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Is it possible to do some of the Highlands and Isle of Sky in 3 days?

Is it possible to do some of the Highlands and Isle of Sky in 3 days?

Apr 22nd, 2006, 05:13 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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Is it possible to do some of the Highlands and Isle of Sky in 3 days?

We are flying home from Edinburgh in early July and will be spending 4 1/2 days in Scotland. After doing other cities in Europe, I was really interested in Not spending a lot of time in Edinburgh, but rather driving into the Highlands and over to the Isle of Sky. We are arriving in Edinburgh Monday, July 3 and are leaving for home from Edinburgh mid-afternnon, Friday, July 7. Can anyone suggest a doable itinerary, and possibly some places to stay for a family of 5? Thanks!
3mkids is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 06:01 AM
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I would suggest doing it by train for a relaxing journey, some parts of which can't be reached by car easily.

Take the train to Glasgow and from there up the West Highland line to Mallaig. This is one of the most famous railway journeys in the world, some of which was featured in one of the Harry Potter films when Harry was on his way to school. Spend the night in Mallaig.

From there next morning, you can get a Cal-Mac ferry across to Armadale in Skye and a bus to Portree. Spend that night in Portree, asking at the tourist office for a guided tour.

Day three, take the bus to Kyle of Lockalsh and take the train to Inverness, looking at wonderfully scenic country while you enjoy a lovely malt whisky --or three! Spend the night in Inverness before returning to Edinburgh next morning.

If you were flying home from Glasgow, you could probably do the trip in reverse. The advantage of this trip over driving is that you will not have to cope with weather, trailers (caravans) on narrow roads, sheep on same, etc. The disadvantage is that you will not have time to hike etc, though you won't need any specialized gear as well. All this requires is ordinary street clothing.

I have made this trip twice, abut it has been a while. Since the UK in general if not Scotland in particular seems to be bent on destroying its railway system, I would seek advice from someone with access to current schedules.
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Thanks so much for your suggestions. After a month traveling around in Europe, your itinerary looks wonderful for the last leg of our trip. We will be flying into Edinburgh from London and then flying home to the states also from Edinburgh. Do I have to make train reservations in advance? Can you point me to the appropriate web site? Also, do you have any recommendations for accomodations in these areas for a family of 5 - 2 adults and 3 kids? Again, thanks so much!
3mkids is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Everything you need to know about transportation -- with links -- can be found at this hotel site: http://www.whiteheatherhotel.co.uk/Buses.html

As to lodging, it has been too long to make a reliable recommendation, and I don't know your tastes or price ranges.
My daughter and I (when she was an exchange student in Edinburgh) did fine just going to the local tourist offices for bookings, but we were just two, and we were traveling in June. Anyone else able to help?
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Just a warning note,check out the bus schedules prior to rriving in Armadale as bus service on Skye can be a bit sketchy. on't plan on one waiting for you as you disembark from the ferry. I do have the name of a taxi service you can book.

I would also recommend you spend the night on Skye at Armadale if you can't get to Portree as there is a better hotel choice there( try the Ardvasar) and it's (IMO) much nicer than Mallaig. The last ferry on the summertimetable usually leaves Mallaig about 6:00 p.m.
historytraveler is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2006, 12:02 PM
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I'do pretty much the same itinerary -- but I would do it by car. One reason being - in early July it will be daylight VERY late and if you are limited to the rail/bus schedules you will lose 4 to 5+ hours of sightseeing time every single day. On this short a visit you really don't want to be stuck in a town/village from 5 p.m. on, when you could be on a remote beach or at a fabulous ruined castle w/i easy driving distance.

And if you did drive you wouldn't be stuck staying in Inverness and could stay in a nice village outside of town.
janisj is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2006, 01:54 AM
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1. If you decide to do it by train, you can check timetables and book seats through thetrainline.com

Trains from Edinburgh to Glasgow run very frequently through the day. However, I'd be surprised if there isn't a direct bus service from the airport to Glasgow, and you will get that information on the web site for Edinburgh airport. That, however, avoids Edinburgh completely and you may not want to do that. You don't have to make train reservations in advance, but if you know what train you're going to be on, it's probably a good idea.

2.The last ferry to Armadale leaves Mallaig at 6pm, as Ackislander said. You can get further ferry details in Caledonian MacBrayne's web site. You have a 10 minute check in, if you're on foot. You don't have to make foot passenger reservations but if you decide you want to go by car- especially if you intend to be on the last ferry of the day- I would recommend it.

Phone numbers to check for bus connections are on the Calmac web site.

3.You will get a great deal of information on the Undiscovered Scotland web site, for Skye- including accommodation and drivers/guides. I would agree about staying on Skye rather than Mallaig, but if you can't get there, or choose not to, I suggest you get off the train a couple of stops before Malliag and stay in Arisaig.

Please give us some input into the sort of place you like to stay and we'll try to make recommendations. Even in high summer you should get places to stay without reservations but with 5 of you and no car, it's probably not a good idea.

A car will give you greater flexibility for sure. But you can do a lot by public transport.

sheila is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2006, 04:18 AM
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You can get information on the steam train to Mallaig on www.steamtrain.info
Kippy is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2006, 08:02 AM
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A rental car will give you great flexibility;the train will be more relaxing.

The train ride from Glasgow to Mallaig is spectacular as is the trip from Lochalsh to Inverness. However, I think you really need a car in order to see Skye. A bus ride from Armadale to Portree without detours and then to the Isle of Lochalsh gives you little opportunity to see the best of Skye.

With a group of five, you might also want to do a price comparison of rental car vs. train. They both have their positives and negatives.
historytraveler is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2006, 08:04 AM
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Here is the Caledonian MacBrayne website

historytraveler is online now  
Apr 25th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Hi there,

I would suggest taking a look at the following sites for accommodation:


I would also maybe suggest doing your trip the other way round - take the train to Inverness & then Skye, hiring a car once you're in Kyle and then doing the Armadale - Mallaig ferry & Jacobite Steam Train on your way back to Edinburgh, via Glasgow!

If you hop straight on the train after landing in Edinburgh, then you could spend your first night in Inverness and then take the train to Kyle (2.5 hrs) on the 4th, staying on Skye the 4th & 5th (hire a car from Kyle Taxi Co,), then travel back to Edinburgh on the 6th (Kyle Taxi Co. can drive you down to the ferry), giving you at least your last night to soak in a bit of Edinburgh's night life and then you won't be rushing your journey back there for your flight on the 7th.

Hope this helps a bit!
YorkieLass is offline  

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