Fly & Drive in Scotland

Old Jan 20th, 2001, 01:07 AM
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Fly & Drive in Scotland

10 days plan: flight to London and two days there, night train to Edinburgh, 2 else, and there rent a car for the next week, in order to visit the Highlands, Islands, Glasgow or whatever interesting. Any advice for a good route?
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 01:39 AM
Tony Hughes
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Dare I say you havent got much choice, Neroni. We rarely build new roads anymore thus you're stuck with the inadequacies that we currently have.

From Edinburgh North to the Highlands, take the A8-M9-A9 to Inverness via Stirling. Come down through Glencoe to get to Glasgow. M8 back to Edinburgh. I design and maintain these things in Central Scotland, email me if you need details etc

Old Jan 20th, 2001, 07:47 AM
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Neroni, you don't have to stick to the main highways as Tony suggests. The real beauty of the Highlands is found by traveling the minor roads which wind through the highlands and small towns. Sounds like you have a bit of time, get a good map and surf on the internet to find areas that may interest you, then plan your route. The country is small so you should be able to see a lot.

The area around Skye is beautiful and worth a venture to.
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 08:19 AM
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Well, not very much more than what I knew. The road until Inverness is clear, but, for instance, should we take time to go to Aberdeen? Back from Fort William to Glasgow does not seem very difficult (anyway, should be appart from the way to visit Oban?), but among those places what should we visit? Inverness-Eilean Donan-Skye-FW? try to reach John o' Groats? Western Islands?
Regarding to those places was that I was asking your experiences, so that I might have a good idea of what to see in 5-7 days at those places, where to stop...
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 09:26 AM
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It's very difficult to advise given a blank sheet of paper. However here's something:-

A90 to Perth then A9 to Pitlochry; Edradour distillery. The salmon ladder is interesting and the scenery around there is good, although Pitlochry
is a bit of a tourist trap.

A9 to Inverness-A96 to see sights like Culloden Moor, Cawdor Castle,
then drive down along the east side of Loch Ness, drive to Isle of
Skye. Stop at Plockton on the way to Kyle of Lochalsh. Take as much time
on Skye as you can. Take the ferry off to Mallaig and drive back to Oban
via Morar, Arisaig and Fort William
If you wanted to give yourselves one good night, stay at the Pierhouse at Port Appin and have a really good seafood meal.

Back from Oban to Crianlarich Lochearnhead, Callendar, Stirling and Edinburgh
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 09:27 AM
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And this would be a different route:-
Started in Edinburgh (for the festival), drove north to Pitlochry and Culloden, then over to Ullapool, Plockton, Skye, Glen Coe, and down to Glasgow (or just outside).
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 09:31 AM
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Variation on the last one:-

I have just realised that by leading you to Skye I missed out Loch Ness (which I would willingly do, but you _are_ American... aren't you?)Instead of going north to Dingwall, as an alternative, you can go down the north side of the Loch. Stop at Castle Urquart, see the piper; hope you see the Monster, then turn right at Invermoriston and follow the road to Dornie. It's still worth going a few minutes to the north to Plockton, and pick up the previously advised route.
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 09:34 AM
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And finally (at least for this batch, but there's lots more if you want)

5 days in Scotland leaving Edinburgh and finishing up in Aberdeen including good castles and missing out museums. That narrows it down (not!)

Firstly I will take you north only; thus missing out the Borders. If you think on reflection you would like to go south as well, let me know. I'm also assuming you are using public transport. Come back to me if that's wrong and you want to spread your wings a bit further.

Leave Edinburgh reasonably early in the morning and go to Glasgow by train. Visit the Burrell Gallery, and shop till you drop. have tea in the Willow Tea Room and admire the Charles Rennie Macintosh Interior. For supper try somewhere very Glasgow which will depend on your budget; as should your accommodation. Visit a good Glasgow pub- the Scotia or the Bon Accord

Next day take the train to Fort William and then Mallaig. It's one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Arrange in advance for a hire car to be available for you in Mallaig. I have no idea how to do this but it has to be possible somehow.

