thought of driving is a little too much for you. There are many specialist tour operators who will gladly take you to all manner of places. These tours can range from pre-determined schedules right through to fully bespoke tours designed specifically for you. Why not check out some of our local operators on our website –

Just a word of caution if you intend sampling some of our fine whisky or delicious beers – Scotland has strict drink drive laws and the legal limit is just 50mg in every 100ml of blood. This means even 1 drink can put you over the limit. Our advice is do not drink at all if you are driving.

A Sat Nav / GPS or Paper Map

So you decided to go with the car option. The first thing you may notice is that Scotland is bigger than most people realise, and many places are remote and sparsely populated. Consequently it isn’t always possible to stop and ask someone for directions, and road signs may be in short supply. Luckily modern technology in the form of a Sat Nav or GPS can pinpoint your position to within a few meters, and keep you on the right track. However, they aren’t foolproof and you should treat their advice with a degree of caution. Also be aware that if your system works via the mobile phone network, you may find that some areas have less than perfect coverage.

In the UK we use Postcodes (see tip below) to pinpoint locations, and in main towns a postcode will often be all you need for the Sat Nav. However, outside of the main population areas, you may find that the postal code is a little vague (possibly covering a large area rather than an exact location). Therefore always enter the full address if possible. We certainly recommend a Sat Nav or GPS for getting you from A to B, but you can’t beat a good old fashioned paper road map for giving you the bigger picture.

If you only focus on the route from one place to another, you may well be missing some fantastic places that lie just a few miles off the direct route. If you would like some inspiration on places to visit why not take a look at our Things to Do Pages.

The locations pictured below are hidden gems that are so easily missed if you stick to just the main routes.

Bow Fiddle Rock
Bow Fiddle Rock
Buachaille Etive Mor
Buachaille Etive Mor









What is a Post Code

If you are using a Sat Nav or GPS then you are going to become very familiar with postcodes as they are an integral part of finding a specific location. Every address in the UK has a Post Code.  These are specific to a small number of addresses and within large cities a full postcode will cover a relatively small area (just a few properties).  

Postcodes comprise a combination of letters and numbers – for example our postcode is IV2 3NW. The first part of the code “IV2” tells you two things. Firstly the IV letters refer to Inverness (as EH would be Edinburgh, and GA refers to Glasgow). The number then gives an indication of how close an address is to the main city. So, IV1 would be right in the very centre of Inverness, whereas IV2 is just a little further out. At the extreme end, for example, Portree on the Isle of Skye (over 100 road miles from Inverness) is IV51.

Whilst in most towns and cities a full postcode (comprising between 5 and 8 characters) will give you a very specific geographic location, in rural areas a single postcode may cover a much larger geographical area.

Route Planning

When planning your trips it is often advisable to consult with one of the online route planning services. Google maps is definitely worth looking at, as are the services provides by The AA and The RAC. Distances and journey times can be difficult to predict, especially in the more remote locations where roads may be single track requiring you to stop at regular intervals to allow vehicles coming in the opposite direction to pass.

Whilst the online resources attempt to give you an idea of how long a journey may take, the reality may prove a little different. Always expect the journey to take longer than you are told, and if it turns out to be quicker you have more time to enjoy being there.

Negotiating Roundabouts

For those not used to driving in the UK a roundabout can be very daunting. We have spent many a morning after breakfast trying to explain how they work. The basic rule is that you always stop before entering a roundabout and you always give way to traffic coming from your right. If in doubt wait until there is a good gap before entering the roundabout and always give a clear indication of where you intend to exit. If you spot your exit late, don’t try to turn off quickly, just go around again and get it at the second (or third) attempt.

If you want to get properly ready to drive in the UK you can familiarise yourself with the rules for driving by checking out the Highway Code

Have a Mobile Phone

In all but the remotest locations Scotland has good mobile phone coverage, and as public telephone kiosks are become rarer you will be grateful for the convenience. We recommend you bring your mobile/cell phone with you, or can buy one when you are here – a basic pay as you go phone can be purchased for around £25.00  (or even less) and many shops sell “top up” vouchers for calls.

Pre-book the things on your ‘Must See’ List

Shinty MatchScotland in the height of summer can be incredibly busy. Major events like the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival and T in the Park, to name but a few, need to be booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Also don’t risk just turning up at the ferry port hoping to catch a ferry to one of our many islands as you may be disappointed! You should also think about pre-booking for key visitor attractions such as Edinburgh or Stirling Castles, or if you want to enjoy the 3D and interactive elements at the Battle of Bannockburn site. At the very least pre-booking can save you a lot of time otherwise spent waiting in line.

