Scotland 12 days- need help!

Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
I would work out an itinerary sticking more to the east side of the country - Edinburgh and Fife plus another area(s). Options would include down into the Border and Northumberland or up into Aberdeenshire for the Castle Trail. Something like Edinburgh, then south into the Borders and Northumberland to see the Abbeys, St Abbs Head Holy Island, Bamburgh, Alnwick. Then up to Fife and back to EDI.

Edinburgh 3 nights, 4 nights for the Borders/Northumberland, Fife 3 or 4 nights, one night near EDI before flying out
I was going to write the same thing, but with the possible modification of swapping Aberdeenshire and the Royal Deeside for Northumberland. This would especially work well with golfing at Carnoustie. This would put you in castle country, would offer some terrific Highland scenery as you get into the Cairngorm mountains from the east side, and would hit most of your priorities - small towns, hikes, etc. - while not stretching days behind the wheel. You could also find some place for a single base and do day trips radiating from there to various nearby destinations.

Obviously you have plenty of time to plan and evaluate options, but for now google the places on this map - https://goo.gl/maps/tmFAdMxg8x1ExJJN8 - and research those places and more on Undiscovered Scotland - https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/ .

I would save the west side of Scotland (Highlands and Islands) for when your child is a little older and able to tolerate more time in the car, because a LOT more time will be needed, especially if any islands are involved. But don't worry, you'll want to come back, that much is certain.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Sep 23rd, 2019 at 06:59 AM.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 08:05 AM
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You do not have to go to Skye, probably crawling with 'Mericans. LOL. If you know you are interested in golf, for example, it makes sense to go to where the golf is. Also, I'm not sure, but I was told that the weather is typically better in the east. We loved the Speyside area, where I learned to enjoy whisky. Every part of Scotland has wonders, enjoy!

Not sure if you have run into this site, which is extraordinarily useful:

https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/index.html.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 10:04 AM
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>>Also, I'm not sure, but I was told that the weather is typically better in the east. <<

Not 'better' but typically a little dryer

>>I was going to write the same thing, but with the possible modification of swapping Aberdeenshire and the Royal Deeside for Northumberland. <<

In post #14 I did mention Aberdeenshire/the Castle Trail but put flesh on just the southern loop option. In my first stab (the one that disappeared ) I had described a potential northern loop, and one that could squeeze in Gleneagles and the Trossachs. Gave up when I had to re-write the whole thing . . .
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Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 05:31 PM
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Gardyloo- Thank you! After researching suggestions from Janisj last night with my husband we were both in agreement that Aberdeenshire looked most interesting. Is the west coast very different (scenery wise) from the north and east? I am really just starting to learn about Scotland over the past few weeks. I really do want to see part of the mountainous Scotland countryside during this trip, would we get some of that from the north? I am going to research the places you sent via the map. I really appreciate the input! Bear with me as I am learning as I go!

Janisj- the Rufflets recommendation is amazing! They have suites that have a small twin bedroom attached which really makes traveling a treat with our son AND as you said still less expensive than Gleneagles.I hate to ask for more from you..... but I am dying to know what your northern loop including Glenagles looked like... bc once we rule out the west coast I think the North peaks our interest most.

So just to be clear, Glencoe is not worth making a stop of on this first trip? All the pictures look amazing. I am willing to let it go but just wanted to make sure i double checked. I know so little about Scotland so I feel like a blind person just trying to guess which areas are special lol. If i get to other areas such as the north or Trossachs will it be similar enough that it doesnt make the trip all the way to glencoe worth it? Fife seems like a really cool spot to include since based on what I have seen its a scene change from some of the other areas.

After speaking to my husband last night he told me that we should plan the trip based on areas that will be fun to see, he can find a beautiful golf course wherever we go as there are so many. He will probably only play 1-2 rounds just bc it would be a shame not too while in Scotland. I don't play so my son and I will be sightseeing nearby when he does play.

Okay last question for now...Is there a scenic train ride that would line up with our trip on the eastern or northern part of the country. A lot of the ones we found originally were on the west coast!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 05:33 PM
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Eastenderusvi- Thank you for the link- will research tonight!!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 05:40 PM
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Gardyloo- With your route in mind, what would you suggest as a base? Edinbourgh, Fife, and then maybe 1-2 other spots? Any specific areas(rural or town/village) that you recommend? Based on the map it looks like Ballater and Fortingall? Will research those more but just wanted to clarify!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 06:00 PM
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Janisj- WOW wonderful suggestion on the deer park. Just checked out the website love it!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 09:19 PM
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OK just random comments. Glencoe is awesome - as are 1000 other places in Scotland.

