Need advice on Travel in Scotland

Mar 12th, 2011, 05:58 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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Need advice on Travel in Scotland

Hello, the Wife (Honeymoon) and I are planning on going to Scotland from July 30th to Aug 7th. We have a wedding to attend in England on the 29th and would like to take a train up to Scotland after.

We are open to any ideas and suggestions. The Highlands are on the list as a must see region. Not interested in staying in cities but rather see small towns and villages. My plan was to rent a car when we get there and go on a self drive tour.

Are B&Bs full up during this time or can one have an easy time finding a place to stay for the night? Does anyone have a suggesting for an itenery for a week in Scotland that would give us the best overall feel of the Country?
Dennis_Murphy is offline  
Mar 12th, 2011, 09:43 PM
  #2  
 
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I had problems finding B&Bs in some areas. But the Scottish tourist office will book them for you ahead of time. You might be interested in the non-city element of my trip report; just click on my name to find it.
Michael is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 12:41 AM
  #3  
 
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I have had really good luck witb finding lodging through tourist offices, as Michael suggests, but I am not looking for a peak experience every night, just somewhere clean and comfortable to sleep and a good breakfast in the morning!

I have traveled much of Scotland by both car and train. They are both good. Each will take you to places that you can't get to by the other, so each has its advantage.

If you drive, be sure to allow a lot more time for any distance than you would allow in the US or England. The roads are often narrow (one lane roads with places to pass are common in the Highlands) or two lane rather than superhighway. A wreck up the road can put you in a huge traffic backup. Traffic is heavy near the cities.

You can do many of the most scenic parts of the country by train if you want to be able to look out the window at the scenery instead of the car ahead. One route below:

Glasgow-Ft William-Mallaig-ferry to Skye-bus to Portree-bus to Kyle of Lochalsh-train to Inverness-Aberdeen-Edinburgh.
Ackislander is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 05:41 AM
  #4  
 
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It's a busy time of year- for us the busiest. But you will always find somewhere. My own view is that if there's somewhere you MUST stay, then book. Otherwise use visitScotland's book a bed ahead scheme- ie book in the morning for what you want at night.

Email me and I'll send you some options for tours.
sheila is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 06:41 AM
  #5  
 
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Just to point out the Edinburgh Tattoo and Edinburgh Festival Fringe start on the 5th August. If you are intending to be in Edinburgh at that time you need to have booked 3 months ago for decent prices
alanRow is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 08:29 AM
  #6  
 
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I strongly recommend renting the car. You can go when and where you want at your own pace. I am with Ackislander on the B&B part. I always had to go in summer (was a teacher) but always found a place to stay. Either saw a B&B sign and stopped or went to the local tourist office whose personel were always courteous, friendly and helpful. But I don't need anything fancy--just clean and comfortable. And as Sheila has suggested, you can always stop at the tourist office in the morning and they will book ahead in another town for you. (I think it was called baba --book a bed ahead--or maybe this is just in my head.)

I loved Mull. We spent two nights here. Our B&B hostess booked us a trip to Staffa Island that was one of the highlights of that trip. We had one of those sparkling clear days and the boat just skimmed over the water out to Staffa where we had a couple of hours to explore. There is no human habitation there, but lots of wildflowers and puffins. We were quite close to one of the burrows and just sat there watching them come and go as they brought back fish for their family.

The boat left us on Iona for a while. We wanted longer so hiked around out to the abbey where MacBeth and lots of other kings are burried and just along quiet beaches. We took the regular ferry back to Mull and our car. (It is a five minute ride and not bankbreakingly expensive, not even little piggy bank.)

We visaited Torosey(sp?) and Duarte Castles and took a ride on a miniature railroad from one of them.

One evening we went in Tobermory and sat on the pier to have fish and chips with the gulls.

We stayed several days in Fort augustus (at one end of Loch Ness). We went to the Benedictine Abbey for mass and enjoyed the music as well as satisfying our weekend duty. While there we went to Culloden, stewart Castle, the highland Wildlife Park, took a cruise on Loch Ness, stopped at the Nessie Center in Drumnadrochit, visited Urquart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, spent a day at highland games which were on in Fort Augustus while we were there, did some hiking (well actually long walks).

Mind you I was traveling with two nephews (11 and 14) so a lot was geared towards them, but my friends tell me I never progressed much beyond 11 myself so there you have it.

We had 15 days so more time to amble than you will have, but stilll.

Our itinerary was like this as I look back at my notes.

Day 1 arrived Glascow midafternoon. Picked up rental car and drove along Loch Lomond to Oban. Stopped at first B&B we saw and got a room. Got take out and went down to the harbor to eat on a stonewall.

Day 2 Early ferry to Mull--two castles, little train ride, Tobermory for supper on the pier. B&B in Salon.

Day 3 early to Fionphort to catch boat to Staffa and Iona. Lunch at cafe on Iona. Picked up car late afternoon and drove about exploring, picnic supper on a beach. Back to Salon.

Day4 Ferry back to Oban and off north with stop at Dunstaffnig Castle. Overnight in Fort William-not impressed with town but it was as far as I wanted to drive.

Day 5 Off early to Mallaig and ferry to Skye. Stopped at Center in Armadale where we saw falconry and archery demo. We had planned to spend more time on Skye but the rain was bucketing down by afternoon so we took the bridge back to the mainland and on to Fort augustus. Stopped to visit Eileen Donan Castle.

Day 6-9 recounted above.

Day 10 to Stirling. Wallace monument, castle.

Day 11 train to Edinburgh. The boys wanted to have a "real" train ride. Did the Hoponhopoff tour, Edinburgh Cstle and a few other bits and pieces. (There is tons to see and do in Edinburgh; I have been lucky enough to visit E. lots of other times and we were running out of time.) Back to Stirling for the night.
irishface is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 08:32 AM
  #7  
 
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Sorry, hit submit too soon.

We spent our last four nights in Northmberland which is actually England--visited Hadrian's Wall and the museum there, Bamburgh Castle, Lindisfarne, Farne Islands, etc.
irishface is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 08:50 AM
  #8  
 
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Have alook at my at my trip report for last year's week in Scotland.
Lifeman is offline  
Mar 13th, 2011, 09:03 AM
  #9  
 
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If you like to drive and hike, you might be interested in the Scotland portion of my trip report from June 2007:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...land-wales.cfm

We spent 2 full days in the Glen Coe area (see days 11-12) and did a couple of wonderful hikes and a scenic drive out to the coast. We only had 5 days in Scotland and wanted to see Stirling & Edinburgh as well, so we really had to squeeze it in. If we'd had more time we would have spent another day in Glen Coe for more hiking and gone up to Skye as well.

If you are at all picky about your accommodations, I would recommend booking ahead at that time of year (especially for your honeymoon!?!). We had all of our hotels and B&Bs reserved in advance; some were full and some were not.
hausfrau is offline  
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