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Please help with my Scotland itinerary

Old Apr 12th, 2017, 08:13 AM
  #21  
 
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I am not a fan of the Lake District, I consider it far too crowded and while the scenery is 'nice', it's nothing spectacular if you have been to many other parts of the world. I agree the Trossachs are somewhat the same although not as crowded.

I am a Skye fan provided you stay away from the Broadford to Portree corridor. Stay away from there and you can avoid probably 80% of the tourists.

Skye to me is the north east and west coast. The north east for rugged scenery and the west for the Cuillins.

https://www.isleofskye.com/skye-guid...int-lighthouse

That website also lists hotels including the House Over-By @ The Three Chimneys, which is hard to beat either as a place to stay or a place to eat.
http://www.threechimneys.co.uk/rooms/house-over-by

At the other end of the scale, take a look at the Flodigarry Hostel on the north-east coast.

http://flodigarry-hostel.scot/about-us/

If you look at the photo at the top of that page, you will see the hostel to the right and to the left the top of a building with a white flagpole at its right end. That's the Flodigarry Hotel.

http://www.hotelintheskye.co.uk/the-flodigarry-hotel/

Quite a contrast. You can stay in the hostel and access the hotel restaurant and bar. Kinda get the perks without the room cost. LOL

Or, how about the Taigh Ailean Hotel if you want to visit the Talisker distillery or the Fairy Pools.

http://www.taighailean.scot/

There is enough to see and do on Skye to take up all your time. Wondering whether to add a day to Skye vs. the Trossachs vs. Glencoe, etc. is like saying, 'I want to visit some places that actually need a total of several weeks to visit but I want to visit them all in 1 week. How do I do that?' The answer is you can't.

Here's your basic flaw in thinking. "Not sure which one would benefit more from the additional time." The answer is BOTH would. Both would benefit more but you're asking as if there is a SOLUTION to your problem of not having enough time to fit everywhere in to the time you have available, rather than realizing that there is no solution unless you cut the number of places down to what you have enough time for.

The two commonest mistakes that tourists make are packing too much and trying to cover too much in too little time.

One week, no more than 2 places.
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 08:45 AM
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2 days in the Trossachs, 1 day in Glencoe and 3.5 - 4 days on Skye is certainly not rushed. Lordy -- have you seen some of the itineraries posted here (!) Trying to cover twice the territory you are in the same time frame.

Could you spend 3 weeks on Skye -- absolutely. But you actually have a pretty good division of time.

(bear in mind the dog man lectures everyone.)
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 03:22 PM
  #23  
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Dogeared, thanks for the hotel suggestions. We're booking places now that the itinerary is done, so we'll definitely check those out. Point noted about the time allotted to these places, and we'll try to do a longer trip next time.

Janis, thanks, we'll be allocating the extra night to the Trossachs then. I am over-the-moon excited for this trip.

Do any of you know of a good castle hotel to splurge on for one night (for an anniversary) in any of those areas?

Also, does mosquito repellent from the US work on midges?
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 04:01 PM
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>>does mosquito repellent from the US work on midges)

You might be plagued -- or you might not see a single midge. If it is calm and warm-ish the odds are against you. But if you get the fairly typical wet weather they will be hunkering down.

For special -- look at the Three Chimneys or Flodigarry on Skye, or the Roman Camp in Callander. None are castles but all are special properties.
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 05:40 PM
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Two more nice places to stay on Skye are The Duisdale and Toravaig House Hotel both on the Sleat Peninsula. The best meal I've had on Skye was at Toravaig House and that includes the Three Chimmeys which is very good too. Also Eilean Iarmain is good at Isleornsay, Sleat.

www.duisdale.com
www.skyehotel.co.uk
www.eileaniarmain.co.uk
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Old Apr 12th, 2017, 06:07 PM
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Haven't stayed there but another place ( it looks very nice ) is the Skeabost Hotel www.skeabosthotel.com.
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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 01:36 AM
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Thanks for the tips, Janis and historytraveler--will look into those, including for meals. I'm looking forward to trying the seafood in Scotland.
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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 08:52 AM
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>> but refrain from altering my name.
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Old Apr 13th, 2017, 08:57 AM
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julesm, please note that places on. Skye fill up quickly. You should book ASAP.
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 03:46 AM
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Dogeared, thank you for the castles link and Landmark Trust properties idea. The Pineapple is really something!

janis and historytraveler, yes, I'm discovering for myself that many places are booked up already, but I'm determined to finish booking everything in the next day or two.
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 08:56 AM
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Pre-booking, the bane of travel. You know, people actually did travel before the advent of the internet and guess what, they didn't all pre-book everything.

I rarely pre-book anything unless it is a return trip to somewhere. That's because unlike most people I guess, I don't know how long I will want to stay somewhere. It must be great to know beforehand how long a place will hold your interest. I wish someone could teach me how to know that.

You know, when a third party website suggests a place is fully booked and even when the hotel's own website says they are fully booked, that doesn't actually mean they will be full when you get there. It assumes that everyone who has booked, will show up and contrary to what some might believe, people 'no show' 10% of the time. Or in simple terms it means that on any given day, the chances are that 10% of a hotel's rooms AT LEAST will be empty. In fact, the average hotel occupancy rate never even gets near 100%.

Europe has some of the highest occupancy rates in the world but if you take a look at the following link, you will see that the highest it gets to is in September and doesn't exceed 80%. So how is it that everyone THINKS everything is going to be booked up no matter when they travel?
https://www.statista.com/statistics/...011-by-region/

As for Scotland itself, the average is slightly higher than the overall European average as you can see here:
https://www.statista.com/statistics/...e-in-scotland/

But it still doesn't get near 100%. So what does that tell you? What it tells me is that people believe something that simply is not supported by the facts. The booking sites and hotel sites may well WANT you to believe if you don't book you're gonna be sleeping on a park bench but that simply is not true.

