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Revised Scotland itinerary - more reasonable?

Revised Scotland itinerary - more reasonable?

Jan 25th, 2018, 08:00 PM
  #1  
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Revised Scotland itinerary - more reasonable?

We're going to Scotland for 2 weeks at the end of May, and initially looked at the 10-day (Not So) Great Itinerary in the Fodors guidebook. Thanks to those of you in our other thread who talked some sense into us. We've taken many of your suggestions (such as the idea of establishing several bases from which to take day excursions) and came up with the following plan. I'd love to hear any input. We are two adults and a 6-year-old daughter, and our interests are the typical things that bring people to Scotland (dramatic scenery, castles, whisky, history).

Home Base #1: Edinburgh (4 nights)
Probably don't need much help here; there are plenty of well-known things to keep us busy for the whole time we'll be here. Besides town itself, we'll take a day trip to Stirling. At the end of this portion, we'll pick up a rental car for the remainder of the trip (till arriving at Glasgow).

Home Base #2: Inverness or Northeast (3-4 nights)
This is the portion where we're looking for the most input. We're interested in Culloden, the Malt Whisky Trail and castles in the northeast area. Inverness seems like an easy/obvious choice, but we're open to staying anywhere that is convenient for the above plans (and we keep reading over and over again that Inverness is not that impressive—true?). Any suggestions? Elgin, Aberlour, Craigellachie are just a few names that seem conveniently located.

Transition:
We'll spend 1 or 2 nights heading to Mull (#3 below) sightseeing along the way (such as Loch Ness, coming down the Glen). Considering Glenfinnan, Glencoe, Fort William, Oban for overnights. Any particular recommendations? (towns for overnight stays or things to see)

Home Base #3: Isle of Mull
We hadn't even considered this till you all shared your input, but now we're sold. We'll have 2 nights in Tobermory and 1 night in Glengorm Castle. Besides general sightseeing, we plan to go to Staffa for Fingal's Cave + puffins and Duart Castle.

Last 2 nights in Glasgow before flying home.
RaymondLuxuryYacht is offline  
Jan 25th, 2018, 09:37 PM
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Just quick:

Not Inverness. Dufftown/Elgin/Aberlour would let you cover everything from the Whisky Trail to the Castle Trail to Loch Ness.

No need to see Loch Ness en route to Mull since it is easy to see from the Elgin/Dufftown area.

Not Ft William (it is even more meh than Inverness) and not Oban (no need to stay there - just use it as a jumping off point for Mull)

Glencoe or Glenfinnan would work. Say you stay in/near Aberlour -- and in/near Glencoe/Ballachulish. You'd take the A95 to Boat of Garten, then the A9 > Kingussie, A86 > Spean Bridge, and A82 to Glencoe. That is about a 3.5 hour drive so not bad for a 'moving day.
janisj is online now  
Jan 25th, 2018, 11:56 PM
  #3  
 
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Another alternastive to Inverness is Nairn, a small seaside town just east of Inverness. It was very much the 'in place' to visit a few years ago. The six year old may enjoy the beach
https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co....irn/index.html
Near Culloden are Clava Cairns which are wonderful and great to play hide and seek...
https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co....rns/index.html
wasleys is offline  
Jan 26th, 2018, 12:22 AM
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Glengorm is lovely but quite close to Tobermory, so it may not make sense to move.

Mull is quite hard work to traverse, most of the roads are single track with passing places and unless you are a very confident driver, average speeds will be less than 30mph.

Tobermory is about as far away as possible from Iona.

It it may be worth looking at staying nearer Iona and visiting Tobermory on the day you leave.

Are you you looking for a hotel or cottage?
BritishCaicos is offline  
Jan 26th, 2018, 06:21 AM
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Here's an imaginary route to consider - https://goo.gl/maps/t3meZJWq5ZE2

This would have you traveling north from Edinburgh to Speyside via Fife (if interested) then cutting across to the Road to the Isles, staying near Glenfinnan. Then to get to Mull, you'd use the Kilchoan ferry from the Ardnamurchan peninsula, which lands right in Tobermory. Spend your time on Mull, then leave via the ferry to Oban, and back to Glasgow via Glen Coe, Glen Etive and Loch Lomond.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jan 26th, 2018, 06:24 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Glencoe or Glenfinnan would work. Say you stay in/near Aberlour -- and in/near Glencoe/Ballachulish. You'd take the A95 to Boat of Garten, then the A9 > Kingussie, A86 > Spean Bridge, and A82 to Glencoe. That is about a 3.5 hour drive so not bad for a 'moving day.
How scenic is this route? I imagine very much so, based solely on looking at the map, since a good portion of it cuts through Cairngorms. Since that will be a travel day, we'd like to maximize it by having the most scenic route, so even our "moving day" between one base and another nets us some good sightseeing.

