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Planning for a driving trip in Scotland through the Scotland Highlands

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May 15th, 2011, 10:25 AM
  #1
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Planning for a driving trip in Scotland through the Scotland Highlands

Hi all,

I'm planning for my driving trip in Scotland and I hope to have the opportunity to cover the northern highlands as well as the central one in 4 days. Here's my itinerary:

10/6: Reaching Edinburgh airport in the night. Pick up our rental car.
11/6: 1 whole day in Edinburgh.
12/6: Driving from Edinburgh to Inverness, through Perth, Loch Tay, Glen Lyon, Loch Ness.
13/6: Planning to go for a cruise at Moray Firth, then head down to Urquhart Castle, then drive through Glen Affric to Lairg, then to To Tongue to Durness and to Ullapool.
14/6: Driving to Fort William, probably with stops at Plockton and Kyle of Lochalsh.
15/6: Spend some time or drive through Glen Coe and head to York
16/6: Tour around York and continue to Nottingham
17/8: Tour around Nottingham and continue to London
18/8: Return the car and fly off from London

May I know if the itinerary is too ambitious? I have read a lot of reviews on Scotland Highlands, hence I hope to have the chance to at least drive through and take in as much sceneries as possible.

Thank you very much for your kind assistance!!!

Warm Regards,
Yen
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May 15th, 2011, 10:44 AM
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15/6: Spend some time or drive through Glen Coe and head to York

Without stopping Google says that Glen Coe to York is nearly 6.5 hours....it will probably take you longer and TBH is a tough drive if you're not too used to the roads.

Others will probably have more to say about your other days
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May 15th, 2011, 02:36 PM
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Oh - I see you did re-post -- here is part of what I posted on your other thread:

>>Most of your itinerary is just about impossible.

(And is there some specific reason on such a short visit you are including Nottingham?)

Just to give you one idea of the several problems: Your plan for June 13 is more than 300 miles and about 10 straight hours of driving w/o any stops, breaks, meals, photo ops, anything. Ten full hours behind the wheel. And that is after a boat ride on the Moray Firth. Simply can't be done<<
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May 15th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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"10 straight hours of driving w/o any stops, breaks, meals, photo ops, anything. Ten full hours behind the wheel"

No, No, No (again)

It IS just over 300 mile mostly on empty motorways and easy A roads. It is not a non stop 10 hours. Is it 6 hours with one good stop.

I have done Fort William to Heathrow, non stop in 10 hours
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May 15th, 2011, 03:26 PM
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Humpty: ""10 straight hours of driving w/o any stops, breaks, meals, photo ops, anything. Ten full hours behind the wheel"

No, No, No (again)

It IS just over 300 mile mostly on empty motorways and easy A roads. It is not a non stop 10 hours. Is it 6 hours with one good stop.

I have done Fort William to Heathrow, non stop in 10 hours
"

okaaaay - but I was talking about June 13. That is the day the OP wants to do a Dolphin cruise on the Moray Firth, then drive to Urquhart, through Glen Affric, to Tongue, to Durness, to Ullapool . . . Not a motorway anywhere to be found.

Ft William to LHR in a day -- what has that got to do w/ Inverness to Ullapool via half of northern Scotland?
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May 15th, 2011, 03:35 PM
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I would strongly urge you to check route planner on theaa.com then add some to their suggested times. For the 13th, you didn't mention how long the cruise is but IME they are usually about two hours. You'll also need to add time to/from boat departure. Is it Cromarty? If so, I remember it being at least 45 minutes from Inverness.

Sure it might just be possible, (as humpty says) if you are familar with the roads, have a zen bladder, are heavily into long and exhausting drives and don't plan on making any of the stops that janisj mentioned. No way to see Scotland IMO.
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May 15th, 2011, 06:05 PM
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Historytraveler: I think humpty was connecting my "10 hours" w/ the Ft William to York day (hence the 'motorway' reference). I'm pretty sure even Humptynumpty wouldn't recommend the June 13 itinerary.

(There are some dolphin cruises that leave from Inverness but the best ones are out of the Cromarty side AFIK)
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May 15th, 2011, 09:10 PM
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Hi all,

Thanks for your reply!

@janisj: I'm including Nottingham for an overnight stop to continue to london the next day. or is there any better recommendations? my friends hope to go to York so we can stop anywhere in between York and London. or do you think we should drive straight to London?

For the June 13 itinerary, if I drive straight from Glen Affric to Ullapool, would it be better? I know the itinerary sounds impossible, because I based the traveling time on what i get from google maps lol. From google maps, the traveling time from inverness to durness and then to ullapool is approximately 4-5hrs. but i understand that due to road conditions and us not familiar with the roads, it will be much longer. so i'm open to changes! haha. if we were to cut down on that portion, where would you recommend us to stop between Inverness and Ullapool, other than Glen Affric?

We have 2 to 3 drivers, so i hope 10 hours behind the wheels wouldn't be a problem haha! but may I ask how would you guys plan your Scotland Highland itinerary for 3 days? we hope to cover as much ground as possible, as we know that Scotland is an amazing place!

