Now we're arguing about Islay

Apr 7th, 2010, 12:46 PM
  #1  
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Now we're arguing about Islay

Well, am tentatively planning a western Scotland trip 6/2011.

Isle of Skye was a definite; Mull a maybe. Thought of flying into Glasgow and driving from there. (Have been to whiskey trail, Edinburgh, and Loch Ness previously.

Considered driving south along what they call the Smugglers Coast. Not sure.

However, now DH informs me that his only reasons for wanting to go were to see Skye and Islay. They are not near each other. I didn't think of Islay as a tourist destination (it's not on driving tours in books) until I did a search here, and yes, people do go.

When I googled it, it looked like 4 hours in ferry rides. I'm ordering a CalMac schedule. However, some posts between former ops and Sheila look like one could ferry from Mull, i.e., one ferry trip.

Any comments or suggestions are helpful. Long story short, am wondering how many days this would add to trip--plus how many ferry rides.
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Apr 7th, 2010, 12:51 PM
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Is DH a whisky drinker? Or a bird watcher?
hetismij is offline  
Apr 7th, 2010, 01:19 PM
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Whisky, although he helps our cat watch birds outside our window. He's been to Dalwinnie (sp), McCallan, and Oban.

I'm thinking of telling him that if I deal with these complications, I may toss back into the mix my wish of taking the ferry from Ullapool to Stornaway to see the standing stones on Lewis!

Finally found a map with Kennacraig on it (mentioned in a Sheila post I searched for). Would that be one ferry trip? Or does one have to go to Jura and transfer?
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Apr 7th, 2010, 02:14 PM
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Four ferry rides from where? If from Skye, the easiest way to get to Kennacraig on Kintyre (to catch the ferry to either Port Ellen or Port Askaig on Islay) would be to drive, passing through Mallaig, Fort William, Oban and and Kilmartin (worthy of a stop) and then Lochgilphead and on to Kennacraig. Not sure as to how long it would take. You might be able to do it in a day, but I imagine it'd be a long one. Plenty of great spots on the way for a stop over.

You can also take a ferry from Oban via Colonsay and on to Port Askaig if stopping there rather than Port Ellen but service is limited.
historytraveler is online now  
Apr 7th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Why don't you use the CalMac website......this page is the routemap

http://www.calmac.co.uk/Islands%20&%...route-map.html

and they also have timetables etc.

Here is Islay info....

http://www.islayinfo.com/

lots of people go there. And of course, do spend a few days in Glasgow on the way there....
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Apr 7th, 2010, 03:26 PM
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We loved Islay. Nothing to argue about, it's a magical place.

Some photos:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/...hotos-_-Sharer

My trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...o-scotland.cfm
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Apr 7th, 2010, 06:15 PM
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You could easily do Skye, Mull/Iona, AND Islay -- and that would be a wonderful itinerary.

Glasgow to Skye, then across the mainland to Lochaline or Kilchoan and a ferry to Mull, then ferry to Oban and down through Kilmartin to Kennacraig for the ferry to Islay.

or do the whole thing in reverse.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 12:00 AM
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In summer, if you time it right (ie, the bit between Islay and Oban must be on a Wednesday.) you can do Islay, Oban, Mull. You can then take the little ferry from Mull to Lochaline and drive round the coast to Mallaig for the Skye boat. On Skye, you can get the boat from Uig to Harris, then come back from Stornoway to Ullapool.

That would be my idea of a great trip.

Calmac do a number of different tickets bundling bits together and it sounds to me like you will need one.

So..

Day 1-
drive to Kennacraig.

Day 2 Kennacraig to Islay,

Day 4 (and it must be a Wednesday) Islay to Oban, Oban to Mull,

Day 6 Mull to Lochaline, Mallaig to Armadale,

Day 8 Uig to Harris,

Day 10 Lewis to Ullapool.

That would be my idea of a MINIMUM. Can I come with you?
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Apr 8th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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Wow! Sheila, you just designed a 'trip of dreams' for DH, but I also wanted to see gardens, mountains, etc. Thanks for the well thought out reply. Knowing me, I might be more likely to do the Kennacraig to Islay and back. Do some driving around in SW then go to Mull, return to shore, approach Skye from the Road to the Isles, then take Uig to Harris, Lewis to Ullapool.

Out of a two week trip, we have to spend a day and a half flying--coming from Alaska.

I'm discovering that we would need to drive nearly to Ullapool anyway to see the garden, so rather than backtracking, it would make sense to do the Lewis/Harris arm unless putting a car on the ferry is prohibitive.

You've given me a lot to think about. Am I right in assuming that the way you are looking at the ferry schedules would be far less costly than what I had in mind?

I am going to send to CalMac, just have been busy.
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Apr 8th, 2010, 08:18 AM
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I read your post to DH. He said "sounds wonderful".

It's conceivable that we might be able to do some of it, omitting Mull which actually looks kind of picturesque.