Could you possibly squeeze in more time? Even just 15 days??

A nice / not to crazy loop could fit in Edinburgh, Fife, Aberdeenshire, Loch Tay/Killin, Glencoe and the Trossachs. could work with 15 days.

Edinburgh 3 nights > St Andrews 3 nights > Deeside 3 nights (Ballater is a good base) > Killin (Falls of Dochart) 1 night > Glencoe 2 nights (with a detour into Glen Ettive -- Skyfall) > Callander or nearby 2 or 3 nights > EDI or GLA to fly home.

This itinerary would have Edinburgh and castles and golf and beaches and fishing villages and mountains and lochs, and enough dramatic scenery and history to knock your socks off.

And no loooooong drives. Longest would be Ballater to Killin/Loch Tay which would take maybe 3 hours.

google the places above -- to get some ideas.
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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 04:05 AM
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If you reorder Janis' itinerary just a bit to S. Andrews->Callander->Glencoe, you could drop the car in Oban, which is near Glencoe. The train ride from Oban to Glasgow is supposed to be very scenic. I was planning to take that train ride, in the other direction, but we ended up renting the car in Glasgow, because I wanted to stop along Loch Lomond.
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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 04:39 AM
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If you reorder Janis' itinerary just a bit to S. Andrews->Callander->Glencoe, I think it would be less driving.

You could take part of the train ride from Oban to Glasgow,which is supposed to be very scenic. Oban is about half an hour from Glencoe. I was planning to take that train ride, in the other direction, but we ended up renting the car in Glasgow, because I wanted to make several stops. For instance, you could take the train from Oban to Tarbet, which is on the shore of Loch Lomond. It's a pretty spot, with a lakeshore (lochshore?) park, and you can get a boat tour on the loch from Tarbet pier. Your son would enjoy the ducks. The train ride is about an hour and a half. All the way to Glasgow would be three hours, but there's some great scenery between Oban and Loch Lomond. According to ScotRail, this is considered to be the most scenic rail line in the world.

You could also catch part of this rail line at Fort William.

It would be great if you could drop the car in Oban as your final stop, and take the train to Glasgow, then on to Edinburgh, but I don't see any possibility of that.
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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 07:06 AM
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bvlenci's ideas, while worth considering, have several 'complications'. There is no place to drop a one way rental in either Ft William or Oban. Because of train schedules you really can't get off anywhere to explore and then get on a later train to finish the journey and get back.


( >>Oban is about half an hour from Glencoe<< -- the drive is a little over one hour)
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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 07:52 AM
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I see that there is a partial response, posted accidentally, before I finished thinking through the idea, that mentioning dropping the car in Oban.

After ascertaining thatthere's no place to drop the rental car, I suggested just taking the train part of the way and returning to Oban. That's the second reply. I'll see if I can get the first one removed.

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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 08:16 AM
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The only other option I can think of for a train ride would be to go either north or south from Fort William. Fort William is closer to Glencoe than Oban, but I don't recognize the stations north and south of there. Here is a list, in both directions; maybe Janis can suggest a scenic ride.

Glasgow bound:
  • 07:44Fort William
  • 07:57Spean Bridge
  • 08:04Roy Bridge
  • 08:15Tulloch
  • 08:32Corrour
  • 08:47Rannoch
  • 09:07Bridge Of Orchy
  • 09:23Upper Tyndrum
  • 09:33Crianlarich
  • 09:52Ardlui
  • 10:06Arrochar And Tarbet
Mallaig bound:
  • 08:30Fort William
  • 08:36Banavie
  • 08:42Corpach
  • 08:49Loch Eil Outward Bound
  • 08:53Locheilside
  • 09:05Glenfinnan
  • 09:19Lochailort
  • 09:28Beasdale
  • 09:38Arisaig
  • 09:46Morar
  • 09:53Mallaig
Here is ScotRail's description of the West Highland line:

https://www.scotrail.co.uk/scotland-...illiammallaig#​​​​​​

Last edited by bvlenci; Sep 24th, 2019 at 08:20 AM.
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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 08:28 AM
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Reading the description, I see that a very scenic part of the route is around Crianlarich. I realized that you could catch the train at Bridge of Orchy, also near Glencoe, and take a trip from there to Tarbet, on Loch Lomond. This is about a one-hour train trip.




