First 5 day road trip in Scotland

Old Aug 10th, 2011, 05:35 PM
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First 5 day road trip in Scotland

My husband and I are taking our first trip to the UK from the US and we'll be spending 5 days driving (hopefully safely!) around. We'll fly into Glasgow and out of Edinburgh (where I know we want to take a cheesy, scary night ghost tour). I'd like to spend a night or two in the Argyll area but other than that, our interests are scenery and gardens, culture (drinking whiskey with the locals, that kind of thing...), and CASTLES! We're on a budget but can splurge if it's worth it. Anything special or tips we should know about? Thanx a bunch for any ideas!
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Old Aug 11th, 2011, 12:27 PM
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OK -- first you need to REALLY decide what you want out of your trip. You are allocating 5 days to Scotland, and from your other thread you are allowing 5 days to try to see a huge part of Ireland.

Have you <i>at all</i> considered just touring Ireland or just touring Scotland?

The driving is generally a little faster in Scotland (however, not in Argyll), but in both countries you will be averaging between 30 and 40 MPH.

Assuming you want 2 days in Edinburgh, that only gives you 2.5-3 days for the rest. That's not much.

And in Ireland --if you stay one day/night in Dublin you will only have 3.5 days for the rest of the country.

You are coming a long way to mainly see the countries through your windscreen (windshield)
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Old Aug 11th, 2011, 01:05 PM
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Hi Kim -

You can do it if you don't go too far and are willing to forego the islands. I like to drive, and think you can see some great scenery while driving.

Depending on when you arrive in Glasgow, on your first day you could drive from Glasgow past part of Loch Lomond to Inverary, see the 'castle,' and then drive to Oban for an overnight. It's a nice drive. Some people like Oban; some people don't.

Next day, drive up to Loch Ness. Loch Ness belongs near the top of most overrated places on earth but there you go. To make the drive to Loch Ness worth it, turn around and drive to Invergarry and stay at the wonderful Glengarry Castle hotel. The hotel is a Victorian mansion and Glengarry Castle, in ruins, is on the grounds.

Next day, backtrack more and drive through Glen Coe all the way to Stirling. Great castle. Try to drop the car off in Stirling.

Next day, early train to Edinburgh.

You don't have time for a comprehensive tour of Scotland. But you can see enough to get a taste of it and go back when you have more time to see Mull and Skye and Inverewe and more castles.
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Old Aug 11th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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"culture (drinking whiskey with the locals, that kind of thing...)"

You'd have to go to Ireland to drink whiskey, in Scotland it's whisky.
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Old Aug 11th, 2011, 01:28 PM
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robertino: Are you actually suggesting one get off an overnight flight and drive to Inveraray/Oban?

Kimmi023: I'm assuming you are flying in from the west coast. If so, you really shouldn't drive the first day at all - and definitely not a three hour drive on twisty/turny roads.

Oban to Inverness and back to Invergarry is a 4.5 hour drive at the best of times. W/ stops it really takes a good 7 - 8 hours.

Invergarry to Stirling is at least 3.5 hours car time plus probably 5-6 hours worth of stops between Glencoe, Killin, Doune and Stirling.

We can help you workout a reasonable itinerary -- hopefully not covering too much territory in too little time.

I am actually more concerned w/ your time in Ireland -- but at least there you won't be jetlagged.
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Old Aug 11th, 2011, 01:28 PM
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#1 - if you want to drink whiskey with the locals, drink the (generally) flavorless Irish crap. Scots tend to prefer their own distilled product, which is called WHISKY.

#2 - There are two CASTLES in Edinburgh worth viewing. None in Glasgow. A major one in Stirling. And a ton(ne) throughout the country.

#3 - A single night in Edinburgh is too little.

#4 - Don't bother with Loch Ness, but the Falkirk Wheel looks cool and it's not too far from Edinburgh.

#5 - Buy the book One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night by Chris Brookmyre. Post when you start reading. Post again when you stop laughing.
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Old Aug 13th, 2011, 07:44 AM
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You guys are killin' me, I'm laughing too hard! I love the different opinions on Fodors and you're definitely not disappointing! So... I drink whisky in Scotland, not whiskey. Done. Loch Ness might add a bit too much to our tour so I'm happy to 86 it. Although Edinburgh seems like a great place to spend more time, with our limited itinerary, we're going to have to settle for a single night's teasing. (Someday we plan to tour England, maybe we can squeeze in some more time then...)

For the jet lag problem, maybe we should hang in Glasgow the first day and take off to Argyll the next day, spending only one night there?

We were really hoping our innkeepers in Argyll could give us some pointers, but that's so hit or miss. We could end up with the foreign family that just moved to the country to make a "go" of it but don't have any local knowledge. (yes, that may be us someday, so I won't judge)

How does this sound....?

Day 1:
Arrive Glasgow, stay the night
Day 2:
Grab car early AM, head to Argyll and stay the night
Day 3 and 4:
Cross through, seeing Killin and such, landing in Arbroath
Day 5:
Edinburgh
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Old Aug 13th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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Okay, I've already changed my mind.... I am okay with drives up to 3 hours (plus stops) on a couple days...

Day 1:
Land in Glasgow, get acclimated for a few hours, then drive to Loch Lomond and stay in Inveruglas
Day 2:
Drive to Invergarry and stay the night
Day 3:
Drive through Newtonmore and on to Pitlochry to stay the night
Day 4:
Drive to the coast and stay the night in the Elcho area
Day 5:
Early onto Edinburgh for our last night

Am I crazy? Will we see fun stuff?
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Old Aug 13th, 2011, 08:54 AM
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Day 1: well you have been warned about driving when potentially jet-lagged. Although this is a relatively short run from Glasgow airport, do be super careful on the A82 as it's a notorious accident blackspot.

Day 3 - 5 make NO sense to me as far as your overnight locations are concerned (have you checked these places on a map?). Pitlochry to Elcho Castle (I assume that's what you mean, even though it's not on the coast) is less than 40 minutes in the car. Then you go on to Edinburgh the next day which is only another 45 minutes or so. You'd be far better off ditching the overnight near Perth in favour of 2 nights in Edinburgh.
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Old Aug 13th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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OK-- you can't possibly mean Elcho, can you?? It is basically just outside Perth and nowhere near the coast. It IS on a river/firth -- but please tell us you meant someplace other than Elcho.

If you did, Gordon_R is right, the plan makes no sense.
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Old Aug 13th, 2011, 10:44 AM
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A couple of years ago my husband and I did a house exchange to England and arranged a driving instructor to come by after we had been there for a few hours. She taught us the rules of the road and how to drive on the other side etc. I remember thinking ' I should not be behind the wheel right now'. I was jetlagged for a least a day and we didnt go out in
the car again until the next day. I agree that you should spend at least one night in Glasgow first for your own safety and others on the road.
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Old Aug 13th, 2011, 11:00 AM
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It's not a matter of getting "acclimated"; it's a matter of jet-lagged induced fatigue. Something that only a good nights sleep can remedy.

Perhaps some clarification on "drive to the coast". Are you planning to visit St. Andrews and some of the East Neuk fishing villages or other places in the area? You really need to be more specific in what sights you plan to visit along the way so those responding can better comment on your itinerary.
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Old Aug 13th, 2011, 05:10 PM
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About the 'local innkeeper giving you pointers" -- in a total of 6 weeks of UK travel we never got a more helpful response from any of them than "don't know; it's not my patch" in response to driving to a place only 60 miles away. They don't buzz all over the countryside the way Americans do.
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