4 days in Scotland

Feb 27th, 2015, 11:19 AM
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4 days in Scotland

We are flying to London on June 4th for a wedding June 6th and have decided to tack on some time in Scotland. Our plan would be to take a train from King's Cross to Edinburgh sometime on Sunday June 7th. We would fly home from Edinburgh likely on Friday June 12th or possibly add one extra day and fly home on Saturday.

This has come up suddenly, as it seems to with us, and I've just done a quick look on the forum. Gardyloo suggested a route to another traveller. http://goo.gl/maps/LLG48

This looks appealing but I'm not sure it's doable in our time. Any suggestions as how to modify if we fly home Friday or Saturday? I have to book flights by tomorrow midnight.

I guess we would stay in Edinburgh Sunday night (hotel suggestions?) and then pick up a rental car the next day (auto Europe?) and head out staying somewhere en route each night. Suggestions as to how to break the trip up to our best advantage and in which places/lodgings to overnight?

We would have to be back in Edinburgh the night before leaving as our first flight home would be at 6 am on either the Friday or Saturday.

Gardyloo if you are here, I did send you an email to your website. I don't see any way to contact you directly from this forum.

Many, many thanks to anyone who can help out!!
s1a2r3 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2015, 11:53 AM
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That is a terrific route . . . it would be a little rushed in your short time and you'd be cutting Edinburgh awfully short. The time of year is in your favor since it will be daylight til well after 10PM.

I'd make this modification: Unless you need to stay in London the night of the 6th (after-wedding responsibilities or?? ) You could take the sleeper train up to Edinburgh arriving in the early AM. Pick up your rental car Sunday morning and head out to Fife/St Andrews. (There is no play on the Old Course on Sundays so you can see the entire course if you'd like) Sunday night in/near St andrews (F on the map).

Monday night in Glencoe (C on the map). Tuesday night somewhere south of Oban or in Inveraray (B on the map). Wed night in Callander (it is between Loch Lomond and Stirling on that map - you'd skip the loop down to Glasgow). This would be a base for the Trossachs, Inchmahome Priory and Doune Castle. Thurs morning visit Stirling Castle, drive to EDI, drop the car and spend Thurs afternoon and all day Friday in Edinburgh. Fly home Sat AM.

If you DO have to be in London Sat night do the same thing - just fly up to EDI early Sunday morning, collect your car first thing and head out.
janisj is online now  
Feb 27th, 2015, 12:24 PM
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A85 is an often narrow highway, it certainly has a dangerous design (or lack of) by my standards for the posted speed. Will you have a small car to help squeeze thru the skinny bits?

Are you leaving time to take a long hike?

Also on this right on this itinerary, if they interest you:

Standing stones: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=24405

Pictish stone: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/...?PropID=PL_139

In addition to the more popular sights, of ocurse.
tom_mn is offline  
Feb 27th, 2015, 12:31 PM
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Thanks janisj I saw this briefly a while ago and groaned because I thought you'd written 'this is a TERRIBLE' route. I've now cleaned my glasses and come back to read. You LIKE this route!

We are not golfers but go to St. Andrews for the sights?

I'm feeling stupid but you refer to letters on the map? I don't seem to see them.

When I saw your post I was just about to ask if we should be looking at trains (ie West Highland line) rather than renting a car?

Going to look now at the map and follow your suggested course. Thank you!!
s1a2r3 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2015, 01:28 PM
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Meant to say would peruse your suggested course.

tom_mn where would you suggest a hike on this route?

Any suggestions for lodging on this route? In early June would we be ok without reservations ahead do you think?

s1a2r3 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2015, 02:49 PM
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(Note I tend to be aggressive with road trip plans, so take this with a grain...)

What I'd do in your situation would be to consider flying to Glasgow from London (cheaper than the train/sleeper) and start your road trip there. Note there are flights from Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports, all priced similarly, so depending on where in London the wedding is, pick your airport for the lowest cost/hassle all in (i.e. transport to the airport, flight cost.)

Drive on the Sunday past Loch Lomond and around to Inverary. On Monday, travel from Inverary to Glencoe via Kilmartin (many prehistoric bits and pieces - standing stones, stone circles, burial cairns etc.) and up through Oban. If your timing is slow, you could spend the second night in Oban, or else just continue on to Glencoe. You shouldn't have too much trouble with accommodations on a Monday in early June.

I'd return to Edinburgh via Stirling and the heritage village of Culross on the Firth of Forth. Stirling's castle is well known (and frankly I'd skip a tour of it, see below) but Culross is a wee gem often overlooked by visitors, which is understandable given the industrial landscape in the area. Read this - http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/culross/culross/ You could stop for the night in Callander as Janis suggests, but I'd push through to Edinburgh, but stay outside the city, maybe in South Queensferry.

So that would put you back in Edinburgh around Tuesday night, but I wouldn't lose the car just yet. The next day - if you don't mind a couple of hours' (very nice) drive, aim for Bamburgh to gawk at its amazing castle, and spend the night on the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne on the Northumberland coast.

