Scotland in 2022 - questions

Old Jul 17th, 2021, 05:24 PM
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Scotland in 2022 - questions

I'm in the early stages of planning 40th wedding anniversary trip to Scotland in Aug 2022. Have always wanted to see the Tattoo, thus going in August. Traveling from Chicago. My intent is to rent a car. Preliminary itinerary;

Overnight flight to Edinburgh
3 nights in Edinburgh (including Tattoo)
2 nights in Inverness / Loch Ness area (Visit Culloden battle site)
3 nights On the Isle of Skye

Here are my initial questions;
1. Should we allot time in Glasgow?
2. Other than time on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, and the Tattoo what are the other "must see" things in Edinburgh?
3. Recommendations for things to do on Isle of Skye (we will be 62 yrs old and are in good shape - hike, walk, workout regularly)
4. Any other things I should be considering as I start planning?

Thank you!
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Old Jul 17th, 2021, 06:17 PM
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OK - that isn't an 'itinerary', but more a list. How many days do your have total? That will help us give you advice what is reasonable and what you have time to add, if anything. Glasgow is great but if you only have 8 or 10 days - probably not 'worth' it. Tell us more -- like is this your first time visiting in August . . . OR is it your first time ever in Scotland? That could make a difference.

Some initial random thoughts:

ē That three-fer of Edinburgh/Inverness/Skye is on just about on every first timer's wish list but might not be the best choice of destinations - especially in August. (I understand Edinburgh is set in stone because of the Tattoo). The problem with staying in Edinburgh is that the Fringe is ENORMOUS plus the other concurrent festivals AND the Tattoo with the many thousands of people clogging up the streets, restaurants, museums, public transport, and everything else. It is basically next to impossible to 'stroll' along the Royal Mile (think Mardi Gras in NO or any Super Bowl city - only not for just a day or two but over the entire month) . . . . Now, this is all assuming conditions are back to 'normal' next year.

ē I would not stay in Inverness myself, unless I had to because I was relying on trains. Culloden is a fascinating site but whether you head up that way depends more on how important the Jacobites/Battle of Culloden are to you. Loch Ness is really just a large loch and not a very pretty one. There are scores of lochs which are much more attractive.

ē And now - the bad news about Skye. It IS a glorious place. However it is a huge victim of its own popularity. The crowds and traffic in August will be a problem. Many roads are single track and the traffic in the scenic bits (which is just about the whole isle) can be bumper to bumper. If iy must be an island, there are other wonderful options (Mull, Islay, Arran, Lewis/Harris, etc) which have the scenery with at least a bit more manageable crowds.

ē Tell us what sorts of things interest you . . .


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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 02:52 AM
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Just following janisj in

August in Edinburgh is very very busy, if you must do this then book accom very early
I know I bang on about Orkney but given its historical sites (many older than the Pyramids), its many craft folk, some stunning vistas and far fewer religious nuts you might prefer to go east in August.
scottish midges https://www.smidgeup.com/midges/midge-season/ worth preparing
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 07:34 AM
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You're coming from a big city, so maybe the crowds in Edinburgh won't be as off-putting as they might be for others, but you'll still need to act strategically. Get your Tattoo tickets as soon as they come available, and book hotel space even before that (and be prepared for sticker shock.)

As usual, I agree with Janis on pretty much everything. If Culloden is a must-see, so be it, but if it was me I'd probably cut a day from Edinburgh, use the extra day to take the train up to Inverness (not a bad ride and reasonably quick) and pick up your car there, for a visit to Culloden in the afternoon. I'd then do a driving tour that could go in pretty much any direction - north to the wild and remote northern Highlands, or down the Great Glen past Loch Ness to Fort William then maybe a west-by-south spin around the western Highlands to Mull, then back to Edinburgh via Glen Coe and the Trossachs. Here are a couple of imaginary road trip maps - google the places on them.

