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Bus Tours in Scotland???

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Apr 24th, 2014, 10:13 PM
  #1
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Bus Tours in Scotland???

My mother and I have a limited time to visit Scotland - just 6 1/2 days. Given her age (70) and the fact that we are arriving by train, I thought a bus tour the best. Maybe 4-5 days touring and a day in Edinbough enjoying the city? But there are so many being offered, I just can't figure out the 'best'. And for us, 'best' means most informative, friendly, all encompassing, I guess. Suggestions, please!!! What company have you enjoyed?

As a sidenote, she really wanted to visit Barra but I've yet to find a 'Best of Scotland' Tour that covers it. In fact, I've only found 1 tour that even goes as far as Oban. Do you think it's worth the 5 hour ferry ride each way?

Thanks so much.
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Apr 24th, 2014, 10:45 PM
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I don't know what tours you have looked at, but any five day tour is unlikely to show you all or even most of Scotland. It will be either a few highlights or an extremely rushed trip with ten hours on the bus every day. It will be early mornings and budget hotels and any included food is likely to be very touristy.

Learn the difference between see, view and visit. If I remember correctly (I may have see and view confused with each other): You see a place through the bus window, passing by at high speed. You view a place from outside, with a few minutes to take photos (also called a photo stop). You visit a place by going inside for a quick tour.

Barra is a very small Island. Unless it's changed a lot in the last years there isn't much to see or do there if you don't like long nature walks. I stayed there a couple of days in 2008 and it was very calm and quiet. The ferry trip made me seasick, possibly because the weather was bad. What exactly does your mother want to see there? The castle ruins?
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Apr 24th, 2014, 10:49 PM
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Re tours -- a couple of days in Edinburgh on your own and then a multi day tour w/ either Rabbies or Timberbush would be terrific. They run small groups so you get to places the huge group tours can't.

http://www.rabbies.com/
http://www.timberbush-tours.co.uk

Why does she want to go to Barra - what does she expect? If you really want to go there and want a shorter journey -- FlyBe serves Barra from Glasgow. Then you can take a local tour like this http://www.barraislandtours.co.uk
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Apr 24th, 2014, 11:04 PM
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Rabbies and Timberbush are not your usual tour buses and do not really reflect anyegr's views. They do an excellent job for small group tours. If your mother absolutely must visit Barra, then Flybe is probably your best bet. Rabbies offers a choice of accommodations including hostels, B&B's and 4/5 * hotels. You decide on the type of room you want. Have a look at the websites janisj posted along with passenger comments for the various tours.
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Apr 24th, 2014, 11:10 PM
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If intent on traveling to Barra, try www.caledoniantravel.com
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Apr 25th, 2014, 04:50 AM
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Barra airport is the one famous for using the beach as the landing strip. Flight timetables are synchronised with the tides!
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Apr 25th, 2014, 04:43 PM
  #7
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Thank you for all the great suggestions, I will try them out.

My mom is interested in Barra because she has just found out in the last year there is a physical place (yes, ruins but still) from which her ancestors came. I'm looking for a good postcard, myself. lol!
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