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bouvier81 Nov 19th, 2015 03:35 PM

Glasgow, Bute, Loch Lomond, Oban, Glencoe
Hi, think I have most of my UK itinerary complete for Aug - Sep 2016. I have also booked hotels but still would like comments. I'm going to break up my itinerary into sections per post. I planned the drive per miles on Google Maps but added about 50% (from other posts) more in all cases.

1. Flying into GLA arriving at 6:55 a.m.
2. Pick up rental car at airport and leave around 9 a.m.
3 Drive to the Weimess Bay to take ferry to Bute arriving around noon.
4. Take a short tour of Rothesay Castle (my husband is tied to this castle through ancestry).
5. Leave Rothesay around 3:00 p. and drive 60 miles to Luss.
6. Arrive Luss, Loch Lomond around 5:00 p.
7. Stay at the Lochside Guest House.

I'm hoping this isn't too much after flying all night, but we've done this before on an overnight flight. I tried not to make the first day too many miles.

8. The next day we'll leave hotel early and tour Loch Lomond area till 11 a.m.
9. Drive 65 mi. to Oban and arrive around 1 p.m.
10. Tour Oban till checking into hotel around 4:30.
11 Check into Glenrigh Guest House along the sea.
12. The next day leave hotel around 9 a.m. and drive 4 miles to Castle Dunstaffage (another connection to my husband's ancestry). The castle opens around 9:30.
13. Leave castle around 10:15 and drive 16 miles to Castle Stalker (my husband's 19X grandfather built this!) I've e-mailed the owners from the website about a tour but haven't heard anything yet. The website said tours are limited to one a day. Does anyone know anymore about this. We'd really like to tour this castle.
14. Leave castle and drive 16 miles to Glencoe. Drive around Glencoe before driving to the Clachaig Inn to spend the night. Alternate - Instead of touring Glencoe, we may drive the 17 miles to Dalness which is supposed to be beautiful per several posts I've read.
15. Spend the night at the Clachaig and enjoy the evening at the bars.
16. The next day, leave Glencoe for Inverness.

I'll post more later but I wanted to start with this. We're basically making a big clockwise circle (driving) through Scotland to England and leaving out of Manchester. We first decided on various things we really wanted to see and planned our trip around those. Please give me any tips you have regarding this part of the itinerary. I'm looking for details on driving, ferrys, toll roads, things we might be missing, or other suggestions. We will be in Oban on Sunday. Do many thing close down? Will it be possible to get gas for the car? I've read other posts that say western Scotland closes down on Sundays.

Thanks ahead of time!

janisj Nov 20th, 2015 12:07 AM

Mostly eminently doable. But I personally think your day 1 is daft.

Head over to Bute then back east to Luss only to head west again to Oban. I'd stay the night on Bute and drive to Oban the next morning.

Rubicund Nov 20th, 2015 03:16 AM

You'll be fine getting fuel for your car on the Sunday, and plenty of places will be open too. I agree with janis that your day one is very ambitious after an overnight flight, drive carefully if you must do all that.

If you want any information on Manchester prior to your flight home, then let me know, it's a great city.

stevelyon Nov 20th, 2015 04:24 AM

The Glenrigh looks lovely with great reviews, we stayed not far away at the Falls of Lora .... very eccentric.

bouvier81 Nov 20th, 2015 08:07 AM

Ha ha janisj, daft is a good word for me! I did want to see Loch Lomond, but I've been concerned it was a bit too much the first day. I think we could do it, but do you think it would be worth it? I looked at accommodations on Bute, but I'm only finding one place. Is there any area on the way to Oban that's not too far?

Thanks stevelyon and Rubicund!

janisj Nov 20th, 2015 08:15 AM

Loch Lomond is lovely, but with all the other beautiful scenery you'll see, not a huge loss IMO. Inveraray or thereabouts would make a good stop and then you'd be near enough to Oban you' have time to dip down into Kilmartin and explore.

tower Nov 20th, 2015 04:44 PM

Madame Bouvier:

I suppose you have much more to come in your TR...but I'll just toss in some suggestions along your route from Oban to

The simple memorial to the Commandos of WWII, overlooking the town of Spean.

Urquhart Castle ruins on Loch Ness...and only a short drive to the town of Drumnadrochit (and the only photo-op of "Nessie"...hokie but fun). I can recommend a meal at the Hotel Ben Leva's pub in town.

A little country inn in Glencoe on a back road leading eastward to the glen...offering the tastiest lunch/snacks.

See pics below...these may give you some other ideas for your upcoming 2016 range from 1980's to 2000's....taking in the lakes and North Wales also.

tower Nov 20th, 2015 04:57 PM

Chester and Conwy can be found in these pics. The Commando Memorial, "Nessie", the Glen Coe country inn, Urquhart Castle are all within. Some of the lodgings we were very happy with are also included. Sounds like you've narrowed down some excellent choices.

Remember, these are all through the eyes of an amateur photog, so be kind!! Have fun, above all.

ESW Nov 21st, 2015 03:45 AM

I'd agree with janisj that to skip Loch Lomond makes sense. Luss is on the busy A82 and in the couple of hours allocated for the morning of Day 2, you aren't going to have time to see much of the Loch. There is so much good scenery in Scotland.

If you aren't wanting to travel as far as Inverary there is the Creggans Inn in Strachur
or Balliemeanoch Farmhouse and Steading which does B&B, a couple of miles south east of Strachur.

