Sep 4th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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My husband & I will be travelling to Scotland in 6 days. We will have a total of 14 days to travel. We want to incorporate a combination of sightseeing (castles, gardens, historical sites) with some walking each day.

We have been told to spend a lot of time in the Western Highlands, especially near Torridon & on the isle of Skye. Before arriving there, we would like to see central & north-east Scotland. It seems logical to form a circle for our travels. First going to the northeast & then travelling west and finally back to Edinburgh for departure on Sept. 24.

Does anyone have recommendations for sightseeing north of Perth? Perhaps Dee side (Braemar) or farther to the north? We would like to visit at least one distillerie.

To travel northeast, I understand that the road between Crieff & Aberfeldy is beautiful as well as the road leading through Glensee to Braemar.

A rough itinerary is as follows:

Day 1 & 2 -- Stay with friends in Kirkmuirhill, south of Glasgow.

Day 3 & 4 -- travel northeast to ???

Day 5 & 6 -- Inverness area

Day 7 & 8 -- Torridon area, including Inverewe gardens & Loch Maree

Day 9 & 10 -- Isle of Skye

Day 11 & 12 -- Loch Lomond area

Day 13 & 14 -- Glasgow & Edinburgh

I would be greatful for any advice you might have on any of the locations listed above. Thank you.
debl is offline  
Sep 4th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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hi, I immigrated from scotland to the US 2 years ago and would advise anyone to go see scotland. (its great to see but not to live in) an area you need to see is glencoe, you will feel you are in lord of the rings. the problem with scotland is that there are many beautiful places to see but they can be pretty far apart. St andrews (where the golf open is held) is nice to see as is a town called largs where there is a world famous ice cream store. A castle you should go visit is culzean castle (pronounced kul-ain)outside of a place called Ayr (pronounced air). they give tours and they have a wonderful large park and gardens. When you go to edinburgh the castle is a must! a good place to eat there is hard rock cafe (all that way and the best place is hard rock cafe. I know) they also do a haunted tour of edinburgh at night, where they take you to underground streets etc which is supposed to be very good (i've never been). Lastly if your going all the way to scotland you may as well see loch ness it is a beautiful area.
dmc1217 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2005, 06:29 PM
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rex is offline  
Sep 5th, 2005, 08:59 AM
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North East- Deeside is a good idea. So is Donside. So in Tayside. So is the Moray Coast.

Distilleries that would be an option are Edradour in Pitlochry, Royal Lochnagar in Deeside, anywhere in Speyside; Dewar's World of Whisky in Aberfeldy.

Once you pitch on a location, can you tell us where and I can try to sort out some sightseeing recommendations for you.
sheila is offline  
Sep 5th, 2005, 09:07 AM
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I agree with statements that refer to Scotland as an amazing travel destination. Friendliest people, gorgeous sights, fascinating history. There are people in this forum far more knowleadgeable in Scotland than me, but what I know I'll love to share. I agree with Glencoe, I would alocate one more day to the Inverness area and to Edinburgh. Add Fort William as well. If I were you I would leave some days open for the Western Highlands without hotel reservation.
Viajero2 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2005, 11:53 AM
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I disagree with the advice of adding Fort William to your itinerary. Unless you plan on climbing Ben Nevis or Fort William is the only logical stopover enroute to another location, give it a miss.

I also think two days at Inverness is plenty. Inverness is fine for a quickie stopover for Loch Ness (which everyone insists upon seeing on their first trip) and it does have several nearby sights worthy of a visit,but there are certainly far more interesting places to spend one's time.

Shelia will be able to give you the best ideas for sight-seeing and places to stay.

Scotland is one of the most beautiful places I've been and although my visit last fall was my sixth, it captured my heart completely. Frankly, I'm considering it as a more permanent residence. Have a great trip!
historytraveler is online now  
Sep 5th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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Historytraveler--- adding a day in Inverness does not necesarily mean to spend it in Inverness. Logically, Inverness can be a home base for the amazing amount of sightseeing you can do around that area. I know because I've done it. Another recommendation from experience: HIKING around the Fort William area will provide you the opportunity to combine castles, historical sites, and walking, just as debl ask about. By the way, you've been to Scotland six times and all you could add to this post was refuting my opinions and refer her to Sheila who already posted??? Quite odd.
Viajero2 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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Hello debl, I hope when you return from your wonderful trip you will post about Inverness. Ancestors on my family side of the family were from Inverness. I can still remember my grandfather playing the pipes. Have a wonderul time.
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 5th, 2005, 03:32 PM
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Although we normally prefer to stay 2 nights in the same location, I'm wondering if we might have to forego that for nights 3 & 4 in favor of seeing the most of the northeast before going to Inverness. If we were to go from Glasgow to Blair Atholl via Crieff & Alberfeldy on day 3 and then from Blair Atholl to Craigellachie via Glenshee, Braemar & ? are we biting off too much?