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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 09:24 AM
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Let's break this down a bit.

First, golf. Well, it's Scotland, and one is never far from challenging golf venues. Some options to consider:

1. Golf in Edinburgh. There are numerous courses open to the public right in the city or within easy access. For example, the Prestonfield course - https://www.prestonfieldgolf.co.uk/ - sits right at the foot of Arthur's Seat next to the charming village of Duddingston with its historic church and ancient pub. Or the Swanston Golf Club - https://www.swanstongolf.co.uk/ - is located at the foot of the Pentland Hills in the south of the city, near the village of Swanston (lovely thatched buildings) in which Robert Louis Stevenson lived for some years.

2. Golf in East Lothian. East Lothian comprises the area along the Firth of Forth to the east of Edinburgh, extending south into the Lammermuir Hills. This is an area full of charming coastal villages, castles, rolling moorland to the south, and... golf. Famous links courses include Muirfield (where the Open championship is held periodically) as well as numerous other "links" courses (similar to St. Andrews) which offer uniquely Scottish challenges - wind, no trees, etc. https://www.muirfield.org.uk/

3. Golf in Fife and Angus. Fife offers picturesque coastal villages like Crail, a short drive from St. Andrews, as well as historic towns like St. Andrews itself and the royal burgh of Falkland (used as the stand-in for Inverness in the Outlander TV series.) Angus, the county on the north side of the Tay estuary, offers golf at Carnoustie, but also destinations like Glamis Castle, and remote Glen Clova, which would certainly offer mountain and Highland scenery along the lines of the western glens.

4. Golf in the northern Highlands. The ancient town of Dornoch, located on the North Sea coast of Sutherland, is arguably the equal of St. Andrews in terms of golf history - https://royaldornoch.com/ - and traveling there would put you on the edge of some of the wildest, most beautiful and remote parts of the Highlands.

Second, Highland scenery. Well, it's all over the place, of course. For sure, places like Glen Coe and Glen Etive are justly famous for their beauty, but there are so many places that can and will leave you gobsmacked that singling out one or two of them is pointless. It's not a case of "seen 'em one, seen 'em all" but for first time visitors, frankly the differences are not going to be hugely evident. Heather-covered hills and moors, lochs and bare mountainsides... they're everywhere. In general, the farther west and north you go, the more rugged the landscape becomes, but there are plenty of areas in the Central Highlands - the Grampian and Cairngorm mountains in the middle of the country - where the landscape is just as dramatic as out on the west coast or in the Inner Hebrides (Skye, Mull etc.) You can even be fooled to thinking you're in the Highlands when you're not even close, like this...



That picture is from Holyrood Park right in the middle of Edinburgh, a short walk from the Prestonfield Golf Club that I mentioned above.

The point being, it's a small country and you can see and do a LOT in a small amount of time and without having to spend long hours in a car.

So let me throw out a couple of VERY different options just as examples of how you could take 12 days and achieve your aims comfortably.

1. Highland and East Lothian loops. Take the train to the western Highlands and do some local touring, then return to Edinburgh and do a second, possibly golf-inclusive loop of East Lothian and the Northumberland coast. Map 1 - https://goo.gl/maps/JP4eWikDQEysyhNR7 and Map 2 - https://goo.gl/maps/P8g1kfWRMb42ge1aA . In this scenario, you'd start by taking the train from Edinburgh to Fort William (with a train change in Glasgow.) The route from Glasgow to Fort William, the West Highland Line, is one of the most scenic train rides in Britain, maybe Europe. In Fort William there are a couple of car rental agencies e.g. https://www.slipwayautos.co.uk/ where you can get a car for touring the region; you'd just return the car in Fort William and take the train back to Edinburgh. On the map are some suggested places including Oban, from which you could take a day trip to Mull, Kilmartin with its remarkable group of prehistoric and ancient sites including standing stones, stone circles, carved grave covers, etc., and Inveraray, the lovely seat of Clan Campbell (with their pompous castle) and home of terrific Loch Fyne seafood. The eastern loop includes Muirfield (if golf has been postponed) as well as a couple of picturesque fishing villages, the Holy Island, and a couple of stunning castles, of which Bamburgh is (IMO) without peer. You'd return via the Lammermuir Hills, probably covered in blooming heather, e.g. https://goo.gl/maps/Zm8ZnX6Pb8hs2sut7 . A rough timetable for this alternative would be three days in Edinburgh, four out to the west, three out to the east, and a couple of extras to add to the loops or just for hanging out.

