Scotland itinerary help

Old Jul 13th, 2010, 12:46 PM
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Scotland itinerary help

My husband and I are planning a self drive tour of the UK next April/May. Our itinerary for Scotland is:
Day 1 - depart Windermere in Cumbria and head for Inveraray, however this appears to be quite a drive so suggestions of where to stay to break the trip would be appreciated.

Day 2 = Inveraray

Day 3 - Loch Ness via Glencoe stay in Loch Ness area.

Day 4 - Loch Ness to Callander via Ballater to visit Balmoral Castle

Day 5 & 6 - Callander

Day 7 - Edinburgh

Any suggestions to improve itinerary would be much appreciated.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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I'm not sure if this will be too much, but I drove up to Skye and it was incredibly beautiful as was the journey
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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Two days in Callender seems excessive considering the countryside you are heading through.

It would be possible to avoid Glasgow by taking a one night stop in one of the towns on the Ayrshire coast and the taking the ferry over the Cylde and onto Inveraray.

Windermere to Inveraray in a day is doable but it does becoming a driving day. (I have driven Skye to London in a day(our island just isn't that big)). I personally would take a stop - the problem with the stop is that the direct route doesn't offer many options other than Glasgow itself.

I would well and truely recommend a side trip to "our" coast - Dumfries and Galloway. Dumfries to Stranraer is a micro-Cornwakk without the masses and there are plenty country house hotels for a night.

is lovely and has a very good restaurant.

The central lowlands below Glasgow are fairly bleak with not much to offer. I would say you have three choices :

Travel in a day
Overnight in Glasgow
Overnight on the D&G / Ayrshire coast

Any option you can't go wrong.

Where are you staying in Windermere?
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Your itinerary is much to-ing and fro-ing and HOURS in the car.

(BTW - I can see lots of reasons to stay 2 days in Callander - there are many things to see w/i a 30 mile radius from Stirling to Doune to Inchmahome to Loch Lomond to Killin to Drummond Castle to too many others to list. But not after that hellacious few days prior)

Lay out a map of Scotland - Loch Ness to Deeside to Callander - in one day?

Why a full day in Invererary - it is a nice stop enroute to other places, but for 2 nights I just don't see it.

It sometimes helps to think in terms of nights rather than days. A day someplace doesn't mean a full day there - it usually means a few hours at most after the travel time.

" the problem with the stop is that the direct route doesn't offer many options other than Glasgow itself."

Au contraire - Anyplace along Loch Lomond would be better and avoid having to drive IN Glasgow

W/ your short time I'd do something like:

Night 1 in the Southwest (D&G or maybe Ayshire). See the coast and Culzean Castle.

Is there a reason you must got to Invererary. If not, I'd skip it and stay nights 2 & 3 near Callander.

Night 4 in/near Inverness seeing Glencoe enroute (or I'd honestly think about skipping Loch Ness - it isn't the prettiest loch by a long shot)

Night 5 either in the same place near Inverness or on Deeside.

Day 6 drive along the coast and see Dunnottar and stay night either in/near St Andrews or go all the way to Edinburgh

If you didn't make it to Edinburgh the night before, early AM of day 7 drive to Edinburgh.

Still a LOT of driving though . . .
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Thank you all for your replies. Being Aussies a 3 hour drive is a breeze to us However, we would be keen to miss Glasgow and Markrosy's suggestions seem like the way to go. I have been through to Scotland previously however this will be my husband's first overseas trip and I am keen to show him Scotland (which I loved on my 2 previous visits)! I had thought from Callander we could do a bit of exploring hence the 2 days there. Having re-read my post I realise I have put 2 days for Inveraray but it will just be 1 night.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 03:37 PM
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A long drive in the wide open spaces of OZ or the western USA is much different than trying to cover all of Scotland in a few days. Just entirely different animals.

Off the motorway (which isn't scenic anyway) you will average maybe 40 mph -- if you are quite lucky.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 05:39 PM
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Yes I realise that janisj just meant we are used to travelling many hours in one day. However that is why I asked for suggestions between Windermere and Inveraray as we don't want to do that sort of trip but enjoy more of the beautiful country that Scotland is by breaking it up.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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Which are your musts? Inveraray? Balmoral? Loch Ness? (none of those are on my 1st tier list but there may be reasons those are on yours)

Driving hours means you drive through lots of places but explore few. Breaking the route up really doesn't help that much since you are covering more than half the country in less than a week. It is the total distance and short time that is the problem.

W/ just 6 days starting in the Lakes and ending in Edinburgh - you just don't have time to 'do' the SW, Inverary, Glencoe, Loch Ness, Deeside and the Trossachs. Each of those areas is worth time - but you'll have less than a day in each, except for the Trossachs where you'll have 1.5 days.

If you tell us what is on you wish list we can help w/ a plan that works.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 06:33 PM
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I don't really have any must sees except my husband would like to go to Glencoe/Loch Ness and I would like to see Deeside as I haven't been that side of Scotland so apart from from those couple of things the aim is to get from Windermere to Edinburgh in 6 or 7 days.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 07:31 PM
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OK - here is one really doable option. The only real sacrifice is a 4.5 hour first day drive bypassing some great territory - but it gets you up into central Scotland where you can then slow down a bit.

Day 1/night 1: (long day) Leave Windermere and drive through to Callander. Most of this route will be on Motorways so it is fast (though not too fast - speed cameras!) - you will go through Stirling and have plenty of time to see the Castle and maybe Doune too. Stay Callander/nearby

Day 2/night 2: tour around the Trossachs, Inchmahome, the back side of Loch Lomond at Inversnaid, waterfalls, lochs, etc. Stay the same place in Callander/nearby

Day 3/night 3: Leave Callander in the AM and visit Killin/Falls of Dochart, Glencoe and up Loch Ness/Urquhart. Night near Inverness. This is about 3.5 hours total driving but w/ lots of stops and photo ops will take you most of the day.

Day 4/night 4: Culloden, Ft George, Black Isle/dolphins, whatever. Stay same place near Inverness

Day 5/night 5. Dufftown/Glenfiddich distillery, Huntly Castle, to Deeside. Stay near Ballater. Total of about 3 hours driving. There might be time to see Balmoral that afternoon, but if not you can see it the next morning

Day 6/night 6: Balmoral in the AM if you didn't see it yesterday. Then drive down the Dee, see Dunnottar/Stonehaven and end up in St Andrews or nearby. See the castle/Cathedral/Old Course. Stay in St Andrews/Crail or nearby.

Day 7: Drive along the coast of Fife seeing the fishing villages and arrive in Edinburgh around noon (about 2 hours total drive plus LOTS of photo ops). If you are short of time - driving straight from St Andrews to Edinburgh w/o the coastal detour would save about an hour's drive and the photo stops.

This route gives you some 2 night stops and lets you see LOT w/o killing yourselves.
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Old Jul 13th, 2010, 09:57 PM
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Wow thanks janisj......makes much more sense! Any suggestions for accommodation?
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Old Jul 14th, 2010, 04:47 AM
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If you click on my screen name, you'll see a recent trip report for Scotland. Yoyu might find it of use.
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