In Inverness it may be advisable to pre-book if you wish to take the popular train journey to Kyle of Lochalsh, or for a cruise on Loch Ness.

Why not check out some of the main events happening in and around Inverness and Loch Ness on our Events Page.

Highland Piper
Highland Piper
Highland Dancing
Highland Dancing Competition
Highland Games Event
Highland Games










Restaurants and food

The White House
The White House
Rocpool Restaurant
Rocpool Restaurant

In the major cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen you will find that there are many restaurants of all types that open all day and will continue late into the evening. However, in other places the choice of restaurants may be very limited and they are likely to stop serving at 9pm (or earlier).

If visiting Scotland in the winter months do check with your accommodation provider to see what the local restaurant situation is like. In some places you may have a very limited choice.

Inverness has a wide selection of excellent restaurants (check out our recommendations page – ) but many of these stop serving at about 9pm. You will also find that some are closed on a Sunday and Monday. From about May through to October the most popular restaurants are very busy and reservations are essential.

Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015

Scotland has a truly wonderful larder of produce and you can be assured of some fantastic food and drink on your travels. Almost everyone knows about haggis (try it and you may be pleasantly surprised), and our salmon is world famous, but why not try Cullen Skink (a smoked fish chowder), Cranachan (a desert of oatmeal, raspberries, cream and whisky), or Crowdie (a delicious cream cheese). We have a fantastic range of  food and drink and we love helping you discover new things to delight your taste buds.


Check Opening Times

We may enjoy long summer evenings (it stays light up until almost midnight in the far north at the end of June), but many attractions still close at around 5pm. This comes as a surprise to many and means that they miss out seeing some of the best places. The long daylight hours can fool you into thinking it is earlier than it really is so keep an eye on your watch.Always check the opening times for key attractions you wish to visit.

Also check for seasonal opening variations. Some attractions may be closed over the winter months, and indeed one of the best castles near Inverness (Cawdor Castle) doesn’t open until May.

Visiting a Distillery

Scotland is world famous for its Whisky, and there are many distilleries you can visit to learn about the production process and also sample some of the produce. Not all distilleries offer tours, but many do and if this is something you wish to do then you will find plenty of choice within easy reach of Inverness.Whilst there are no distilleries within Inverness itself, within 25 miles there are 4 distilleries (Glen Ord, Tomatin, Dalmore and Benromach) all offering tours. If you are travelling north of Inverness, you may wish to check out Glenmorangie distillery in Tain, or just a little further north is Balblair distillery.

If you are looking for more choice then the epicentre of the Speyside whisky industry is around Dufftown which is just over 50 miles from Inverness and here you will find plenty of distilleries, large and small, all waiting to impress you with their amber nectar.During the summer months most distilleries are open from Monday to Saturday (many also open on Sunday). The first tours are usually around 10am with the last tours at around 4pm. Outside of Summer you may find much more restricted opening times, and many do not open at weekends.

Please remember that Scotland has strict drink drive laws and we recommend that you do not combine the two. There are many companies offering Whisky Tours so you can fully enjoy the experience without having to do the driving.

Seeing Dolphins, Red Deer, Red Squirrels & Other Wildlife

Moray Firth DolphinScotland is a haven for wildlife and there are several species that should be on the must see list. Scotland’s big 5 are, Golden Eagles, Red Squirrels, Red Deer, Otters and Harbour seals, all of which can be found in the Highlands.

Near Inverness on the Moray Firth we have a resident population of Bottlenose dolphins. These dolphins regularly appear near the city and land based dolphin watching at Chanonry Point is a popular pastime. The best chance of seeing the dolphins is on a turning tide as it moves from low tide. Just ask us and we’ll let you know the tide times.

Another popular species that can be seen in Scotland is the Osprey. This magnificent bird is a summer visitor to the UK and they can be regularly seen fishing in the local area. There is a specialist viewing point at Loch Garten where Ospreys can be seen nesting.

Of course there are lots of other animals for you to enjoy such as Red Kites, Basking Sharks, Pine Martins, Grouse, Scottish Wildcats (rarely seen), Roe and Sika Deer, Mountain Hares and many others. If visiting Loch Ness you may even be lucky enough to see our very own Nessie!

Live Music

Scotland has a rich tradition of music and you are never too far away from the skirl of the bagpipes. However, we have much more to offer and in Inverness there is a wide variety of live music with performances taking place on every night of the week.

