Scotland in 10 days

Old May 5th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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Scotland in 10 days

My husband & I will fly from the USA to Edinburgh on August 22nd, Friday, and will spend 2 1/2 days in Edinburgh. We have tickets for the Tattoo & have already booked a room for Edinburgh.
On Sunday, Aug 24th, we will rent a car & drive to the Highlands, wanting to see lots of scenary,a few castles, avoid towns/museums, and end up heading to North Wales on Sunday August 31st for 8 days in Wales.
Can you suggest a route for us to take, where to stay(B&Bs preferred), what sites are a must see, & what whisky distillaries are the best to tour.
I was thinking about going through Stirling to Pitlochry and up to Inverness or Fort Augustus to spend a couple of days, then over to Skye, or Mull and Oban and then down through Glasgow heading to Wales.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 01:36 PM
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Variation on a theme

On Day 1 do Fife and Dundee- Dunfermilne Abbey- Loch Leven, Vane Farm, East Neuk villages, Culross, St Andrews, Dundee for Discovery, then go and stay at Glamis and see the castle first thing next day.

Day 2- either go up the east coast as far as Stonehaven with a stop for Dunottar Castle, then cut over to Deeside. The tourist industry calls this area Castle country and thereís a very wide selection most of which are open to the public. Pick one from Drum, Crathes, Craigievar, Braemar. You could do Balmoral as well, but I wouldnít recommend it. But do go to Royal Lochnagar distillery, and go for a walk either at Glen Muick or Glentanar. Stay somewhere like Gairnshiel Lodge; or the hotel at Dinnet which ahs just changed its name.

Day 3, go over the hill to Speyside and stay somewhere like Craigellachie. Pick up another distillery. Make sure that one of the distilleries you go to see has a malting floor. Go to Loch Garten; and Rothiemurchus and maybe take the chair lift up Cairngorm.

Day 4, head to the west. Go north on the main road and through Inverness; head up to Ullapool, where you should stay the night.

Day 5 come south on the coast through Poolewe- stop and see the gardens,- Gairloch, through Torridon and Applecross, over the Bealach nam Bo and down to Lochcarron. Stay the night in Plockton.

Day 6, take in Eilean Donan castle before crossing the bridge to Skye. Stay on Skye till Monday morning and on Monday take the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig. Drive to Arisaig, then go south and round through Morvern till you get to Strontian and on to the ferry at Ardgour. Cross to Corran, and drive east through Glencoe, then back west through the Pass of Brander to Oban where you can pick up distillery number 3.

Day 7 do Mull, using Oban as your base. On Wednesday drive south through Kilmartin Glen and over the Rest and Be Thankful and down Loch Lomondside to Glasgow.

Head south

To get the most out of that you must know your history. What is Dunottar if you donít know about the Honours of Scotland; or the Highlands if you donít know about the clearances; or Loch Leven if you donít know about Mary Queen of Scots.

I guess the main difference is that if you do this, you spend less time frantically getting from A-B and perhaps get a little more variety. If you want to know more about any of the places I mentioned let me know.

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Old May 5th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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I agree with Sheila regarding the necessity of doing some historical preparation before going to Scotland. Too many people are so intent on checking off the 'must sees' and 'must dos' that they have no idea of what they are actually viewing.

Reading a few well chosen books and/or doing a little bit of research will make your trip more meaningful and rewarding.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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Wow Sheila: Wish I had your suggested itinery before we went last August!!! Going to print it out incase I get another shot at Scotland..got lots of ancestral history their, (McDougal, Urquart, Stuart...all family names). What a beautiful country....and I agree...read a lot before you go.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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Leaving for France, so bookmarking for later. (maybe Scotland in 3 years?)

BTW, to OP, we spent 3 nights at Craigallichie (sp) in 1998 and loved it.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 09:00 PM
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bookmarking

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Old May 6th, 2008, 05:00 AM
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Sheila, thanks so much for your recommendation. I think it is exactly what I needed. I do have several books about Scottish history & still have alot of reading to do. This will be our 2nd trip to Scotland. I will probably have more questions & will email back to you when I do. Thanks again
Pat
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Old May 6th, 2008, 05:20 AM
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We'll be leaving for Scotaland in about a month. I, too, would love to learn about Scottish history before leaving. Does anyone know of any good books on this subject?
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Old May 6th, 2008, 10:48 PM
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Ummm- about a thousand. No, I lie! Amazon.com has 7366 titles on Scottish History.

I was about to suggest one or two, but really, the list is too exhausting
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Old May 12th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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With traveling August 24th through August 31st through Scotland as was suggested above, we would like to stay in B&Bs. Would we need to make reservations ahead of time or could we just find a B&B around 4pm each afternoon? Or call early in the day to reserve a room for that night?
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Old May 12th, 2008, 09:30 PM
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In August you definitely should pre-book as many places as you can. Otherwise you may end up either not finding a place at all, or paying a lot more than you want.

