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3-day trip: Scotland, Wales, Lakes, or Yorkshire?

3-day trip: Scotland, Wales, Lakes, or Yorkshire?

Old Jun 16th, 2004, 02:57 PM
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3-day trip: Scotland, Wales, Lakes, or Yorkshire?


I'm studying at Cambridge this summer, and my flight from the US arrives a few days early. I want to spend those days hiking, boating, cycling, and/or horseback riding in a place with a nice mix of great scenery, high peaks, lovely lakes or coastline, and nearby history (castles, abbeys, etc.).

However, not having seen these places, I'm at a loss as to where to go, and guidebook descriptions do not help.

I was thinking of one of these places:

North York Moors National Park and Whitby

Yorkshire Dales National Park

Lake District National Park

River Wye and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park

Snowdonia National Park

Scotland: Glen Coe area mountains or islands like Arran, etc.

I'm arriving at Gatwick at 9:30 am on Thur 1 July, and I have to be at Cambridge train station no later than 3:00 pm on Sun 4 July.

Obviously, travel times have to be taken into consideration. I will have to rely on public transport.

Any suggestions about the places above or others not mentioned?
lubeltri is offline  
Old Jun 16th, 2004, 04:09 PM
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I am partial to the Yorkshire Dales (where my sweetie lives) which has lots and lots of great hiking and scenery. Only one small lake in Yorkshire Dales though. I also love Snowdonia which has great hiking and beautiful vistas. Northern Wales also has several castles and lots of history (esp Edward I). You might also think about heading north to Hadrian's Wall which is great for hiking and history. You'll probably want to hire a car if you go to any of these areas.
All the areas you named are beautiful so I don't think you'd go wrong with any of them.
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 11:03 PM
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I agree that you could get most of your requirements from any of those places you mentioned. However......the Lakes can get extremely crowded in the summer (to the extent where some years the police have practically said certain areas are 'full'. I live on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and they would get my vote, although 'boating and lakes' will be difficult! The scenery is fabulous, avoid the tourist hot spots and you get peace and tranquility, abbeys, castles, great food and drink, hiking etc etc. If you DO pick the Dales then please don't hesitate to get back to me with any questions. There's easy transport from Yorkshire to Cambridge as well!
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 11:08 PM
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Meant to add - have a glance at the Yorkshire Tourist Board website - www.ytb.org.uk
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 12:30 AM
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You can't go wrong with any of them.
I love the Whitby area and have also spent many wonderful holidays in the Highlands and Pembrokeshire.
Just to make your decision more difficult ;-)
Have you considered the area where you are staying? Cambridge is very close to Norfolk and Suffolk. You certainly won't get high peaks, but you will get beautiful villages many with magnificent churches, lovely scenery (Constable country) and a beautiful coastline.
Old Jun 17th, 2004, 05:15 AM
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Here's another vote for the Yorkshire Dales. The scenery is absolutely incredible! Another website you might want to look at is www.yorkshirenet.co.uk.
Scotland is wonderful too, but it's a long way to go for a short time. As Morgana says, Yorkshire is not hard to get to.
Good luck with your plans.
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 07:30 AM
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I can only tell you the 2 places that I've just been over the last month (I'm an Aussie student doing an elective here in Middlesbrough).

Glen Coe and Scottish Highlands-
The highlands blew me away!! I did not have ANY idea just how gorgeous they were!! Coming from Oz, where it's bushland and all, this is tha place to be. All I can describe it is a miniature NZ in the LOTR with rolling green mountains, gorgeous blue lochs and gurgling strems. And the sunny weather was a bonus too.

Whitby and North York Moors-
If you're after more of a countryside feel, perhaps this is a good idea. I took the Esk Valley Trail Train from Middlesbrough to Whitby and true to what Lonely Planet says, this has to be one of the prettiest train rides ever!! (even the locals agree with me). What you can do if you're after walks is stop at the many quaint stations and there are walks that you can do and just take the train back again. There are guided tours or you can just pick a map and do it yourself. It should be on a website if you Google (sorry, I threw away the phamplet).

Whitby is a popular seaside town. The beach is nothing to rave about as there are so much more gorgeous beaches in Oz but the town was very pretty and quaint. There is Whitby Abbey, an 11th century Abbey atop a hill (nothing much really, just view from outside is enough. Not really worth the £4 in my opinion) but the view after climbing those 199 steps is awesome!!!

Lastly, I heard the Lake district is gorgeous too so perhaps that is a better bet than the Moors. (although, I heard the moors will be breathtaking when you come as the heath turns purple in colour!! It wasn't even near when I went 2 weeks ago)

Hope this helps!

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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 11:22 AM
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My vote is for Wales.
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 01:00 PM
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The only reason not to do the west of Scotland is distance.