Regular folk sessions take place at several pubs in the town centre and music is often a main attraction at Eden Court Theatre and The Ironworks.

How many photographs will I take?

Guest often ask us where they can buy additional memory cards for their cameras. We can only conclude that people under-estimate how many pictures they will take. Our advice is that you should plan on taking at least twice as many memory cards as you normally expect to need. Cards are fairly cheap these days but it is better to have spare capacity rather than run out of room just as the most spectacular scene opens up before you.

For inspiration on places to visit why not check out our webpage showcasing some of our wonderful wildlife and scenery.

Enjoy every day! – This is our best piece of advice.
With so many things to see and do an early start and a well-planned route will ensure you have treasured memories and spectacular photographs!

We want all our guests to get the most out of their visit to Scotland. We really enjoy helping you  plan your day so just ask if there is anything you want to know.

Inverglen Guest House is the ideal base from which to explore the highlands of Scotland.
We look forward to welcoming you to our home, where we hope you will also feel like it is your home as well.

Inverglen Shortlisted as Most Hospitable Guest House

Finalist 2015 HITA AwardsMost Hospitable Guest House

Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards 2015

Inverglen Guest House is delighted to be a finalist for the 2015 Highlands & Islands Tourism Award for most hospitable B&B/Guest House.

To be shortlisted for this award is a real honour as it recognises our aim of offeringg a truly warm, friendly and hospitable approach to providing accommodation to both leisure and business tourists. Along with our fellow nominees we seek to provide a really personal and memorable experience for every guest. We recognise the important role we can play, not only by providing excellent accommodation and an outstanding breakfast, but also through our willingness and ability to help you get the most out of your visit to the magnificent Scottish Highlands.

In the words to the organisers –

“This category celebrates B&Bs and Guest Houses that go the extra mile to demonstrate heart-warming levels of customer service to every guest who steps through the door”.

The awards dinner and unveiling of the winners takes place in November 2015. We wish all the finalists well and it is a great honour to be in the company of such wonderful businesses.

PS – Susan tells me a new posh frock will be needed for the awards dinner. I thought I would give my shoes a good polish.

A Brief Introduction to the Highland Games

Highland Games Pipers

A Brief Introduction to the Highland Games

Tossing the CaberWhen thinking of things that are typically Scottish you will probably be quick to mention Whisky, Bagpipes, Men in Kilts, Tartan and Shortbread, to name but a few, but one of the highlights of any summer is the traditional Highland Games.

Gatherings and Games take place all across Scotland (and not just in the Highlands) and are a real mixture of sporting endeavours, cultural events and community spirit. Typically they include a

Highland Games Event
Highland Games

range of track and field events similar to those at any athletics meeting, as well as piping and Highland dancing competitions, They may also include cycling races and even a tug of war

competition. However, the highlight often belongs to the ‘heavy events’ where the strongest men (and sometimes women) “The Heavies” compete in various trials of strength. The highlight is usually Tossing the Caber, but there are a many other disciplines that the Champion will have to excel at.

Highland Games are said to have originated in Ireland with events dating back to 2000 BC. When the Irish migrated across the water to Scotland in the fourth and fifth century so they brought the games with them.

These days games occur almost every week from May through to September, and some of the best athletes may compete at many gatherings during the season.

Tug of WarThe Braemar Gathering

One of the biggest and most important gatherings is held at Braemar every September. The Royal Family (whose Scottish Balmoral Estate is close by) regularly attend this gathering, thus boosting its prestige even further. The Braemar gathering includes contests of strength, jumping, running, throwing and riding and were introduced by Malcolm Canmore in 1040 as a means of selecting the best men for soldiers and couriers.

The Inverness Highland Games

Founded in 1822 the Inverness Highland Games is one of the most popular and spectacular gatherings in Scotland. The 2015 Inverness Highland Games looks set to be one of the most memorable ever seen in the Highlands. This year the gathering moves to a new venue in Bught Park (just a short stroll from the city centre) and is a highlight of our City’s exciting Gala weekend.

This year’s Games will feature everything that you would expect to see at at a traditional Highland Games plus you will be able to enjoy the the Forge Gym Strong

Sinclair Patience
Sinclair Patience

Woman event at our Games and another attempt at the legendary Stonemason’s Stone by our male heavies.

The 252 pound boulder over a 5 foot bar challenge was first attempted in 1822 and last year (2014) Sinclair Patience succeeded in launching it over the bar.