Along with Kilmartin, the Holy Isle would fill your head with Celtic images and legends, and Bamburgh Castle is right up there with Edinburgh and Stirling castles for visual impact. Return to Edinburgh on Thursday morning (via the Borders with maybe a short stop and a half pint at the Black Bull in Etal, England's most northerly thatched pub.) Spend the rest of your time in Edinburgh.

Possible timing -

Sunday - London to Glasgow to Inverary

Monday - Inverary to Kilmartin to Oban to Glencoe

Tuesday - Glencoe to Edinburgh (say South Queensferry) via Culross.

Wednesday - Edinburgh area to Bamburgh to Holy Isle

Thursday - Holy Isle to Edinburgh via Etal and Coldstream.

Thursday PM - Saturday/Sunday - Edinburgh.

Inverary - http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...ray/index.html
Kilmartin - http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...tin/kilmartin/
Bamburgh - http://gardyloo.us/bamburghcastle2.jpg
Holy Isle - https://www.lindisfarne.org.uk
Etal - http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...tal/index.html

Map - http://goo.gl/maps/DrvvV
Gardyloo is online now  
Feb 27th, 2015, 03:14 PM
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Oh my goodness. My Scottish blood is racing through my veins. I'm a MacDonald - a meeting of the orange and the green , my very recently departed mother a Dolan.

I am off to Montreal tomorrow but one thing I know for certain, we will add that extra day on and return to Canada on Saturday.

I thank you all so very much and will likely have more questions within the hour.

You are all so very kind.
s1a2r3 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2015, 05:03 PM
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OK - then another spanner in the works. If you are a McDonald glencoe is a must. . . But the Clan Donald centre is just across on the ferry to Skye. So you could do your 'spare' day as Gardyloo suggests in Northumberland and the Borders . . . OR . . . You could use it on a jaunt out to Skye after Oban / glencoe.

If it was me, in Northumberland I'd look at Bamburgh, but visit Alnwick. The castle is amazing and in June the gardens would really be spectacular. On the way down to Bamburgh/Alnwick you must stp and see St Abbs Head . . . Sort of the Big Sur of Scotland.

(What you REALLY need to do is ditch the wedding and spend all your time in Scotland )
janisj is online now  
Feb 27th, 2015, 06:12 PM
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ah but she's a bonnie lass. And her father-in-law to be is the vicar at the church in London. Thank you all so much. I will drive to be with family in Montreal tomorrow and we will open Christmas gifts as we spent the holidays in the hospital with my Mom. I'll be checking back here all the while. Goodnight from snowy Ottawa.
s1a2r3 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 08:26 AM
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Sorry I did not respond earlier, there are of course 10,000 hikes possible, here is a list of hikes around the most scenic highlands area, the Glencoe area
Note that despite the very low relative elevation, there might be some snow on the trails in June. Must be one heck of a chilly spring they have there.
tom_mn is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 08:59 AM
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Here's a snap I took at the head of Glen Etive (next to Glen Coe) in June a couple of years ago. Miami it ain't.

Gardyloo is online now  
Mar 1st, 2015, 10:20 AM
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One of our favourite short walks is the Lochans walk in Glencoe. It isn't too long and can be easily fitted into a busy schedule which you have.
Don't try and pack too much into your four days and allow yourselves time to just stop and stare and enjoy the scenery.
ESW is offline  
May 14th, 2015, 05:49 PM
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ok .. I am back and this trip is back on and I am in need of your help. I thank you for sticking with me on this .. life has been a little bit precarious.
My husband loves the train so I am thinking of train from Kings Cross 10 am to Glasgow.

Overnight in Glasgow -- maybe Grasshopper? Monday drive through sights to OBAN?

Tuesday drive to Isle of Sky and stay perhaps at Viewfield House?

Wed, back to near Glencoe ... Ballachullish hotel?

Thursday drive through Trossachs -- callander etc and end up in Edinburgh. Drop rental car off.

Spend Friday in Edingburgh (WHERE???) and leave bright and early Monday morning for airport.

This is written so hurriedly ... please comment and help me.

Many thanks!

Gardyloo thank you and will look more closely at your suggestions ...took your advice and decided to train into Glasgow. Could have done it much more inexpensively by flying but this is a concession to husband. Also , others have convinced us to see isle of skye.

Feel free to completely suggest new routings and I will look tomorrow. I am SO late in booking hotels. Isle of Sky is super expensive!!

Husband has just had a root canal and this is where he will sleep tonight so I will be more specific in the morning!
s1a2r3 is offline  
May 14th, 2015, 07:49 PM
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The biggest problem is Skye. Leaving Oban and driving to Skye only to drive back off the Isle immediately the next morning leaves almost no worthwhile time at all ON Skye. Oban to Portree takes nearly 5 hours w/o a stop.

GLA (picking up the car out at the airport is easy) to Skye would only take maybe 45 minutes longer. So if it was me - I'd forget about Oban and drive directly from Glasgow/GLA to Skye and spend 2 nights there. This still only gives you 1.5 days ON Skye but 1.5 is 1000000% better than .5.