Try Glencoe.
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 03:44 PM
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I am from New York State and have extensively hiked the Adirondack Mountains as well as the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Green Mountains of Vermont. I suppose what would most impress me would be the mountains of the Scottish northwest, like the Torridons. Obviously they're far too remote for a weekend (and without a car). I'm probably going to spend the summer living in Britain next year (I have dual US-Italian citizenship), and with a car, I definitely will do that then.

Glen Coe sounds like a nice alternative, Sheila, but I am concerned about getting there and back in time. Trains to Fort William from London take around 10 hours, meaning I don't get there until 22:03 on Thursday. Getting back on Sunday is harder, requiring a bus or train to Glasgow or Edinburgh in the early evening on Saturday and then a train or flight to the south in the morning. Any transport advice on this?

Snowdonia seems like a closer alternative, but transport to Cambridge on Sunday is a bit of a hassle as well. Checking timetables, I could get there in time if I stayed in Chester Saturday night and left in the morning.

The Lakes, Yorkshire Dales, and Moors are easy to get to and back, but don't seem as dramatic or wild.

Thanks for the advice. After the program I'm going to spend 16 days travelling around Britain with my best friend, but it's a very full itinerary with not much time for walks and climbs in remote areas. I want to make the best of this weekend.
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 10:34 PM
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I agree about the travel time. You COULD Easyjet it? Is that an option?
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Old Jun 18th, 2004, 03:06 AM
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I could. But my arrival time at Gatwick, Easyjet flight times to Scotland, and train and Citylink bus schedules to and from Fort William and Glen Coe do not jive well. My few options seem to be:

Land at Gatwick at 9:30. Flight from Gatwick to Edinburgh at 10:40, arriving at 12:10. Citylink bus leaving Edinburgh at 13:30, arriving in in Glen Coe at 17:32. This is the better option, but I have doubts about making my flight from Gatwick; how long would it take to get through immigration, check in again, and get to my gate?

The other option is flying from Luton at 14:50 and arriving at Glasgow at 16:10. Then I take Citylink at 18:00 to arrive in Glen Coe at 20:32. Taking the train all the way from Gatwick, I can reach Fort William at 22:03. Is it worth the extra cost of a plane ticket to arrive not much earlier?

Flying back will get me to Cambridge earlier on Sun 4 July, but I would still have to leave Glen Coe on Saturday to Glasgow at 19:40 at the latest (Citylink) to make the next day's flight. Bus and train services out of Fort William and bus services out of Glen Coe end early on Saturday night and start late on Sunday morning.

If the first option is doable, I would go ahead and do it. It would give me Thursday evening in Glen Coe and all of Friday and the morning and afternoon of Saturday to explore the mountains around Glen Coe. But my 9:30 arrival at Gatwick and the 10:40 departure from Gatwick concern me.

Perhaps if it is too risky, I'll find some other way to explore around Glen Coe. I'm actually going to go through Fort William during my 16-day trip around Britain in August. All that was planned was just to ride the train and see the views. Perhaps I can drop something off my itinerary to free up a day to stay in Fort William and hike. For Scotland I've already included 3 nights in Stirling (2 day-trips to Edinburgh included), and 2 nights on Skye.
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Old Jun 18th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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have you looked at Luton to Inverness?
a) Inverness is MUCH closer to Glencoe than Glasgow, and b) Luton is much closer to Cambridge than London
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Old Jun 18th, 2004, 01:56 PM
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Well, there is a flight from Luton arriving at Inverness at 16:50. But the last Citylink bus from Inverness to Glencoe leaves at 15:30 (there are only 2 departures on 1 July).

There is a bus leaving Inverness at 17:30 and arriving in Fort William at 19:30, but the last bus from Fort William to Glen Coe leaves at 19:00.

The return trip on 4 July won't do, as the flight to Luton leaves too early and the earliest bus to Inverness leaves too late.

There are flights from Gatwick to Inverness, but they leave only 20 minutes after my plane lands.

The return trip from Inverness to Gatwick leaves too late and arrives after 14:00; that is too late to get to Cambridge by 15:00.

Oh, how I look forward to next summer, when I will be 25 and able to afford to hire a car!

Thanks, Sheila. If there are no other options, I think I can manage to excise part of my August itinerary in England and squeeze a day of hiking near Glencoe. Here's what I've already planned for August with my best friend:

Day 1: walk about Cambridge; afternoon train to York

Day 2: York

Day 3: York

Day 4: Early train to Durham

Day 5: Early train to Stirling

Day 6: Stirling: day-trip to Edinburgh

Day 7: Stirling: day-trip to Edinburgh

Day 8: early train to Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh; bus to Skye

Day 9: Skye

Day 10: early ferry to Mallaig; train all the way down to Birmingham

Day 11: Birmingham: day-trip to Warwick; afternoon train to Bath

Day 12: Bath

Day 13: Early train to Salisbury; afternoon train to Portsmouth

Day 14: Early train to London

Day 15: London

Day 16: London

Day 17: Flight home, 10:30

Any recommendations on what to excise?
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