Blair Atholl & Craigellachie are not set in stone. We are open to suggetions. Since we are travelling mid-week & in September, we have not made any reservations ahead of time.

Are there castles or sites that we should not miss near or on our way to Blair Atholl & the Speyside area?

Sheila, you prefer hotels over B&B's. Is there a reason for this?

In answer to a previous question, we are from Vermont where plenty of hiking is to be had. My husband will be anxious to hike a Munro or 2, but I am only 80 percent recovered from a broken ankle. I'm sure he would like to hike Ben Nevis but I may have to take more easy walks on those days.

Will the gardens still be showy between September 12 & 24 or shall I look for other diversions?

Thank you all.
debl is offline  
Sep 5th, 2005, 04:46 PM
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Viajero2 I'm sorry you took my negative view of Fort William personally. Perhaps I should have suggested that there are a number of places to stay near Fort William that IMO would be far more satisfying.I still stand by my opinion of Fort William.

Regarding my referring to Shelia for advice, she is far more knowledgeable than I am.

debl You'll find a number of hiking trails that should be suitable even with your ankle problems.
historytraveler is online now  
Sep 6th, 2005, 01:26 AM
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YOu can certainly split between Blair Atholl and Upper Deeside. It's only a couple of hours or so of driving. Those mountains sure get in the way of a rational route

Blair Atholl Castle itself is a big deal. You should see Killiecrankie, and, in Deeside, I would suggest Craigievar Castle and a stone circle. You can do Balmoral if you want. Personally I wouldn't. You should go up to the Linn of Dee which is up above Braemar.

When you get to Corgarff, on your way to Speyside, stop at Corgarff castle which is more properly a barracks. It's very well done. And if you do all that in a day, you'll have done well.

As to accommodation, I just prefer the impersonality of hotels- just a personal thing. (I also like to have access to a bar.

The gardens will be pretty much past, I fear.
sheila is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Sheila is far more knowledgeable than I am regarding this area and other areas in would do well to seek and heed her advice.

Having said that, we found the Moray area to be significantly underrated and underappreciated. We stayed a few miles outside of Elgin in an old church that's been converted to a B&B, and enjoyed it.

Elgin Cathedral is spectacular, Duffus castle is a wonderful ruin, as is Spynie Palace, the "whisky trail" is mere minutes away...and the people could not be friendlier or more helpful.

Here's the appropriate page from our full trip report. Hope it helps!
mr_go is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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Hi debl,
Some not too coherent advice, roughly in the order the questons appear in the thread so far.
Road from Crieff to Aberfeldy - yes, if the weather is OK. It crosses some desolate moorland which would be boring or even downright scary in bad weather. If you decide to stick to the main A9 road north from Perth I'd advise against trying to go more than about 50 miles an hour. It can be done, and a lot of the locals will do it, but it's not a relaxing way to travel.
Fort William - not a pretty place by any standards. It may be a convenient place to break the journey but there are better accommodation options nearby.
Inverness - nice enough place, some good places to stay, but its main selling point is that you can stay in the same place for several days and do day trips elsewhere. If you decide to stay there, check out Hootenanny on Church Street for a night out - depending on what's on, you may be lucky and find some real traditional Scots music, not like the kailyard rubbish on offer in some other places.
Glasgow to Blair Atholl to Craigellachie (the village, not the fodorite) in two days is possible. I haven't measured out the distances but the second day looks quite a bit longer.
Doing a Munro - OK, if you must, but not Ben Nevis. Apart from the dubious ego trip of being able to say you've been there, it has nothng to offer anyone on their first Scottish ascent. The outline route you've described takes you past loads of other mountains that are maybe less well known, and certainly not so high, but much more likely to give you an enjoyable day. Ben Vrackie near Pitlochry, Morven south of Braemar for reasonably short days (about 4 hours for the return trip); Ben a'Ghlo (with numerous variations of spelling)near Blair Atholl or Lochnagar south east of Braemar if you want a long day. Bear in mind that you'll be visiting at the height of the deer and grouse shooting season and it's good manners to check that your chosen walk won't disrupt this. Ask at your hotel or B&B and they should be able to put you in touch with the local estate. Some hill goers refuse on principle to make any concession to shooting dates but I've always found that estates were willing to compromise if asked in the right way.
There are some little known but wonderful places along the Moray and Buchan coast between Inverness and Fraserburgh, it would be worth allowing even a full day just to drive along and stop where the impulse grabs you. Slightly alternative places to visit are Pluscarden Priory near Elgin nad the Findhorn Foundation, a very long established community seeking an alternative, sustainable lifestyle.
I've mainly mentioned places in the north east as that's what your question was titled. The Western Highlands could keep you busy for fourteen years never mind fourteen days.
Craigellachie is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 07:26 PM
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Thanks for all the advice.