Take the ferry to Skye and spend the whole of the next day there. You can visit Dunvegan Castle, the Cuillin mountains, Portree, Isle Ornsay, Broadford, Uig, the Clan Donald centre and many more. Scenery terrific. Accommodations available include the Rosedale hotel in Portree and the Isle Ornsay Hotel, both of which are excellent but in different budget categories. Have supper at the Seagull in Broadford. An available castle is Kinloch Castle owned and run by Lady Clare MacDonald who is also a gourmet chef (but if you only want to stay in one, then wait for my later recommendation)

Day four, take the train from Kyle of Lochalsh (having arranged to leave your car there) to Inverness. This is the other most scenic railway journey in the world. Visit Inverness and take one of its open top bus tours.

Take the evening train to the village of Insch in Aberdeenshire where you should have arranged for someone from Pittodrie House Hotel to collect you. Pittodrie is a stunning Country House Hotel on the slopes of Bennachie in west Aberdeenshire. Its core is a 114th century tower house (Castle, but it hasn't got a ghost.)

Old Jan 20th, 2001, 10:57 AM
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Wow Sheila! Thank you very much for all that info! Must say I'm not American, but Basque -SW Europe- and was in Scotland a couple of years ago with 2 friends, but we made a mistake, since we did not rent a car, and traveled with Interrail all the island -not only Britain. So, we reached Edinburgh, Loch Ness and Glasgow, just that. I agree we should visit other things rather than Loch Ness but these time my parents will come with me, and for Dad it is unforgivenable not to visit the Monster.
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 11:40 AM
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I actually spotted the intonation, but thought you might be Italian. You know we think wehave a lot in common with the Basques because of the self-determination issues?

Anyway, welcome back. If you can tell me what you like to do/see, I'll try to personalise something for you.

By the way, what do you mean in your original posting by "2 else"?
Old Jan 20th, 2001, 07:35 PM
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We had a beautiful trip to Scotlalnd last October (our 4th time),in about the same ammount of time you will have...tho we tend to keep "on the move".
Flew to London from Houston,and right on to Glasgow that morning. Rented a car there (so easy) and drove about 45 min. north to the western shore of Loch Lomond to the lovely and restful town of Inverbeg. On to Mallaig the following day (after driving through Glencoe,Ft. William. Mallaig is a ferry port to the Isle of Skye , and very interesting. Drove around the Isle of Skye for a couple of days , so raw and remote and gorgeous. Stayed one night in Dunvegan, and one in Portree. Then on across the "new" bridge, past Eileen Donnan Castle, up the side of Loch Ness to Inverness. Stayed one night and on to Pitlochry the following night. We could have then driven on back to Edinburgh, but went instead to the Fife Coast of St. Andrews (and down the coast to Pittenweem and back to Crail for the night. Then on to Edinburgh for a night and then over to Glasgow for a night, turned in the car and flew back to London. Roads are good, and mileage not too great. Our thing ,however, is to see the countryside, walk little villages and towns, eat in small pubs etc. We did spend a day in Edinburgh and saw the main attractions there. Let me know if I can help you further....we stayed in a grand mix of B&B's, guest houses, small hotels and a couple of larger hotels (taking advantage of the lower weekend rates)>)
Old Jan 21st, 2001, 03:03 AM
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Hi Neroni,

Took a trip a couple of years ago that is similar to whatís mentioned above and would recommend the route. Started in Edinburgh for the Festival; drove north to Pitlochry where we saw a Mortimer play in the playhouse here and visited Glamis Castle and Blair Castle; continued to Colloden; Loch Ness and Urquart Castle; Ullapool; Inverewe Gardens which were lovely; Plockton Ė wanted to see palm trees in Scotland; Skye where we stayed in Portree and drove around the island Ė Uig, Dunvegan Castle, went out in a tiny boat to see the seals and amazingly saw seals for the first time, other than in a zoo, sunning themselves on the rocks; Eilean Donan Castle; Glen Coe; and finished up by staying in a smal l town outside Glasgow on the river that enabled us to see Stirling and Culzean castle and visit the small town of Luss (charming) on the recommendation of some people staying in the same B&B. It was a great trip and I would recommend a car to get to out of the way places. We had 2 weeks in all with about 4 days in Edinburgh without the car. The remainder of the trip we took at leisure. Much of the driving in the north was one-lane roads, looking out for sheep at all times which made traveling slow. Except in Edinburgh we didnít make advanced reservations; just looked for a place or went to the TI when we were ready to stop for the evening.

