route advice to Isle of Skye

Old Jul 6th, 2024, 02:59 PM
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route advice to Isle of Skye

my husband and I will be flying to Edinburgh mid July and spending 2 nights. We will then rent a car and drive to Isle of Skye to spend 3 nights, then drive to Glasgow where we will be spending several nights with golf outings. We want to stop at 1-2 places along the way up and come back a different way to Glasgow and see some different sights. We are fine with taking the whole day for the trip each time and enjoying 1-2 different places. Some areas of interest to us are Stirling/Falkirk, Glencoe, Glenfinnin, Trossochs, Loch Lommond, Viaduct,... There are so many wonderful options but we would rather choose 2-4 sites and really enjoy them rather that try to do too many. Also, our plan is to take the bridge on the way up and we are considering the ferry on the way back. We enjoy gentle walks but not difficult hiking or steep terrain. Thank you in advance for your advice.
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Old Jul 6th, 2024, 05:35 PM
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Your thread has been moved from the Tech Support board to the Europe Forum and tagged for the UK
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Old Jul 6th, 2024, 05:48 PM
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OK -- bit of a reality check Where are you staying on Skye? And what days of the week are the two drives? Just for discussion -- let's say Portree. and not a weekend Driving from Edinburgh to Portree in July in one day you really won't have time for any sightseeing or stops other than rest breaks. Google maps may say that is a 5 hour drive - but in summer with all the holiday traffic - not a chance. Count on about a seven hour drive no matter which route. An it could take an hour longer. That is 'butts in seats' time. Any stops will be in addition. And the same for the drive from Portree to Glasgow.

Yes, definitely take the Bridge one way and the Mallaig ferry the other. Doesn't matter which is which - the drive times will be similar.

Last edited by janisj; Jul 6th, 2024 at 05:52 PM.
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 07:29 AM
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thank you for reality check janisj. although it is not good news, it is best to be prepared. We are staying in Portree. Our drive up is on a Sunday and the return trip is on Wednesday. Since it will be light until late in the day, I think we will still try and make one stop each way to break up the trip and to see some of the area. My thought is Glencoe one way and Stirling/Falkirk the other. Would those be the most desirable stops along the routes without too much extra mileage? Does it make more sense to do Stirling from Edinburgh and go through Glencoe when traveling to Glasgow?
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 07:50 AM
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Glencoe is a no brainer -- great place to stop -- and then at Glenfinnan before getting to Malaig if you take the ferry (or in reverse Glenfinnan then Glencoe). Maybe try to have lunch at the Clachaig in Glencoe. https://clachaig.com

Stirling would make most sense en route from Edinburgh -- But unless you visit the Castle there really isn't a pressing reason to stop there. And Stirling Castle is a minimum 2 hour stop.

Plus the car park will likely be totally full on a Sunday. Here is what happened one time I visited Stirling - From one of my trip reports: "I know my way around Stirling and found Mar Place (the approach road to the castle car park) no problem. But THEN there was a problem. This is a very narrow two way road and it was bumper to bumper / stopped / chockablock. (Where do all these people come from on a cold rainy Thurs. afternoon??) Just as we got past the point of no return, down comes a car park attendant to put out a "Carpark full" sign - right behind our car We were stuck - couldn't go forward and there was no way to turn around. So we sat, and sat, and sat. Inching forward when ever a car left the car park. 40 minutes/200 yards later we pulled into a parking bay."

The Wed drive might be a bit easier being mid-week. On the drive down to Glasgow -- maybe stop in Oban for a meal and Luss to stretch your legs, get great views of Loch Lomond - maybe ice cream if its not too late.

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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 12:56 PM
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janis, that is very helpful. We will take Stirling off the list.
My new plan is to go up Sunday by the Skybridge through Glencoe and Glenfinnan you suggested. On the way back on Wednesday, we will take the ferry, stop in Oban and Luss on Loch Lommond.

A couple of questions
- if it is rainy on Wednesday, is it still worth the extra effort to take the ferry if there are not good views?
- Since we go right past Falkirk, are the Kelpies and Falkirk wheel worth a stop or do you think they will be really crowded on a Sunday as well?
-If we find ourselves with a little more time on either day, any other stops or sights you would recommend on these routes?
Thanks for your guidance!
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Old Jul 7th, 2024, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by aclarkofaugusta
janis, that is very helpful. We will take Stirling off the list.
My new plan is to go up Sunday by the Skybridge through Glencoe and Glenfinnan you suggested. On the way back on Wednesday, we will take the ferry, stop in Oban and Luss on Loch Lommond.

A couple of questions
- if it is rainy on Wednesday, is it still worth the extra effort to take the ferry if there are not good views?
- Since we go right past Falkirk, are the Kelpies and Falkirk wheel worth a stop or do you think they will be really crowded on a Sunday as well?
-If we find ourselves with a little more time on either day, any other stops or sights you would recommend on these routes?
Thanks for your guidance!

The day you take the ferry -- whether going or returning -- is the day you'll see Glenfinnan. It is on the road between Ft William and Mallaig -- its NOT on the road to the bridge. Rain or not - if you want to see Glefinnan you will have to take the ferry. Plus you probably need to decide very soon (if not before ) which day you are taking the bridge and which day you are taking the ferry. You will want to prebook your ferry -- in fact I'd try that first and see when there is availability. Sunday may already be close to full up. If there is limited availability one or both days let that determine which day you drive which route.

Re the Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel -- no harm in stopping at either/both. You won't want to spend the time to ride up on the Wheel but viewing it from below won't take too long. One shortish detour I'd definitely try to fit in is off the A85 on your way to Glencoe. Turn right on the A827 signposted for Killin which is 3 miles up the road -- the Falls of Dochart are amazing. Just do a 10 or 15 minute 'gobsmacking' photo stop then retrace back to the A85 and on to Glencoe.

I'd normally also recommend driving down Glen Etive and back but I honestly don't think you'll have the time. It would be different if you were taking 2 days for the drive to Skye. I'd really do fewer stops/detours because it will take most of the day to get to Skye and you will really only have 2 full days for the island. If it was me stop 1 at the Falls of Dochart, stop 2 lunch at Glencoe. Then if you take the bridge a very brief photo stop at Eilean Donan, whereas if taking the ferry stop at Glenfinnan.

The Kelpies are very dramatic and the Falkirk Wheel is interesting -- but IMO the natural scenery is even more so and I'd want to devote my time for that. Normally I'd recommend a two or three day drive and include the Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel, Stirling Castle, Killin, Glen Etive, Glencoe, Neptune's Staircase, and Glenfinnan -- but you just don't have the time for that.
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Old Jul 10th, 2024, 06:53 PM
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Topping just in case OP missed the info/miscalculation about routes to / from Skye
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Old Jul 11th, 2024, 09:50 AM
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Thank you for all your good advice. We have finalized our routes as you suggested and we are looking forward to our trip.
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