2. Trossachs, Glen Coe, Aberdeenshire castle country and Fife. Map -https://goo.gl/maps/WDGNyxfUq86KMcHQ6 . This would include golf either in Edinburgh, or on a day trip to East Lothian, then travel through the Trossachs to Glen Etive and Glen Coe, then back through the Aberdeenshire castle country and Angus to the Fife Coast and the lovely "East Neuk" villages before returning to Edinburgh. With this plan, I'd spend three or four nights in Edinburgh, and the rest on the road, with a couple of nights each in the Glen Coe and Braemar areas, and one each in Callendar and maybe St. Andrews, again, with a couple of nights unallocated. This itinerary doesn't have a train ride, but if you added a day's stay in the Glen Coe area, you could ride the West Highland Line from Fort William to its end in Mallaig (via the "Harry Potter viaduct" at Glenfinnan) and back, or you could take the "Jacobite" steam train which runs the same route, at considerably higher cost.

3. Northern Highlands loop. This would include a train ride to Inverness (not as scenic as the others but still pretty nice) followed by a loop that includes golf at Dornoch followed by stunning Highland scenery and a return to Inverness. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/nB4SvMmY28q4yQ9s5 . The route includes the evocative Croick church (site of one of the more infamous events during the Highland Clearances) and the northwest coast including Ullapool, the marvelous Inverewe Gardens (palm trees? Yep.) and picturesque Plockton, filming location for the Hamish Macbeth TV series. This would include iconic sights like Eilean Donan castle and a drive along Loch Ness. While we haven't discussed your air travel plans, you could drop the car in Inverness and fly to Heathrow or to wherever you're arriving and departing from.

With all these ideas, again, Undiscovered Scotland is your key.

Long post, sorry, but once you get us going...

Last edited by Gardyloo; Sep 24th, 2019 at 09:36 AM.
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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 03:18 PM
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Gardyloos's #2 itinerary illustrates pretty much the itinerary I laid out. Edinburgh 3 nights > St Andrews 3 nights > Deeside 3 nights (Ballater is a good base) > Killin (Falls of Dochart) 1 night > Glencoe 2 nights (with a detour into Glen Ettive -- Skyfall) > Callander or nearby 2 or 3 nights > EDI or GLA to fly home. That would tick every one of your boxes. I would NOT attempt a series of one night stops with a toddler - 3-ish nights at each stop would be easier for all three of you.


>>maybe Janis can suggest a scenic ride.<<

Not really -- the schedules just aren't practical for excursions. They almost all would require a full day to manage a R-T to where ever the car is parked. People are always for example recommending the Jacobite. Unfortunately because of the times -- it would take most of a day on the train. That is a looooong time on a train. If what one wants is to ride a train with the toddler there are lots of options out of Edinburgh like to Stirling, or Linlithgow, or North Berwick, etc, that don't require being on a train all day.
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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 04:05 PM
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It is very likely I have missed something said above. If you want to combine a train ride and golf then consider taking the train from Edinburgh to North Berwick. It is then a ten minute walk (plus a bit for the two year old) to one of the most interesting courses in the world. I will personally guarantee your husband will talk about his golfing experience there for the rest of his golfing life. If he doesn't like it PM me and I will pay his guest fee (probably, well maybe, there's a chance ). Rental clubs are available. The beach is right below the course.

https://www.northberwickgolfclub.com/

https://www.top100golfcourses.com/go...h-berwick-west
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Old Sep 24th, 2019, 08:07 PM
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Omg love all of these responses! Have not had time to really read through them and research but will do my best over the next few days! I will be out of town for a week so I might be delayed in responding but am still eager for any info- although now I have quite a bit LOL. Will research and get back to everyone. thanks again.
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