Help with Scotland

Old Mar 8th, 2009, 03:59 PM
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Help with Scotland

My husband and I will be travelling to Scotland in July and only have 5 days. We would like to drive from Edinburgh through the Highlands and spend the night at Inverness. (Or should we stay at Glen Coe). The next day drive to Skye and spend one night. The next day depart for Glasgow to see Bruce Springsteen! We would like advice if this is possible to squeeze in such a short amount of time. And welcome any suggestions on what is feassable and where we should stay.
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 05:33 PM
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If I were you, I would not go as far as Inverness, stick with Glen Coe. Much more stunning scenery there than in Inverness. There are lots of B&Bs availlable and a very interesting Visitor Center. If you really want to splurge, The Isles of Glen Coe is a beautifully situated hotel. I have never spent the night there, but highly recommend their food.

The next day you could come up the Great Glen to Invergarry and take the A87 to the bridge to Skye. Or you could detour just a bit further north to Invermorriston, which will give you a glimpse of Loch Ness, before you head west on the A887, which will eventually join the A87. Don't miss Eilean Donan Castle before you get to the bridge.

I don't know how far up into Skye you wish to go in the limited time you have. I'd probably only go as far as Broadford or Sligachan.

When leaving Skye I'd prefer to take the ferry to Mallaig and follow the Road to the Isles back to Ft. William, but that is really pushing it, far more distance than I want to drive in a day, since you have to be in Glasgow that evening.

That last day's drive would be a killer, giving you very little time to appreciate the scenery or stop to smell the roses.
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Old Mar 9th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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Thank you so much for the feedback--this is very helpful. The last day's drive that would be too much--would you recommend spending the night somewhere en route to Glasgow? This way we can just wake up and have a shirt distance to Glasgow instead? We can extend the trip by one day to allow more time for this.
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Old Mar 9th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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If you have the extra day, I would take the Mallaig ferry to leave Skye and follow the famous Road to the Isles back to Fort William. Head south on A82 until you cross the bridge at Ballachulich. From there, to avoid backtracking through Glen Coe, I'd follow the road along Loch Linnhe, A828, until you cross the bridge at Connel. Then get on the A85 going east through the Pass of Brander (made famous by two battles, one fought by William Wallace and the other by Robert the Bruce).

I would probably stop for the night somewhere between Connel and Lochawe. From there you can make it into Glasgow in less than three hours driving. But there are things to be seen along the way, like Kilchurn castle in Loch Awe.

If you are not in too great a hurry, after Lochawe I would turn south on the A819 to Inverarey. Nice castle there, open to the public and the residence of the Duke of Argyll.

From Inveraray turn on the A83 going east towards Tarbet on Loch Lomond. You will be going over the Rest and Be Thankful Pass and through the Arrochar Alps, all very scenic. From Tarbet head south on the A82 which will take you back to Glasgow.
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Old Mar 9th, 2009, 12:50 PM
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You might consider staying in Inverarry. This is not too far from Glasgow and has some interesting sites -- stone circles, iron age forts, etc. You may have to skip Skye, though.
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Old Mar 9th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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Day One- Edinburgh

The Forth Rail bridge is worth driving past. The estuary of the Forth widens to superb beaches (with wonderful links golf courses behind them) and in Fife you have St Andrew's, home of golf (and the beach where they filmed the opening sequences of Chariots of Fire). To get there you go past Loch Leven, where Mary, Queen of Scots was kept imprisoned on one of the islands.

Then cross the Tay Bridge to Dundee, then cut across country to Glamis (castle) then go on to Blairgowrie where you pick up the A93 to Glenshee, and down to Braemar and Deeside. This is where Lizzie Windsor has her summer place, much beloved of American tourists. It's also in a beautiful location and therefore worth the visit. Just at Crathie, which is where you will find Balmoral, if you're daft enough to want to, there's a sign to Royal Lochnagar distillery. (old Scottish joke- How deep is Lochnagar? Ha, ha, ha...it's a mountain!!! Well, it's funny if you're five). It's not the best whisky in the world but there's no such thing as a bad malt and it does a good tour.

Come back onto the A93 and continue east a few miles till you see signs pointing left to Tomintoul. Take that road and go over Gairn Shiel to Corgarff then turn left towards Cockbridge and up over the Lecht to Tomintoul.

By now, you have crossed two of Scotland's highest roads, and it's not yet tea time. There's a very good whisky shop in Tomintoul (much better than the tourist trap on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh) and, incidentally, there is also a very good wood carver right next door. I would suggest staying here.

Day 2, Tomintoul to Port Appin

Go back on your tracks a bit and follow the road down to Dufftown. Here you will find Glenfiddich distillery. Still not my favourite dram, but probably one of the best sellers in the world and almost certainly the best tour.

Follow the road down to the Spey at Aberlour (or Charlestown of Aberlour, to give it its Sunday name). You are right in the heart of Speyside, on the Whisky Trail. If you want to see more, almost every second distillery is open to the public. If you have a favourite, ask at one of the tourist offices if they do a tour and just go along. The Macallan is probably the best Speyside whisky, but Aberlour itself is a good second. Follow the river to Grantown then go up to Nethy Bridge on the south bank. Outside Nethy Bridge you will find Abernethy Forest and Loch Garten, which is a huge nature reserve and is worth stopping at, to see the Ospreys.

Drive on to Aviemore, close your eyes so you miss it (a travesty of 1960s planning) turn left and go down to Kingussie and turn right and drive past Loch Laggan and down to Spean Bridge. This last section is all "Monarch of the Glen" country

Carry on to Fort William, drive down Loch Linnhe to Corran, and catch the ferry to Ardgour on the west shore at Morvern. Drive along to Strontian (where they first discovered strontium) have lunch, then go back again.

Drive down to just south of Ballachulish. There is, on the coast off the main road, a little village called Port Appin. If you can afford it, stay the night in the Pierhouse . The mixture of the food, ambience and location are next to unbeatable. The Aird’s Hotel is very highly rated for food too.

Day 3- Port Appin to Glasgow

Drive South to Oban, and absorb the atmosphere. Go to Lochgilphead, up to Inverary, over the Rest and Be Thankful to Arrochar, down Loch Lomond, and into Glasgow.

"Ow's that!? No islands, mind.
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