For you next day I'd stay right IN Glencoe. Maybe at the Clachaig Inn


Hope your hubby feels better in the morning . . .
janisj is online now  
May 15th, 2015, 06:10 AM
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While on Skye be sure to visit the Clan Donald Vistor Centre on the Sleat Peninsula. It's full of Mac Donald history. An excellent museum. I would certainly go for as much time on Skye as possible. Skye for a half day and an overnight is hardly worth the effort.

The Clachaig Inn is a great place, especially for a Mac Donald.
historytraveler is online now  
May 15th, 2015, 08:43 AM
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Thank you so much. Janis you mention picking up the car at the airport .. if we stay near the train station in Glasgow would we not be better to pick it up there?

I'm trying not to make the first day of driving too long as husband adapts to standard and different side of road.

I've just spoken to Clachaig Inn and right now it would be possible to stay there 2 nights, Monday and Wednesday. i.e. we arrive Glasgow Sunday afternoon and stay near train station. Monday am we pick up car and drive north to Glencoe. Would we be missing fantastic scenery by skipping that Kilmartin, Oban, Inverary part of the route?

Would it make any sense to leave Glencoe Tuesday morning and drive across the bridge to Skye , heading down from Broadford and staying somewhere near the Clan MacDonald Visitor Centre Tuesday night and then Wed morning take the ferry and go back to Glencoe for the night?

Thursday we'd make the drive to Edinburgh through Callander etc and spend Friday in Edinburgh.

s1a2r3 is offline  
May 15th, 2015, 09:26 AM
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(Unless I was very VERY used to driving in the UK) . . . Even if I was staying right next door to the central city rental location, I'd still take the bus to GLA and collect my car there. Much easier than navigating Glasgow traffic. Getting out of GLA is a piece of cake and you are only about 25 minutes from Loch Lomond.

This would be a much easier first drive/experience than fighting city traffic while trying to decipher the road signs and adapting to the 'wrong side or the road'.

Kilmartin is interesting but not what I'd call spectacular scenery or anything. The Spectacular scenery is in Glencoe and on Skye. Oban is OK but not that special -- unless you were going to Mull.

(If you are MacDonalds do you really want to visit Inveraray and give your ££ to a Campbell )

Your idea for Skye misses 80% of the island and most of the best bits. I'd REALLY recommend two nights minimum on Skye. That would give you about half a day for the south/Clan Donald and a day for the spectacular Trotternish and other areas at the other end of Skye.
janisj is online now  
May 15th, 2015, 10:25 AM
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Look, if you want to reduce the stress of driving from Glasgow into the Highlands, why not just ride the train all the way from London to Inverness and collect the car there? That would reduce the time needed to get out to Skye (and would allow a much more scenic route than from Glasgow); you could then work your way back south via Glencoe and drop the car at GLA on the way out.

The price of the train from London to Inverness will be a little more than to Glasgow, but probably not as much as the additional day's car hire would cost, and the car rental itself won't be very expensive, even given the one-way drop fee, if there even is one. You could also take a sleeper train from London to Inverness and save the cost of a hotel night if you choose.
Gardyloo is online now  
May 15th, 2015, 10:32 AM
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Gardyloo makes a good suggestion -- forget Glasgow altogether and just take the train all the way to Inverness. But IF you do want to stop in Glasgow . . . then definitely collect your car at GLA.
janisj is online now  
May 15th, 2015, 12:31 PM
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My tiny brain is fried so I do greatly appreciate yours!

I find the idea of train to Inverness interesting, but at first glance it looks like such a long time on the train where we would be itching to pull over and breathe that Scottish air! Also looks quite a bit more expensive to go that far north but I could well be wrong. The upside of course is being able to relax and enjoy the scenery. I gather gardyloo from what you said that the scenery would be lovely.

(I'm just looking at your note again Gardyloo - Did you mean that the scenery from the train up to Inverness is nicer than the road trip from Glasgow?)

Do you know which train is preferable? I doubt that we'd do the sleeper train so would want to leave Sunday morning from London.

Now, if we do make our way to Skye on Monday, where would you suggest we situate ourselves?

Here's what I've been looking at. Accommodation is expensive and not readily available at this late date.

Option 1 - train to Glasgow (as planned) on Sunday, Glasgow overnight, car at airport to Toravaig House (nice place) in south. Looks to be 4 hrs and 20 min including ferry.

Tues. am drive north to peninsula and tour around. Stay at Viewfield House Portree (they have no rooms on the Monday)

Wed. a.m. drive 3 hours to Clachaig Inn at Glencoe.

Thursday - drive 2hrs 37 min ending up in Edinburgh. 2 nights there and early departure Saturday.

Option 2 - train to Inverness on Sunday and stay there overnight.

- Monday 2 hrs 15 minutes to Toravaig House Hotel.

- Tuesday - head north and tour peninsula staying night at Viewfield house.

Wed. a.m. drive 3 hours to Clachaig Inn at Glencoe.

Thursday - drive 2hrs 37 min (see Culross?) ending up in Edinburgh.

Drop car off in Edinburgh on Thursday.

Does this make sense?

I'll probably have to book these hotels soon. Again .. many, many thanks.
s1a2r3 is offline  

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