Hairy Coo Loch Ness and Highlands Bus Tour, Edinburgh

I started off with a bang for this tour. This is a Hairy Coo Tours review! It is the bus company I would recommend the most out of all the ones I did. This Hairy Coo option is the longest tour I did, lasting from 8AM to 8:30PM. I did fall asleep about twice, which is a habit I apparently developed here as it plagued me for all the other tours. As a person who does not generally partake of naps, particularly in a moving vehicle, this was a shocking discovery.

The weather was ideal, although I was the underdressed idiot who wound up digging into her bags for a pair of pants halfway through. Misty, but not super cold, when we arrived in the Highlands it was as if we had landed on another planet. My Scottish ancestry was apparently crowing with joy because even the “liquid sunshine” (as our tour driver referred to the mist covering our faces and sometimes the views) filled me with happiness.

Deanston whiskey distillery

We went to the Deanston whiskey distillery for a tour first, along with a tasting. They had a café and it was here I realized my English friend in London had absolutely lied to me about the British having “bacon.” My bacon roll was certainly not bacon, it was a relative of ham. As far as I’m concerned, this was the most disappointing part of my entire trip. I guess that means it was pretty good 😛

I actually think the whiskey tasting at 10AM was a good idea, even if it involved a trip back to the bus to get my ID (I quickly learned my baby face was to be a problem). The added buzz made the magic just a little more real. The whiskey was good, I suppose. It was my first time trying it and I quickly realized why sailors were required to have a ration of alcohol back in the day – the warmth stuck with me for an hour.

Loch Ness

A tan Hairy Coo cow

The daughter of Hamish, the famous Hairy Coo cow!

We proceeded to have a series of quick stops. First we visited famous Hairy Coos (the Scottish Highland Cows), then Glencoe which was devastatingly, eerily beautiful.

The Comando Memorial from the World Wars is set in some of the most ridiculous scenery. Here, the mist obscured Ben Nevis-tallest-mountain-in-the-British-Isles (I didn’t mind, it was still amazing), until we arrived in Loch Ness.

I was incredibly startled by how small the town of Loch Ness was. I would actually say all the views of the Highlands were the highlight of the tour over Loch Ness. Although, the boat tour was actually wonderful. We passed a tiny mountain goat on the side of a mountain on the boat trip and I went well, that’s me as an animal. A spirit animal had finally been found.

View of Loch Ness from the tour boat on a cloudy day

View from the Loch Ness Tour Boat – I didn’t realize how rectangular the lake is!

Druim an Aird

My favorite stop is sort of silly, in comparison to all these big names. It was just a rest stop for us to stretch our legs for about 20 minutes, but if ever I were to hide out somewhere in the world, this would be it. If someone ever gets the urge to propose to me, it’d best be here at Pattack Falls and Druim an Aird. From the moss-covered tree stumps to the rocky waterfall, I was quite content to live there forever and I was the last one back to the bus. There’s a reason I chose the main image for this post to be from this idyllic spot!



Finally, Pitlochry, which was primarily a rest and ice-cream stop as we were not there for too long. Then back to Edinburgh! As I’ll detail in my account of Edinburgh and the rest of the UK, in the summer it does not get dark until around 9:30-10PM, so even though you arrive back a bit later you still have more than enough time to find your way home.

Finer details:

  • Comfort: the bus was very comfortable with large windows, so even if you weren’t beside one you would be able to see a lot, and spacious for luggage (larger items could go under the bus which was very handy for me)
  • Driver: Hilarious! Graham gets my full recommendation, the guy loves Christmas and sounds (as he pointed out) exactly like Shrek. I now want to come back and take a Christmas tour with him as it sounds like an absolute blast.
  • Locations: All very worth it
  • Price: For what you get, this bus tour was really incredible. Hairy Coo even offers a free version where you pay what you feel it was worth after the tour, although you don’t get to see as much. If you’re nervous about a bus tour this would be a great option. If you’re looking for something longer, they do have a 3 day bus tour option although accommodation is not included in the stops.

This is Part of a Series!

I wound up going to England on a bit of a budget compared to my previous two trips abroad (See: The Oxford Experience). However, I still wanted to see as much of the UK as I could while I was there. Bus tours in the UK became the most economical option for me, despite my nature of wanting to do everything by myself. Train tickets to all of the places I wanted to go were either expensive compared to the all-inclusive packages or did not get close enough to the areas I wanted to go for ease of access.

I‘ve named the names of the three bus tours I would recommend and have not named the one I probably wouldn’t recommend. Per usual, I’m a bit of a mess and the last one was partially my own idiocy.

Part 1: You’re Here at Hairy Coo Tours Review!

Part 2: Mad Max Bus Tours Review to Stonehenge and Avebury

Part 3: See Wales Bus Tours Review to Tintern Abbey and Caerleon

Part 4: A “Cruise” Tour That Didn’t Go Well…..

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