Yes, there can be instances when a particular hotel is fully occupied on a particular date like during a special event etc. But even then, there will always be another place just down the road that isn't.

I don't know why people have this fear of being left with nowhere to stay. In all my years of travel without pre-booking, I have yet to have to sleep on a park bench. Now why do you think that is?

When I travel, I want to get away from the scheduling that we all have to deal with in our everyday lives, NOT take scheduling with me on vacation. Does the word 'spontaneous' mean anything to anyone?

The last time I stayed on Skye, I just drove up to the Taigh Ailean Hotel and asked if they had a room. They did, we stayed. Seems like that usually seems to work for me. On the RARE occassions where a hotel has been full, there has always been an alternative just down the road. The statistics tell you that that is the NORM.
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 09:04 AM
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You advise against pre-booking but recommend Landmark Trust???. Can't stay in one of their properties without a serious amount of pre-planning. Last time I stayed in the Pineapple I booked a year out -- and needed flexible dates to get it. And it may have been a while since you traveled to Skye in summer but properties on the Isle are often fully booked months out. It isn't the sort of place you can just wander around and find a place to sleep.
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Old Apr 14th, 2017, 09:35 AM
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dogeared--while I would love to travel the way you do, and have done it when travelling alone in South America, I can't just wing it when I'm with my spouse because she has special needs and standards quite a bit higher than mine.

Also, there are places I really want to stay, and don't want to take a chance that they will have nothing when I just drive up and walk in, particularly if a place is somewhat isolated. The last thing I want is to waste valuable vacation time driving around at nite or frantically searching on booking.com or Late Rooms.com to see if I can find something.

On my last trip, I got a couple of what even I think were substandard rooms (for myself) because I waited until the last minute.
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Old Apr 15th, 2017, 08:20 AM
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Everyone is of course entitled to decide for themselves how they wish to travel. What I object to is the mistaken belief that you MUST pre-plan.

Janisj, I provided a link that shows the occupancy rates in Scotland for each month of the year. You can indeed simply show up on Skye and find a hotel without much difficulty. That YOU BELIEVE you cannot, doesn't make it a fact. The statistics, speak for themselves.

As for Landmark Trust and other such properties, yes, I have simply shown up and got in. The last such property we found available was a flat in Gladstone's Land on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, just down from the Castle. It is a National Trust property which is a museum as well as having 3 flats for rent up stairs (and I do mean up stairs, not for the 50lb. suitcase traveller.)

http://www.nts.org.uk/Visit/Gladstones-Land/

Here is one of the flats: http://www.nts.org.uk/Holidays/Accom...adstones-Land/

We were leaving a Fife hotel on a Sunday in May and on the Sunday afternoon I called the Trust on spec. They were happy to offer me a 'mid-week' 4 night (Monday through Thursday) package for 400 GBP. To be honest, I didn't think they would have anything, but a phone call takes 3 minutes, so why not ask? If they had not had availability, I would simply have made another call. It ain't rocket science.

So here are all these people booking months in advance because, 'all the best properties will be gone' (so they think) and here we are staying right on the Royal Mile in a historic property. It's also noteworthy, that these properties are NOT listed on any 3rd party booking site. So much for Booking com et al.

People act based on their beliefs/perceptions, not necessarily on reality.

Dwdvagamundo, I can understand your situation. When my wife and I first started travelling together, she had never been anywhere without having a reservation in advance. She also has standards that are higher than my own. I'm happy in a hostel, she wouldn't dream of staying in one.

However, she trusts me and when I took her for her first visit to Switzerland, we went with no reservations and I simply promised her she would not have to stay anywhere she was not happy with. I had no problem keeping that promise. But here's the point.

We started out with a preliminary plan of what areas we would visit during a 2 week trip. At our second stop, we checked in to a hotel for 4 nights. At the end of our last full day, we had come back from a day of hiking and over dinner my wife said to me that she loved it there and wished we didn't have to move on the next morning to another area I wanted to take her to see. I simply went to reception and asked to stay another 2 nights. No problem.

From that day on, you cannot get her to pre-book and lose that flexibility. It was a 'eureka moment' for her. If you have no plan, you can do as you please every single day. Stay longer if you want or move on if you're ready.

How many times have you heard someone say, 'I wish we had had longer in X' or 'I wish we hadn't spent so long in Y'? The reality is that they could have in most cases but they just have their head stuck in the 'plan' and their pre-booked stops. Itineraries and pre-booking, put blinders on you as does believing what booking sites etc. want you to believe about everywhere will be full.

No one likes uncertainty in business including the travel business. There is no hotel or airline or booking site that would not like everyone to book a year ahead of time. They could maximize the efficiency of their businesses and make more money for THEM. The question is whether that is in the best interest of the traveller. To me, it is not. What is in the traveller's best interest is maintaining maximumm flexibility in order to get the most out of their vacation time that they worked so hard to pay for. The travel industry encourages the traveller's fear of what might go wrong but they have no statistical evidence to back up that fear.

To be fair dwdvagamundo, there might be the rare occassion when you get a substandard room as you say. In the middle of nowhere with little choice or because you didn't know there was a major event going on etc. But it is RARE and so I prefer to weigh the odds and consider the cost in terms of lost flexibility. Even my wife would accept a sub-standard room for a night to maintain that flexibility she now values so much.
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