Have a great trip,

Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 02:09 AM
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sorry for my bad English Sheila! I wanted to say we'll be 2 nights in London and 2 more in Edinburgh (the remaining on that tour). Well, more or less we have an idea of what to visit... the most typical obviously (Highlander landscape, lochs, rivers, valleys, castles...), then, we know there is a Gaelic Centre on the isle of Skye where we might make a stop to inform a bit more about the language, I suppose we should not have many problems.
And appart of that, we're open to read people's experiences and decide what to do and where to go, for instance, on the isle of Skye, is it true you can see whales? And what about the Western Isles, where Gaelic is best kept? Is there any interesting place...? Easy to go an back in a couple of days...?
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 06:13 AM
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Western Isles from Skye:
You can get a ferry to Lochmaddy from Uig.(NW Skye)3 miles west of Lochmaddy
there is a hill on the left called Ben Langass on which you can see a large ancient cairn (barpa langass) which you can enter.If you walk over the top of the hill & down towards the loch you find a marvellous stone circle (finn's people) and a good hotel/pub.(langass lodge)The Isles are covered with these
monuments, use an ordnance survey map.
To get back, go Lochmaddy-Harris-Uig by ferry or go south on the causeways via Grimsay & Benbecula to South Uist, ferry from Lochboisdale to Oban (or via Barra) Don't miss the beaches to the west - the main road doesn't go near them.A good pub at the south of South Uist is the Pollochar.(beautiful beach,standing stone outside the pub.)The Isle of Eriskay has recently been joined to S.Uist by a causeway - has its own breed of wild ponies.Gaelic is the first language of most of the inhabitants.
Its a very windy place - bring a scarf!
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 11:02 AM
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I certainly didnít intend to criticise your English, Neroni, from the lofty heights of my dreadful Spanish and non-existent Basque. I just didnít know what you meant.

It would appear to me that you have 2 days in Edinburgh, then 6 days in a car to see the most typical Highland landscapes and castles, and learn a bit about Gaelic. Is that it, in a nutshell?

Most visitors to Scotland donít make it to the Western Isles because they are so remote. They are, however, beautiful, and well worthy of the effort. For the purpose of this exercise, I agree with Frank that your best and most accessible option is to visit the Uists (although, from his posting I suspect heís a Barra man); and I would suggest a trip something like this:-

leave your two days in Edinburgh till last so that you have some recovery time. Drive from Edinburgh to Stirling (passing Linlithgow Palace; and Stirling Castle and Bannockburn) then north to Callender, through Strathyre, past the Braes of Balquhidder (Rob Roy country), past Lochearnhead,and through Glen Dochart to Crianlarich and Tyndrum. Continue north across the edge of Rannoch Moor and down through Glencoe (the massacre of Glencoe) to Ballachulish. Spend the night at Kentallen or Port Appin depending on your budget. Day 2 drive north through Fort William, past Ben Nevis and up the Great Glen to Invergarry, where you turn west to go along Loch Cluanie and on through Kintail to Dornie (Eilean Donan Castle) and the bridge at Kyle. Take the short detour up to Plokton on Loch Carron for the views. Then cross to Skye. Skye is mostly scenery and cultural heritage, rather than history. Stunning mountains, lovely bays and sea lochs. Spend the evening somewhere in the east of the island so you can visit the Clan Donald Centre and Sabhal mor Ostaig (Gaelic for "the Big barn of Ostaig"), the Gaelic College. I found this web site for you:-

day 3 have a look at some of the rest of Skye- Dunvegan castle and the Fairy Flag or Flora Macdonaldís Grave and the Museum of Island Life. Catch the late ferry to Lochmaddy on North Uist and do what Frank says (plus thereís a place called Taigh Chearsabhagh, which does Gaelic Culture in a big way. You might want to have a look at Stay all of next day, day 4, then catch the evening ferry from Lochboisdale to Oban (you need to coordinate the ferries for all this, and since Cal-mac messed with its web-site, until I get a new computer I canít do it for you. But the web address is My recollection is that that is an overnight trip.

Day 5, go south from Oban through Kilmartin Glen and see the stone circles and Dunadd, then stop at the Crinan canal, go south to Inverary; see the jail, cross the Rest and be Thankful, go down to Arrochar; down Loch Lomond, skirt glasgow on the motorway then over to Edinburgh- leaving you with one day there. Well, itís not much cop anyway J.

You need to take boat trips to see whales from the Western Isles. Seals are a cinch, but whales are a fair bit more chancy. Anything else you would like to know?

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