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Great Britain Travel- London / Edinburgh

Old Mar 13th, 2014, 10:39 AM
  #21  
 
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From Fort William if you want to spend some time poking around the desolate Rannoch Moor you can take the train right thru it and get off at an isolated station, with a lonely but nice looking hotel, that is right in the middle of this beautfiul wasteland - you can drive there to and park I guess.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 02:22 PM
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Now after two posts on the "desolation" of Rannoch Moor, I feel I need to clarify Pal's remarks. I don't know if Pal really hasn't spent that much time exploring the moor, or if he has been influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson's unfortunate remark regarding Rannoch Moor , or perhaps it is just a poor choice of words. Rannoch Moor is isolated but it is NOT desolate. The word desolate has a negative connotation implying something that's been laid to waste, forsaken, gloomy or lifeless. Rannoch Moor is none of these. If one looks at the link Pal provided, I'm sure most would concur that it is a place of spectacular beauty. I believe that beauty is enhanced by the moor's isolation. No shops, no pubs, no towns or even villages. It is a place of natural beauty of nature at its best and sometimes its worse.

There are no roads of any kind that run through the moor. The A 82 runs along its western border and one can drive to Rannoch Station ( site of the Moor of Rannoch Hotel and stopping point for the West Highland train route). Although most pictures of the moor will only show a lonely gnarled pine, there are trees on the moor. A very small percentage of the Great Caledonian Forest still exists, and there are other areas where small forests can be found. These are probably areas that have been planted as forestry projects. I often walk among Scottish pines that I refer to as Nature's skyscrapers. The moor is rich in wildlife although larger animals such as deer and even the Scottish wildcat are seldom seen. It is a great place to walk with numerous lochs,lochans, burns, and views that IMO are a quintessential representation of the Scottish Highlands.

One's opinion of Rannoch Moor can be influenced by the weather. A sunny day and the place is one of awe-inspiring beauty, a cold, windy, rainy day and you'll want nothing more than a warm spot and a wee dram. On my first train trip across the moor, a gentleman in the next seat remarked (in a rather negative tone) that the place was barren, desolate and boring, but I was enchanted and promised myself I would return and explore it further. I did. I have made about a half dozen trips to the moor since then, and it remains one of my favorite spots in Scotland.
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Thanks for all the great information

so we have 2 options

1- Inverness to Skye ( 2 nights)- Three Chimney area...Cons- Drive back to Edinburgh very long and weather could be bad in Skye

2- Inverness to Edinburgh. Overnights in Glencoe and Callander or ??

We really wanted to see Skye area but I can see that It is very unrealistic.

If Scenery is Important which do you recommend.

Thanks, Syd
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 03:50 PM
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Maybe one solution is to drop Inverness and take the sleeper from London to Fort William instead. The sun will be up as you enter the western Highlands, and in fact you'll get a better view of the Rannoch Moor from the train than you can from the road. The train gets into Fort William mid-morning, and there are car rental companies close to the station, e.g. https://www.easydrivescotland.co.uk/

Get a car and go out the Road to the Isles (A830) to Mallaig and if you can see the mountains on Skye and have sixty quid you need rid of, get on the next ferry to Armadale and head up toward Sligachan for great views of the Black Cuillin hills. You'll have enough daylight to spend several hours on Skye, then head back to the ferry and back to Fort William, but continue past Fort William (which in fairness is nicer than it used to be, but that's rather faint praise) and spend the night in Glencoe village, at the bottom of Glencoe. If the weather's foul then don't take the ferry, and instead spend time at the Glenfinnan memorial, and maybe run up the Great Glen toward Inverness so you can say you saw Loch Ness.

Regardless, the next day, drive up Glencoe to the top and then a little way up Glen Etive, then turn around and head back down Glencoe to Ballachulish, turn left and follow the A828 down toward Oban, through Oban and stop for lunch at one of the most romantic and historic places in Scotland, the tiny village of Kilmartin. Kilmartin Glen, a flat little valley that sits below the village's ancient church, is littered with standing stones, burial cairns, and all sorts of neolithic or iron age bits and pieces. It's really a remarkable place. http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...tin/kilmartin/

After lunch, continue south through Lochgilphead then north along Loch Fyne to Inverary, a lovely little village dominated by nearby Inverary Castle, seat of the Campbells (boo) and featured on Downton Abbey. Stay the second night in Inverary. The next day is a scenic and easy 2 1/2 hour drive to Edinburgh, past Loch Lomond.

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...ray/inveraray/

This would give you an excellent sampling of the western Highlands - great scenery, some amazing history, attractive villages, the odd castle, and relatively easy driving.

Map - http://goo.gl/maps/VqhEf
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Old Mar 13th, 2014, 03:58 PM
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Gardyloo's suggestions are good - the only change I'd suggest is that (assuming the weather is nice and you go over to Skye) take the ferry over to the island and take the bridge back off the island. It looks farther on a map but it takes almost exactly the same time to drive each way and it lets you see glenfinan one way and Eilean Donan the other . . .
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Old Mar 14th, 2014, 07:48 AM
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, or perhaps it is just a poor choice of words.>

history traveler - was a poor choice of words - yours are much more accurate and portray what I attempted to.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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Thank You..One last question.

We decided in the interest of time..to take the train to Fort William..Provided we can return a car to Edinburgh.


What route should we drive to Edinburgh. We will be driving into the city on a wednesday afternoon. Should we take the Perth route or the route through Callender?

Thanks for all your help...
Syd
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:12 AM
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Me and my big mouth...

I went looking for off-season car hire in Fort William with a drop at Edinburgh and could only find this company - https://www.easydrivescotland.co.uk/ - which will include a hefty one way drop fee - £160 - for returns either at the airport or Waverly Station. Frankly for that I'd drop the car back in Fort William and take the train to Edinburgh. You'd have to change trains in Glasgow, but it's an easy connection, and the scenery for much of the trip is quite lovely. Plus the driver doesn't have to navigate through motorways or roundabouts, and you'd end up in central Edinburgh rather than the airport followed by a tram or expensive cab ride into the city. Around £20 per person and well worth it. http://www.scotrail.co.uk/

If you still want to tour parts of the lowlands, or Fife etc., just rent a second car in Edin. for a day or two and return it where you got it.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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Agree with Gardyloo, an easy change at Glasgow Queen's Street Station, and a very scenic route.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 11:22 AM
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The only reliable places to hire a car and get one-way rentals in the highlands are in Inverness and Perth.

I personally would not faff about with renting a car in Ft William. (Been there, tried to do that - real pain in the butt). I overlooked that bit in his post. I'd take the train to i'ness or Perth and collect a one-way car and drop it back in Edinburgh . . . Or better, at EDI and take public transport into the city.
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