1. Inverness/northern loop - https://goo.gl/maps/unBTgt4MiiHtYiVt5
2. Inverness to Edinburgh via Mull - https://goo.gl/maps/9cB7GryQabCdc7V59

The main thing to recognize is that there's going to be an enormous pent-up demand for touring next summer; the pandemic has limited mobility this summer so next year is going to be... well.. So advance planning and bookings are going to be essential. Patience and tolerance are also going to be required.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 08:21 AM
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I found the Falkirk Wheel interesting:


Last edited by Michael; Jul 18th, 2021 at 08:45 AM.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 10:38 AM
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Thank you for the quick response. I realize what I have listed is not a minute by minute intinerary...as I said I am in the EARLY stages of planning. That being said, I appreciate your detailed thoughts about Edinburgh in August.

As for Inverness, it itself is not a must do. I teach history and military history and thus the interest in the Culloden site. Would you recommend a different city near Culloden to overnight?

As for Skye, again not necessarily a must do. My intent is to see that type of landscape and experience the smaller villages / towns away from cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc for a portion of the trip. Where would you recommend I focus my research on as opposed to Skye?

As for "what sorts of things interest me?"

1. History (castles, battlefields, museums, etc)
2. Landscape / natural areas (big fan of US National Parks)
3. Non-crowded areas (I realize Edinburgh will be CROWDED)


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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
You're coming from a big city, so maybe the crowds in Edinburgh won't be as off-putting as they might be for others, but you'll still need to act strategically. Get your Tattoo tickets as soon as they come available, and book hotel space even before that (and be prepared for sticker shock.)

As usual, I agree with Janis on pretty much everything. If Culloden is a must-see, so be it, but if it was me I'd probably cut a day from Edinburgh, use the extra day to take the train up to Inverness (not a bad ride and reasonably quick) and pick up your car there, for a visit to Culloden in the afternoon. I'd then do a driving tour that could go in pretty much any direction - north to the wild and remote northern Highlands, or down the Great Glen past Loch Ness to Fort William then maybe a west-by-south spin around the western Highlands to Mull, then back to Edinburgh via Glen Coe and the Trossachs. Here are a couple of imaginary road trip maps - google the places on them.

1. Inverness/northern loop - https://goo.gl/maps/unBTgt4MiiHtYiVt5
2. Inverness to Edinburgh via Mull - https://goo.gl/maps/9cB7GryQabCdc7V59

The main thing to recognize is that there's going to be an enormous pent-up demand for touring next summer; the pandemic has limited mobility this summer so next year is going to be... well.. So advance planning and bookings are going to be essential. Patience and tolerance are also going to be required.
Gardyloo,

Thank you for the links and suggestions. I will check those out!
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 11:23 AM
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OK -- we really weren't lecturing -- honest

A few more random comments:

"Would you recommend a different city near Culloden to overnight? "

I really wouldn't think of 'cities' at all. You'll have a car so you can stay absolutely anywhere (plus there aren't all that many 'cities' in Scotland) - you can stay in any village or farm B&B or country pub/hotel and not set foot in a city (other than Edinburgh of course)

1. History (castles, battlefields, museums, etc).

No worries there - There are hundreds of castles in every corner of the country. And the Scots fought - a lot - so there are also battlefields, but Culloden is probably the best interpreted site.


2. Landscape / natural areas (big fan of US National Parks)

Scotland is almost embarrassingly scenic. You can't miss gorgeous scenery (another reason to avoid city stays)

I still don't have a handle on how many days you are planning. Travel is slow in the rural bits and length of trip is probably the first thing your need to decide

If you were to focus on north/northeast/east coast triangle, you could visit places like Culloden, Clava Cairns, Fort George (a fascinating site . . . and huge, the entirety of Edinburgh Castle would fit within its parade ground), Dunnottar Castle, Deeside / Castle Trail properties.

Or if you lean towards the west side of the country - there are Stirling Castle, Bannockburn, Inchmahome, Falls of Dochart, Glen Affric, Glencoe, Argyll/Kilmartin Glen, Mull/Iona

Either of the above provide battlefields, too many castles to count, scenery in spades, and history all the way back to neolithic times. Either grouped with Edinburgh would make for a wonderful and very full two week trip.

