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Finding a home exchange in Fort William, Scotland?

Finding a home exchange in Fort William, Scotland?

Mar 31st, 2007, 10:29 AM
  #1  
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Finding a home exchange in Fort William, Scotland?

Welcome back to my Scotland Planning Drama--Phase II.

THE "WHAT":

I'm looking for tips on finding a home exchange in Fort William for the last week of July 2007.

I realize this is probably a long shot, given that it's almost April and that our dates are not flexible. I've already visited Homelink and Intervac, as well as a few smaller sites. I've found very little in Fort William, period, before even looking into dates (I know it's not all that populous a town).

THE "WHY":

It's unresolved between my mother and I as to whether we'll drive on this trip; I'm in favour, she's reticent. In the meantime, I thought we needed to get moving on accommodation so I started looking for a base with decent bus/train access.

Mom's thinking of basing in Edinburgh but, except for touring Edinburgh itself, it's far away from everything I'd like to see (Highlands and Skye). I'd prefer to base out of Fort William, then head to Edinburgh for about 2 days before our departure.

Moreover, my parents run a vacation rental in Ontario, Canada and they'd like to trade if they can. Given how many more home exchanges there are in big cities, I'm afraid we'll end up in Edinburgh by default, and I'll miss out on the Western Scotland stuff I'd like to see.

Normally, I'm the world's biggest Netiquette promoter and would be scandalized by unsolicited e-mail. HOWEVER, given the scant fruits of my Fort William search so far, I've started wondering whether I should e-mail a couple of self-catering places and just ask if they'd like to trade. Somebody, please, talk me out of this before I make a jerk of myself!

N.B. I'm leaning toward Fort William after some train and bus research but, subject to opinions here, I'd also consider Oban (with adjustments to my wish list: no Applecross/Skye, maybe add Iona or Loch Lomond region), or elsewhere.

Thank you so much, Faithful Fodorites!

- Quicksilver -

quicksilver is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 11:57 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Have you seen:

http://tinyurl.com/ys5kom

http://tinyurl.com/2d2g2y

http://tinyurl.com/yhos2w

You could try contacting:

http://www.lochaber-news.co.uk/
http://www.obantimes.co.uk/

And I can't see anything wrong in asking people if they're interested. The worst they can do is say no.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 02:42 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,289
Have you spent time in Fort William? We were there for 5 days a couple years back, and were very disappointed. It is full of souvenir shops, tourists, and not a place I would recommend, though I suppose it is convenient to lots of lovely places, but the town itself is not my favorite place. In fact, if I were to join the thread on "disappointing places," I would write Fort William and Interlaken, Switzerland as places that did not live up to their hype. I enjoyed Skye, thought it lovely and heard Invernes and Oban were pretty. Good luck with your search. If you go to Fort William, I'd be interested in your impression.
annetti is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 08:52 PM
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First your Dad says you'll kill yourselves and now he wants you to trade. IMHO - plan what you want (unless Dad is coming along and is paying for everything) End of rant

Now - Ft William is a pit. Not disgusting - but nothing "there". Just lots of overpriced cheap B&Bs/hotels.

If you can't find a home exchange in a nicer place- you and your Mom can rent a cottage or flat for about £200 - £300 a week in most any part of the country.
janisj is online now  
Apr 1st, 2007, 09:02 AM
  #5  
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Janis: I hear you! The Dad's not coming, but the trip *is* a graduation gift. (Broke law student = not paying myself. Future lawyer = little/no time to travel later, when I'm not broke anymore!) Situation's all the more troubling because this is a second career for me--I remember doing this kind of planning completely independently. That said, the escape is both so dearly needed and so generous that I can't turn it down.

I think you're right that we *will* end up renting a flat. However, this will probably be my Mom's only trip to Europe in her whole life, so I'm trying hard to find a solution that's best for everyone.

Annetti: Indeed, I don't expect to love Fort William, or even to be there much! You've hit the nail on the head, though: it's the access that appeals.

Patrick: I never even thought of looking to the local papers. Thanks a lot!
quicksilver is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 09:30 AM
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The reason you can't find anything in Fort William is because it is a working class town and most of the accommodation is socail housing.

You've now been told by three of us not to do this. PLEASE don't do this. You won't like it.

Oban is MUCH better; even flippin' Inverness is much better (I realise you're looking for communication hubs).

