Scotland Itinerary - Am I crazy?

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Jun 21st, 2006, 09:15 PM
  #41
 
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What will your route be on Saturday from Foyers to Glasgow? I love the drive on the A82 through Glen Coe and then across Rannoch Moor. Continuiing on, the drive down into Clifton is one of my favorite stretches in Scotland. It is slightly longer (not very much) than the drive on the A828 and A85. That drive is very pretty also, but if you are going to give any justice to Glen Coe, the visitor's center is not enough. You really must drive up to the pass. Even if you turn around and go back down, it is such an evocative and beautiful drive, and so meaningful when you put it all together with the history.
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Jun 21st, 2006, 10:44 PM
  #42
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I'm not sure which road you mean. The website is telling me that I leave Glencoe on A82 and go about 15 miles. It says that I do reach the "Summit of Rannoch Moor" right before I turn onto A85 (going to Inveraray Castle on the way back to Glasgow). Is this section between Glencoe and A85 the section of road you are speaking of?
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Jun 21st, 2006, 11:09 PM
  #43
 
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Inverary is not on the A85. It is on the A83. Now you can get there from the A85 by driving qbout 18 miles down the A819.

And when it says about 15 miles from Glencoe to the A85 - that is from the top of the Glen, not from the Visitors Center. That's another 10 or 11 miles.
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Jun 21st, 2006, 11:17 PM
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Having read this thread, and the trip report (which I agree should have been a separate post), and having made 4 trips overseas ourselves in the last 8 years, I have to mention to the OP that they need to build into their schedule the possibility of getting lost. Yes, it happens, despite the best of planning and the best of maps. Sometimes it makes a fun part of telling your story later, but you can't expect to just up and drive to every destination smoothly. BTW, we enjoyed Urqhart--including the piper who was playing on the ramparts.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 05:56 AM
  #45
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Yes, I see that it is 15 mi on the A82 to summit then another 15 or so to the A85 then turning onto A819. Hopefully the getting lost will be minimal as we have asked for that GPS tracking device in our rental car. Speaking of the rental cars, and cars in general in Scotland, do ALL cars have right-drive steering wheels or do some have left? What kind do they rent to us tourists? We are renting from Hertz.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 06:00 AM
  #46
 
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Right, janisj. Regardless of which route he takes, the A819/A83 is the final part on the way to Inverary. Since that was common to both routes, I didn't mention it. I assume dbaker was thinking similarly.

dbaker, yes, the The A82 to A85 is the stretch of road that I think is so beautiful. There is a lot of scenic variety in a fairly short drive - and all very beautiful.

The reason I asked is that you have to make a circle from Glen Coe to where you pick up the A819. You can go clockwise, which is the A82/A85 way. The counterclockwise route is the A828/A85 way, and takes you past Dunstaffnage. I didn't know whether you were still planning to take that route and just not stop at Dunstaffnage.

BTW, did you see the recent thread about maps to use in Scotland? http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34820830
I'd definitely get an atlas.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 06:20 AM
  #47
 
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Didn't see you last because I was posting mine. All the cars I've rented have had steering wheel on the right. I think it helps the driver remember that things are 'different'. Also, other drivers are used to looking for a driver on the right seat of a car.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 06:32 AM
  #48
 
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Noe847: No I wasn't commenting about your post - the OP made it sound like she thought Inveraray is on the A85. Your post was about what I would have also receommended.

dbaker: Really, don't count t too much on GPS in remote parts of Scotland. It will help a bit, of course.

You are driving through some amazing country and will love Scotland. But I do think you are seriously under-estimating the travel times, "getting lost" factor (it happens to everyone including some who have visited many times), and just serendipity. Northern Scotland really isn't a rush from point to point sort of place.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 11:08 AM
  #49
 
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dbaker, your post made me smile. ;-)I had a similarly ambitious itinerary for our first visit to Scotland in September. My post was a lot like yours (but less detailed). I knew I needed help to make a better plan, and got great feedback from Fodorites, especially janis and sheila.

We also want to visit the far north-west, specifically Cape Wrath. There is no "quick or easy" way to get there, so we had to cut some other stops and focus on our main objective. (We want to explore Mackay clan roots there.)

We finally decided to take the overnight train from London to Inverness, and drive from there to Durness -- much easier that what we originally planned. Then we'll work our way back towards Edinburgh, down the west coast via Poolewe, Skye and Glencoe. We are really looking forward to it.

We grew up in the UK and visit regularly, so driving on the left is fortunately not an problem. By the way, you should expect your car to have steering wheel on the right. It really helps orient you to being on the "other" side (once you stop walking to the wrong side of the car to open the door!) You probably know that most rental cars are manual, so you will be changing gear with the other hand? Feels odd at first, but you quickly get used to it. You can rent automatics, but not as easily -- and they always cost more, too. The Undiscovered Scotland site has a section on driving single-track roads, very helpful. (One on midges, too.) I don't think anyone has mentioned weather yet -- your plans may need to allow for rain delays, because I'm pretty sure that single-track roads in the rain are even slower!