If it's rainy, I'd be a bit concerned about spending so much of the trip on a ferry.

I don't see a lot of travelers on Fodors mentioning that they go to Ayr, Galloway, the far SW coast of Scotland. Would we find that more heavily populated, less scenic?
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Apr 9th, 2010, 08:07 AM
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Mull is beautiful and Iona is (or was) magic.

If you're into gardens, how about Interewe Gardens, up near Poolewe. I admit it was years ago that I was there, but it was lovely: http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/poolewe/inverewe/
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Apr 9th, 2010, 08:08 AM
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Sorry, it's "Inverewe".
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Apr 9th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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WWanderer, I told my DH that is one of the mandatories on my list.

I have a map of gardens in Scotland. There aren't a lot on my route and the rhododendrohns could be done by June but plan to include some.

I've started reading Frommer's driving tours. Has anyone been to Lochaline, or Ardtornish House, "extensive gardens well worth visiting" ?
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Apr 10th, 2010, 12:43 PM
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I've been to both. Faith Raven, who built the gardens with her husband, is something else. However, I think you might find the gardens a bit of a let down if you miss the rhodies and azaleas.

OK. Mountains and gardens on that route.... (are you climbing these mountains or just looking at them?)

Day 1-drive to Kennacraig.- where are you driving from?

Day 2 Kennacraig to Islay- on Islay (well Jura) you have the Paps of Jura and the Jura House Gardens. On Islay, there's the community garden at Islay House and the gardens at Foreland House

Day 4 (and it must be a Wednesday) Islay to Oban, Oban to Mull,

Now, the problem with the through ferry is that you don't get time in Colonsay. Colonsay House gardens are spectacular. On Mull, there are gardens to visit at Torosay House, Lip na Cloiche, Quinish, and Calgary Farm Wood. And a sodding great mountain in the middle of it- Ben More.

Day 6 Mull to Lochaline, Mallaig to Armadale,- no mountains; no gardens en route. When you get to Skye, you might have a bit of a surfeit on the mountain front. the Black Cuillins, the Red Cuillins, the Quiraing, Trotternish and Mcleod's Tables.

There are gardens at Armadale, Dunvegan and Duisdale.

Day 8 Uig to Harris,- not been struggling for Gardens. Nice mountains. Did I mention the beaches? Lewis- not happening

Day 10 Lewis to Ullapool.- Leal Forest Gardens and, you can't miss Inverewe. Stac Polly, Ben More Coigach, and the rest of the Ullapool mountains.

If you come south via Poolewe, you will be exiting between Torridon- on of the most spectacular mountain ranges in Scotland and Loch Maree with Slioch on the far bank.

You will, in other words, not be at a loss for either.
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Apr 10th, 2010, 01:00 PM
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besides all the gardens mentioned - be on the lookout for open days. The Yellow book is a great resource - but even w/o, especially on weekends you'll find all sorts of private gardens open one time only. Usually for a small donation to charity you can see some really lovely places.
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Apr 10th, 2010, 01:37 PM
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I don't see a lot of travelers on Fodors mentioning that they go to Ayr, Galloway, the far SW coast of Scotland. Would we find that more heavily populated, less scenic?


There are beautiful places in Dumfries and Galloway, and it's not heavily populated. Check out Drumlanrig Castle
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Apr 10th, 2010, 01:45 PM
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The SW is wonderful. From Culzean to Crossraguel Abbey, to all the sites down in Dumfries/Galloway and even just into northern England for the wall. One main reason so few posters ask about the area is they've mostly all heard of Loch Ness/the Highlands/Skye (as sheila calls it -- the Tartan Triangle) and just must go north. The SW doesn't have the wild scenery for the far northwest - but there is a lot to see/do

The SW and the Borders to the east are both amazing areas. Scotland is a biiiig place and one needs to go back several times to even scratch theh surface.
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Apr 10th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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Lots and lots to think about. I had thought about going down the SW even far enough to see the wall until DH claimed Islay was for him the whole point of the trip.

I did spend TWO HOURS this morning reading posts I searched back on Islay, Lewis, Skye, Mull etc, which (thank you Sheila and Janisj) answered a lot of the questions I was thinking of asking.

Our last 2 trips to France were both 17 days, and I find I get antsy after 10. So I promised to not make this trip quite so long.

Forgot to mention we will be 65 when we do this, so yes, LOOKING at the mountains not climbing. Back in the 1970's DH climbed every major mounting in Oregon.

I was ready to forfeit Lewis and the Stones until I saw a picture of LoachRoag house.

Janisj, I came in through the Borders and Edinburgh in 1998. We did part of the Whiskey Trail, down Loch Ness to Oban (missing Skye). Not a boring triangle! but there was some drizzle.
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Apr 10th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Oops mountain, not mounting.
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Apr 11th, 2010, 01:51 AM
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I like the South West very much too, but I don't think you can do it AND this.
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