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How far from Inverness to Sheildaig to Skye?

How far from Inverness to Sheildaig to Skye?

Jul 12th, 2001, 01:27 PM
  #1  
Barbara
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How far from Inverness to Sheildaig to Skye?

We're going to Scotland at the end of August. We will spend 3 days in Edinburgh and enjoy the Festival. Then I want to drive north to the Highlands and visit the Isle of Skye. I want to spend some time in Sheildaig and also on Skye. How far are they from each other? Driving from Edinburgh to Sheildaig, what is a good place to stay over night along the way? Inverness maybe? Is 3 days in Sheildaig followed by 3 days in Skye too much? Want to do some hiking and see the coast, mountains, etc. What about from Skye to Glasgow? How long should we allow? Thanks so much for your help - I just can't figure the distances and times from the maps I have.
 
Jul 12th, 2001, 11:30 PM
  #2  
Sheila
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Barbara

quick preliminary question. Which Shieldaig? I know at least three. You have to drive to get to any of them, but if you tell where it is I can fill in the blanks
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 09:39 AM
  #3  
Barbara
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Wow - I had no idea there were three places with that name. What I had in mind was Shieldaig near Loch Torridon, kind of between Ullapol and Sleat (at least on the map). I hear its a beautiful spot and a good base for visiting Inverewe gardens, etc. But, I also want to spend time on Skye and don't know if its a day trip from Shieldaig or worth a few day's visit on its own. Thanks so much for your help.
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 09:51 AM
  #4  
janis
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Skye is certainly worth 2 or 3 days. But if your time is extremely limited you can easily "do" Skye as a day trip from Sheildaig. The drive over to Kyle is mostly via single track roads, but most roads in that part of the world are. Torridon is beautiful - and you should not miss Inverewe.
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 11:42 AM
  #5  
Sheila
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OK. I am going to assume you mean the one on the shores of Loch Shieldaig, which is small sea loch off Upper Loch Torridon; thus between Torridon and Applecross (not the one west of Gairloch, which also meets your description)

On that basis, it will take you about and hour to reach the bridge to Skye at Kyle of Lochalsh going by the most direct route.

Are you certain you want to stop overnight between Edinburgh and Shieldaig? It's easily doable in one day- just over 200 miles- say 5 hours non-stop.

If you do; I'd persoannly take the slightly more scenic route through Strathyre to Crianlarich and over Rannoch moor and stay somewhere at the foot of Glencoe near Ballchulish. the go north from there. Given what you want to do, I think you've got the timings about right, but that's another reason for going through Glencoe.

Skye to Glasgow- cross to Mallaig on the boat, drive round Ardnamurchan, cross at the Corran ferry, then south to Oban, through Kilmartin Glen to Lochgilphead, then invereary the Rest and Be Thankful down Loch Lomond side and into Glasgow- about 5 hours again.

Don't rely on distances- you can work them out from maps but how fast the roads are is something you're likely to be unused to
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 12:14 PM
  #6  
janis
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Sheila's suggestions are about the same routing I would recommend. Definitely more scenic through Crainlarich and Glen Coe - you could make the short detour over to Killen to see the Fall of Dochart. Then if you want to break your journey and can't find a place near Ballaculish / Glen Coe, go on just beyond Fort William (NOT in Ft William) - there are some B&Bs which over look Neptune's staircase.
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 02:23 PM
  #7  
barbara
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Thank you for the good advice. I got a Karen Brown book for England, Scotland, and Wales and she suggests an itinerary that takes a route north from Edinburgh through Perth, Braemar, Dufftown, Inverness, Ullapool, Shieldaig, Skye, then south thru Mallaig, Ft. William, Glencoe, Killin and down to Glasgow. It seems like it would be nice drive and good distance to cover in just under 2 weeks. I'd like to see some of the sights on the way from Edinburgh to Sheidaig, hence the over night stay along the way. I think we'll skip the Loch Ness stuff, but want to see some of the castles - perhaps Balmoral, Cawdor, Kildrummy. So, from your posts, it sounds like we can cover the distance in 10 days (we have 3 in Edinburgh) and also see some beautiful scenery and spend 3 nites in Sheildaig and 3 on Skye with a few days unscheduled in between. Any cother comments or advice? And again thanks for all the info.
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 02:37 PM
  #8  
janis
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Another route you might consider for your northward journey (you'll have plenty of time) - instead of through Perth etc --