You previously suggested Glenfinnan in the other thread; would you recommend that over Glencoe/Ballachulish? We would like to see the viaduct and possibly Eilean Donan if feasible (I know the two are not close to each other). We may have enough flexibility for 2 nights on this "transition" to Mull.
RaymondLuxuryYacht is offline  
Jan 26th, 2018, 07:21 AM
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>>How scenic is this route?<<

Every single place you will be/travel through is very scenic. The Cairngorms are no more beautiful than many other places.

>>You previously suggested Glenfinnan in the other thread; would you recommend that over Glencoe/Ballachulish?<<

Both work -- if you take the Kilchoan ferry as Gardyloo suggested or the Lochaline ferry which is good too, staying in Glenfinnan would work (though it isn't a town of any sort, it is barely a hamlet). If you take the Oban ferry then Gelncoe/Ballachulish is better.

Re where to stay on Mull . . . Tobermory is the only 'town' but I'd personally stay in Fionnphort at the other end of the island. For Tobermory, the Kilchoan or Lochaline ferries are more convenient -- for Fionnphort, Lochaline or Oban are better.

Eilean Donan really doesn't fit and it would be a long detour for a 10 minute photo op. There is Castle Stalker which you can see between Glencoe and Oban.

​​​​​​​Revised Scotland itinerary - more reasonable?-45843hd.jpg
janisj is online now  
Jan 26th, 2018, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by RaymondLuxuryYacht View Post
How scenic is this route? I imagine very much so, based solely on looking at the map, since a good portion of it cuts through Cairngorms. Since that will be a travel day, we'd like to maximize it by having the most scenic route, so even our "moving day" between one base and another nets us some good sightseeing.

You previously suggested Glenfinnan in the other thread; would you recommend that over Glencoe/Ballachulish? We would like to see the viaduct and possibly Eilean Donan if feasible (I know the two are not close to each other). We may have enough flexibility for 2 nights on this "transition" to Mull.
Are you familiar with Google's "street view" option? On the maps, for example the one I did above, on a PC (different on mobile devices) you'll see a little yellow icon of a person in the lower right. Click and drag that icon to any point on a road on the map, and it should bring up a 360-degree view of that location. You can then "drive" along the road using your mouse. For example, here's a view approaching Duart Castle on Mull - https://goo.gl/maps/nHTCteGuemu - and here's another on the A861 between Glenfinnan and Kilchoan - https://goo.gl/maps/Q8HRBNrHdkr

Eilean Donan is in a lovely spot, but it's a l-o-n-g way from Mull. (And of course it's noteworthy that like many Scottish castles, what you see is the product of a lot of 20th century restoration or reconstruction.) Look at Duart and Moy castles on Mull, and Janis has already mentioned Castle Stalker, visible from the Oban - Glencoe road.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jan 30th, 2018, 09:08 AM
  #9  
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Thanks for the continued recommendations. For exploring the Northeast (Malt Whisky Trail, Castle Trail, etc.), any specific recommendations for a home base? Dufftown, Elgin, Aberlour and Nairn have been mentioned. Anything specific (pro or con) about any of those, or other potential options? We're trying to narrow down and decide on a home base for that leg of the trip. Would Aberdeen be a good option? (city vs. town) Or too far east?

Also: car rental. Any specific tips here? Any advantage to Auto Europe vs. one of the big providers (Hertz, Avis, etc.)?

Last edited by RaymondLuxuryYacht; Jan 30th, 2018 at 09:12 AM.
RaymondLuxuryYacht is offline  
Jan 30th, 2018, 09:11 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
Here's an imaginary route to consider - https://goo.gl/maps/t3meZJWq5ZE2

This would have you traveling north from Edinburgh to Speyside via Fife (if interested) then cutting across to the Road to the Isles, staying near Glenfinnan. Then to get to Mull, you'd use the Kilchoan ferry from the Ardnamurchan peninsula, which lands right in Tobermory. Spend your time on Mull, then leave via the ferry to Oban, and back to Glasgow via Glen Coe, Glen Etive and Loch Lomond.
And Gardyloo, this is an excellent route suggestion, thank you!
RaymondLuxuryYacht is offline  
Jan 30th, 2018, 09:29 AM
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>>Dufftown, Elgin, Aberlour and Nairn<<

Any of those would be a good base -- no specific pros or cons to any of them. Search for accommodations in all of them and just pick the one that looks nicest to you/fits your budget

>>Also: car rental. Any specific tips here? Any advantage to Auto Europe vs. one of the big providers (Hertz, Avis, etc.)?<<

I almost always go w/ Autoeurope. They provide great customer service and work with all the majors. I find that about 75+% of the time they are cheapest.
janisj is online now  
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