Ambitious Scotland Itinerary

Old Mar 4th, 2008, 07:24 AM
  #1  
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Ambitious Scotland Itinerary

My grandmother and I will be traveling to Scotland in July of this year. I received some wonderful advice here when grandma and I traveled through Ireland two years ago and was hoping to get some more help / suggestions.

Here痴 what I知 planning. I know this may seem rather ambitious; however, my grandma is in great shape and has no issues with staying on the move. Moreover, we will have a car, which will make it much easier to dictate our schedule.

Day 1-2: Edinburgh
We値l be staying at the Apex

Day 3-4: Aviemore
We haven稚 picked out a hotel at this time

Day 5-6: Skye
I知 in the process of researching B&Bs at this time

Day 7: Back to Edinburgh
We値l decompress at a hotel before traveling back to the States the next day.

As mentioned, I know this probably looks like too much in too little time; however our Ireland itinerary was very similar to this one. What do you good people think?
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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I did a similar trip to Scotland last fall with my parents who are both 70. It is possible for sure, but you will be spending a LOT of your vacation driving. For me, I knew this was the one chance we would get to do this together and I wanted to make sure we saw everything that was important for us to see. So I have no regrets - but it would have been nice to have a bit of downtime to explore these places more than we were able to.

We stayed in a fantastic B&B in Portree on Skye called Ben Tiabavaig:

http://www.ben-tianavaig.co.uk

Gill and David went out of their way to make our stay a great one. And it's a perfect location in the centre of this cozy little seaside town. You should definitely check them out.

Have fun!
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 08:58 AM
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Oops - that's supposed to read Ben Tianavaig.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 09:24 AM
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just two quick questions right now --

Why Aviemore? W/ such a short visit, Aviemore would not be my choice for 1/3 of my time.

and day 7 will be a doable but long drive w/ lots of great things to see (or more likely miss) enroute.

Maybe consider Edinburgh 1 night at the beginning, then 1 night in the Trossachs or Glencoe area, 2 nights on Skye, 1 night in the Trossachs or Glencoe (whichever one you skipped on the way to Skye) and the last night back in Edinburgh.

OR - If Skye is not a must -- concentrate on scenic areas
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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oops - didn't mean to click post . . . .

OR - If Skye is not a must -- concentrate on scenic areas in central Scotland.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 11:53 AM
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Aviemore was a consideration because of its proximity to Cairngorm and Loch Ness. I do agree that Glencoe should be a strong consideration. Is Skye worth the effort in your opinion? Or should I concentrate more on the Glencoe / Cairngorm area?
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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I wouldn't "concentrate" on the Cairngorm area at all. There is lovely scenery to be sure, but not any better than what you will see in other areas. Otherwise - there is not much "there there". If you had 2 or 3 weeks, then staying in Aviemore for a night or two makes loads of sense. But w/ less than 4 full days for seeing things outside of Edinburgh - I wouldn't spend it there.

And sorry, but Loch Ness isn't all that much to base a trip around either. It isn't really that scenic - just famous.

just my 2「
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 04:04 PM
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I tend to agree that I wouldn't choose Loch Ness or Cairngorm over Skye or Glen Coe. I would suggest you go to Skye passing through Glen Coe (possibly staying overnight there), taking the Road to the Isles and ferry from Mallaig to Skye. Spend 2 nights on Skye, then work your way back. If you must, you can detour up to Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness before heading back south, but I think you might be a little bit underwhelmed. Ideally, you would go back to Edinburgh a different way than that from which you came, but given your time limitations, that might not be possible. I would, however, suggest that even if you do end up backtracking, you consider staying someplace like Callender or Stirling for your last night, as those locations would make for an easy trip to the Edinburgh airport for anything but a very early morning flight.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 04:27 PM
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Driving to Skye with a stop for a night or two in Glencoe sounds like a good plan. On the drive back from Skye we took the Kyle of Locash (sp?) bridge and headed to Loch Ness, did a boat cruise with a one-hour stopover at Urquhart Castle, and then explored Culloden Battlefield near Inverness before stopping at our next destination which was Ballachulush. It is definitely doable.

