Need help for Scotland trip

Old Jun 17th, 2007, 09:24 PM
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I just looked at tripadvisor and Auchendinny Guest Huse has a couple of good reviews. I have never believed opinions on tripadvisor reflect a definitive view, but a couple of good ones are noteworthy, especially with little else to go on.
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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Okay, so I've heard back on a few of my enquiries. The Urquhart Caledonian Hotel in Portree has good reviews on tripadvisor, and has a reasonably priced family room available. I feel the same way as you historytraveler. Maybe I'm too cynical, but I don't always trust the reviews. That's why I like coming on here to find out if anyone here can recommend the spots I'm considering. Balloch B&B was full but passed my email on to a neighboring B&B Ė Duirinish Guest House. It looks like a lovely spot according to their website, but itís a little more expensive than the Urquhart Caledonian and there are no reviews to be found. So unless someone here can recommend it, Iíll likely stick with the Urquhart.

The Strathassynt Guest House in Ballachulish also has a family room available. Thereís only 1 review, but itís a great one. There are a few more places Iím still waiting to hear back from and Iíll post those too if they get back to me today. I plan to get back to these people to confirm and book by the end of today or tomorrow, so any feedback on these choices between now and then would be much appreciated.
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 08:46 AM
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lifeofmytime: I can't help w/those specific properties - but just a comment -- I never (well almost never - never in practical terms) even look at Trip Advisor for small UK B&Bs/Guest houses. A B&B might have 2 to 4 rooms and being open maybe 8 months of the year w/ a 70% occupancy rate there would be at most 350-400 parties staying. Maybe 5-10% of those even know TA exists. Whereas a 25 room hotel open all year could have have 5000-6000+ parties staying over the course of a year.

The chances of a review for a B&B at all is slim, and the weight I'd give any is none. Just too small a sample pool and most will have no reviews at all.

I'd go w/ your gut - if a B&B looks nice don't worry at all about no reviews.
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Very good point janisj. And I've also considered the fact that many people will only go out of their way to post a review if they've had a really horrible experience and want to spread the word. Or, conversely, they've had such an incredible experience they want to shout it off the rooftops so to speak. Most people who have nice, comfortable experiences wouldn't go out of their way to post about it, so I take any review with a grain or two of salt.

I hadn't heard back from Ben Tianavaig B&B as of yesterday so I called them only to find out they are booked up (as I mentioned above). However they just replied to my earlier email saying they have the rooms available. So I'm hoping they had been holding the rooms based on my email. I wrote them back immediately so I'm crossing my fingers right now. Which makes it extremely difficult to type....
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 10:33 AM
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I'll keep my fingers crossed for you too
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 11:54 AM
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As I mentioned in my post, tripadvisor reviews seldom carry much weight with me. I do believe a couple of good reviews are still slightly better than risking the unknown. I also have a strong regard for 'gut' feelings. Remember very few places are actually 'bad'. The negatives are usually a result of expecting too much. You know...the equilvalent of a 200 £ room for 60 £ a night.

Good luck with your choices
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Another excellent point. I noticed a lot of the "bad" reviews came off that way. I don't expect or need luxury accommodations - just something clean & convenient, and if there's some character and local flavour thrown into the mix - even better.

I'm booked for Sept 25 & 26 at Ben Tianavaig B&B (yay), and I'm 98% certain I'll be booking the Kelvingrove Hotel tonight for Sept 23 & 24. So now I'm down to booking something in the Glencoe/Ballachulish area for Sept 27 & 28. I still need to book the rental car, the hop on/hop off tour of Glasgow, and the Loch Ness cruise, but it's really coming together!
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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check out http://www.clachaig.com/ in Glencoe

Even if you don't stay there, have a meal . . . .
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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The Clachaig Inn would be a great choice.

Did you have a look at Scorrybreac? I found Ardno House on the visit Scotland website and it looks very nice. They do have family rooms. Haven't located a website for it yet, but you can view it at www.visitscotland.com. Go to the Fort William-Lochaber site for accomodations/B&B's on page 12.
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Old Jun 18th, 2007, 02:30 PM
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Thanks for the recommendations janisj and historytraveler. I'm still waiting to hear back from Scorrybreac and Ardno. I think Ardno (I found their site at http://www.ardnohouse.co.uk/)is my first choice, so if I don't hear back from them soon I'll call. Otherwise I'll stick with Strathassynt Guest House in Ballachulish as I'm getting a terrific rate there.

I think The Clachaig Inn was one of the first ones I looked at. I'm not sure why I moved on - I may have been overwhelmed by all the choices lol and that one was a bit pricier but not by much. The menu does look fantastic so we'll make sure to at least stop in for a meal!
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Hi. Sorry if this is off-topic, but Author: lifeofmytime said they're of the Bohuntin MacDonalds. I am also, and am planning a trip to the area. Could the author please contact me at
[email protected]
Thanks.
RM
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 07:48 PM
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Well it's official! I've booked the flights and all the accommodations, as well as the Glasgow Hop on/Hop off tour and the Loch Ness Cruise. All that's left is the car rental which will be booked by the weekend.

I checked with the Clachaig Inn and they were full, as was Ardno House. So we're booked at the Strathassynt Guest House. I never did hear back from Scorrybreac unfortunately.

I have one last question (I'm sure I'll have more as the trip gets closer, but this'll be the last "for now"): How long do you think it'll take to drive from Portree to Inverness via the Skye Bridge with no stops?

RM - I just sent you an email.
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Old Jun 19th, 2007, 08:00 PM
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Portree to Inverness is about 120 miles and would easily take 3.5 hours w/o any stops and not getting stuck behind any coaches or caravans.

Plus there are "must" stops like a photo op at Eilean Donan castle and visiting Urquhart Castle - so I would give it about 5 hours.
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 12:15 AM
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Nah! I can do it in 2 hours- admittedly in the middle of the night when I'm late for the ferry. 2 1/2 hours should be fine. Without stops.
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 05:18 AM
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Sheila: How, since just Portree to Kyle can easily take 45 minutes or more?
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 05:54 AM
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I live in this area. It takes less than 2 hours to drive from Kyle to Inverness [a bit longer to the airport]. The fastest route is the 'north road'
Kyle to Portree is about 40 minutes.
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 05:59 PM
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We're going to have quite an early morning on Thursday I think... our cruise of Loch Ness begins at 10:15am!
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Old Jun 20th, 2007, 11:03 PM
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Even Michelin says it's 2 hours 40, Janis.
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Old Jun 21st, 2007, 05:13 AM
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For just about every other route in the UK and Ireland - the "conventional wisdom" on Fodors is to add 25%-30% to the drive times found on AA, Mappy, Via Michelin, etc since visitors simply can't do it as fast as locals. Sounds about right to me . . . .

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Old Jul 14th, 2007, 06:03 AM
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Ok I'm back with yet another question. I can't seem to find the ferry schedule from Mallaig to Armadale. I've been to several sites, but once I search for September (and I've tried July too just in case they don't publish them in advance) but it always comes up "timetable not available". I read somewhere recently that it's recommended to book the ferry in advance which I hadn't been planning to do. Is it really necessary? But either way, I'd like to know what time to leave Ballachulish on Thursday, Sept 27 in order to catch the ferry if anyone can help me with that!
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