A month in Scotland - good home base?

Dec 31st, 2016, 09:13 AM
  #1  
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A month in Scotland - good home base?

Hi there,

My husband and I are planning a trip to Scotland in the month of June. As we will be traveling with our baby daughter, we're hoping to find an area to base ourselves for the month (or split our time between two home bases; a couple of weeks in each place). We will be renting a car from Glasgow and returning to Glasgow at the end of the month. We would like to see the Highlands (possibly the Isle of Skye) and castles. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!
jncyng is offline  
Dec 31st, 2016, 09:21 AM
  #2  
 
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I would recommend instead 3 or even four bases. Scotland is very large, and the travel is pretty slow in most areas so four 1-week cottage rentals would at least let you cover a few parts of the country.

Well sastles ain't a problem since there are hundreds

If I had four one-week rentals, one would be somewhere on the east coast (Fife or Aberdeenshire), one would be west or northwest of Inverness, one would be in the Trossachs, and one would be either in the Borders, in the far southwest, or on either Skye or Mull.
janisj is online now  
Dec 31st, 2016, 09:56 AM
  #3  
 
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janisj's idea of multiple bases actually makes a lot of sense, due to the diversity of Scotland, and the distances involved.

One place to consider (for a week or so) is the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park. It used to be a tightly-woven new age community, but has over the decades devolved into just a really nice, easy place to live for lots of people, with lots of eco-thingies and houses made out of old whisky mash tun barrels and plenty of families with young kids.

You can rent a chalet or caravan through the Findhorn Bay Holiday Park: http://findhornbayholidaypark.com/accom_ecochalets.php

though the best deal might be through one of the B&B listings: https://findhorn.cc/services/bed-breakfast-list/

It's a good location for drives along the Moray Firth and up into Speyside distillery country; very close to Culloden; not too far from Black Isle, or for a swing down Loch Ness.
dfourh is offline  
Dec 31st, 2016, 11:02 AM
  #4  
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Thank you both for your thoughtful responses! Findhorn Bay Holiday Park definitely looks interesting. Any thoughts on staying in or around Cairngorms to reach either the Eastern or Western Highlands? In my research, I've also read that Pitlochry may be easily accessible to various sights.
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Dec 31st, 2016, 11:58 AM
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Pitlochry would make a nice base for short trips - - it's worth pulling up Google Maps to plan out some distances. Pitlochry might mean some very long driving (and sometimes some demanding driving) to other major areas of interest. It's an hour north of Stirling, then close to two hours to Inverness or to Ft. William; an hour of intense highway driving to get to Aviemore on the A9, an hour and a half to Ballater.

It depends on how much touring you are up for - - and driving in Scotland requires particular concentration - - the roads tend to be narrow and winding (though it can be scenic and enjoyable driving); the A9 north toward Inverness, on the other hand, has a lot of commercial traffic and can be a delicate balance of responding to flow and choosing when to pass. Attempting multiple long day trips might be a bit taxing from Pitlochry.
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Dec 31st, 2016, 12:54 PM
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I personally would not stay in either the Cairngorms nor pitlochry. Nothing wrong w/ either, but for the north Findhorn would be great, easy day trips to the castle trail, aberdeenshire, inverness area etc. And for farther south I'd stay in the Trossachs like eat Callander
janisj is online now  
Dec 31st, 2016, 01:30 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for your thoughts. I think we will spend the majority of our time up north, either Findhorn or around Inverness. We are more interested in the nature and coastlines of Scotland (rather than the cities). It sounds like Findhorn is the favourite here?
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Dec 31st, 2016, 01:39 PM
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Findhorn is fine, but almost ALL of Scotland other than Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen is rural and scenic. There aren't many cities. I would not say Findhorn is the 'favorite' . . . It is but one nice area to stay. Personally, there are easily 35 or 40 more/just as scenic paces to base.
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Dec 31st, 2016, 03:53 PM
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I think we will spend the majority of our time up north, either Findhorn or around Inverness. We are more interested in the nature and coastlines of Scotland (rather than the cities). It sounds like Findhorn is the favourite here?

Well, not to me. Findhorn is near Inverness, and unless you want to take your baby daughter on a tour of whisky distilleries or tour a rather bleak battlefield, I have a hard time imagining what you'd do with your days.

Look at holiday rentals, VRBOs, even B&Bs on the west coast rather than the Moray Firth. The coastline around Nairn is low and relatively featureless compared to the west coast. This is what it looks like at Findhorn - https://goo.gl/maps/6zaGkE8rXWz - and that's pretty representative.

Compare that to this view of the small village of Plockton, a few minutes' drive from the road bridge to Skye - https://goo.gl/maps/BigahZn1L982 - or the Glenfinnan monument and the "Harry Potter" viaduct behind, near the village of Glenfinnan along the "Road to the Isles" - https://goo.gl/maps/MU4CgEXj1xT2 - or the Loch Fyne shore in the Argyll village of Inveraray - https://goo.gl/maps/2aApDhp4neS2 . (Use your mouse to pan around or move about.)

These are only samples of places; I could show others all over the west coast.

Personally, there are easily 35 or 40 more/just as scenic paces to base.

