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final itinerary Scotland 9/2-10, opinions please

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Jul 30th, 2003, 09:54 AM
  #1
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final itinerary Scotland 9/2-10, opinions please

After months of searching the boards, I've finalized the itinerary for our trip to Scotland in September and would like to know if anyone can offer critique or comments on any of it (and thanks for your help planning it).

DAY ONE: Tues Sept 2nd- early am flight from Dublin (1 day lay over from Transatlantic flight) to Edinburgh. Thought we'd drop our bags at the Caledonian Hilton and do a bus tour of the city to get the lay out, see the castle, and a guided walk at night- possibly ghost walk or literary pub walk.

DAY TWO: Wed Sept 3rd- more of walking Edinburgh (no set plans). Maybe even a second guided walk.

DAY THREE: Thurs Sept 4th - check out, car rental at the EDI airport from AutoEurope- Hertz (automatic VW Golf). First day driving on the left in about 4 years. drive to GLENCOE, possibly stop on the way for lunch (Callandar, or is it too touristy?), then down to OBAN where we're staying overnight at the Alexandra Hotel . Our thought is that it'll be easier to stay out of busy cities while we try to re-acclimate ourselves to driving left, and we want to enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace so we want to go to Glencoe first and stay on the bigger roads for the first few hours.

DAY FOUR: Fri Sept 5- spend the morning in Oban tour the distillery, before our 2pm car ferry to MULL. See Duart Castle and drive to Tobermory. Stay at the Failte house on Main St. would like to see the sights (whatever is still open) and have a pub dinner.

DAY FIVE: Sat Sept 6 - whale watching 6 hour cruise with Sea Life Surveys, more Tobermory sites like the distillery, dairy farm, museum, shops, etc.

DAY SIX: Sun: Sept 7- check out of Failte and move to Glengorm Castle for more secluded scenery. Considering early morning boat trip to Iona and walking Erraid and south coastal beaches, and drive around the west coast of the island.
QUESTIONS: where can I find out when it's low tide in the area? Also, is everything likely to be closed on a Sunday on Mull?

DAY SEVEN: Mon Sept 8- would like to do more costal walks near Glengorm, possibly see sites we missed in previous days near Tobermory. I'd like a recommendation for a nice restaurant in Tobermoryto have late afternoon meal in- around 4-5pm...

DAY EIGHT: Tues Sept 9- 1pm Car ferry back to Oban, drive to Sterling to see the castle and have dinner somewhere near by. Return the car PM, Staying at the Quality Inn in EDI airport because we have an early morning flight back to Dublin (see Irish Itinerary help request if interested).

I welcome any recommendations for 'must see' sites and restaurants/pubs (I'm a vegetarian but my future hubby isn't).
Thanks again
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Jul 30th, 2003, 10:07 AM
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mms
 
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In Edinburgh go down towards the Holyrood Castle and walk up Arthurs Seat. Great views!
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Jul 30th, 2003, 11:50 AM
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Thanks mms- I heard the hike to Arthur's seat was worth it. What about Holyrood- is it a must see as well?
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Jul 30th, 2003, 12:24 PM
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Yes, it is. We enjoyed walking from the Castle down to Holyrood, then up Arthurs Seat. Another place we enjoyed was the Scott Monument...you can walk the stairs to the top. If you are claustrophobic it may be tough...the stairwell is steep and extremely narrow...but it was a lot of fun for us...and great views again.
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Jul 30th, 2003, 03:23 PM
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It sounds great to me. I'll fill in some balnks later (it's after midnight here). The BBC posts tide tables

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/marine/...20030415.shtml

and a lot but not everything will be closed on Mull on a Sunday
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Jul 30th, 2003, 05:40 PM
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emjoy: This is a great itinerary.

Edinburgh is a walking city - if you start at the top of the Royal Mile at the Castle, you'll walk downhill all the way to Holyrood - don't miss it. The route also passe Gladstone's Land (a medieval merchant's house) and St Giles Cathedral plus other sites and alot of pubs and restaurants. Depending on how long you spend in the Castle, it can be about a 1/2 day just to walk the Royal Mile.

