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Scotland for 4 weeks in July/August 2013

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Nov 18th, 2012, 08:12 PM
  #1
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Scotland for 4 weeks in July/August 2013

We're in our late 60's. We've booked a car for the duration of our stay; and bought tickets, and prebooked accommodation for the Edinburgh Tattoo.

Also bought a Guide Book for Scotland.

We're internet savvy - BUT!! Many sites are a bit 'sterile', and obviously mainly written/contributed to by a different age group to us!

We crave personal experience/information, from our peers (or their children).

We'll be there from mid July to mid August in 2013.

What do previous travellers to Scotland, and residents - in our age bracket, really recommend as 'GREAT'?

Our interests are history, old buildings, culture, reasonable walks, scenery, the Scots.

We are not into the 'party' scene - but we like good food; good Scotch; good beer.

What about Orkney and/or other islands??
obione980 is offline  
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Nov 18th, 2012, 10:36 PM
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Perhaps some trip reports can help you narrow your choices. Here's mine with a link to some photos as well. We aren't in your age bracket but we are that wild either!

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...rip-report.cfm

Good luck.
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Nov 18th, 2012, 11:37 PM
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I don't consider much of anything in Scotland being age delimited/age dependent. I started going there in my mid 20's and my parents traveled there up 'til their 80's.

Not quite sure what sorts of concerns you have??
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Nov 19th, 2012, 03:37 AM
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No Concerns - just accept there are often different interests for different age groups.

Happy to read any recommendations!
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Nov 19th, 2012, 04:17 AM
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The only concern that I would have, and it applies to travelers of any age, is that August is the rainiest month of the summer in the Highlands. It is probably the rainiest month elsewhere but it really doesn't matter as much because you are not there specifically to be in the outdoors.

I am your age and would offer the following advice, generally.

If you are not walkers, start now. Walk fifteen minutes a day the first week, then add fifteen minutes every week. Wear the shoes you plan to wear most days on the trip. You want to know if they are uncomfortable before you go. If you live in a place with hills, add them beginning in the third or fourth week of walking. If you don't have hills, start walking up stairs. Edinburgh is steep. The Highlands are steep. You will be happiest if you are used to walking a lot.

You need a goretex jacket (and trousers too if you plan much country walking). You will be happiest with a dark color and fingertip length. LL Bean's Stowaways have been wonderful for us. Under this you will want the possibility of several layers: fleece or light wool or cashmere sweater, long-sleeved shirt, t shirt, etc. You may need all or most or none of them, but if you need them, you will need them a lot. We both take hats. My wife _always_ takes gloves and a scarf. And socks to sleep in. Yes, in July and August.

If you follow this forum, you will know that driving anywhere takes up to twice as long as it would take to drive the same distance in the US or Canada. Sometimes it is heavy traffic, sometimes it is narrow roads, sometimes it is both. On the whole, I would prefer to use public transportation in the whole band of places from Glasgow in the west to St Andrews or even Aberdeen in the east. Parking in Edinburgh last month was a nightmare and it would only be lots worse in the summer. Fortunately, kind friends drove us everywhere we needed to go by car, and there weren't many.

You should also be prepared for the northern Highlands to be quite empty, West Texas empty, and for many places in the West Highlands and Islands to be closed on Sundays.

You don't have to book every night's lodging before you go except in Edinburgh during August, which you ought to start reserving right now. Seriously, especially if you are particular. The tourist offices can be helpful in getting you rooms a night or two ahead and many B&B owners are well-connected with owners in other towns.

Musts: all standard guidebook stuff is Worth It.

Places, far from exhaustive: Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Pitlochry, Deeside, Great Glen, Loch Torridon, Inverewe,Skye, etc. Something you might not have thought of: West Highland Railway from Glagow to Mallaig. One of the world's great railway journeys. Ditto train from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness. I am not trying to link any of this into a journey, just telling you what people of your age have enjoyed. Lots.

Not worth it: Rosslyn Chapel, any of the witch stuff in Edinburgh.

Advice: read as much about Scottish history, both political and social, as you can before you go. It will help you understand why things are the way they are and why they are so different than they are in England.