May I know which wuold you guys prefer? The dolphin cruises at Inverness, Cromarty, Ullapool, Kyle of Lochalsh or Fort William?

@humptynumpty: you are amazing to have driven 10 hours straight! haha

@historytraveler: Thanks for your advice! If i'm not wrong it is stated in lonely planet to be one and a half to two hours.

Thank you guys very much in your help and we are open to changes!

Cheers,
Yen
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May 15th, 2011, 09:22 PM
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@alihutch: Driving for us should not be a problem i hope haha, as we have 2-3 drivers, so we can swap every 2 hours. But do you recommend us to spend some time in glen coe?

Thanks!!

Cheers,
Yen
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May 15th, 2011, 09:35 PM
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Only you can decide:

Do you want a road trip -- drive all day long trading off and mainly cramming in miles?

Or do you actually want to stop/see/do things?
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May 16th, 2011, 12:45 AM
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Sorry Janisj, yes it is the 13th which needs rethinking.

I had thought you referred to the FW - York trip which is also 300 miles.

Think the problem is that many still think that our roads are cart tracks full of cars dragging caravans. Somebody posted recently that it wasn't possible to do more than 30mph on most of Scotland's A roads which is simply piffle.

The problem to me is the designation of our roads. "Some" A roads "in the hills" and around the coast are very frustrating and 30mph is a dream. Most are fairly empty and 60mph plus is the norm. Indeed, our local youth "lowland games" revolve around who can excede 120mph on the A75. The local Mags are getting fed up and have started transporting the offenders to Australia.
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May 16th, 2011, 02:41 AM
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Humpty numpty you have a point, but I remember some years ago driving my then brother in law and his new wife from Gatwick to the Lake District. As I merrily drove at about 80mph up the M6 I later found that she was terrified because the lanes were so narrow.(she was from Oklamhoma and hadn't been out of the US before) So I guess not everyone will drive the same way as you or me.

yem89 Sure you can do it like that, but it's not my idea of holiday.....
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May 16th, 2011, 07:14 AM
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BTW, you don't need a car in Edinburgh. I'd save a day's rent and pick it up when you leave Edinburgh. I'd also drop the car in York and take the train to London, which will save you a day in Nottingham you can use in Scotland. In fact, I'd probably drop the car in Edinburgh and take the train on to York. Have you checked drop off charges?
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May 16th, 2011, 07:25 AM
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"BTW, you don't need a car in Edinburgh. I'd save a day's rent and pick it up when you leave Edinburgh. I'd also drop the car in York and take the train to London, which will save you a day in Nottingham you can use in Scotland. In fact, I'd probably drop the car in Edinburgh and take the train on to York. Have you checked drop off charges"

Is all good advice. Why Nottingham?

Why not drop it add time to Scotland and as thursdaysd suggests simply take the train to York/London.
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May 16th, 2011, 07:53 AM
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yen89 "but may I ask how would you guys plan your Scotland Highland itinerary for 3 days?"

My family doesn't. We go to Scotland for no less than 3 weeks. I wouldn't want to cram miles on the road in to just make it around the highlands w/o the chance to actually get out and look around.
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May 16th, 2011, 09:25 AM
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I've seen few itineraries worse than this. Why even go to London - you won't see anything in the few hours you have. Just stay in Scotland and stretch out your itinerary.

Your itinerary does not account for obtaining and departing the various accommodations you will need, which will cut a couple of hours from your plans each day.

I agree with Thursdaysd -- my first thought on seeing your itinerary was that you should get the car on day 3, not day 1. Waste of money to rent the car while you're in Edinburgh, which is a small and walkable (up the hills, always up) city.
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May 16th, 2011, 09:58 AM
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Agreed, get the car on day 3
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May 16th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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"10/6: Reaching Edinburgh airport in the night. Pick up our rental car."

As you aren't needing it until the 12th why not pick up the car then and save yourself two days hire plus the awfulness of parking in Edinburgh

Where will you have been before Edinburgh? Your trip basically heads north from Edinburgh, then passes by Edinburgh on the way south. Can't you start your trip in - say - Inverness and work southwards, that would save a day of travel in itself. Then you could drop the car off in Edinburgh and take the train to York thence to London. Nottingham as a stopping off point doesn't make much sense as it's not on the way from York to London.
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May 16th, 2011, 10:11 AM
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Planned trip to Scotland just changed with addition of a friend coming with me. Originally planned to stay in a 3 person self service cottage on Ardverikie Estate with old college friend and her husband. Now have extra person making necessry to find simple, reasonable lodging near to Estate so she and I can still do touring with those staying at the Estate. Please, tips on lodging that is closest!
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May 16th, 2011, 10:29 AM
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travelingsimple: I'd suggest you start a fresh thread w/ your own specific questions. As it is your post really has nothing at all to do w/ yen89's questions/issues/itinerary/problems . . .
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