Most times of year, you can get away w/ finding accommodations as you go just about anywhere except in Edinburgh. The Tourist Information Centers will find rooms locally or phone ahead to your next destination for you.

But August is a special case. It is the most crowded month for visitors. The thousands attending the Festivals and the Tattoo in Edinburgh, and Highland games all over, usually head out to see other parts of the country. Many places will already be fully booked.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 09:33 PM
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Meant to add - that is also the week of the August Bank Holiday so it will be even more crowded than the rest of August. Book ahead . . . . .
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Old May 19th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Using Sheila's recommendations as a guide I have come up with this Itinerary
Day 1 Sunday- pick up rental car & drive from Edinburgh to
Stirling - see Forth Rail Bridge, Falkirk Wheel & Stirling castle
Culross
Dunfermline - Abbey
Kinross/Loch Levern - Van Farm
East Neuk Villages - can you recommend a place to spend the night?
Day 2 Monday -
St. Andrews
Dundee - Discovery
Galmis -Glamis Castle
Stonehaven - Dunnottar Castle
Banchory & Royal Deeside Tour
Ballater - Royal Lochnager Distillery & castle
Gairnshiel Lodge or Dinnet spend the night
Day 3 - Tuesday
Glenlivit or GlenFarchlas Distillery
Loch Garten
Aviemore - Rothiemurchus Estate
Cairngorum - Take Railway to top
need suggestions for where to spend the night around Aviemoire or Inverness
Day 4 - Wednesday
Inverness
Strathpetter
Corrieshalloch Gorge
Poolewe - Inverewe Gardens
Gairloch
Kinolochieve
Torridon
Shieldaig
Applecross
Lochcarron
Plockton - spend the night - can we get this far in one day?
Day 6 - Thursday
Eilean Donan Castle
Kyle of Lochalsh & ferry to Skye
tour Skye & end in Armadale - any suggestions for the night?
Day 7 - Friday
ferry to Mallaig
Arisaig
Kinlochmoidart
Archaracle
Strontian
Ardgour - ferry to
Corran
Glencoe
Oban - spend the night - any suggestions?
Day 8 - Saturday
Kilmartin
Lochgilohead
Inveraray
Cairndow
Loch Lomond - spend the night any suggestions?
day 9 - Sunday
Drive To Conwyn in North Wales

Does this sound possible? Do you have any suggestions for where to stay along the way. We prefer B&Bs or small hotels.

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Old May 19th, 2008, 11:18 AM
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Sorry - but most of your itinerary is not possible - or just barely. Days 1 and 2 are downright nuts (meant in the nicest possible way)

The Falkirk Wheel, Stirling Castle and Culross would be a pretty ambitious day. But you want to add in Dunfermline Abbey, Loch Leven, Vane Farm and the East Neuk Villages.

Stirling Castle takes at least 2 hours. The Falkirk Wheel about an hour unless you want to take a boat excursion - then add another hour. Loch Leven Castle involves boat rides to/from plus exploring the ruins so count on about 1.5 - hours.

Culross is another 1-2 hour visit. Dunfermline Abbey maybe 45 min-1 hour. Vane Farm isn't a stop and take a photo sort of place - another hour or so.

Anstruther and Crail are each about an hour minimum - maybe a bit less for Pittenweem.

So even w/o drive times (about 2 hours total) and meals - you have at least 12 hours of major sightseeing planned. This a VERY full 2 days worth.

Day 2 is about the same only w/ even more driving and longer visits. St Andrews is worth at least 4 hours - a full day would be better but the highlights can be seen in about 3 or 4 hours. The Discovery - 90 mins. Glamis Castle 2 hours. Dunnottar at least 2 hours - it takes about 10 minutes just to walk to it from the car park. Stonehaven another hour maybe. Deeside - easily a full day, but half a day minimum.

Your first 2 days are easily 4 days worth at minimum.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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I guess I was not clear on my Itinerary that although I am listing going through different areas/cities, like Culross or St. Andrews, I am not meaning to stop and sight see unless I listed a particular place like the abbey or castle, etc. I just meant that is the driving route we will take.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 12:35 PM
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Then why go that way? Drive through St Andrews w/o stopping? Drive through Culross - that really isn't an option.

But if you just mean a driving tour w/o stopping - then yes - your whole itinerary is doable. But you will mostly see Scotland through the windshield.

Guess I don't see the point.

Your plan is very helter skelter around all of mid and northern Scotland w/o any time built in to actually see/enjoy much. Sheila's plan was definitely doable - but you have added lots of other bits and pieces For instance her full days 4 and 5 - you have morphed into one day 4.

Her days 1 - 2 vs your days 1 -2: You've added Stirling, Culross, the Falkirk Wheel, and the fishing villages.

Just too much in too little time.
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