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Scotland itinerary, helm me with15 night itinerary

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Nov 24th, 2015, 05:39 PM
  #1
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Scotland itinerary, helm me with15 night itinerary

So excited, I booked our flights to Scotland! We are two parents with two adult daughters, arriving Edinburgh May 10 and departing Edinburgh May 25, our 37th anniversary!

Now the fun/hard part begins, planning the route and booking accommodation. We are interested in beautiful scenery and history. What we can't do is single carriage roads at a height, ie that gorgeous looking Bealach NA BA. We attempted one or two in France in October, and it wasn't enjoyable for either my husband or me, we are well aware of our limits. Single carriage roads otherwise are fine, as is left side of the road driving.

We are planning on picking up the car at the airport and heading directly to Stirling or Callandar area for three nights, visiting the castle, Inchmahome priory, Trossachs.

Head west, one night either Obsn or Glencoe area, Fort William.

Stop at Glenfinnan and take the ferry to Skye, three nights in Portree. Celebrate my birthday at Three Chimneys.

Head towards Inverness, urquart castle on the way, Culloden battlefield, cawdor castle, Speyside distilleries, three nights.

Head south, possibly to Perth or thereabouts, Balmoral, Glamis, Scone, one night. If time permits try to get to East Neuk.

Drop car, Edinburgh four nights.

I'm eager for suggestions about this route. Too many nights in one spot, too few in another? How can I make it better?

Also, I've laid this out clockwise, would counter clockwise make more sense?

Any advice would be so appreciated! Thanks.
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Nov 24th, 2015, 06:32 PM
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OK you overall plan is fine. I generally advise not driving after an over night flight. But EDI to Stirling / Callander is pretty straightforward and as long as you have two driversdo just in case one isn't up to the drive you have a back up. Driving IN Stirling on arrival could be difficult - I'd definitely stay in Callander and just relax that first day.

Can't think of a better place anywhere to celebrate than the three chimneys.

Your biggest problem is the day between Inverness and Edinburgh. Deeside, Crathes castle, Dunnottar, Glamis, St. Andrews and the Easy Neuk fishing villages are all musts. You could not se a fraction in one enroute day. If it was me, I'd cut one night from either Inverness or Edinburgh. I'd then stay one night near Glamis and one night in Fife - Crail is my favorite but anyplace will do. Then drop the car at EDI and take the tram or a taxi into the city.

I tend to avoid one night stands but those two would let you see a lot on the eastern side of the country.
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Nov 24th, 2015, 06:51 PM
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Thanks, janisj. That's precicely what I was wondering about. I agree about the one nighters, but in this case, I don't think it can be avoided.

I think I'll cut one from Inverness area, as the drive from Portree shouldn't take more than three hours, and with a stop at Urquart, we should have time in the pm for either Culloden or Cawdor. Can you recommend a town to stay in?

Would Oban be a good place to stop enroute to the Skye ferry, or would you suggest somewhere else?

I'd like to stay in Fife, as my daughter has traced the family there from the early 1700's, who knows, maybe from Crail!
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Nov 24th, 2015, 07:03 PM
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I'd stay that night in Glencoe. Or . . . It really is possible and not too hard to drive all the way from Callander to Mallaig for an afternoon ferry. Maybe stay a night at that end of Skye, and then up to Portree for three nights. The isle is very large and the driving is slow so getting a foothold one night at the southern end will let you see bits you can't very easily from Portree.

As for where to stay near Inverness - your options are pretty much limitless. Anywhere from the Black Isle to Nairn and anyplace in between. Near Culloden is convenient/centrally located.

If you have family connections, you simply must stay in Fife at least one night.
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Nov 24th, 2015, 07:14 PM
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If we did that, would it give us enough time to visit the Glencoe visitor centre and possibly Glenfinnan?
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Nov 24th, 2015, 07:38 PM
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IME yes. The drive alone would take 3-3.5 hours. Say 40 mins or so detour for the Falls of Dochart, an hour at the glencoe visitors centre, a quick stop at neptune's staircase, and a stop at glenfinan and you are talking 6-ish hours total. Leaving around 9AM gives you plenty of time. But if you opt to do this, be sure to pre-book the last afternoon ferry. Mid May is not a busy time but if you must be on a certain sailing it is best to pre-book.

Either way works - stay in glencoe and take your time, or stay on Skye.
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Nov 24th, 2015, 11:46 PM
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Don't miss Clava Cairns when you visit Culloden. They are just a few minutes drive away and one of the most atmospheric spots in Scotland. They are also accessible any time and are best seen early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower.
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.u...s/clavacairns/

Cawdor wasn't one of my favourite Castles. I felt it was expensive for what was on show. Many of the rooms felt very lived in and weren't that impressive. (Photography isn't allowed inside.) Also Macbeth died in 1057 and was never Thane of Cawdor, as the castle dates from the C14th.The gardens were nice though.
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/statel...dor/index.html

I'm not clear if you are intending to visit Balmoral Castle, Glamis and Scone all in one day on your way from Inverness to Perth. If so, you won't have time. Inverness to Balmoral is going to take about two hours to drive. Add on time to visit the Castle and have smething to eat. It is then another 1.5 to 2 hours drive to Glamis. Visit the castle and then another hour to Scone.... Something needs to go....

