6 days/7 nights in Scotland

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Apr 15th, 2004, 09:46 AM
  #1
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6 days/7 nights in Scotland

Hey everyone! I'm trying to put together an itinerary beginning in Glasgow and ending in Edinburgh Sept 28-Oct 5. We are planning on renting a car once we head out of Glasgow and returning it when we arrive in Edinburgh. Wanting to see as much as possible. Just to note, my husband's family comes from just south of Glasgow (Ardrossan area), central highlands, and Isle of Lewis (Stornoway). We don't have to visit all 3 spots b/c we don't want to compromise missing out on key places, but if possible to visit all 3, that would be great. We definitely want to stay 2-3 nights in Edinburgh. Thanks in advance for your help!
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Apr 15th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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OK - you only have 6 days and want to spend 2 or 3 of those in Edinburgh. This really cuts back on how much you can see. I'd forget about Stornoway this trip just because of the logistics.

Where abouts in the "central Highlands" -- that is a big area.

But assuming east of Loch Ness and west of Aberdeenshire, here is a way you could squeeze in a lot:

Don't stay in Glasgow. Upon arriving pick up a rental car and drive down into Ayrshire to spend the first night. I don't usually recommend driving a lot on the first day - but down to Ardrossan/Troon/Prestwick/Ayr is not a tough drive.

You can explore Ardossan and the area around it that day and then the next day do any other exploring you want - Culzean Castle, the golf courses, whatever.

Then leaving Ardrossan I'd drive up across the Dmbarton Bridge and along Loch Lomond and spend the night somewhere near Crianlarich or - if you got an early start farther north like outside Ft William. You'd see Loch Lomond, Glencoe, some great scenery, etc.

Now where you go depends on where the highland part of the family came from. Your third night should be near where ever that is.

Then down through the Perthshire countryside seeing maybe Lochs Tay and Earn. Spend the night somewhere near Striling or Callander.

Then in to Edinburgh, turn in the car and stay 2 nights there.
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Apr 15th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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Thanks Janis! Just realized that we are arriving at Prestwick airport b/c we are taking a flight from Shannon (we'll be in Ireland for a few days prior) so staying around that area will be perfect.

If I remember correctly, my husbands family is from the loch lomond area, so I guess that's not really central highlands.

So, b/c his family is from that area, should we still stay in Crianlarich or should we head to Oban?

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Apr 15th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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Prestwick works out great for you -- you'll be right there w/o having to drive more than a few miles.

I don't think going to Oban is a good use of your limited time. There are many better places to visit - unless you were going over to Mull. But with your limited time that's probably not in the cards.

No - Loch Lomond is definitely not "highlands" but it is a wonderful area. Do you know where near Loch Lomond the family is from? Because if it is over to to east then you can have a wonderful couple of days exploring that area including Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, several lochs, waterfalls, Balquhidder (where Rob Roy is buried), Inchmahome Priory (on an island in the middle of the only "lake" in Scotland).

With the new info think of 2 nights in Ayrshire - there is a LOT to see besides family sites/Ardrossan.

Then 2 nights somewhere just east of Loch Lomond - Aberfoyle or maybe Callander area. Leaving Ardrossan, travel up the west shore of Loch Lomond and then through Crianlarich, take a short detour to Killen for the Falls of Dochart, then down into the Trossachs. if your B&B is near Aberfoyle you will be on the road that goes to the east shore of Loch Lomond at Inversnaid. The next day you can visit Stirling and Doune castles or just wander around the Trossachs.

Then drive into Edinburgh for the last 2 nights. It is a good idea to drop your rental car at the airport and take the cheap airport shuttle into the city. BUT if you need to get back to Prestwick, the easiest way would be to drive from Edinburgh - so you might want to keep the car even tho' you won't need it in Edinburgh.

(BTW - if the family connections are west of Loch Lomond I'd do the same itinerary - except stay the 2 nights in a B&B in Luss or Tarbet and use it as a base to explore Loch Lomond and parts of Argyll before heading to Edinburgh)
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Apr 15th, 2004, 10:23 PM
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Let me give a different twist to this trip for you?

