Day Trip to the Scottish Highlands

During our long weekend in Edinburgh, we knew we wanted to get out of the city for a day to see the Scottish countryside. My husband read about the Falls of Dochart in Killin, so we drove there for an afternoon.

On our drive, we passed the Kelpies, famous large horse head sculptures. I was surprised that we could see them from the highway. As an equestrian, I love all things horse-related, but had decided that we wouldn’t visit this site on this trip due to time constraints. I was happy to at least see them from the road!

It was a beautiful drive all the way to Killin and we passed many scenic views of farms, churches, castles, and lochs.

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Killin has a lot of local folklore of fairies, giants, and saints. The area is known to have been inhabited since Stone Age people hunted on the land 6,000 years ago. Killin sits at the northeast edge of the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park. This large national park of beautiful Scottish countryside looks to be a great destination if you want to experience nature in Scotland. The Highland Boundary Fault, which separates the Scottish Lowlands from the Highlands, cuts through the park. By the time we got to Killin, we had entered the lower end of the Scottish Highlands region.

Killin is home to four main attractions:

  • Falls of Dochart. The River Dochart passes through Killin with its Highland Falls, The Falls of Dochart. They were beautiful. We spent a lot of time on the rocks, taking in the view. The terrain here at the Falls surprisingly reminded me a lot of mountains and falls we have seen in the northeast and southern United States.
Falls of Dochart
The Falls of Dochart in Killin, Scotland, U.K.
Falls of Dochart
The Falls of Dochart in Killin, Scotland, U.K.
Falls of Dochart
The Falls of Dochart in Killin, Scotland, U.K.
Falls of Dochart
The Falls of Dochart in Killin, Scotland, U.K.
Falls of Dochart
The Falls of Dochart in Killin, Scotland, U.K.
  • Old Mill. At the Falls of Dochart sits the Old Mill. It is believed that the original mill in this location was built by St. Fillian in the 8th century. The current mill was built in 1840 and was a working woolen mill until 1939. It has since housed a folklore center and Killin’s tourist information center. It now also houses a thrift store and gift shop.
Old Mill Killin
The Old Mill in Killin, Scotland, U.K.
  • Old Bridge. The old bridge that passes over the river and the falls was originally built in 1760. It is said to be made, at least originally, of stones directly from the river.
Old Bridge Killin
The Old Bridge in Killin, Scotland, U.K.
Old Bridge Killin
The Old Bridge in Killin, Scotland, U.K.
  • Clan Macnab Burial Island. From the bridge, you can access the Clan Macnab Burial Island, which is also the site of an Iron Age fort. Access to the island is locked, but you can pick up the key at the at the Old Mill Shop with a £ 5 donation and £ 20 deposit. The Clan Macnab ruled this area until the late 16th Century.

We lucked out with weather and had a beautiful day to visit Killin. In the middle of our day visit, we had a nice lunch at the Falls of Dochart Inn. We enjoyed their cozy dining room where we could relax and warm up with some traditional Scottish dishes. We had soup, a Scottish tasting platter, fish and chips, and more (there were five of us!).

I forgot to mention in my last post about this trip to Scotland that we made a point to try the popular Scottish soft drink, Irn Bru. This orange colored soda has a sweet, bubble gum flavor to it, and is supposedly very popular. I was pleasantly surprised that my son didn’t end up liking it. It was so sugary, he probably didn’t need to drink a lot of it. I kind of enjoyed finishing it off for him!

Irn Bru truck
Driving into the Scottish Highlands behind an Irn Bru truck.

After enjoying everything Killin had to offer, we headed back to Edinburgh. We drove a slightly different route home to enjoy more views of the countryside. After passing more sheep farms and some Highland cows next to a Loch, I was supremely satisfied with our Scottish Highlands experience!

Scottish Highland Cows
Scottish Highland Cows near a Loch.

4 thoughts on “Day Trip to the Scottish Highlands

  1. I hope you had some Irn Bru while you were there! I’m very jealous you saw the Kelpies. We’re heading back to the UK for a wedding this summer and I have to figure out what we’re doing. Heading up to the highlands is one of the options I’m floating.


    1. I did have some Irn Bru. I think I liked it more than the kiddo! 😀
      The Kelpies were really easy to get to from Edinburgh, and would have been really easy to pull off the highway and see, so if you are in that area again you could totally get it done. And of course, the nature in the Highlands was beautiful.
      If you consider Ireland at all, I can recommend some awesome Airbnb hosts in County Cork! I haven’t posted about our trip there yet, but it was so great.
      And of course, not in the UK, but there’s always Gent! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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