Do try and get to St Andrews while you are in Edinburgh and the East Neuk fishing villages are delightful.

If you haven't already found it, the Undiscovere Scotland website is a mine of information. Follow the links from the map pages for lots of ideas of things to do and see.
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/
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Nov 25th, 2015, 07:06 AM
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Clava Cairns is already on our list, a must see!

You aren't the first person with that opinion of Cawdor. Personally, I'd be more than happy to use our time visiting elsewhere. I put it in because we are four adults travelling together, so there will be a bit of give and take. and if someone is dead keen to see it, it'll have to be on the list. But I will certainly use your opinion in my arguments against!

As per janisj' suggestion to stop around Glamis for one night, then somewhere in Fife for one night in one of the fishing villages, then EDI, it makes sense to me.

I haven't even looked into whether Balmoral will be open in May, I'm guessing it depends on whether Ma'am is in residence. Just having a look-see will be fun, maybe stopping at the church in Crathie.

If we're terribly unlucky with the weather at the start of our trip in Callander, how long would it take to get to Scone? (Sorry, I'd check myself, but if I go off this page I'll lose it all)

Thanks.
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Nov 25th, 2015, 07:26 AM
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ESW, I found your suggestion on another thread to drive through the Cairngorms, from Speyside to basically Balmoral. It looks amazing, and a route we'd like to do.

How long do you reckon it will take from somewhere around Inverness, not booked yet, to Bslmoral, keeping in mind we are slow drivers on twisty roads? (Yes, that annoying car up ahead, but we do pull over often wherever it's safe!)

Could we then make it down to Glamis or Perth area in the same day?
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Nov 25th, 2015, 08:56 AM
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It is an amazing drive. Inverness to Balmoral is about 70 miles (110km) and will take 2-3 hours to drive plus time for stops.

Balmoral Castle is open in May from 10am with last admissions at 4.30.

There's not much difference in either distance or driving times to Perth or Glamis. It's just under 60 miles (95km) and is going to take 2-2.5hours to drive, plus any stops you make. (The last bit is faster, once you've dropped down from the Cairngorms).

In May you have very long hours of daylight so you should be able to do the drive easily in a day.

Callandar to Scone is about 40 miles (65km) and will take just over an hour to drive. You do have to negotiate Perth and if it is very busy with a lot of traffic you may need to add on a bit more time to this figure.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 05:17 PM
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I had a read through IndyDad's TR, and am now having a rethink.

He went from Callander to Portree in one day, albeit a long one, especially since he just missed the afternoon ferry and had to wait 2 hours for the next one. He took liberal stops along the way, about 11 hours total.

I'm thinking we could easily make the 16:00 ferry, and make it to Portree by 18:00. It would also be a long day, but probably the only one of the trip. The driver is ok with one long slog.

If we did that, we would have an extra day:

3 nights Callander
3 nights Skye
2 nights Nairn
1 night Perth area to visit Glamis and Scone
1 night Crail
4 nights Edinburgh (my wonderful late Dad was born today in 1925 in the Haymarket)

I'm wondering where to put the extra night? I'm thinking maybe Crail? Poke along East Neuk, visit Falkland Wheel and Palace? Veg by the water for the day or the afternoon?

Any ideas?
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Nov 29th, 2015, 06:48 PM
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If it was me (and only me) - I wouldn't go via Perth. Scone is lovely but I'd head east into Aberdeenshire instead.

I'd go from Nairn > Tomintoul > Ballater > Stonehaven and stay the night in that area. Magnificent scenery, Balmoral, Crathes (AMAZING gardens and lovely house). Visit Dunnottar the next morning then Glamis in the early afternoon and on to Crail. Stay two nights in Crail and use as a base for St Andrews, the fishing villages, Falkland Palace/Gardens, the Isle of May, maybe Hill of Tarvit House.

If you want a special/splurge meal the Peat Inn.
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Nov 29th, 2015, 07:19 PM
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Thanks, janisj. I'll do some research into that.

I'd already bookmarked the Peat Inn! Three Chimneys or Peat Inn if I only do one?

I'm looking at the Honeypot in Crail. Do you know it?
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Nov 29th, 2015, 07:45 PM
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>>I'd already bookmarked the Peat Inn! Three Chimneys or Peat Inn if I only do one?<<

both

Three Chimneys is very special but if my feet were put to the fire and I had to choose I'd just slightly pick the Peat Inn.

I haven't stayed at the Honeypot so I don't know what the rooms are like. Have stayed in Crail 4 or 5 times but the guest house I've used has been converted to a single self catering property. But it is just down the road from the Honeypot maybe a 2 block farther walk from the harbor. It is right on the A917 so it is easy to get to/from w/o winding through the village (don't worry, it isn't a busy road)
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Nov 29th, 2015, 07:57 PM
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Meant to add re the Three Chimneys vs. Peat Inn.

The food IME (once at Three Chimneys 5 years ago, 4X at Peat Inn over many years - the last 2 years ago) is great at both but overall just a tad better/higher level at the Peat Inn. But the setting/view is better at the Three Chimneys.

How about dinner at one an lunch at the other . . .
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Nov 29th, 2015, 08:00 PM
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Would that be Castelton. I got an email from them last week stating they now only rent the entire house. Too bad, it looked lovely!
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