What janisj said.
Gardyloo is offline  
Dec 31st, 2016, 04:23 PM
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Thanks - I appreciate your thoughts, and I agree. Somewhere along the west coast will probably be better for us to spend an extended period of time in, especially with a baby.

Thank you all!
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Dec 31st, 2016, 07:45 PM
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>>Somewhere along the west coast will probably be better for us to spend an extended period of time in, especially with a baby. <<

Please don't take this wrong -- but it almost seems like you get really enthused by every suggestion and jump. The west coast of Scotland is fabulous - but look at a map. A extended-period base on the west coast will limit you to a few places in the immediate area.

I've stayed a week in Plockton -- but to be honest that would be about my limit unless I lived there.


>>Personally, there are easily 35 or 40 more/just as scenic paces to base.

What janisj said.<<

What Gardyloo said
janisj is online now  
Jan 1st, 2017, 04:39 AM
  #12  
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To be honest, I think we'll be fairly happy with many places in Scotland. Scotland is beautiful.
I'm just looking for somewhere scenic, from where we can do some short day trips here and there. I'm not expecting to hit all the sights and different parts of Scotland - more to find a place to call "home" for a month. Mainly, I'm just really looking for a place where my husband can do his work (remotely - he's a computer programmer), where I can take occasional long walks with the baby (I'm on maternity leave), and perhaps meet a few friendly locals . I've been to Scotland some years ago and did the Castle and Distillery routes, as well as visited Edinburgh and Glasgow. What stuck with me most are the lochs and rugged coastlines (different from what we have here in Canada), so I'm just looking for a place that would make the most of that!
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Jan 1st, 2017, 05:36 AM
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Okay, that helps. It sounds like you need a place with pretty decent infrastructure - reliable broadband internet, etc., and probably not a wee village where the majority of people will be transient. (Plockton is a lovely but very small place; on any given day probably the majority of people in the village will be visitors; the same goes for many other Highland communities.)

I keep coming back to Oban, which is big enough (year-round) to offer good facilities, has plenty of people who aren't just passing through, and which is in easy driving range from numerous beautiful areas - Mull and the islands, Kilmartin and its prehistoric monuments, Loch Fyne, Morven, Glen Coe and the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Oban has a Tesco, a couple of Boots branches, a cinema.. and even though it's by no means "quaint" or as picturesque as some places, it's small enough to be a community and small enough to let you get away quickly and easily. You can go to a shinty match (look it up) or hear lots of music at various venues. I think it would be a good fit.
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Jan 1st, 2017, 05:39 AM
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ok - - i just put together a photo album from my last 2 visits around the Moray Firth (one June, one November; really lucky with the weather both times) just to give people an impression of what's to see and what's to do - - it's an untouristed area, and I hope it stays that way:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougla...57676699075152

It starts with five actually good-looking pictures from that very spot that looks so dull in Gardyloo's Google image; then some shots in the Findhorn community; then Duffus Castle; a fish shop in Elgin; the towns of Findochty & Cullen on the coast; tasting at the Aberlour distillery; Randolph's Leap near Forres - - then more fish in Forres; Burghead Well; a drive up to Black Isle with a stop at Cawdor Tavern near Cawdor castle on the return; and finally a longer swing out to Fraserburgh to the Lighthouse Museum. (If you want to read a GREAT book, check out 'The Lighthouse Stevensons' -- about the family of Robert Louis that built Scotlands lighthouses.)
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Jan 1st, 2017, 07:05 AM
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OK -- IMO/IME Plockton is not what you want. Oban, or just outside in a rented cottage would be a good choice. (I agree w/ dfourh re the Moray Firth area - parts are really lovely)

But w/ your new post -- you know where I'd maybe/probably head? Somewhere in Fife. Maybe a cottage in Crail. Great beaches, really lovely fishing villages, St Andrews, the Isle of May, a decent base for exploring places like Glamis, and Dunnottar, and day trip into Edinburgh, or to Stirling, or into the Borders . . . but also a decent infrastructure.

http://www.beachhousewalk.com/assets...140807_004.png


OR -- another possibility, someplace along the Ayrshire or Dumfries and Galloway coasts. That would also give you great beaches, and a base for exploring anyplace from Glasgow to Cumbria/Hadrian's Wall.
janisj is online now  
Jan 1st, 2017, 08:10 AM
  #16  
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Wow, so many more options. It looks like I'll have to do some more research into these places. Many thanks for all your help, you have given me lots of ideas. Thanks, dfourh for sharing your photos, they're beautiful - looks like a great trip!

Happy New Year!
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Jan 3rd, 2017, 08:24 AM
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oooooh - - was planning next summer's trip (including a driving tour Inverness to Ullapool / Lochinver / Clynelish distillery / Tain / Inverness) and came across this website, that gave great descriptions of rarely-taken single-track roads where you'll see nary a soul - - looks really worth a look to plan regional sightseeing in depth:

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/index.html
dfourh is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2017, 09:16 AM
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Undiscovered Scotland has been the go to site for decades -- it has been around since at least the mid 90's and it is a wonder.
janisj is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2017, 09:26 AM
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Bookmarking. Thanks everyone
dwdvagamundo is offline  
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