Go up the east coast as far as Stonehaven (just south of Aberdeen). This will let you see Glamis Castle, and Dunnottar. Then cut inland, visiting Crathes (even finer garden than at Cawdor), Huntly (fabulous castle) to Dufftown (glenfiddich), then to Inverness (culloden and Clava Cairns are on the route).

One overnight anywhere along this route would be fine - if you left Edinburgh in the early morning you could visit Glamis and Dunnottar and stay overnight near Crathes. Then the next morning visit Crathes, on to Huntly and dufftown and overnight near Inverness. Then the rest of your route as you already laid out. Dunottar (on a fine day) may be a highlight of the whole trip).
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 04:03 PM
  #9  
Sheila
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Barbara there are lots of variations on a theme here. This is one I did before

10 days
Leave towards Perth, and cross the Forth Road Bridge; you pass the rail bridge, one of the modern wonders of the world on your right, and you don't even have to slow down.

Just over the river (the Forth) Dunfermilne is on your left. Robert the Bruce, the hero king who won Bannockbrn is buried here in Dunfermilne Abbey (although his heart is buried at Melrose in the borders); go back onto the main road and you will shortly come to Loch Leven, where Mary Queen of Scots was locked up in the castle on the island (v. romantic..the story of the escape- she then fled to her cousin in England for succour. She locked her up for 20 years then beheaded her.(perfidious Albion!) There is a very pretty bird reserve at Vane farm on the south side on the loch.

Just before you come to Perth you cross over the "Wicks of Baiglie" and can see right down the Tay valley to Dundee. Myth says that Julius Caesar made it this far, and seeing the broad fertile valley stopped and said "Ecce Tiberus!" (Look, the Tiber!)

Perth is a very nice little city; capital of Scotland before Edinburgh and imbued with history. There are two large parks on the edge of the city centre, the North and South Inches.(Inch is from the Gaelic innis- a meadow)The story goes that a particular Earl of Perth wanting to be buried in the City Church, St John's, told the town magistrates " If you give me six feet, I'll give you two inches"

Take time to climb Kinnoull Hill which proudly overlooks the town and the Tay and is surmounted by a folly castle built by another Earl of Perth, who had done the Grand Tour and thought that the Tay valley was just like the Rhine except it didn't have castles on its hilltops- so he faked a couple.

Then drive on to Dunkeld, a lovely town on the Tay, with a beautiful historic square, a cathedral and some wonderful views. There's a pub in the village (the name of which I can't remember but it's the second one on the street on the right immediately over the bridge- you can't miss it) which is owned by Dougie Mclean one of Scotland's greatest contemporary singer songwriters. It can be a fine place to spend an evening.

If you then take a wee detour west to Aberfeldy and Loch Tay you will pass Breadalbane Castle, former home of the Marquis of Breadalbane, and now a golf course! and come to the lovely 18th century planned village of Kenmore. the Loch is stunning. And if you're up to the walk, go along the north side to Ben Lawers and drive up to the National Trust visitor centre. Time it right and then walk up to the top. Don't do this if it's raining unless you're nuts!

Then drive back down to Pitlochry, which is a tourist dive, so don't stay long; although it is a good place to get your tweeds and tartans and woolens and things...if you've got any money left after Edinburgh.

Go north again and stop at Killiecrankie and see the famous soldier's leap. If you don't know the story, learn the song.