I won't try to post links to each of the above sites but google them and also check their pages on undiscovered Scotland https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk


Last edited by janisj; Jul 18th, 2021 at 11:25 AM.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
OK -- we really weren't lecturing -- honest

A few more random comments:

"Would you recommend a different city near Culloden to overnight? "

I really wouldn't think of 'cities' at all. You'll have a car so you can stay absolutely anywhere (plus there aren't all that many 'cities' in Scotland) - you can stay in any village or farm B&B or country pub/hotel and not set foot in a city (other than Edinburgh of course)

1. History (castles, battlefields, museums, etc).

No worries there - There are hundreds of castles in every corner of the country. And the Scots fought - a lot - so there are also battlefields, but Culloden is probably the best interpreted site.


2. Landscape / natural areas (big fan of US National Parks)

Scotland is almost embarrassingly scenic. You can't miss gorgeous scenery (another reason to avoid city stays)

I still don't have a handle on how many days you are planning. Travel is slow in the rural bits and length of trip is probably the first thing your need to decide

If you were to focus on north/northeast/east coast triangle, you could visit places like Culloden, Clava Cairns, Fort George (a fascinating site . . . and huge, the entirety of Edinburgh Castle would fit within its parade ground), Dunnottar Castle, Deeside / Castle Trail properties.

Or if you lean towards the west side of the country - there are Stirling Castle, Bannockburn, Inchmahome, Falls of Dochart, Glen Affric, Glencoe, Argyll/Kilmartin Glen, Mull/Iona

Either of the above provide battlefields, too many castles to count, scenery in spades, and history all the way back to neolithic times. Either grouped with Edinburgh would make for a wonderful and very full two week trip.

I won't try to post links to each of the above sites but google them and also check their pages on undiscovered Scotland https://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk
Janisj,

Thank you very much for the continued assistance and suggestions. I am going to research the sites you mentioned.

As for how many days we plan on being "on the ground" in Scotland, that is flexible as of now. We are thinking between 10 and 14 days exclusive of transatlantic travel days.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 04:29 PM
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"We are thinking between 10 and 14 days exclusive of transatlantic travel days."

With close to two weeks here are two possible routes incorporating your wish list-type properties. (I'm not as proficient saving/linking google maps -- Gardyloo did teach me how once but I'm out of practice) so I won't include maps. may try playing with them tonight . . .

Option 1 Edinburgh/West coast/Island: 3 nights in Edinburgh (you won't really get a feel for 'normal' Edinburgh but it is what it is. And the Tattoo is a bucket list type of event for sure). Then take a taxi or the tram out to EDI and collect your rental car there (trust me - driving in central Edinburgh is not fun). Head west and first visit Stirling Castle - some even prefer it to Edinburgh Castle. Also very nearby are the wonderful/small Doune Castle (even without the Monty Python/Coconuts connections) and the sublime Inchmahome Priory. Stay 2 nights in the general Callander/Aberfoyle/Lake of Menteith area. Then head NW up to Glencoe. En Route take the short detours to 1) Balquhidder (burial site of Rob Roy MacGreggor/his wife), 2) Killin/Falls of Dochart. Stay the night in either Glencoe or Ballachulish. The drive down Loch Linhe seeing Castle Stalker and then to Oban and take the ferry over to Mull. Stay a minimum of 2 nights on Mull (3 nights would be better because there is a lot to see). See Duart Castle, Tobermory, Calgary Bay, foot ferry to Iona/Abbey, boat trip to Staffa/Fingall's Cave and tons more. Leav the island and head south of Oban into the Kilmartin area with all the neolithic sites/Stay 1 or 2 nights. Then northeast along Loch Fyne. See Inveraray Castle. You could stay a night here. Then east to Loch Lomond/Luss. Stay one night and then drive to either GLA or EDI for your flight home. That comes to about 13 nights on the ground.