The views from Arthur's Seat are wonderful - but it is a fairly strenuous hike for a short visit. You can drive part way up -- OR -- you can go to the Camera Obscura right outside the castle for great views w/o the climb.
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Jul 31st, 2003, 05:18 AM
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emjoy,
You've designed a great itenerary. It's very similar to our itenerary for our second trip to Scotland back in 2000. Glengorm Castle is a beautiful place in a superb location. Considering the amount of time you'll be on Mull a visit to Iona is a must even if you're not into the religious aspects. Iona has a perfect little village that is worth exploring even if you don't visit the church. I'd also recommend the Mull Little Theatre in Dervaig. http://www.mulltheatre.com/ The performances are great and you'll never forget the drive back to Tobermory in the dark. Keep in mind that most of the roads on Mull are single track so it will take longer to drive anywhere than you would normally expect.
It sounds like you're locked in to a place in Oban but if not, I highly recommend the Ardsheal House at Kentallen between Glen Coe and Oban. It would shorten your drive on Day Three and it would still give you plenty of time on Day Four to see what Oban has to offer before you catch the ferry to Mull. Ardsheal House is a beautiful old country house with wonderful hosts that would give you an experience that you won't find in any of your other lodging.
Again, great itenerary. You'll want to go back....we just returned from our third trip to the highlands and islands.
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Jul 31st, 2003, 07:45 AM
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Wow thanks for the tidal prediction link. It lead me to a really useful site with 7 day prediction and many ports. The tides definitely seem to change from day to day more than I would have expected. I would hate to be stranded on Erraid like David Balfour. : )
http://www.ukho.gov.uk/index.html

I was considering looking into the Dervaig theatre because theatre is one of my passions- but I was entirely put off by the idea of driving at night. Would you say the drive is memorable in a 'never make that mistake again' sort of way, or just a 'sure am glad we're safe but wasn't that fun' sort of way? : )

I will defintely find time for Iona, the images look lovely and I read so many posts that suggest it would be unheard of to spend 4 days on Mull and not see Iona

I am locked into the hotel in Oban (they required a deposit) a decision I made after finding many places already booked 4 months ago! So, I realize I will miss a great opportunity to stay near Glen Coe (always plans for another trip), but we have to be in Tobermory at 5pm on that friday so it'll probably work out for the best this trip.

Can anyone tell me more about Glengorm? We've booked the Minghary room for two nights and the pictures look lovely but I've never been to the area. Are there good walking tracts around the castle?
thanks again
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Jul 31st, 2003, 01:09 PM
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Emjoy, some prejudiced commentsbr />
Try reading "The Fanatick" for a great different look at the ghost walks.

If you want my Edinburgh stuff, please let me know by email.

The Alexandra Hotel is OK, but is slightly faded garndeur. It has a fantastic location, tho'

Have your dinner in Mull in the Mishnish


Given your comments about Dervaig, why not stay at Dervaig House?

Go to Ulva and have oysters.


No great restaurants in Tobermory, I'm afraid.

Stirling- try dinner in Linlithgow at Champnay Inn

Most places will do veggie ok; but it might be lasagne
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Jul 31st, 2003, 05:59 PM
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emjoy,
We stayed in the Torr Bedroom at Glengorm for two nights in 2000. We peeked into some of their other bedrooms including the Mingary and I'd say the photos on their website are accurate. Our bathroom was down the hall which was an interesting experience in the middle of the night. We didn't have time to take any walks in that area but there are unlimited opportunities since the castle is in a very large estate and the vegetation around the castle is either pastures or stunted trees. The driveway into the castle must be 3 miles long.

Although my copilot described herself as "giddy" following the experience, we both agree that the little theatre was well worth the drive back to Tobermory in the dark. There isn't much traffic at that time of night and most of it is fellow theatre goers returning to Tobermory so it's just a matter or taking it slow and enjoying the experience. As a previous poster said, there are places to stay in and around Dervaig including next door to the theatre but then you would miss Glengorm. I think one of the joys of the theatre was seeing a first class production in a remote location where you would least expect to find it.

If it's a nice day when you go to Iona be sure to take a boat tour out to Staffa. We did that in June and it was one of the high points of our trip. Be sure to visit the little used book store on Iona if it's open.

