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Scotland in Summer - Need Help!

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Hello, all,

My husband and I are planning a trip to Scotland next summer (2014) for about 10-12 days. Our dates are flexible at this point--I'm a teacher, so we can go anytime between mid-June and mid-August.

This will be his first trip to Europe, and my first since childhood! We are excited, but a little daunted by all of the information out there. We took an amazing roadtrip in the US Southwest a few years ago and fell in love with the roadtrip style of travel: no strict schedules, masters of our own destinies, etc., so we would be happy to rent a car, though I'm a little nervous about driving on the left.

Here are our interests:
1. Interesting museums, castles, gardens
2. Highland games - We'd love to spend a day at a festival, if the timing works out
3. Beautiful scenery, nature walks, light hiking
4. Time to relax, walk around, enjoy a pint, enjoy the locals, not feel scheduled

We don't really care about whisky or golf and would be fine to skip those aspects.

We are flying from Baltimore/DC. It looks as if it's a bit cheaper to fly nonstop to London and take a train to Edinburgh or Glasgow, but I'm not sure if that's a huge PITA...should we just pay a little extra for a flight to Glasgow or Edinburgh? It would require a connection in either Reykjavik or London.

Has anyone done a trip like this? Our emphasis is on the quality of our time, not the quantity of sites. I've read so much at this point that all the info has melted in my head and I feel a bit paralyzed. I know that one person's "must-see" is another person's snooze-fest, but I'd still love to hear advice from those in the know. Any advice would be much appreciated, especially in the form of a suggested itinerary, with locations and lengths of time!

Thanks!!!

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