Try Kyle of Lochalsh.

Have a look at Crianlarich, Tyndrum and Dalmally- Loch Awe, as other alternatives. Not because they are, in themselves better as places than OBan- they're not; but they ARE better than Fort William.

Athough, truly, the only way this is going to really work for you, is if you hire a car OR base yourselves in Edinburgh and use one of the minibus tours.

If I were you, I'd get a house exchange in a nice place, and hire a car. YOU CAN DO IT!! Even if you take the train to somewhere quiet to pick up the hire car.
sheila is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 09:52 AM
  #7  
 
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Hopefully sheila convinced you . . .

Ft William is central but it is NOT nice.

I know - how about hiring a car and not telling Dad? You must have something you can hold over your Mom's head to buy her silence

But if you are determined to not drive, your best bet would be to rent a flat in Edinburgh or (2nd choice by a long way) Inverness and taking day tours offered through the Tourist Information Centers.
janisj is online now  
Apr 1st, 2007, 11:27 AM
  #8  
 
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Hello quicksilver - I am staying at the Hawthorne cottages during my stay in May - why? It's in the country - you can drive up and down the coast to inveraray, Glencoe, Neptunes Staircase, Fort William, Oban and so on. It looks over the Loch and it's came highly recomended. They have a resonable B&B or rent cottages for the week. This west coast area is supposed to be beautiful wherever you stay!! Have a great trip. I leave in six weeks for my Hebrides vacation.
Calif2Hebrides is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 11:28 AM
  #9  
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Hi Sheila et al:

No convincing required--Oban or Inverness it is! Accommodation will be easier to find there, too, I think.

Thanks again, everyone. Stay tuned for the fun part, as I'll probably want to talk itinerary in a few weeks when I know where we're staying.

Cheers!

- Quicksilver -
quicksilver is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 11:31 AM
  #10  
 
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BTW - if you rent the car in Edinbourgh as you leave for the west coast its not as expensive as you would think. IF you rent a car in Oban it's very expensive and they don't have manual shift as they do in the city - in case you get to the coast and change your mind about renting a car. Hawthorne house is north of Oban. You may also see if you want the Island Hopper on the CalMac ferries so you can visit the isles too. They have day trips that look very exciting!!
Calif2Hebrides is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 11:34 AM
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If you really want to see the Hebrides stick to the west coast. If you get a car then go up north to Skye - the Sleat penninsula is to be be absolutly beautiful and the west coast of Skye around Dunvegan. How long is your trip??
Calif2Hebrides is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 11:46 AM
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Quicksilver here is where I am staying on my trip - you can check out the websites and drill down to the area where they are and search from there as to your itinerary, where to travel and what to see. This is what I did and it takes a lot of time - I can say I have been to Scotland over a hundred time via the interent over the last 9 months *WHEW* - Take your mom on the trip of a life time. I am going with my mom too!!

Edinburgh - Drumorne House
http://www.drumorneguesthouse.co.uk/

Oban - Hawthorne Cottage June Currie http://www.hawthorn-cottages.co.uk

Mull - Harbour House in Tobermory http://www.harbourguesthouse-tobermory.com/

Tour Mull - Pam Brown
http://www.discovermull.co.uk/

Skye - Lynn Hewit Lyn Hewitt www.eabosthouse-skye.co.uk
Calif2Hebrides is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 12:35 PM
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quicksilver, here's another possible option, a coach tour. We are not at all tour people but we took a Classique coach tour to the Hebrides many years ago after reading about it in the Toronto Globe and Mail and we loved it. There was no worry about ferry schedules of finding accomodation in remote places.
moolyn is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:02 PM
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Quicksilver, Here's the rest of my post.

The coach was a restored Mercedes with large, comfortable seats and it was named Pamela after the Globe and Mail writer who apparently sent many customers their way!

The tours begin and end in Glasgow. Our tour companions varied from young singles to elderly couples and friends and we enjoyed their company. You and your mother would both have a chance to make connections on your own.

I found a website and checked the schedule and the 7 day Grand Hebredean, a comprehensive tour of the Inner and Outer Hebrides, is offered on July 23. The price of 555 pounds per person includes transportation, accommodation and all meals.

http://www.classiquetours.co.uk/index.html
moolyn is offline  
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