You may also need to flex your timings as you go to allow for the unscheduled stop when you see something which really catches your imagination. You need time to 'stand and stare'.

bouvier81 Nov 21st, 2015 05:48 AM

Based on you suggestions we have changed our travel for the first day. We're now staying in Rothesay! We'll travel to Oban the next day. After looking at all the scenery along the way using Google street view, I think this was a GREAT suggestion as it looks beautiful. We'll stop at Inveraray Castle, Kilmartin and anything else we see on the way.

ESW Nov 21st, 2015 09:11 AM

That makes a lot more sense. It will also gve you chance to see more of Bute. For ideas, follow the links on the small map of Bute here:

The ruined St Blane's Church at the southern tip of the island is a wonderful place to visit and redolent with atmosphere. It is about a 10 minute walk up a slope from the car park.

bouvier81 Nov 21st, 2015 12:07 PM

I had ended my earlier itinerary at Glencoe. This is the continuation.

- Leave Glencoe (Chachlaig Inn).
- Drive north through Fort Williams, then along Loch Ness, visit Urguhart Castle.
- Possibly take a detour for a short drive west on A87 by Invergary and back around to Loch Ness. Not necessary, but thought it looked like a pretty drive.
- Drive to and through Inverness to visit Fort George
- Stay the night in Inverness at the Columba Hotel along the River Ness.
- Next day, leave Inverness and possibly visit the Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns stones.
- Drive to Edinburgh for a two-day stay at the Residence Inn near the Royal Mile.

Based on other posts, I had thought about driving from Glencoe to Torridon and around to Inverness, but it looks like that would take to much time.

Any suggestions for attractions along this route are welcome especially on the way to Edinburgh. Other suggestions on the route as well.



janisj Nov 21st, 2015 12:53 PM

I think your glencoe to Inverness day is VERY difficult. Even with just an hour at Urquhart and 3 to 4 hours at Ft George plus the potential photo stops and a meal, you are talking about a 10 or more hour trek.

Fort George is truly enormous (all of Edinburgh Castle would fit within its parade ground). Even if one isn't interested in the displays and history (which are fascinating) just walking around, up on the walls, and viewing the dolphins and the long walk back to the car park would take a couple of hours.

ESW Nov 21st, 2015 01:33 PM

I'd echo janisj's comments. That is going to be a long day and I am concerned you may not be allowing yourselves enough time for Fort George. It is an amazing place and needs several hours to do it justice. You could spend a whole day here. The Living History Interpretations are well worth doing, if there is one the day you visit. I wrote four reviews about our visit:

You are talking three hours plus driving even without the detour along the A87. You then had to factor in stops for Urquhart Castle, lunch, Fort George....

I've been looking at Glencoe to Inverness via Torridon using the AA route finder website. You are talking about 190 miles (just over 300km). This would be a full day's drive allowing for plenty of stops to take photos and to have lunch. It is do-able, although you need to be aware that roads are fairly slow to drive. It does take you through some of the best scenery in Scotland BUT it needs to be done on a good day. There is no point in trying to do a drive like this if it is bad weather.

ESW Nov 21st, 2015 02:01 PM

Inverness to Edinburgh....

Rather than taking the A9 which is fast but can be busy, have you thought about the slower, quieter route taking you to the east through the Cairngorm National Park?

At Carrbridge cut across east on the A938 to Speybridge. Here pick up the A939 to Ballater. Corgaff Castle makes a good break.
There are no facilities there but the Goodbrand and Ross tea rooms just down the road have very good cakes plus a craft shop.

At Ballater pick up the A93 which takes you past Balmoral (closed as the Queen is in residence), Craithes (where the Queen goes to church), and Braemar. You then climb up to the Cairnwell Pass which at 2198ft is the highest road in Scotland. Just below the pass is the notorious Devil's Elbow, now fortunately by passed, a very steep double hair pin bend. The road then drops down Glen Shee through some superb scenery to Blairgowrie and then Perth. Her pick up the M90 for Edinburgh.

This is about 170 miles (275km) and you will need to allow five hours plus plenty of time for stops.

janisj Nov 21st, 2015 02:11 PM

Re ESW's route to Edinburgh (Crathie) - it is gorgeous and highly recommended but takes probably even longer than suggested. So basically the entire day.

Mostly depends on if you want to get into Edinburgh by late afternoon or much later.

Your visits to Culloden and Clava Cairns will eat up most of the morning so you won't be heading south very early.

tower Nov 21st, 2015 07:54 PM


Now that you're carefully going over the segment along Loch Ness, please try to take that ten minute stop at Spean and the Commando Memorial, as I have suggested above, (and included a pic in my post) to pay homage. It will make you feel good for doing so...honoring the valiant Commando role during WW II, all over the ETO. They were my heroes in high school (among so many)and I couldn't wait to enlist in the US age 17....which I did.

bouvier81 Nov 22nd, 2015 06:42 AM

We will be sure to stop and visit the memorial if we are close. My dad served in WWII (he's a young 95!) and so did his older brother (a young 96!). Their generation and those that served are my heroes also! So many of them gave their lives for our freedoms and the world should never forget!

tower Nov 22nd, 2015 07:49 AM

Very well said! Bless your dad and to hear about fellow vets who are hale and hearty.

Thank you, Bouvier...and although your trip is not until next fall, well in advance I wish you an illuminating, meaningful, memorable, rewarding and FUN trip.

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