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It’s that time of year when many newspapers, magazines and websites gaze into their crystal balls in an attempt to guess which places will be great to visit in 2017. I thought I’d turn that on its head and kick off this new year with a photo blog that shares some of the best places I visited in 2016.

I have looked back through the 40 trips I made last  year – yes 40! –  to unearth the best of the best, places in Scotland that I know will be just as brilliant to visit in 2017. With each photo I’ve included a bit of information about what makes each place so special and added links to more detailed blogs.

This is a great time to start planning your travel adventures, and I hope you will be inspired to visit at least a few of the places on my list. You could even make it a New Year’s Resolution to go to all 8. I hope you enjoy them, however many you visit, even if it’s just from the comfort of your sofa. Slainte!

Arran and Goatfell Sunset

Sunset over Goatfell, Arran © Robin McKelvie

1. Skye – The largest of the Inner Hebrides is a stunner whether you’re climbing its epic Black Cuillin mountain ridge, want to relax with an island ale in a cosy pub or posh it up in a Michelin star restaurant. Click here for my top 10 recommendations of things to do on the island.

Robin overlooking Skye

Robin overlooking Skye © Robin McKelvie

2. Harris  – Located in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides this is one of my favourite places in the world! Glorious beaches, stunning mountain scenery and great seafood are just some of the things that make it a great island escape.

Scarista Beach on the Isle of Harris

Scarista Beach, Harris © Robin McKelvie

3. Goatfell – It may not quite be a Munro, but this glorious mountain on the Firth of Clyde island of Arran offers some of the best views in Scotland. Most reasonably fit and well equipped people can manage the ascent– my 8 year old daughter made it up with me last year! Click here for the top 10 things to do on the island itslef.

Robin on top of Goatfell on Arran with his daughter Tara

Robin on top of Goatfell with his daughter © Robin McKelve

4. Caledonian Canal – Thomas Telford’s remarkable feat of engineering connects the Atlantic at Fort William with the North Sea at Inverness on a spectacular route that you can walk, cycle, canoe or even enjoy on a live aboard cruise.

Robin on the Caledonian Canal

Robin on the Caledonian Canal © Robin McKelvie

5. Islay – This bijou island for me offers the finest whisky touring in Scotland with no fewer than 8 distilleries crammed in, along with great restaurants and beaches.

Robin enjoying a tasting at Bowmore

Robin enjoying a tasting at Bowmore © Robin McKelve

6. North 500I did this epic 500 long route last year and it really is up there with Route 66 and the Great Ocean Road.

The NC500 in Wester Ross

The NC500 in Wester Ross © Robin McKelvie

7. Tiree – This wonderful little island is famous amongst windsurfers with great conditions for the sport. With its superb beaches and rugged coastline it is also a great hiking destination.

Robin on Tiree

Robin on Tiree © Robin McKevie

8. Atholl Estates – If you’re looking for a grand country house estate to escape to, I thoroughly recommend this massive Perthshire dame which has plenty of places to stay over in style.

Robin hiking on Atholl Estates

Robin hiking on Atholl Estates © Robin McKelvie


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