Last evening I bought Scotland The Best. Great book!

Mr. Go, your trip itinerary was one of the first I printed from this forum. I had been reading the forum for more than a week but hadn't sent any requests for info until just a few days ago.

Craigellachie, thanks for the hiking advice. I, too, found some other Munros which perhaps I can even attempt. The reminder of the shooting season is a good one.

Sheila, if the gardens are past their prime, should I nix the idea of visiting Inverewe & Crathes Castle?

Would we be better to stay 2 nights in the Blair Atholl (or some other recommended area) then travel to a distillery on our way to the Inverness area? I'm looking for some advice as to where to stay that will allow us to see the geographic scenery as well as castles & less touristy villages/towns.
debl is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 08:16 PM
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I've hesitated to offer any advice since I'm away from home and subsequentially all my Scottish resources and maps. But will attempt a few suggestions. Hopefully the experts will correct any mistakes and misspellings.

For Inverness: Places to stay-- I've been there on three occassions and can't remember the first place at all. On my second trip I stayed at a very large, non-descript hotel that I would not recommend even if I could remember the name. However last year, when our plans were altered, and found ourselves traveling via train instead of auto, we ended up in Inverness for a night enroute to Thurso and Orkney. I had a list of B& B's in hand as we exited the train station, but we noticed the Highland Hotel just to out left. Obviously very convenient for an early departure the next morning so we checked it out. It looked very nice, and we were offered a very good rate. Our room was superb, large, well-furnished and with a bathroom to match! Arguably one of the best rooms we stayed in on our Scotland trip.We had a drink in the bar (pleasant) and managed to book our evening meal at the Mustard Seed, an excellent restaurant in a converted church.

Inverness also has a number of B&B's and Guesthouse that are highly rated. You can check them out on Trip Advisor. For sight-seeing, I would suggest the following:

Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle (supposedly a must see for first timers).The castle is best seen approaching from the Loch and hopefully shrouded in mist. It lacks charm (IMO) on a sunny day when hoards of tourists can be seen making their way to the castle with the ubiquitous piper plying his trade.

Clava Cairns
Cawdor Castle\Brodie Castle
Culloden Battlefield ( if you haven't much Scottish history, please view the short film.

mr-go made an excellent suggestion with Elgin Cathedral, Duffus Castle and Spynie Palace. I would also suggest a stop at Pluscdarden Abbey off the main road and just west of Elgin.

Another possibility is the Loch Tay area.For a place to stay, try the Ardeonaig Inn

Drive the A827 from Kenmore to Killin.
Visit the Crannog Centre
Good hiking trails/walks can be found near Queen's View just north of and around the Pitlochry area also near Dunkeld.

Loch Rannoch (north of Loch Tay) is also an excellent hiking area and one of my favorites.

If you plan on staying in the Torridon area, I would suggest the Loch Torridon Country House Hotel as a place to stay.

Hope these suggestions help. Have a wonderful trip.
historytraveler is online now  
Sep 8th, 2005, 03:56 PM
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Thanks to all for your help with our trip plans. I will post a trip report upon our return. We have one more day before leaving if anyone has any last suggestions.
debl is offline  

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