Prepare to enjoy the Scottish people. They are lovely and kind, if often maddening. You are on vacation, not trying to get anything done!
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Nov 19th, 2012, 05:01 AM
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Of course, you are going during the midge season. It will be best to get your insect repellent locally.
As for not getting things done. A few years ago, our car broke down near a tiny garage near Glenelg. The owner didn't have the part but phoned Kyle. He then drove, got it and fitted it.
He took a lot of persuasion to accept money for the phone call and petrol
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Nov 19th, 2012, 05:41 AM
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Consider going to the Isle of Arran for a few days. It is a short train trip from Glasgow followed by an hour by boat. It is a very scenic place and is often thought of as Scotland in miniature. There are great walks and superb scenery and the local bus service can take you around the island without needing to take your car on the ferry. Bed and breakfast places and hotels are plentiful. I can strongly recommend it.
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Nov 19th, 2012, 06:31 AM
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We are very fond of Arran. It really is Scotland in miniature, mountains, a brewery, a distillery and a couple of castles. What more do you need?
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Nov 19th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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You might want to take a look at my trip report; click on my name to find it.
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Nov 19th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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HEY, we're not all in our 60s on this board.

<< history, old buildings, culture, reasonable walks, scenery, the Scots>>

There's plenty of that. What do you REALLY want to see? There are castles all over the country. There's a lot of Scotch too. There's both in the Eastern Highlands near Dufftown (ton(ne)s of distilleries, close to the Aberdeenshire Castle Trail).

Some consider golfing a reasonable walk, I've heard that the Scots have a historical relationship to golf.

All hills in Edinburgh go up. None go down. You will realize this when walking in the city. Dunno why, probably a relic from Scottish sith (read: sidhe; aka faeries) that lived centuries ago. Dang sith.

Note that a "B&B" is a home with 1-5 rooms for let to guests. A guest house is a B&B with 6-10 rooms for guests.

Yes, you should rent a car just so you have complete freedom especially in the sticks instead of relying on infrequent local transport. Realize that petrol prices will suck (around $8/gallon) and plan accordingly to use a high mileage vehicle.

The roads are generally in good condition, but they're generally the equivalent of country roads in the US, and Eastern US country roads at that (i.e., not Texas country roads that could be six lanes wide). There are few M roads, which are the "dual carriageway" multiple lanes in each direction roads.
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Nov 19th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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"No Concerns - just accept there are often different interests for different age groups."

Not IME. I think you are 'over thinking' things. Of course if one is talking about music clubs in Glasgow or something like that, different ages will be predominant. Or some of the performances in the Fringe festival might attract different age groups.

But otherwise there is nothing much in Scotland that is at all "age-related/age-specific". If you will note - none of the good advice you've received is anything to do w/ age. Physical fitness can be an issue - but never IME experience over many trips to Scotland have I ever once thought "Am I too young?/Am I too old?"
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Nov 21st, 2012, 08:36 AM
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Just to add a few comments in reply to your post. You mention the following areas of interest:

History...All of Scotland is full of history ie. anywhere you travel will havean historic impact.I would advise you to do some reading before hand and not rely completely on tour guides.

Old buildings...Not entirely sure what you mean by old buildings, but you will find an abundence of various architecture styles in both Edinburgh and Glasgow. Castles can be found through out Scotland especially along the Castle Trail in Deeside area.

Culture...again Edinburgh has a different vibe from Glasgow and the Border area form the Highlands and then there are the islands. All Scottish but with differences. Again doing some reading will help. As to historical/architectural culture you will find a extermely wide range from prehistoric sites to the new Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

Reasonable walks...these can be found almost anywhere in Scotland.

Scenery...IMO there are very few places (if any?) in Scotland that are not scenic.

Good even excellent food is not hard to find and as for Scotch, it's whisky in Scotland unless you want the Irish or American varieties.

Here are a few websites.

www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
www.walkscotland.com
www.undiscoverscotland.co.uk

I would also highy recommend two guide books. Peter Irvin's, Scotland the Best and Fodor's Scotland . Both books offer excellent information for travelers of any age. As janisj has said, with the exception of the club scene and a few bars in the larger cities, Scotland's attractions are for every age group.
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