I am racing from Inverness to Fort William in September and I am trying to find a nice area to stay with some friends for the week before the race to relax etc.
I love the west coast and need somewhere which has the nice balance of wilderness and the creature comforts of a decent pub and shops etc.
It can’t be more that 2 hours from an airport and nothing south of Ayr.
If you want somewhere on the west coast that fits in with your needs (they’re quite specific!!!) you could do worse than visiting Plockton, a national trust conservation village at the entrance to Loch Carron. It’s pretty much bang on two hours drive from Inverness, surrounded by beautiful coastal and mountain scenery (which draws artists and photographers, for obvious reasons) but with decent amenities. Using Plockton as a base you can easily explore Skye as well as the stunning Applecross peninsula.
Alternatively, head inland to Grantown on Spey, in the central Highlands. Under an hour from Inverness and less than two hours from Aberdeen, Grantown itself is a fairly bustling town with plenty of shops and decent options for eating and drinking. Most special is it’s location on the river Spey (if you fancy a spot of fishing and the chance to bag a salmon) and on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, where your friends can be as active as they like, while you build up your strength in preparation for the race. Good luck!