I definitely agree that, arriving at Prestwick you should do the Ayrshire coast first. Pick up your hire car, and head south. Can you give us an aidea what time your plane gets in. You see, I absolutely guarantee that if you go to Lewis it will be the bit of your holiday that remains with you for ever.

But again, the obvious thing to do is fly from Glasgow to Stornoway, if you are to fit this in. There's a flight at 6pm at night, which you might want to try for on the day you get there, or you could get the 9am the next day if that would work better for you.

Then stay there on the 30th and come back to Glasgow on the 5.20pm flight on the 1st. (Cost 30-1) is less than £100.

When you get back you have comfortable time to drive up to either Rowardennan or Inverernan and have apleasant evening on the shores of Loch Lomond (which is Highland by anyone's standards.

Next day drive round the loch in a leisurely fashion and south through Balquhidder and Callender to Stirling and Edinburgh, and stay there till you go home.

More hassle but so much more rewarding
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Apr 16th, 2004, 05:52 AM
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Thanks Janis again for your input and thanks Sheila for your twist...now I have some thinking to do.

Janis and Sheila, I actually have an additional night that wasn't accounted for, so I need to pick your brain again.

If I go with Janis's plan:
2 nights in Ayrshire
2 nights in Aberfoyle or Callander
1 night ?
2 nights in Edinburgh

Shelia, I believe we arrive in the late afternoon sometime around 4 or 5, so it might be tough taking that flight that evening.

So, if I choose your plan Sheila and take a flight to Lewis, does this sound right?
2 night in Ayrshire...head to Glasgow and take flight to Lewis?
2 nights in Lewis?
1 night highlands area?
2 nights in Edinburgh

Also, could you both reccommend some good B&B's?

Thanks for all your help. I've been reading so many threads, but there's nothing like getting answers to your own questions!

Sarah
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Apr 16th, 2004, 06:13 AM
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Hi - Just a vote for you to take up Janis's suggestion that you visit Inchmahome Priory. It is a magical place. My husband and I happened upon it by accident while driving through the countryside. We saw a some cars parked along the road by a lake and got out to see what was there. A boat was about to leave for an island so we bought a ticket, grabbed a brochure and got on. Only then did we realize that we were headed for the ruins of a priory where Mary had been hidden away as a small child to protect her from assassins.

The site itself is beautiful and taking a picnic lunch would be ideal. We think of it as one of our favorite memories of Scotland.

Portia
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Apr 17th, 2004, 06:36 AM
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Thanks Portia! I'll look in to that
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Apr 17th, 2004, 07:19 AM
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Canoli

with the extra night what I'd do would bebr />
Night 1 somewhere in Ayrshire. Do the Ayr tourist trail next day; night 2 either same place or at an airport hotel. Day 2 flight to Lewis and come back the following early evening; drive over the river and up to Loch Lomond. Day 4 drive round the Loch and head through the Trossachs towards Edinburgh. To be homest, if i had to lose something it would be the Ayrshire bit, but each to their own....
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Apr 18th, 2004, 05:17 AM
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As a resident of Edinburgh for many years,now living in Canada, I would like to make the following suggestions. Firstly, you really do not have time to visit Lewis and the outer isles. Driving in the north of Scotland is very slow with one track roads being quite common. Ardrossan is really quite a sad place and not worth a visit. However, I would recommend taking the ferry from Ardrossan to the Isle of Arran. It is a 55 minute trip and cost about 5 pounds per person. Arran is advertised as Scotland in miniature and it is true. You can get a round the island bus at the pier in Brodick and tour the island all day, getting back in time for the last boat back or you could stay in one of the many bed and breakfast establishments in Brodick. My parents used to live in Brodick and I know it well.
If you would be interested in doing a tour from Edinburgh, using your car, I can recommend East Lothian. Going to Gifford and going over the moors to Kelso is a very nice trip and as part of your day, youi could include some of the gorgeous mansions that are open to the public.They are places like Floors Castle, Mellerstain(home of the silver staircase) and Abbotsford, one time home of Sir Walter Scott. These places are not all that well known and the tourist traffic is not high. However, they are spectacular if you are interested in that sort of thing.
Best of luck and I hope the weather is kind. That is what makes or breaks a holiday in Scotland

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Apr 20th, 2004, 05:20 PM
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Janis or Sheila: If we choose not to go to Isle of Lewis and just stay 1 night in Ayrshire, would it be reasonable to stay 1 night in or near Glencoe and travel to Isle of Skye...or can we easily get there from the Aberfoyle or Callander area?