A couple of miles further on is Blair Atholl, another planned village and a superb castle for a visit. The Duke of Atholl is the only person is the UK licenced by the Queen to have a private army.

From Blair Atholl, go north again on the A9. You will pass a place called House of Bruar which markets itself as "the Harrods of the North" It's a real fancy shop and I hate to say it but I love it. Worth stopping.

Next up you will come to Dalwhinnie- great whisky, great distillery. I don't know if it dies tours but it's worth stopping if it does. Come off the main road somewhere north of here and carry on on the old main road- less traffic and more scenic.

 
Jul 13th, 2001, 04:09 PM
  #10  
Sheila
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Part 2
You come to Newtonmore and Kingussie I can never remember which comes first, but at the first one there is a superb 17th century barracks built by the English to keep the Scots down after Culloden. Worth a trip. It's immediately adjacent to Insch Marches which is another bird reserve- lots of brilliant ducks and waders ( did I mention I was into birds?) Carry on up the Spey until just before Aviemore and turn right as though you were going to Grantown on Spey. You come first to Rothiemurchus which has all sorts of visitor facilities, then to Abernethy estate, which is also owned by the bird people (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds- like the Audobon) At their Loch Garten reserve you can see Osprey which are wonderful fish eating raptors which live in Africa in winter and come to visit us in summer. They always come back to the same nest so the RSPB have a live TV camera showing everything that is going on. In June you should have young in the nest. In any case, Rothiemurchus and Abernethy are remnant Caledonian pine forest- our oldest trees; and I guarantee you, that, unless you are made of stone, a walk off the track will make your skin tingle. You have the sensation of being where generations have been before. If you go up into the hills here quite a long walk- 4-5 hours, but worth every minute) you may well see Golden Eagle. By going back to Aviemore and going to the ski slopes at Cairngorm, you can take the chairlift well up the mountain; but we'll all hate you for doing it the easy way. If you carry on towards and past Grantown you are into the whisky country of Speyside. Glenfiddich distillery at Dufftown may not make the best malt in the world (there's no such thing as a bad one) but it probably does the best tour.

Back to the A9 along the Spey and you drive on to Inverness capital of the Highlands. (Aviemore is like Pitlochry but modern- avoid it like the plague) you have the Cairngorms Mountains on your right and the Monadliath Mountains on your left. It's just grand.

Just before you get to Inverness turn right and go back as far as Culloden-6 miles.(as an alternative to this you could carry on east from Dufftown and arrive at Elgin and come up the A96, stopping at some of the Moray fishing villages on the way. Culloden will appear on your left before you get to Inverness.

Inverness is at one end of the Caledonian canal, which you need to see. It has nice pubs and hotels, but is essentially a sweet little town with little to keep you in it. It's what is nearby that matters.

Leaving Inverness, you cross the Kessock Bridge over the Moray Firth. You should stop at the tourist information office just over the river. It has a live closed circuit TV linkup to a Red Kite's nest; and you may see Dolphins in the river from the car park If you decide to do one of the dolphin boat trips please pick one of the boats which is "approved" ie doesn't hassle and hound the dolphins all day.

Keep going on the A9 until just before Dingwall and then turn left towards Garve. You cross open moorland all the way across Scotland from the east side to the west. It's very grand (but nothing to what you are coming to!)

Drive down to Achnasheen then take the right fork which takes you into torridon. At Kinlochewe turn left and drive down past Rorridon itself till you get to Shieldaig.


From Shieldaig, there's a short rout down to Loch carron, but at some stage you need to go round to Applecross and over the Bealach nam Bo.
 
Jul 13th, 2001, 04:13 PM
  #11  
Sheila
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at Lochcarron take the south side of the Loch. You will shortly pass one of the best signposts in the world. It says "Strome Ferry- (no ferry)" You may not notice it however because if you are watching the scenery you will think you have died and gone to heaven. You haven't. That is still to come.

