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Roughing out a train/car trip from London to Scotland

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Roughing out a train/car trip from London to Scotland

Old Jan 15th, 2017, 01:58 PM
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Ooh. Now that's tempting. Would love a chance to be within easy drive of you, Ann. Shoot. I have plunked down a little pile of nonrefundable GBP to go north, what with train tickets, guest house deposits and all. On top of wasted Italian trip money....

Running through appropriate Macbeth quotes, like: "Be bloody, bold, and resolute!" and "Screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail," but then remember those turned out to be bad advice.
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Old Jan 15th, 2017, 03:00 PM
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While I love Glasgow, it wouldn't be my choice of places at time of the year. Instead, what if you kept to the east coast and spent time in Northumberland and Fife? You could visit Durham, Alnwick, Bamburgh and the Holy Isle, then shoot past Edinburgh and up to the Fife East Neuk fishing villages like Crail, or to St Andrews.

The scenery is terrific, there'll probably be less rain, and there will be more going on.

Inverness is pretty bleak at the best of times; in early March, oy.
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Old Jan 15th, 2017, 04:45 PM
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I'm looking at Glen Coe/Kinlochleven/Ballachulish area now, gaining enthusiasm. Gorgeous area, lots of walks up the glen, and the Visitor Center will be open.

Speaking of quotes, something like: There's no bad weather, just painfully inadequate clothing. And poorly chosen footwear.
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Old Jan 15th, 2017, 04:47 PM
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Oh, I missed yours above, Gardyloo. That sounds very good. Why not Glasgow, out of ignorance? I'm fine with skipping it.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 05:22 AM
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the north sounds great, stoke - and with global warming, it'll probably be fine.

I think that Garyloo's ideas are very good.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 05:39 AM
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Why not Glasgow? Well, that's not the way I'd put it. I'd be looking at what activities and sights are important and weighing two or three days in Glasgow in late February or early March v. the same days spent elsewhere.

Unlike Edinburgh, which delivers on the spectacle/boffo front with the castle, palace, Old Town, New Town, Holyrood Park etc., tourist Glasgow is harder to define and the sights are more spread out, subtle, or specialist, such as Macintosh architecture and design, a Victorian and Industrial Revolution heritage rather than a medieval, Renaissance/Enlightenment and political one, stuff like that.

And at that time of year it's definitely not a city for casual strolling; it's frequently windy, trafficky and wet. The east side of Britain tends (no guarantees) to be a bit dryer as the weather comes off the Atlantic. And the farther north and west you go then, the more pronounced these effects become; it's still definitely winter in the west and northwest at that time of year.

My recommendation for Durham, Northumberland and Fife is based on these being areas where there's a lot of variety - the incomparable Durham Cathedral, some absolutely spectacular castles in Alnwick and Bamburgh, the historic and (to me) melancholy Holy Isle of Lindisfarne, a number of picturesque fishing villages along the Berwickshire and East Lothian coasts...

And in Fife, more of the same: Falkland Palace with its famous gardens (maybe dormant when you're there, maybe springlike, who knows?) and St. Andrews (not just golf, but a fascinating small city with many historical features.) You've got more beautiful fishing villages along the southeast Fife coast...

These areas are far better for car touring in my mind; the car gives you access that would be impossible using public transportation, and it gives you shelter from the elements. But unlike the same days in the Highlands, you can probably get out of the car and not be blown halfway to Norway when you do.

Anyway, that's my logic.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 06:47 AM
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Ann, maybe next time!

Gardyloo, I really appreciate that. Eliminate Bakewell as a backtrack. I'm not having much luck with guesthouse twin rooms there anyway, and we'll have ample time for country walks up the road.

Instead, York for at least a night, then up towards the east coast and Northumberland. We'll get the first and last four nights nailed down, and Fife in between. Lodging should not be that difficult to find that time of year.

If the weather looks decent, and if Hannah really wants to, we can take a day trip to the Highlands.

Yes! This all looks so much more doable. Thanks.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 07:52 AM
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If the weather looks decent, and if Hannah really wants to, we can take a day trip to the Highlands.

And by all means one to Glasgow, too. The train is quick and cheap from Edinburgh to Queen Street, and the core of the city is very walkable. If you get a good day, a walk around the University grounds, Kelvingrove Park and museum, a meal at the Shish Mahal restaurant, a survey of some terrific architecture - Mackintosh and "Greek" Thomson - in the same area... great stuff.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 08:29 AM
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Ann, maybe next time!>>

I hope so, Stoke, but I'll enjoy reading about your trip to the North in the meantime!
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Old Jan 25th, 2017, 06:32 AM
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We've fine-tuned things thanks to all of your help.

I'm keeping train tickets to Sheffield, but now will change trains into York. One night there, then pick up car the next afternoon and wind our way through Newcastle to a night in Alnwick. (keep reminding self it's pronounced Annick.)

Then, because it turns out we care more about seeing the Highlands than about possible bad weather, two nights in Killin.

Two more nights open. Maybe Glen Coe area? Suggestions? I don't want to get too crazy far from Edinburgh, where we'll spend three nights then back to York to return the car, spend another night, take the train back in the morning.

Complication in the form of Hannah telling me yesterday that she never wants to attempt driving a standard transmission again, exclamation point.

I've been monitoring central Scotland weather the past few weeks, and it has been consistently milder than ours. For whatever that's worth. We're from sturdy peasant stock, anyway.

Also learned yesterday we get to attend a ceremony in the River Room, House of Lords. I hope to edge up to the window afterwards and check out the view.
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Old Jan 25th, 2017, 07:50 AM
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Then, because it turns out we care more about seeing the Highlands than about possible bad weather, two nights in Killin.

Two more nights open. Maybe Glen Coe area? Suggestions? I don't want to get too crazy far from Edinburgh...


From Killin you could easily take day trips out to Glen Coe - it's probably 60 to 90 min. at most - and not have to break camp (assuming your place in Killin is comfy.) You could also do a loop of Loch Rannoch out to Rannoch Station, or visit Glen Lyon and Fortingall, all quite accessible to/from Killin.

So I wouldn't necessarily move out to Glen Coe in that time frame; instead I'd think about returning to Edinburgh via Royal Deeside and Fife, something like this: https://goo.gl/maps/twU1ujGE8nE2

Go from Killin through the Cairngorms (assuming the roads are clear, which they ought to be) to Braemar and Ballater. Visit the likes of Craigievar Castle, then out to the coast at Arbroath, spending the second night in St. Andrews, then return to Edinburgh via the East Neuk villages. This would be a scenic and very interesting route.
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Old Jan 25th, 2017, 11:33 AM
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Ah, thank you, gardyloo. That sounds like an excellent plan.
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 06:56 AM
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So grateful for your help, especially practical suggestions from gardyloo.

But guess what showed up in Hannah's mailbox Saturday: her visa and passport. So, Scotland and the North, see you another time. Italy, andiamo!
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 07:24 AM
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bookmarking. Thanks everyone.
Stoke, buen viaggio in la bella Italia!
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 07:39 AM
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What, turning down Scotland in March for %#@! Italy??

What a wimp.

;-)
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Old Feb 6th, 2017, 08:32 AM
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wimp but a much warmer one!
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