Lucky you going to see the Edinburgh Tattoo -- it will be over when we arrive, so will have to wait for another year for us.

Please post your trip report when you get back! Happy trails.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:47 PM
  #50
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We reserved an automatic car. With everything else to occupy myself while driving (the scenery, the single-track roads, and driving on the left) I wanted one less thing to worry about.

As far as the midges, yes, we heard about them. That is the only reason we chose to do B & Bs rather than purchasing a tent and camping in Scotland. Well, that and the possible rain.

There really are only two days of my trip that I am concerned about the driving times - the day from Stonehaven to the north-west coast - and the last day from Foyers back to Glasgow. But in both cases, getting in late in the evening (if it comes to that) is not a problem. Does it really stay light until after 10 pm in August? I would prefer not to drive in the dark. We already have accomodations booked in both locations - and neither are "b & bs" where a late arrival will disrupt the house. I have cut about 4 items from our original plan already and I hope that is enough, but we'll see when we get there.

To NOE847, Now I am glad we chose to go the A82 to A85 (rather than our original plan which took us through Oban I beleive)and I can't wait to see what you are talking about.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 01:23 PM
  #51
 
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It does stay light very late. Less so in August than June and July, but still....

People swear by Avon "Skin so Soft" as an anti midge thing. I find Autan is pretty good.
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 01:46 PM
  #52
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Will any insect repellent work (like mosquito spray that we use when camping/backpacking in Yosemite?) Should I bring it with me or can I just purchase it at a market in Edinburgh when we get there?
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Jun 22nd, 2006, 04:13 PM
  #53
 
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Now I'm worried that the drive won't live up to my hype!

The sunset times in Scotland are around 10:00 pm now (of course the longest day of the year falls this week). In August it will be a little after 9:00 in early August, moving close to 8:00 by the end of August. www.timeanddate.com

I find that insect repellant is the leakiest thing to travel with. If you can find a Skin So Soft type product with a screw top, I'd bring it. OTOH, you should be able to find something over there.
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Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:13 AM
  #54
 
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About the mosquito repellent: when we went to Nigeria, we had to find a good travel-friendly repellent because of malaria risk. On recommendation from our medical travel clinic, we bought Ultrathon -- lotion in a tube, so it's easy to carry, no spills, and easy to apply. 30% DEET, moisture resistant, and very effective. You can buy it online at http://www.travmed.com. Hmm, I see it repels leeches too, lol!

Buzz Off clothing is another layer of defense -- I think you can buy from places like LLBean and sporting outfitters.
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Jun 23rd, 2006, 11:22 AM
  #55
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I was reviewing the driving directions I got and noticed that the road designations seem to mean something. Am I right in that any road starting with "A" has at least one lane for each direction of traffic? And that the "B" roads are the single track roads? And what about the "M" roads? Do these mean anything? This will give me an idea of the road conditions/driving time for each leg of our trip if I am right.
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Jun 23rd, 2006, 12:33 PM
  #56
 
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M = motorway

A = a main road -- but that says nothing about how wide, how many lanes, or how fast it is. There are A roads that are divided and look practically like expressways/freeways back home. And there are A roads that are single track. And everything in between.

B = minor roads.
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Jun 23rd, 2006, 12:54 PM
  #57
 
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I think there are no single track A roads left. The road from Fort William to mallaig was the last and I THink it's now fully two way.

Most B roads are not single track. Some single track roads have no letter at all (unclassified)
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Jun 23rd, 2006, 01:11 PM
  #58
 
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Sheila: My latest atlas is this year's Philip's 3 m / 1 in and it still shows several single track A roads like the A837 out to Loch Assynt. (and others like the A 855 around Trotternish)

Are they all widened now?
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Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:43 PM
  #59
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I ordered a Michelin Scotland Regional map to supplement the aaroadwatch printouts I was getting. Is there a better map or atlas that you would recommend that would show the kind of road using different line colors or something? Or maybe another on-line site that makes that distinction that I could use?

By the way, I was very pleased to discover today that I can put in actual street addresses OR the actual name of the castle where we want to stop (or Clava Cairns or Fort George, etc.) rather than just putting in the name of the town it is in. I had no idea it would do this. This is giving me much more accurate directions so I am re-doing all my printouts.

Another question about "roundabouts". We have something that I think is similar in the town I grew up in, but I'm not sure if it is the same thing. Any websites you know of that have a picture of what one of these look like? My directions must show that I am going to hit at least 70 of them in my 1 week trip! I'm hoping they are similar.
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Jun 24th, 2006, 12:11 AM
  #60
 
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This one is pretty scarybr />
http://www.swindonweb.com/life/lifemagi0.htm

Sorry, I just put that up for badness.

This might help, but.

And Janis, you're right. It's Trunk Rpads that there're no more single tracks of.
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