The Demise and Rebirth of the Highland Games

Whilst Highland Games have been around a long time, they did suffer a major setback due to the Act of Proscription in 1746. This followed following the battle of Culloden which saw the Jacobite uprising defeated.  The act outlawed Scottish dress, customs and gatherings and was in force for almost 40 years. Once the Act was repealed the Games started to reappear and in 1822 George IV visited Scotland which gave a further boost to the national identity and customs.

More than a Sporting Event

Highland PiperWhilst most people will immediately think of the traditional sporting events at a games, there is a strong connection with music and dance. At all major games you will find

Highland Dancing
Highland Dancing Competition

that piping and highland dancing are just as important as the sporting contests taking place.

In times of old the clan chieftains would pit their pipers against those of other clans in competitive events. The prestige that came from success was considerable and financially rewarding.

Whilst times may have changed, there is still a competitive element at many gatherings with pipers (both solo and in bands) competing against each other. The dancers are also no less competitive and rivalries can be intense.

Another aspect of a Highland Games and Gathering is the sheer spectacle of the occasion. Many games are held in spectacular locations with dramatic backdrops of towering mountains and shimmering lochs. The sound of massed pipes and drums is glorious and when combined with the full highland dress is a spectacle to stir the heart.

Where can you see a Highland Games?

There are many Highland Gatherings throughout the summer, with the main local games for 2015 being:

You can find a calendar of events at

Highland Games across the world

Highland Games are not just confined to Scotland. Indeed, there has been a gathering in New York USA since 1836. In San Francisco, the Caledonian Club held its first Games in 1866 and boasts the oldest continuously running Games in the USA. In addition to the Games held in Scotland, there are many annual games and gatherings held across the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Find out about more Scottish Sporting Events on our Website

Inverglen – a tour of our garden (June 2015)

Inverglen Garden – June 2015

by Susan White

Neither John nor I are great gardeners, but we do enjoy having a go and getting our hands dirty. Many guests who visit Inverglen really enjoy and appreciate the mature shrubs that we have in the front garden that you can enjoy whilst you’re relaxing over your delicious home cooked breakfast.

We’re frequently asked “What’s the name of that shrub that’s flowering in the front garden?” and invariably I look it up in a book or on the internet, tell the guest, and then promptly forget again! So, I thought maybe a series of blog posts would help to cement the names in my memory, or at least give me a point of reference next time I’m asked the question!! It’s currently early summer in Inverness, and finally it does feel like summer so I’ll be going out in the garden shortly to shape some of the shrubs with a bit of gentle pruning. For any guests that are missing a potter in their own gardens I’m happy to share, and have spare gloves and secateurs for any willing volunteer!

CeanothusThe stunner in the garden at the moment is a flowering shrub with deep blue flowers, which is called Ceanothus – there are a number of different varieties available which flower at different times during the spring and summer months and grow to different heights, but all varieties have the same clusters of small blue flowers which are set against a dark green leaf. The shrub is sometimes known as Californian lilac, but the flowers are much smaller and darker blue than traditional lilac bushes and the leaves are quite different.

If you would like more information on cultivation and care of the ceanothus, check out the Royal Horticultural Society weblink attached here

We really enjoy having flowers in the garden as it encourages the bees and butterflies and they need all the help they can get in such a cold climate! We also encourage our feathered friends into the garden by having a number of bird feeders, so next time I’ll write a blog post about one of the regular summer visitors to the garden, the goldfinches.


Inverglen Photography Workshops

Inverglen Photography Workshops

An Inverglen Photography Workshop is an ideal opportunity to experience the magnificent Scottish Highlands. From our base in Inverness, we are within easy reach of some of Scotland’s most wonderful scenery.

All workshops are fully escorted by experienced landscape photographers John Frid &/or Keith Wood, and with a maximum of 3 guests (or up to 6 guests on some workshops) you are assured of plenty of one-to-one advice, tuition and guidance. We do all the driving so you can just sit back and enjoy the views.

Our workshops are suitable for anyone who enjoys taking photographs, no matter whether you are a complete beginner, or an experienced enthusiast. Not only will you explore magnificent scenery, but you will meet like minded individuals who share your passion for photography.

An Inverglen Photography Workshop is about having fun. We encourage group interaction to talk about the days photography and everyone can participate in planning the daily schedules.

Workshop Duration

  • Most workshops are 4 nights (arriving Thursday), although we also run longer workshops from time to time.
  • Additional days can be added (subject to availability) before or after the workshop. These can be either on a bed and breakfast basis only, or they can also include photography field trips.