Option 2 Edinburgh/Inverness area/Speyside/Castle Trail/East coast: Edinburgh same - 3 nights, You could then either drive up the A9 to see places like Scone Palace, Killikrankie and Blair Atholl / Castle . . . OR . . . take the train to Inverness and collect a car there. Me personally I'd drive it and take 2 days/one night to get up north.. Stay 3 nights in the general triangle of Inverness/Nairn/Grantown-on-Spey. See Culloden/Clava Cairns, Ft George/the Moray Firth dolphins, Speyside distilleres, Cawdor Castle, etc, Then head towards Huntly and down to Ballater - stay 2 nights (at least) somewhere on Deeside for castles and rivers. Then drive down to Crathes Casle/Gardens, Stonehaven/Dunnottar and on to Glamis - Stay a night somewhere along this route. Then to Fife for St Andrews/Falkland Palace/the fishing villages - at least one night, Two if you want to visit the Isle of May. Back to EDI for flight home. This is about 12 or 13 nights depending on how many nights in Fife.


Note: IF it fits in your budget you might look at the pricey but truly wonderful special dinner/Tattoo combined packages. I''l search to see if I can fid a link
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 04:32 PM
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Please ignore all the typos -- I think its clear enough
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 07:24 PM
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My sister and I spent four nights in Edinburgh in August 2015 to take in the Tatoo and I agree wholeheartedly with janjisj when she says itís not the Ďnormalí Edinburgh. Iíve been there two other times and itís totally different outside of August. But the Fringe festival and Tatoo are something very special and itís not to be missed if you can snag tickets and a trip at that time.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I found the Falkirk Wheel interesting:

https://flic.kr/p/7HCpTP
I saw this recently on Secret Scotland -3 seasons with Scottish comedian Susan Calaman . It's brilliant light hearted look at her home with so many interetsing stoires.
Its on .SBS in Autralai -no idea anywhre else.
Not to be missed for Scotland lovers.
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Old Jul 18th, 2021, 08:13 PM
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I've attended the Tattoo several times over three decades - the last two times in 2015 and 2017 I booked different versions of the special packages. In '15 the posh one with dinner up in the castle and in '17 with a friend the slightly cheaper dinner in the Whisky Center at the top of the Royal mile.

Here is my trip report for the '15 trip but it is very long and most wouldn't apply to your visit so I copied/pasted the relevant entry:

Aug 26.
Tonight is the Tattoo and I'm not pre-planning anything else for the day. Just wander around Old Town, have an early lunch, shopping at Ragamuffin, and maybe catch a free fringe show or two. I managed all of the above -- Lunch at the Whisky Centre, a beautiful jacket and long cardi at Ragamuffin, and sat in about 30 mins at one (really funny) comedy show and and maybe 30 mins at a 'performance art' installation - the 'art' part is used loosely Plus watch just tons of street performers.

Then the Tattoo -- I've been a couple of times before but it has been years and this time it was a 'bucket list' version. I got a special package through the Tattoo office that included a small/posh dinner up in the top of the castle next to St Margaret's Chapel, followed by entertainment, escort from the castle and up into the Royal Box. There were 35 at dinner -- about 1/3 Americans, most of the rest Scottish or from Northern England, 2 from Singapore and 3 from New Zealand. Lovely food, great wines and a bagpiper. Then a fellow in a cutaway coat, top hat and carrying a silver rod on his shoulder walked us down out of the castle and across the esplanade to the far end and up to our seats. The grandstands were filling up so several of us practiced out 'Royal Waves' up to the 'plebs' while walking the length of the Espanade

The Tattoo was wonderful of course . . . And now it is actually comfortable since they installed seats from the London Olympic stadium -- now there are backs, armrests and padding !!!! A HUGE improvement.


Link to the full TR: 4 special meals, 2 GTGs, Benedict Cumberbatch and a Tattoo
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 05:09 AM
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https://www.premierinn.com/gb/en/hot...id=GLBC_EDIPRI Try booking asap Premier Inns are not super fancy but clean, have a good place for breakfast and this is a super location.
You can take the public bus to Roswell Chapel, 35 minute ride and just an amazing half-day trip.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 06:52 AM
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"You can take the public bus to Roswell Chapel, 35 minute ride and just an amazing half-day trip."

That would be Rosslyn Chapel (confusingly located in the village of Roslin)

It is a wonderful chapel but two likely issues. If you have limited time in Edinburgh its hard to devote a half day to bus rides and chapel tour. But the biggest problem - since Dan Brown made it famous it can be very crowded with several large commercial coach tours arriving several times a day - and this could be multiplied 10 fold in August. It is lovely and atmospheric with 6 or 7 people quietly studying the 'Prentice Pillar, but with 3 coach loads / 80 people noisily tromping around - not so much.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
"We are thinking between 10 and 14 days exclusive of transatlantic travel days."

With close to two weeks here are two possible routes incorporating your wish list-type properties. (I'm not as proficient saving/linking google maps -- Gardyloo did teach me how once but I'm out of practice) so I won't include maps. may try playing with them tonight . . .

Option 1 Edinburgh/West coast/Island: 3 nights in Edinburgh (you won't really get a feel for 'normal' Edinburgh but it is what it is. And the Tattoo is a bucket list type of event for sure). Then take a taxi or the tram out to EDI and collect your rental car there (trust me - driving in central Edinburgh is not fun). Head west and first visit Stirling Castle - some even prefer it to Edinburgh Castle. Also very nearby are the wonderful/small Doune Castle (even without the Monty Python/Coconuts connections) and the sublime Inchmahome Priory. Stay 2 nights in the general Callander/Aberfoyle/Lake of Menteith area. Then head NW up to Glencoe. En Route take the short detours to 1) Balquhidder (burial site of Rob Roy MacGreggor/his wife), 2) Killin/Falls of Dochart. Stay the night in either Glencoe or Ballachulish. The drive down Loch Linhe seeing Castle Stalker and then to Oban and take the ferry over to Mull. Stay a minimum of 2 nights on Mull (3 nights would be better because there is a lot to see). See Duart Castle, Tobermory, Calgary Bay, foot ferry to Iona/Abbey, boat trip to Staffa/Fingall's Cave and tons more. Leav the island and head south of Oban into the Kilmartin area with all the neolithic sites/Stay 1 or 2 nights. Then northeast along Loch Fyne. See Inveraray Castle. You could stay a night here. Then east to Loch Lomond/Luss. Stay one night and then drive to either GLA or EDI for your flight home. That comes to about 13 nights on the ground.

Option 2 Edinburgh/Inverness area/Speyside/Castle Trail/East coast: Edinburgh same - 3 nights, You could then either drive up the A9 to see places like Scone Palace, Killikrankie and Blair Atholl / Castle . . . OR . . . take the train to Inverness and collect a car there. Me personally I'd drive it and take 2 days/one night to get up north.. Stay 3 nights in the general triangle of Inverness/Nairn/Grantown-on-Spey. See Culloden/Clava Cairns, Ft George/the Moray Firth dolphins, Speyside distilleres, Cawdor Castle, etc, Then head towards Huntly and down to Ballater - stay 2 nights (at least) somewhere on Deeside for castles and rivers. Then drive down to Crathes Casle/Gardens, Stonehaven/Dunnottar and on to Glamis - Stay a night somewhere along this route. Then to Fife for St Andrews/Falkland Palace/the fishing villages - at least one night, Two if you want to visit the Isle of May. Back to EDI for flight home. This is about 12 or 13 nights depending on how many nights in Fife.


Note: IF it fits in your budget you might look at the pricey but truly wonderful special dinner/Tattoo combined packages. I''l search to see if I can fid a link
Janisj

Thank you so much for the 2 potential routes. I am focusing on the western one going to Mull. Now I just need to wait until airfares, hotels, and the Tattoo sites start allowing reservations for next August.

I'm sure more questions will pop up as I do more in-depth research but you set me off in a good direction. Thank you!!
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 01:31 PM
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Hey, just read my post and Roswell is one of my Grands. Funny. I was on my first cup of coffee. I love Rosslyn Chapel if you need to escape the city for a bit. Great cafe, museum and on our day a historian spoke to us in the chapel. Amazing history and the village was sweet. It was not that busy and loved the grounds.
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