First trip to Scotland

Feb 20th, 2010, 02:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 20
First trip to Scotland

Hi all,

First post ever here. I've spent the last few hours going through older posts on Scotland but still need some advice.

I'm heading to Scotland May 8th and heading home on the 22nd. Ticket is purchased already so my dates are set in stone. I'm flying into Glasgow and flying home from Edinburgh. I'm traveling alone (50 yo woman from northwest US) and not planning on driving. Medical issues ended my ability to drive a stick and not sure I want to try to navigate/drive on left by myself so am planning to use public transportation to get around.

Here's a brief outline of what I have planned. Would love your comments, critiques, suggestions. The only thing set right now are the first two nights in Glasgow are already booked. I was planning to have a general idea of where to go and what to do but play it somewhat by ear. If I need to firm it up to get accomodations I'd love to know that. If some places won't be doable via public transportation please say so. And share anything else I should know or think about too!

I'll arrive in Glasgow on Sat and spend the afternoon sightseeing. I want to go to Culzean Castle so I will take the train there either Sun or Mon depending on how I feel. If I want more time in Glasgow I'll push the trip to Ayr back to Mon.

Then I want to head up to Fort Williams via train. I'm thinking to go clear through to Maillag via train and then take the ferry to Skye. Can I tour/see Skye via public transportation or do I need to look for a tour? I'd love to see the Calainais stones on Lewis if I can do that without a car.

From Skye (1 or 2 days) I was planning to head to Inverness. I'd like to stop at Eilean Doonane and think I can if I take the bus.

From Inverness I want to do some day trips - Loch Ness/Urquhart and Glen Coe if possible.

Then I want to head down to Stirling, spend a day or so there seeing the sights. Not sure if I can get to Duone Castle via bus or not. And then over to St. Andrews for a day. I was thinking I might stay a night or two somewhere around Stirling/St. Andrew. I'd also like to spend time at Culross if I can do that via train/bus.

Then over to Endinburg for 3 or 4 days, flying home early the morning of the 22nd.

I was hoping to stay in B&Bs or Guest Houses for most of the trip, from what I've read so far it sounds like I'm okay not having reservations in advance of more than a day or so.

I'm open to any comments, suggestions or critiques of my plans. I want to have a great time, see lots of wonderful scenery but not be so rushed that I can't enjoy the trip. I'm hoping that the 13 1/2 days I have will be enought to at least get a good taste of much of Scotland. As you can see my plans are very open so feel free to suggest away!

Thanks in advance!
Ann_50 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 02:46 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,619
Hi Ann,

Like you, I stick to public transportation and day tours. I study the train schedules and bus/coach schedules, to know where and when to go.

I do think I can pass on a tip that when it is a coach that goes a bit more infrequently, to show up 10 or so minutes before it should leave. I tried to catch one last year and though I would have been at the stop just before the scheduled time when I crossed the street, it was already going through the intersection .. bye-bye.

Enjoy your trip!
scotlib is offline  
Feb 21st, 2010, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
Fort William itself is no oil painting, whilst it is in a lovely location.Do go right through to Skye..

Skye is difficult to tour by public transport. Not impossible, but difficult. Can I suggest you look at the stuff on herebr />

It gives you some options.

I'm not sure if you know that Lewis is a long way from Skye? To get to Calanais, you have to take a ferry from Uig to Tarbert on Harris. There is a Calanais tour off the ferry but only in the summer.

Have a look at this for optionsbr />

I think you may find it challenging to get from Stirling to St Andrews. It can certainly be done, but I suspect the links are awful.

I don;t think you're going anywhere you'll find it hard to get accommodation in May. The Edinburgh schools are off the weekend of 17th/18th, so you that might be a bit busier.
sheila is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 563
You should consider a day trip to the Isla of Arran in the Firth of Clyde. Arran is "Scotland in Miniature" and would be ideal for you in your circumstances. You catch an early morning train from Glasgow (Central station, I think)and this meets the ferry at Ardrossan. It is a 55 minute crossing to the island. You can take a bus trip round the island from the pier at Brodick, where the boat arrives and return in time for the afternoon boat and the return journey. The scenery is super and the ease of transportation makes this an ideal day outing for you, with little, if any, pressure. Brodick Castle is also worth a visit and is accessible by bus from the pier. If the weather is good, I'll bet this could be the highlight of your trip. You will not regret it.
almcd is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 06:47 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 20
Hi all,

Thanks for the hint Scotlib, I'll make sure I'm early for buses, some of the ones I've looked at only pass by every couple of hours so I won't want to miss them!

Sheila thanks so much for your comments and links. I may try and do a tour of Skye after all. Sounds like Lewis won't be a place I'll make it to after all. It wasn't a 'must do' for me so that's fine.

Almcd I'd thought about Arran but wasn't sure I should go there however you're making me re-think that idea!

I'll be playing with my itineray some more. I need to sit down with the train/bus schedules and see what is really doable and what isn't. Also, whether it's worthwhile to buy a pass before I arrive or just buy each ticket as I decide where to go.

Thanks again!
Ann_50 is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 11:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 3,654
Ann - A really lovely island to visit is Mull. Not only is it picture perfect but there is a wonderful boat trip taking one out to the Trishnish Isles where you can view Puffins eyeball to eyeball. After a couple of hours the boat then takes you to Staffa and Fingles Cave. This was the highlight of our time in Scotland! Staffa is far more majestic than it's other end which runs under the sea all the way to Ireland and called the Giant's Causeway.

As you get off the ferry the Tourist Bureau is straight ahead and can help with accommodation and tours but although you are going a little earlier in the season (same time when we went) I would still book a night or two ahead instead of just taking a chance.

Here are my photos:

I did write a trip report on everything we did in Scotland - you can click on my name : tod, if you want to read through it.
tod is offline  

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