(Can I just put in as a caveat that it may be raining- it usually is on the west coast of Scotland. If it is you should reconcile yourself to seeing nothing further till you leave the country.)

A few miles past the Strome Ferry turning you will see signs to Plockton on the right. Take the detour. It's on every calendar of Scottish beauty spots you have ever seen.

Back on the main road you come over the last hill and see the Isle of Skye ahead of you. You came to the village of Kyleakin, where they have built the most godawful bridge over the sea to Skye. Skye is lovely and romantic and is where Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped to after Culloden, dressed up as a maid to Flora MacDonald and about which the song was written (actually he went from South Uist to Skye, not from the mainland, but why spoil a good story.)

Conscious of the fact that you have only a few days left, rather than do the whole island, just go up as far as Portree, and then come back. As you come south you are approaching the Cuillin which are the most stunning mountains in Scotland. Stop and enjoy. Take half a day and walk up an easy one- Blaven or Bruch na Friath.

Stop for a meal somewhere, then turn right and follow the road down to Armadale. The Isle Oronsay hotel is a wonderful place to stay; but it is not cheap. (the Sligachan- the climbers' hotel is).

From Armadale take the ferry to Mallaig and by following the road across to Fort William you pass Glenfinnan .

Fort William is a bit of a railhead town but does sit below the majesty of Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest mountain.

From Fort William drive down to Ballachulish then take the diversion through Glencoe. This is where the evil Campbells slaughtered the MacDonalds after Culloden. There's a long story but I won't bore you with it. There's a great song about it though. It's a tremendous place with overbearing hills. It's not called the Glen of Weeping for nothing.

Coming out of Glencoe you have a choice which I suggest is time oriented. You could have gone straight down the coast to Oban instead of turning off at Ballachulish. Now I would suggest that you go back to Dalmally and on to Oban.

Oban is a lovely little town right on the coast dominated by a folly on the hill overlooking a lovely and very busy harbour. Lots of the Western Isles ferries sail from here. If you've left enough time, take the day trip on the ferry to Iona, the cradle of Christianity. St Columba came from Ireland to educate us heathens, and set up his staging post here. There is a lovely mediaeval Abbey and beautiful beaches and to get there you sail up the Sound of Mull and past Staffa (Fingal's cave- Mendolssohn's Hebridean Overture and all that), so you get to see the outside edges of Mull and the Ardnamurchan peninsula too.

If you don't have time to do that it is still worth going to Oban anyway.

If you go the direct route from Fort William missing out Glencoe you should visit the Pierhouse at Port Appin, if not to stay (double rooms are about 70 b&b) then for some of the best seafood with one of the best views in the world.

South from Oban, you drive down to Lochgilphead then up Loch Fyne to Inverary ( another planned village from the 18th century) Visit the jail and you are in "Kidnapped" country.

The castle belongs to the Duke of Argyll Chief of the clan Campbell (boo; hiss!) and is a great visit.

 
Jul 13th, 2001, 04:15 PM
  #12  
Sheila
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OK, so it wasn't quite the end....

Then stay on the main A83 crossing the road known as "the Rest and be Thankful" (and when you see it, you'll know why) and come down to Tarbet on Loch Lomond, Scotland's largest loch. Personally I think it's overrated, and only has the following it has because it's so close to Glasgow, but there are those who swear by it... it's OK

The road will bring you out at Dumbarton and then you are 20 miles along a motorway to Glasgow, your destination. If you still have time there are one or two things to see in Glasgow too- the Birrell gallery, the Willow tea rooms, the School of Art; the Necropolis; George Square; great shopping; the Clyde, the Clyde, the wonderful Clyde, the name o' it thrills me and fills me wi' pride...; the People's Palace... but I'm an east coast girl and I don't hold with this west coast stuff ( at least, not south of Arrochar).

Then go to sleep for a week.

I've got at least one more reflecting the basic shape pre-prepared. I could write a dozen more. Keep asking till you've got what you want
 
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