Planning Scotland a few years from now

Old Jan 24th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Planning Scotland a few years from now

We hope to return to Scotland in the next few years, as well as maybe see some of Yorkshire and Northumberland.

I want to do some planning in advance so I don't lock myself in to a route or number of days and then miss something I'd really enjoy.

We've been to Edinburgh, Pitlochry, the Whiskey Trail, Oban and Glasgow. Would like to see Isle of Skye, Lewis, maybe more of western Scotland. Is it impossible to combine these wishes with seeing some of the opposite side of England, i.e, around York, Thirsk, Castle Howard, Hadrian's Wall, etc? I discover I get antsy when I'm away for longer than 2 weeks, plus it's expensive! We would be driving.

What about flying into Glasgow and starting from there--maybe with a night near Loch Lomond?
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Old Jan 24th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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I'd forget about trying to include any thing on the east coast of England i.e. York,Thirsk, Castle Howard.Save them for another trip as the logistics just don't make much sense. Concentrate instead on the west of Scotland and even the Western Isles. Flying into Glasgow is a good idea. Do you have any desire to see the city? IMO it's worth a day of sightseeing. A night near Loch Lomond would work also.

I'd drive north to Skye, spend some time there, and then ferry over to Harris & Lewis for awhile. Have a look at the Uists. They're not for everyone, but I enjoyed my time there. You can drive down to Lochboisdale and then catch a ferry back to Oban.If this itinerary interests you, have a look at Calmac as they offer a variety of options for ferry passengers. Have you spent any time around Kilmartin? Another place worth a stop especially if you have any interest in Neolithic, Bronze Age sites, Celtic crosses etc.

There are a plethora of possibilities including places I haven't mentioned...Mull,Iona and Isley.
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Old Jan 24th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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What about Orkney?
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Old Jan 24th, 2009, 11:28 AM
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A way to make it work (not absolutely ideal but not bad) in 2 weeks and maybe a skosh more . . . . .

Fly into GLA and rent a car. Stay the first night along Loch Lomond as you suggested. It is a very short drive from GLA. Spend the next 6 days/nights touring around in a NW loop ending at Inverness.

Drop the car in Inverness and take the train to Newcastle and collect another car. Tour Hadrian's Wall for a full day/night and then drive down into Yorkshire for the other things you want to see/do.

Drive to MAN, drop the car and fly home.

Open jaw into Glasgow and out of Manchester and 2 1-week car rentals (shorter period rents cost more). So basically you are looking at a 15 or possibly 16 day trip in total.

Taking the train to Newcastle will be faster than trying to drive from NW Scotland to NE England.

I honestly think you would do better to spend your full two weeks in Scotland -- but split 50/50 NW Scotland and Yorkshire would be doable.
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Old Jan 24th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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Janisj, I've read lots of your posts and your ideas are always good.

I did think about taking the train or flying even from Scotland to England. Guess I need to study the maps more; hadn't thought of using Newcastle. Although we went through Inverness we didn't do a northern loop, just went straight along to Loch Ness, then to Oban. We did have a taxi drive us around a lot of Glasgow last trip as that's where we turned our car in.

Also, would the drive to Manchester be scenic?

If we did take the ferry from Skye to Lewis, Harris etc, then returned to Oban, I assume that would mean taking the car on the ferry. Is that prohibitively expensive?

Alternatively, while I realize most people would cut this in to two trips, we fly from Alaska which makes it very, very pricey.
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 02:27 AM
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Janis's route works, but doesn't get you offshore. PLEASE can I put in a bid for Islay, the Queen of the Hebrides?

Do have a look at the Calmac web site. It has routes all over, and tickets which give you greater freedom in a block booking.

Places I would recommend you see in the west would includebr />
Islay, Iona, Kilmartin Glen, Glencoe, the road from Fort William to Arisaig, Eriskay, the Uists (you can sail Oban/Lochboisdale, then Berneray/Tarbet, and come off Stornoway to Ullapool), Harris, Ullapool. You can then drive south and fill in the bits you missed- Poolewe, Gairloch, Applecross, Plockton, Skye.

but you can't reasonably do ALL of that and the north east of England. you could one week of one and one of the other, but you'd see less, inevitably. Your holiday- your choice.
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 07:30 AM
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FYI, in case you don't already have it, the website for Calmac is www.calmac.co.uk

Since you have plenty of time to think about an itinerary, I'd order one of their free brochures. It'll give you an opportunity to view the possibilities,pricing etc.

You first consideration will be to decide whether to include north east England. If you do, another area worth considering is the Borders. It's close to your north east England sites and, IMO, a great place to tour.
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 09:34 AM
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Thanks. I'm printing this out, and will pull up the ferry website and take the suggestion to order their brochure. I remember being in Oban and watching the ferry take off for Mull--with that bit of wistfulness of 'wonder what's out there'.

My DH has mentioned wanting to go as far as Ullapool, and I do want to see gardens, so that's all a maybe. He likes the Scotch from Islay.

As you say, I've got time to plan so a lot will depend on finances, health, and the pound vs dollar.
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 09:47 AM
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Oh - I definitely wasn't precluding an island or two. I just meant you'd have a week to tour around the W/NW bits of Scotland and then head down to Newcastle and a week in N England. Wasn't recommending a specific route.

Yes - visiting an island (Islay, Mull or Skye would each be worthwhile) would be terrific. Just don't chew off too much -- or you'd be back to spending the full 2 weeks north of the border (NOT a bad thing)
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Someone mentioned seeing the border areas. Last time we drove from Windemere up to Edinburgh and saw the border abbeys, etc.

Sounds like my next thing (besides reading ferry schedules) is to look at lots of pictures books, and study maps.
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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To clarify, by "north of the border" I just meant "in Scotland", not necessarily in the Borders. The Borders are terrific but you simply don't have the time if you are only talking 2 weeks.

Now, if you could swing a month -- then we could REALLY work out an itinerary for you
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Old Jan 25th, 2009, 02:39 PM
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My suggestion of including the Borders in a itinerary was based on the idea of spending time in north east England.

This would work by flying open jaw into Manchester and out of Glasgow or vice versus. A couple of nights in York would easily cover Castle Howard, Thirsk and York sites. Then drive to Hadrian's Wall, up to Jedburgh and on to Melrose spending a night or two exploring the Borders ( the abbeys, Castle Floors, Mellerstain, Abbotsford House, Smailholm Tower...) and then on to Loch Lomond perhaps even getting as far as Loch Tay (one of my favorites). An easy addition to this itinerary would be to spend a couple of nights on Arran which has many of the geographical features of the Highlands.

My personal preference would be to do something similar to Shelia's suggestion with its emphasis on the north west and the Western Isles. This would,of course, exclude the north east England portion.

There are a number of possibilities. Perusing the Calmac brochure and a good map, along with some reading, will help in making a decision. Good luck hopingtotravel and happy browsing.
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Old Jan 26th, 2009, 07:52 AM
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Thanks for all the help. Looks like I need to do lots of reading. Part of the problem is that we hopscotched through a lot of areas on a trip 10 years ago in case we never made it back. Now, to go back would be sort of a 'fill in the blanks'.

I don't mean it to sound like I only need to see some areas once. As I mentioned, it's a time and money problem. We actually did go to Cornwall twice because we liked it so well.
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