I wanted to go to Loch Ness "just because" and I knew it wasn't going to be anything spectacular. I don't regret it - how can you go to Scotland and not see Loch Ness lol. But yes the other lochs I saw on my travels were more scenic for sure. But on the other hand, the one hour stopover at Urquhart Castle was a definite highlight for me. You can explore all through the castle and ruins which was really fascinating and a huge chunk of my photos came from there.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 04:33 PM
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Let me clarify - taking the route from Skye through Inverness/Loch Ness is easily doable if you're not driving all the way to Edinburgh. If you take the suggestion given above to stay in Stirling or Callander on your last night, you could fit in Loch Ness.
It's a very long drive from Skye to Edinburgh.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 02:12 AM
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"We値l be staying at the Apex" - make sure you know which one, as there are 3.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll be staying in Fort William as opposed to Aviemore for nights 3-4. This appears to be a good "hub" for some great sites.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 04:46 PM
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I would say if you'll be staying in Fort William, try to make it to Iona (off the Isle of Mull) if possible. It's really an extraordinary and beautiful place, especially if you're interested in history. The drive through Mull on the way is also lovely.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 05:17 PM
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Does any one know how Loch Ness got to be such a hit with tourists? Fair enough there's the monster myth but, as JanisJ continually points out on the forums, it really is one of our dullest lochs. 60 to 90 minutes from Glasgow by train or car you can be in the middle of the Arrochar Alps, Loch Lomond, The Trossachs, the sea lochs of the Clyde Estuary, Bute and Arran yet tens of thousands on the 4 hour slog up the A9 to Inverness and its Loch. Don't know what they're missing.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 05:19 PM
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Oops...there should be a "continue" in there somewhere. Memo to self, no posting after 1 AM.
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Old Mar 5th, 2008, 06:42 PM
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jshirema: I'm really not trying to rain on your plans -- but I also would NOT stay in FT William for 3 days. There are lovely places all around and about - but Ft William itself is not one of them.

It is basically a bottleneck on the main north/south road of western Scotland w/ a TON of B&B and hotels and not much else.

We can give you lots of other suggestions if you are interested.
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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janisj,
I am absolutely interested in your suggestions along with everyone else who's willing to help. Since, I am traveling with my 71 year old grandmother; I was hoping to spend two nights around the Fort William area. However, I'm not adamant about staying over in Fort William by any means.

When I was with grandma in Ireland, staying in one area for 2 nights worked well because she didn't feel as rushed.

I'm also the one who was asking about the train from Skye to Edinburgh. I should have posed that question on this thread. Sorry.



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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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My comment was not about staying 2 or 3 nights in one place. That is a very good idea. I meant that I wouldn't stay over in Ft William. It is not that nice a place.

But now you need to clarify a bit. I assumed you were doing this itinerary by car -- but the train question makes me think your plans are for public transport instead.

Touring by train/buses would totally change almost all of the advice/recommendations on this thread.

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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 11:30 AM
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Yes it is true that we will be renting a car which we'll use for the majority of our stay. However, It sounds like the trip from Skye to Edinburgh may be a long/arduous one. Moreover, I thought seeing some of Scotland by rail may be a nice touch. Skye is our final destination before heading back to Edinburgh for a night and my thoughts were to drop the car somewhere in the Highlands and take the train South. This may not be feasible or smart for that matter. It's just a consideration. While we are in the Fort William area, we will definitely have a car.
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Old Mar 6th, 2008, 11:53 AM
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There aren't many places in the Highlands where one can drop a car w/ a 1-way rental. Inverness is about it - and only a handful of agencies there have that option. The Highlands is open scenery, tiny hamlets, villages a few small towns.

For instance, on Skye - there are only very small local rental agencies -- really taxi companies that also rent out a few cars -- and you can't leave their cars elsewhere.

Now, the train trip from Ft William to Mallaig is gorgeous. But to use it to get to Skye means taking a ferry, then a long slow bus ride (or a long slow taxi ride) to someplace like Portree, then a long slow bus/taxi ride back to either Armadale or Kyle of Lochalsh to catch a train to anywhere.

If you just want to take a train day-trip - Ft William to Mallaig and back would be fun. But not as a way to tour Skye. It would just be out and back.


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