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Return route from Isle of Skye - Suggestions?

Return route from Isle of Skye - Suggestions?

Old Apr 25th, 2024, 03:01 AM
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Return route from Isle of Skye - Suggestions?

Hi all,
Reposting because original thread disappeared.
I will be visiting the West Highlands in early September. I plan to rent a car in Glasgow, then take the A82 along the western shores of Loch Lomond to Glencoe (2.5D/2N) then onwards to Isle of Skye (3.5D/3N). However, I'm undecided about which route to take back to Glasgow (or to Edinburgh if a one-way drop is warranted) and nothing is really jumping out at me.

What route would you recommend, given the following interests/preferences?
  • Not interested in history or museums. Prefer viewing ruins from the outside against a gorgeous backdrop, than taking a tour of the inside of a castle.
  • Prefer mountains and dramatic landscapes to flat/low pastures or fields.
  • Prefer sheer cliffs (think cliffs of Moher) to sandy bays
  • Not a confident driver - so the fewer hairpin bends, the better
  • Flexible start and end point. Coming from London, then onward to Ireland.
Routes that I've ruled out:
  • Via Lochness
  • Via Isle of Mull (i.e. Skye > Mallaig > Kilchoan/Lochaline > Toberymory/Fishnish)
Routes that I'm still considering:
  • Via the Eastern side of the Trossachs (A82 > A85 > A84 to Callander or Stirling, then onwards to Glasgow)
  • Fort William > Oban > Inveraray > Glasgow
  • Fort William > Oban > Tarbert > Isle of Arran > Glasgow
Thoughts on the above routes? Alternatives?

TIA
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 09:20 AM
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How much time (hours? days?) do you have for the return?
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Old Apr 25th, 2024, 11:38 PM
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Hi Jean. No hard limits - I donít have a place that I need to be by a specific date. This trip to Scotland is the first leg of a larger 2-3 month trip to Europe. Thanks!
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Old Apr 26th, 2024, 07:40 AM
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Topping to catch the attention of the Scotland experts....

Why did you eliminate Mull?

I'd probably take the last route you mentioned, but I'm not one of the experts.
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Old Apr 27th, 2024, 07:05 AM
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Heading for Oban would be my choice then Inveraray. Just south of Appin you have the lovely Castle Stalker on its tiny island - great views from the excellent cafe of the same name.Oban's Dunollie Castle sits high above the town - best seen from a ferry however. MacCaig's Folly is a superb vantage point above Oban and across its lovely bay to Mull's mountains. Kilchurn castle's evocative ruin has a wonderful backdrop of big mountains, seen at its best from the road to Inveraray.There's an obvious pull in used by photographers.

That said, heading south to Tarbert (pretty - lovely castle ruin with great backdrop above the town)then on to Arran(Lochranza castle has a beautiful backdrop too) would certainly open up a whole different area - as long as it's Glasgow which is your destination.

Personally, I wouldn't take the eastern Trossachs route as I don't think it offers you enough new ground that's scenic enough.

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Old Apr 29th, 2024, 03:52 AM
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Thank you, Jean. I eliminated Mull because from what I've read, exploring Mull and the adjacent island of Iona/Staffa would require a 3 day minimum, which is a whole separate trip unto itself, and I don't know if I'll have the steam after hiking and driving around Glencoe/Isle of Skye. It is possible, but I think I'd seriously need to add a rest day in between Skye / Mull.

And noted re: your upvote for Fort William > Oban > Tarbert > Isle of Arran > Glasgow. Do you know how long it would take to drive to Isle of Arran (if not, I'll google maps it), and do you recommend an overnight at Oban to split up the drive?
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Old Apr 29th, 2024, 04:16 AM
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Greetings, Scotlandmac (also of Tripadvisor?) Thanks for your response. Your first suggestion sounds quite perfect to me; the only issue is that I'd have already visited Inverary and Kilchurn castles on my way up to the highlands (I'm planning to take a detour off the A82 before re-joining at Tyndrum). Primarily because I've heard the section at the A82 at the northern end of Loch Lomond is very tricky, but also (please correct me if I'm wrong) I presumed the view of Kilchurn castle would be better from the south, coming up the A819 from Inverary. Lots to think about. I think I'll have to just make some compromises.

Also, well noted re: eastern trossachs route. Thanks for that.
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Old Apr 29th, 2024, 07:00 AM
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"Do you know how long it would take to drive to Isle of Arran (if not, I'll google maps it)..."

If you use Google maps, you need to add time to the estimates. Results are generally based on posted speed limits and not reality (weather delay, necessary comfort or lunch stop, etc.), even if you specifically search by day of week, time of day. Road works causing delays when you do your search might be gone but there could be new ones in other places. We've experienced needing anywhere from 25-50% additional time, not to mention spontaneous stops/detours for something that looks interesting. If the Google estimate ends up being fairly accurate, enjoy the "bonus" time.
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Old Apr 30th, 2024, 08:41 AM
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Yes Bella, same Scotlandmac as on TA!

If you do go to Arran then the only potential fly in the ointment is the ferry from Brodick to Ardrossan.Hopefully all will be ok but the CalMac fleet has had additional extra issues these past few years because of an aging fleet.There have been issues on that Arran route also of course, these can kick in because of wild weather.

The Cloanaig ferry crossing is less likely to have an issue re getting to Arran.

It’s a beautiful island with a spectacular mountain range.Tarbert , also, is an attractive wee yachtie place.Brodick Castle and Gardens are delightful.Fairly quick fast road from Ardrossan to Glasgow though not what I’d call scenic as such.Book that Brodick ferry WELL ahead of time as, weekends especially , it gets booked up very quickly.
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