We didn't find any good restaurants in Tobermory but I've heard since that the Western Isles Hotel has a good restaurant.
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Aug 4th, 2003, 05:29 AM
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Hi Emjoy,

Have you found a tour company for your guided walk of Edinburgh? We will be in Scotland at the same time as you and wish to do a 1-day guided tour of Edinburgh.
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Aug 4th, 2003, 09:30 AM
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AllenofSV-
I had planned to just spend the day walking on my own after taking the hop on/hop off bus trip around the city to get the layout on the first day. I do intend to take a guided walk at night, although I haven't quite figured out which one. I've heard something about a Witchery tour and a literary tour but haven't figured out yet where they depart from. If anyone has alink to the literary tour I'd like to have it.
thanks
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Aug 5th, 2003, 07:06 AM
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Does anyone know if there is any type of discount pass for Scotland- like the Heritage Pass for Ireland?
I'm looking to visit a number of sites in Edinburgh and Stirling and thought there might be a cheaper pass than paying each full fare.
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Aug 5th, 2003, 07:11 AM
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There are 2. Historoc Scotland which is the government agency which owns property all over the country, has a pass. And the National Trust for Scotland, which is a chrity which ditto, also has one. Both organisations have web sites.

In addition you may find more local passes. I'm struggling to think of one in Scotland, but, for example, the Shakespeare Trust has one for its 5 properties in Stratford.
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Aug 5th, 2003, 07:19 AM
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besides the two Sheila mentions, the Great British Heritage Pass covers a lot of sites in Scotland. An advantage of the GBHP is that it covers all the Nat'l Trust and Historic Scotland properties of the other two passes plus many privately owned ones.
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Aug 6th, 2003, 09:41 AM
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thanks sheila and janis for all your help in planning my scotland trip, I know a good protion of my itinerary must have come from your posts on other threads!
I'll defintiely plan on the Mish in Tobermory for a meal- or several. Has anyone ventured into the Back Brae Restaurant? it's recommended in Lonley Planet but I've never seen anything else about it in any other guide...

I may just try the drive from Dervaig at night. I suppose it's safer to be one of only a few cars going in one direction at night than elsewhere in Scotland where the traffic would be heavier.
How fearless are the sheep on Mull? : )
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Aug 6th, 2003, 12:29 PM
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Fearless. And they sleep on the road to get the warmth from the tarmac. Just for foreigners.
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Aug 12th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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You've got a lot here already, but here are some additional thoughts.

We got to Tobermory at 4:30 pm on a Sunday and found most of the main street open. About half closed at 5:00 some was open until 7:00. The restaurants seemed open all night. We recommend the Lochinvar where we were introduced to HUGE platters of langoustines. Their veg/pasta also looked good. It's on the main street, about everything is.

Mull is ONLY single-track roads, with the exception of a few miles around Tobermory. So, day or night, this is a beautiful but serious proposition. We never hit anything, but came awfully close several times. Sheep seem to stay to the edge of the road, but there isn't any shoulder to speak of - we never saw sheep roadkill, which reassured us.

Another recommendation is the port town of Fionnphort (we stayed at the Shore House, which was lovely) where you get the ferry for Iona. We ate at their restaurant and loved it (there's only one I think)-- great haggis on portobello appetizer.

Oh, last thought -- food again. When you're on the pier waiting for the Oban ferry, there's a GREAT seafood shack on the pier that sells hot scallops with brown bread - there'll be a huge line. Worth the wait. Speaking of wait, make sure to book ahead (even early same day) for that Oban-Mull ferry, the Friday slots book up early and waiting in the stand-by lane stressed us out!

Have a blast, we did. Mull is gorgeous.
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Aug 12th, 2003, 11:09 AM
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Emjoy,

The Witchery tour departs from outside the Witchery restaurant, just down from the castle. We did this tour in February, and it departed at 7:00 pm, I believe. It probably departs later in September depending on when sunset occurs. The Witchery tour is a "fun" ghost tour, not meant to really scare you. There is another ghost tour that departs from outside of St. Giles, that is supposed to be more serious.
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Aug 12th, 2003, 01:06 PM
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Sheep roadkill!!!

OMG!
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