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Scotland Itinerary has my head spinning -Help!

Scotland Itinerary has my head spinning -Help!

Feb 28th, 2019, 09:27 AM
  #1  
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Scotland Itinerary has my head spinning -Help!

Background - 18 people renting a house in Stirling August 17-23, 2018. Friend & I going 6 days before, 60 year old women. Have family in Glasgow and Edinburgh and have been often for visits. Looking to actually do some sightseeing this trip, specifically the Highlands.

12 hour day bus tours do not appeal.

After reading all the posts from experts like Janisj, I've come to the conclusion my original plan is probably not ideal. Unfortunately my Scottish relatives are not much help as they are "always heading to the sun".

My plan as it stands -

Arrive GLA from Toronto, Monday Aug 12, 9:00 a.m. (flight booked)
12:00 Train to Inverness arriving approx 4:00 p.m.
2 nights Inverness - really just 1 day. Plan to do tour of Culloden, Clava Cairns, Loch Ness
Pick up car, drive to Portree Skye
3 nights Skye
Depart Portree Saturday, Aug 17 drive to Stirling, drop off car. This is what I'm already dreading. Having read posts saying a) add at least 25% to driving estimates b) if weather doesn't cooperate could end up not "seeing" anything, as only really there for 2 full days.

I've considered not renting a car, and taking bus from Inverness to Portree 3.5 hrs then return to Inverness via bus then train to Stirling on 17th so travel on that day would be about 6.5 hours not including potential layover between bus & train.

Driving Portree to Stirling would take 4.5 hrs according to maps, so thinking might be more like 6 hours. Either way, its a full day of travel, which isn't appealing.

Janisj asked a good question on another post "Why Skye?". So that got me thinking. Don't really have a compelling reason, other than it's beautiful.

So now I'm basically back to square one trying to figure out where to go that doesn't include that 6 hour travel day.

Plans while in Striling include - Edinburgh Tattoo, Stirling Castle, Doune Castle.

Not big hikers but looking for some beautiful rugged scenery. Enjoy Pub Scene.

Is there somewhere I'm missing that would check all the boxes? I've looked at Glencoe/Trossachs/Ft. William but can't quite see how to do it without a car. I don't want to have to drive everyday..

Any ideas to help me get myself sorted would be most welcome. Perhaps my original plan isn't as bad as it seems at the moment?

Thanks!
Jane





jewing is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 09:50 AM
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A couple of (somewhat related) ideas.

1. Start with a 3-day Rabbies tour from Glasgow to Mull and Iona. https://www.rabbies.com/en/scotland-...ona-3-day-tour . If you don't want to drive (and it might not be the best idea after an overnight flight) this could be an excellent way of getting out into the Highlands badda bing, and there are fewer parts of the west of Scotland that will deliver the goods quite so completely. The tour would leave Glasgow the morning of the 13th (you'd be too late arriving to join on the 12th) so maybe just spend the first afternoon bouncing around Glasgow - see the University or the cathedral, visit Kelvingrove Park or the People's Palace... lots of options. Then when you're back from the Rabbies tour, relocate to Stirling and do your day trip agenda from there. If you needed to, you could rent a car locally and use it for various nearby destinations, or just rely on the train and cabs (if necessary) to get to places of interest.

2. Head from the airport on the 12th to Queen Street station in central Glasgow and take the 12:24 PM train to Oban. This is an exceptionally scenic ride, and quite inexpensive. From Oban there are several day tours available, covering Mull, Iona and Staffa (in various combinations) and also a couple of local car rental companies, in case you wanted to explore the area on your own (it's incredibly rewarding.) Spend a couple of days running around Argyll and Mull, then take the train back to Glasgow and over to Stirling, repeat as above.
Gardyloo is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 12:53 PM
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Thanks Gardyloo! Researching Oban/Mull etc now.
jewing is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 03:46 PM
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A noon train is possible - but everything will have to fall in to place with no snags if you don't land until 9AM. The bus takes 30 mins and if there is any delay at immigration or with the luggage (or if the flight is delayed)

I agree Mull/Iona/Oban would be great. Rabbies only does small groups so it isn't like a typical coach tour.

While you are staying in Stirling, be sure to visit Inchmahome priory. Pick a nice day and take a picnic lunch to eat out on the island. Or have a pub lunch in the Hotel overlooking the Lake/Island. You can easily do this the same day you visit Doune.
janisj is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
A noon train is possible - but everything will have to fall in to place with no snags if you don't land until 9AM. The bus takes 30 mins and if there is any delay at immigration or with the luggage (or if the flight is delayed).
The next train is at 4:30 PM, arriving around 7:30.
Gardyloo is offline  
Mar 1st, 2019, 08:19 AM
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Janis, thanks for the suggestion of Inchmahome Priory.
jewing is offline  
Mar 1st, 2019, 08:22 AM
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Gardyloo, do you recommend making Oban base for 5 nights or is there somewhere else I should look at staying for a couple of nights?

I'm leaning towards renting a car for a couple of days as you suggested.
jewing is offline  
Mar 1st, 2019, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jewing View Post
Gardyloo, do you recommend making Oban base for 5 nights or is there somewhere else I should look at staying for a couple of nights?

I'm leaning towards renting a car for a couple of days as you suggested.
I guess I'm a bit confused. I thought you wanted to spend a couple of nights in Stirling before the rest of the people arrive. If you have a full 5 nights, then there are many more options; however if you go to Oban on the train and rent a vehicle there, you'll have to return it to Oban before moving on to Stirling or anywhere else. You could get a car at Glasgow when you arrive if you're up for it, and probably return it in Stirling (Enterprise have an office there.)

There's certainly plenty to see in the Argyll-Mull-Glen Coe area, so if you used the train and used Oban as an initial base, you could spend a couple of nights on Mull (it's a big island and going is slow) and then do a couple of day trips - for example a drive up to Glen Coe and Glen Etive via Kilchurn Castle - https://goo.gl/maps/Lx1LZf26VYN2 or down to Kilmartin and over to Inveraray - https://goo.gl/maps/LjpxDA8sE172 . This would keep you from having to pack up and move every day, and would still give you lots of terrific scenery and options.
Gardyloo is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2019, 07:27 AM
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Yes, have 5 full nights. Do not want to drive after overnight flight, so will take train on arrival to Oban.

I managed to book B&B in Oban - most were fully booked already.

I will check out Mull for a couple of nights to see if anything available. I can always change my Oban reservation, but wanted to lock something in.

Appreciate all the suggestions! Thanks
jewing is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2019, 07:58 AM
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Sounds great. Keep us posted.
Gardyloo is offline  
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