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Scotland Highlands

Old Jun 1st, 2006, 05:10 PM
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Scotland Highlands

I've read several places not to plan on driving very far each day. After an organized tour in England and Edinburgh area, my husband and I plan to take an additional 4-5 days to drive up to the Highlands area starting September 20. A friend suggested going to Ogan the first day by way of Loch Lomond. I thought we'd drive from Oban the second day to the Isle of Sky. Then I'm looking at Fort Augustus area next 2 nights to tour around Loch Ness and possibly further north, returning to lodging in Ft. Augusta at night. The fifth day we'll drive back to Edinburgh airport area to fly home the 6th day. Can anyone tell me about how many km/miles we might plan on driving a day without rushing from sight to sight. I might mention we don't normally make great distances under the best of situations because we keep stopping for photographs. This will be our first time in the area, we are from the USA, and have driven in England once before. Any suggestions or ideas are greatly appreciated. Looking forward to our visit. Thanks.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 06:03 PM
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Edinburgh > Loch Lomond > Oban Is a reasonable drive. Oban to Skye is a reasonable drive.

Is there a special place you want to stay in Ft Augustus? If not, I'd stay elsewhere. Loch Ness is the "famous" one but isn't the best/prettiest loch by a long shot. From Skye you can drive all along Loch Ness and beyond Inverness easily in a day. So you could stay east of Inverness or SE on Speyside for visits to Culloden/Cawdor/whisky distilleries, etc.

Then depending on if you want to use 4 or 5 days - back down the A9 to Edinburgh, or stay another night somewhere on Speyside or along the Dee.


Or another - bit less ambitious - itinerary could look something like this:

Day 1/Night 1 in the Trossachs west of Stirling. A short drive from Edinburgh and LOTS to see. Stirling Castle, the Trossachs, waterfalls, lochs etc.

Then through Glencoe to Skye. Day 2 enroute to Skye, Day 3 on Skye. Nights 2 & 3 on Skye.

Day/night 4 - From Skye, along Loch Ness to east of Inverness.

day/night 5 traveling back towards EDI visiting either the Dee, or Blair Athol, Dunkeld, and Scone Palace

If it were me- I'd do the second version, but both are doable.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 12:23 PM
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We just returned from Scotland. We picked up our car at Glasgow airport, drove north stopping for a walk around Luss on Loch Lomond, toured Inverary Castle, Crarae Gardens and the Kilmartin churchyard and ended up near Oban and that trip took us approximately 7 hours. We found that because of the narrow winding roads we generally didn't drive as far as I thought we would when I was looking at the map of Scotland spread out on my kitchen table. The scenery is so beautiful you don't want to rush through it. We followed some suggestions made by janisj and they really made our trip better than what I had originally planned. Our longest drive was from the Inverness area via A939 to our hotel which was north of Perth. With just a few stops, it took most of the day. We continued another day to Edinburgh airport to drop our car off.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 02:25 PM
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Thank you both for the information and suggestions. We will be visiting the Stirling area with the organized tour while we are staying in Edinburgh before heading off on our own - as well as St. Andrews area. I'm beginning to think Oban might be a bit ambitious for first day, and there was no special reason I was considering Ft. Augustus other than someone saying it was a good location to tour L.Ness area and beyond. Definitely want to visit Skye, so maybe just head for L. Lomand and on toward Skye omitting Oban. I know there is no way to do everything, and with a country known for such incredible beauty we're just trying to scratch the surface. Scenery, terraine and exceptional gardens (if not too late in year) is our primary goal with these 4-5 days. We really don't want to spend the whole time driving and miss getting a feel for the people and regions. Do you think we could find Bed & Breakfast availability toward the end of September if we decided not to make reservations ahead of time and just start looking about 3 PM for a place for the night? Thank you again, and if you think of anything else please pass it along.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 05:04 PM
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In late sept you won't have any problems finding B&Bs.

One option though, if you don't want to leave it until the last minute and fret if you'll find a place -Just about every town has a Tourist Information Center that can book rooms for you.

For instance - if you are on Skye and want a room the next night east of Inverness, you can go into the TIC in Portree or Broadford and give them your requirements (price, type of bed, ensuite bath, preferred village, whatever) Then go off to lunch or sightseeing and when you come back in an hour or so they will have arranged a room, w/ directions, phone number . . .

This lets you "wing it" a bit but also have a room nailed down w/o having to hunt.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 05:52 PM
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Great suggestion janisj. Thanks again for all your help.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 06:03 PM
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September B&B should be no problem the Edinburgh Tattoo is on 4th - 26th August then World famous Edinburgh Festival runs 13th of August to the 3rd of September.

Any time between those dates you should have booked a while ago ... after and before should be fine.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:22 PM
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I just had another thought. If we wait until we start touring the Highlands area in Scotland (from the USA)to find a Bed & Breakfast for each night, will we have to have cash money (British Sterling Pound) or will small, family-run B&Bs take Master Card or Visa to pay for lodging? What else have I overlooked? Thanks in advance and warmest regards to you all.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:30 PM
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Some will take cards, most small B&Bs won't though. Even the ones that do will prefer cash as the fee they have to pay to the card company takes a chunk out of an already tight profit margin.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:34 PM
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As nona says - some do, some don't. But not to worry - you will find ATMs all over the place, in every town and in many villages. Just make sure you have some cash on hand (from an ATM) before you head into remote areas.
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 05:49 AM
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Have just posted the same reply to other messages on the forum but it would also apply to this enquiry.

I have just seen on the Frommers website (sorry for mentioning the opposition) a recommendation about an excellent report giving reviews, advice and pictures of places throughout England and Scotland which you should find very interesting.
It includes some very good insights and pictures taken at various places including Skye, Ballater, St Andrews and Edinburgh.

It is also very good for anyone else travelling to the UK as the pictures can give you a better insight than we can on the forum.
The photgraphs and the additional comments are very very good.

www.frommers.com/cgi-bin/[email protected]@.eed91a1
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Old Jun 6th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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Excellent reference material and I agree with you the pictures are outstanding. Thank you very much for passing this information along. I got some more good tips and the hardest part is going to be deciding what to save for another trip. Right now we're hoping we can make it as far as Ullapool.
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