Thanks,
Sarah
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Apr 20th, 2004, 11:26 PM
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canoli: If you only stay the one night in Ayrshire and skip Lewis you'd have time to do the Trossachs, Glencoe, AND Skye.

You can easily drive from Callander through Glencoe, have enough time to see the Glencoe visitors' center, then a quick stop at Glenfinnan and be to the ferry At Mallaig by late afternoon/early evening. You really don't have to stay the night at Glencoe.
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Apr 21st, 2004, 12:47 AM
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I think it's reasonable to drive to Glencoe. If I were you, I'd not try to cram Skye into that agenda. You COULD do it, but you kind of need seven league boots and I suspect it might not be that much fun.

You are probably misunderstanding the narrowness and twistiness of Scottish rural roads.
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Apr 29th, 2004, 06:28 AM
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ok...so it's been awhile since I have been on this thread and I'm still just as confused as I was earlier on deciding where to go. I'm sorry to keep hounding this issue but we now have another couple traveling with us and they are leaving out of Glasgow on Sunday AM while we are leaving out of Edinburgh Tues AM. Would it make sense to stay:
1 night in Ayr
2 nights in Callander
1 night in Oban
1 night somehere on the way to edinburgh and easy access to glasgow or Oban again or just stay in Edinburgh and make it 3 nights there
2 nights in Edinburgh...or 3

Thanks,
Sarah
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Apr 29th, 2004, 08:28 AM
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OK - to confuse you even more

Callander and the area around it is very convenient to both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

SO -- If you really want to go to Oban you could do it this way:

Ayrshire 1 night

Oban 1 night

1 night somewhere else like near Invergarry/Spean Bridge or even, with a stretch, on Skye. Near Invergarry would be my choice since you could see a lot of great scenery including Glencoe, the great glen, etc.

2 nights Callander

Then your friends leave for Glasgow and you travel on to Edinburgh.
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Apr 29th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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Thanks Janis! I don't have to go to Oban, I just thought it would be nice to visit Isle of Mull. I'm just trying to see as much as possible. So, if you feel there are better places to visit, then I'll take you up on that
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Apr 29th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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forgot to ask...which place is better to stay... ardrossan or ayr??
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Apr 29th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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OK - how about this?

1 night in Ayrshire - I wouldn't stay in Ardrossan, but probably a little farther down the coast in Ayr, Troon or Prestwick. Troon has some lovely B&Bs.

Next day drive through Argyll to Oban. here you have a couple of choices. Either stay the night in Oban and take an early a.m. ferry to Mull for a day trip and getting back to Oban in the early evening then driving to somewhere near Ballacullish/Glencoe. Then the next day down to The Trossachs/Callander.

OR - even better to my way of thinking - stay TWO nights in Ayrshire. This will give you 1 full day to explore and search family roots. Then leave Ayrshire early in the morning and drive to Oban to catch the Mull ferry by noon/early afternoon. It is less than 120 miles from Troon to Oban. This will let you stay on Mull instead of in Oban. Spend that 1/2+ day and the next day until about mid/late afternoon exploring Mull. Then take the ferry back to Oban and drive to the Callander area.

To do either of these itineraries you should pre-book your ferry through the CalMac website. That way you won't have to wait if the ferries are running full.

An Ayrshire/Mull/Trossachs/Edinburgh itinerary will give you a really amazing range of scenery/castles/etc.
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Apr 30th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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Thanks so much Janis! Now I have a better idea as to how to plan our trip
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Apr 30th, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Janis,
Since we are going to have a rental car, is that going to be a problem traveling to Mull? Are you allowed to leave your vehicle at the ferry station? If so, can you leave it overnight and is it safe?
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