Sample Itinerary (Based on 4 Night Stay)

Our itinerary is flexible and tailored to the wishes of the group. This allows us to make decisions based on the prevailing weather conditions and helps ensure you get the best possible images.

The following is a sample itinerary only and the actual locations may vary. There are many photo opportunities within easy reach of Inverness and the actual itinerary will reflect the wishes of the group.

Day 1 – Thursday

  • Arrival from 9am – 6pm
  • 6pm – Introduction and briefing
  • 7:30pm – Evening Meal at Inverglen Guest House

Day 2 – Friday

  • After breakfast we head east to the Moray coast. We have a range of coastal locations to chose from including:
    • Findhorn
    • Hopeman
    • Lossiemouth
    • Spey Bay
    • Portgordon
    • Portknockie

All of these provide a different shooting challenge and should yield some excellent seascapes. There is also a possibility (tides permitting) to get close to seals.

  • You make your own arrangements for the evening meal at a local pub or restaurant in Inverness

Day 3 – Saturday

  • After breakfast we head north west to the Blackwater river at Little Garve. This great spot enjoys superb morning sunlight.
  • Heading further north we visit the scenic town of Ullapool where we’ll spend a little time to take in the photographic opportunities of the town and the splendid view down Loch Broom.
  • As we continue our journey northwards, the landscape includes classic mountain peaks rising from the moorland. At Inverpolly there are glacial lochs and iconic mountains like Cul Mor and Stac Pollaidh.
  • Further north we come to Loch Assynt and the 15th century Ardvreck Castle. Loch Assynt also provides a lovely waterfall opportunity.
  • Time permitting we’ll move onto photograph the area around Kylesku. This includes a lovely sweeping bridge across Loch Glendhu.
  • You make your own arrangements for the evening meal at a local pub or restaurant in Inverness

Day 4 – Sunday

  • After breakfast your field trip today is west to Glen Affric (often described as the most beautiful glen in Scotland). During late autumn, winter and spring the mountains are often snow-capped providing one of Scotland’s most iconic images.
  • After Glen Affric, if time permits, we visit Glen Cannich which is a truly remote location and can evoke a great sense of solitude.There are often Red Deer at this location.
  • Evening Meal at Inverglen Guest House

Day 5 – Monday

  • For those leaving us today we have a leisurely morning to discuss the various shoots and to review some of the images we have captured. Check out is at 2pm . If possible we will give you a lift to the airport – please note this may not be possible on all occasions.
  • For those staying on for an extra workshop day (or days) there are a variety of destinations to choose from including places such as:
    • Glencoe & Rannoch Moor
    • Eileen Donan Castle and Glenshiel[
    • The Cairngorm National Park
    • The Black Isle and Cromarty Firth
    • Dunrobin Castle and Loch Fleet

Orange, Raisin and Bran Muffin Recipe

This may be packed with wholesome ingredients but it delivers big on flavour.  Try serving these for breakfast with orange segments, a generous dollop of Greek Yoghurt and a dusting of icing

Orange, Raisin & Bran Muffins
Orange, Raisin & Bran Muffins



  • 200g wheat bran
  • 225g raisins (split into 150g plus 75g)
  • 250ml water
  • 125g plain flour
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • Small pot natural yoghurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoonful bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoonful baking powder
  • 90g soft brown sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange


  1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4, 180C, 350F  and line a 12 hole muffin tin with papers.
  2. Spread the wheat bran on a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning it carefully with a spoon 2 or 3 times. Allow to cool.
  3. Spread the wheat bran on a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, turning it carefully with a spoon 2 or 3 times. Allow to cool.
  4. Put 150g raisins in a microwave safe bowl with 125ml water and cover. Heat on high for about 5 minutes, until the water is mostly absorbed, and the raisins are plumped up. Allow to cool, then puree using a hand blender.
  5. In a large bowl mix together the yoghurt, orange juice, raisin puree, orange zest, brown sugar and toasted wheat bran. Stir in the eggs and vegetable oil. Sieve together the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and fold into the mixture. If the mix is a little dry, add some more cold water or orange juice to form a moist mixture, then add the final 75g raisins and stir through (try not to over-mix).
  6. Spoon equal amounts into the prepared muffin papers, making sure that the mixture is mounded slightly in the middle of the cases.
  7. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, until firm to touch and set in the middle.
  8. Cool in the tin slightly before removing onto a wire rack. Serve warm, or reheat in a microwave for about 30 seconds before serving.

Recipe modified from Pastries from La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton