Scotland in June

Feb 19th, 2010, 06:59 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
Scotland in June

Hi, all. I know this is a pretty frequent topic but I would really appreciate some feedback on our proposed itinerary. We will be renting a car and we really enjoy driving trips through beautiful scenery - love mountains and sea and on the wild side. We also really enjoy "great houses" and gardens. Last, but not least, we love food and are willing to go out of our way for a great meal.

Day 1 - Drive from Edinburgh to Inverness, stopping at the Highland Folk Museum on on the way. Overnight Inverness.

Day 2 - Day trip around Loch Ness. Overnight Inverness.

Day 3 - Drive to Portree, stopping at Eilean Donan. Overnight Portree.

Day 4 - Drive around Skye, museum of island life, Donvegan Castle. Overnight Portree.

Day 5 - Drive to Maillag via ferry. Overnight in Maillag?

Day 6 - Drive to Oban through Glenfinnan and Glencoe. Overnight Oban.

Day 7 - Day trip to Iona? Overnight Oban.

Day 8 - Drive to Edinburgh, stopping at Stirling. Overnight in Edinburgh.

Day 9 - Day in Edinburgh - Edinburgh Castle and Georgian House Museum. Overnight in Edinburgh.

Day 10 - Flight home.

I'm pretty sure about Inverness and Skye, not so sure about the rest, although we do want to end up in Edinburgh. Is it a mistake to miss the Wester Ross area or can we drive through on the way to Portree? Any must see sights or must eat restaurants on the way?

I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 07:15 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,440
Are you planning to spend most of Day 5 on Skye? You certainly could (and as a huge Skye fan I would say "should"). But if you're just going to get up and go, it's not a very long trip to Mallaig - maybe 45 minutes from Portree and then a short ferry ride - so I am not sure what the appeal of staying in Mallaig would be. You could give yourself a second day in Edinburgh or anywhere else along the route. (If you haven't already, search this forum for "Oban" for many suggestions from the Scotland experts on what to do near there.)
Barbara_in_FL is offline  
Feb 19th, 2010, 08:12 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,338
Your itinerary is totally doable. Doesn't get much off the beaten path but none of the days are terribly long.

A few comments/concerns:

"I'm pretty sure about Inverness and Skye"

Why Inverness? It really isn't very pleasant. It's mainly a busy commercial center for northern Scotland. Now, if you meant staying in the general Inverness area -- like w/i maybe 10-15 miles, then OK. But Inverness itself might be a disappointment.

"Day 5 - Drive to Maillag via ferry. Overnight in Maillag?"

Absolutely no reason whatsoever to stay in/near Mallaig. There is no there there. It is mainly the rail and ferry terminus. You could very easily leave Skye, drive through Glenfinnan and Glencoe and get to Oban the same day. (OR you could stay in Glencoe.)

"Day 7 - Day trip to Iona? Overnight Oban."

You could stay night 5 in Oban and then take the car on the ferry to Mull for either one or two nights. Mull is great and being on Mull/Iona after the day tripper coach tours leave is special. If you stay in Fionnphort -- the sunsets ove Iona are to die for.

Another (better IMO) option would be to skip Oban. You could drive from Mallaig to Kilchoan or Lochaline, take one of the ferries to Mull and stay nights 5 and 6 on Mull. Then leave Mull, drive through Glencoe and spend night 7 somewhere in the Trossachs (like Callander or nearby). Visit Stirling first thing the next morning then on to Edinburgh.
janisj is online now  
Feb 19th, 2010, 08:17 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
Thanks, Barbara. Since we had part of Day 3 and all of Day 4 on Skye, I wasn't planning on spending most of Day 5 there as well. I'm certainly not wedded to staying in Maillag, it was just a convenient point between there and Oban. And the next logical stopping point, Fort Williams, seemed to be regarded pretty negatively as a place to stay. Sounds like pushing through to Oban might be a better option.
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 08:03 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,108
I was thinking along the same lines as Janisj when it comes to sending a night or two on Mull. It is absolutely gorgeous!
I spent several nights there with my nephews and we loved it. We did a daytrip to Staffa and Iona--the weather was perfect and we got to see puffins up close on Staffa, which was a highlight for the boys and I thought it was pretty special too. We visited the two castles there as well. We had a box of groceries in the car and just picnicked as we explored. There are lots of places to just pull over and enjoy the scenery and let the boys run off some steam.

I was not impressed with Inverness either. Nearby I loved Cawdor Castle. I enjoyed its gardens, not fancy but lots of lupine and roses as well as other flowers.

On the day we drove around Loch Ness (we spent five nights in Fort Augustus) we visited the Highland Wildlife Park not far from Kinggussie (sp?). They are working on breeding some species for reintroduction into the wild. There is a part you can drive through to view bison and other grazing animals. There is a walk over the wolf compound to view them in their large enclosure (several acres). We walked on our own and then joined a ranger who was guiding walks through the area and explaining about their program and describing characteristics of various animals. He was humorous and informative.

You'll pass Urquart Castle as you drive around LochNess. It is in a scenic setting and worth a quick stop.

At fort Augustus one morning we watched the locks operating to let boats through the canal.

We really enjoyed Eilean Donan. I was really intrigued with the kitchen set up as it would have been in the late 1800s. Seeing the goods they would have used and the cooking methods is of great interest to me.

We had not planned to stay so long in this area but our host at the B&B told us that some highland games were to be held in town (I think it was the second week of July) so we stayed for that event, but found plenty to keep us busy in the other days. The games were great fun and informative too. We saw sheep and cattle exhibited, highland dancing, learned about the origin of the plaids (not like the stories we have heard here), the tossing of the cabor, and other gymnatic events. There were even events for kids and even as outsiders, the nephews were allowed to participate.

Sorry to get off the track with my own memories, just wanted to share all that there is to do on your trip. I'm sure it will be fun and memorable for you as well. Have a great trip!
irishface is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 10:03 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
Thank you for the responses.

I chose Inverness for the first two nights because I assumed it would be easy to find restaurants in walking distance and the pictures of the Castle and Cathedral along the river were very attractive. Where would you suggest?

Janis, if you think the drive from Skye to Oban is a reasonable amount in one day, I would prefer to stay there. I like the idea of taking the extra night and spending in on Mull. One question, with the various ferries (to Maillag, to Mull and back) should I make reservations in advance?

irishface, I love the trip report - it really helps to have that personal view point. Cawdor Castle sounds great; I am hoping that on a June trip everything will be in bloom. Do you recommend Fort Augustus over Inverness as a place to stay? I assume you liked it since you spent five days there.
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 12:59 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
As to ferries, if you MUST be on one, or if it's the last of the day, book it, otherwise just turn up. Worst case scenario is you'll be on the next one.

Inverness is nae bonnie. Try Carrbridge, or Grantown or Nairn.

Fort Augustus is in a lovely spot (mind you, so is Inverness), but there's not a lot there but scenery.
sheila is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 02:35 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,619
Hi kfoster, is your Day 1 with driving from Edinburgh to Inverness also the day you fly in? And overnight?

This is Not voice of experience, only what I've read here on Fodors, but that is a lot of driving for a first day, I think. Experts can give better advice if you say whether or not you're driving after an overnight flight.

Lots (or quite a few, anyway!) trip reports from Scotland for you to browse while planning. Have fun!
scotlib is offline  
Feb 20th, 2010, 02:46 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,338
scotlib is right for sure -- day one is not recommended, or even safe, if it is your arrival after a long haul flight. If so, stay at least one night car-less in Edinburgh before starting your driving tour.

The drive isn't bad if you are totally rested and acclimated. sheila's suggestions for better options than Inverness are very good. You could also check out Beauly or Fortrose.
janisj is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:29 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
Thanks everyone!

Janis, I am leaning toward revising the iteinerary per your suggestion with a night on Mull and a night in the Tossachs. Do you have any particular hotel recommendations in either area?It doesn't have to be fancy but we prefer a view and good food on-site or in walking distance.
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:33 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
One more question. On Day 3 (Inverness area to Portree) it looks as if it is quite possible, if longer, to go out to Inverewe Gardens, then down to Eilean Donnan and on to Portree. Is this reasonable or is it too long? Is Inverewe worth the detour? Thanks!
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 05:49 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,338
Driving via Inverewe is totally doable - it will be a long day but not too bad. If you are into gardens, I'd definitely think it is worth the detour. The gardens are large and I'd plan on at least 90 minutes there - longer if the weather is nice. And you'll get other terrific scenery along the way.

In June sunrise will be approx 4 AM and sunset around 10:30 PM so you'll get to Portree long before dark. But you can decide that day - if it is pouring down rain, you could give it a miss and go straight to Skye. If it is nice -- or even just showery -- go via Inverewe.

Re where to stay - what is your budget?
janisj is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 10:07 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
80 to 120 pounds would be ideal but I am willing to go a bit higher (up to about 175 pounds) for a really special experience. And of course, we can always go lower.
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 10:17 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,338
This place on Mull -- less than your budget . . . But they do book up so you'd want to get on it soon.

http://www.seaview-mull.co.uk/

and here in the Trossachs

http://www.lake-hotel.com/ - over your budget but it would average out

Both have wonderful views/food, and Seaview is a few yards from the ferry to Iona.
janisj is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 01:36 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
Thanks, Janis, those both look very nice.

I really appreciate your responses so I hope I am not asking too many questions - which of course means that I have more.

Do you have any suggestions about places to stop between Fionnphort and the Lake of Monteith? I see that the Lake Hotel has a list of attractions in the nearby area but I was looking to break up the trip a little earlier. Alternately if you can recommend a good site that shows tourist attractions on a map, I am happy to try and look it up myself.

Also, thank you for your earlier response re the detour to Inverewe. I calculated about 2 hours from the Inverness area to there, 2 hours to Eilean Donan, and then another hour to Portree. Does that sound about right?
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 01:53 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,338
You're welcome. It is just that I LOVE traveling in Scotland so much and like to help folks find their way around. (Some say I just like to tell people where to go )

"I calculated about 2 hours from the Inverness area to there, 2 hours to Eilean Donan, and then another hour to Portree. Does that sound about right?"

I'd add a bit to those drive times. Locals could do it that quickly, but they are remote, rural, winding roads w/ LOTS of photo ops, sheep or cattle in the road, etc. I'd count on about 6-6.5 hours drive time plus stops.

If you want to break the journey between Mull and Lake of Menteith - I'd probably go one of two ways.

• If you hadn't seen Glencoe earlier, take the northern route and stop over in Glencoe or farther on in the Crianlarich/Killin area.

• If you'd already been through Glencoe, I'd go south through Lochgilphead and then north to Inveraray and stay the night there.

You really don't have to break the journey just for time reasons - but slower is always better than faster if possible IMO So stoppong over in Glencoe, Killin or Invereray would be a great idea.
janisj is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 03:40 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
Well, I certainly appreciate the help!

Sorry, I wasn't very clear in my last request. We are definitely driving the whole distance that day; I was just looking for a place to stop for an hour or so - castle, garden, short (and easy) scenic walk, that sort of thing - once or twice along the way.
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:19 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,338
Oh - I misunderstood. In that case, just stop at Dunstaffnage and Kilchurn Castles - they will be on your direct route from Oban (the ferry terminal) to Callander.

Dunstaffnage is really interesting and Kilchurn in a wonderful setting.
janisj is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:29 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 58
Perfect - thank you!
kfoster2047 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:33 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,338
Here are links to info about both of them

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...age/index.html

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...tle/index.html
janisj is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:02 AM.