Scotland itinerary -- please critique!

Old Dec 16th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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To muddy up the waters a little here . . .

Flying up to Edinburgh is certainly cheap and time saving -- but if you want to get west to Oban/Skye it doesn't make that much sense to head over to the east side of Scotland. Taking the train to Oban would be faster (a LOT faster) than flying up to Edinburgh and then driving across the country.

So if you do want to fly -- consider staying in Edinburgh at the front end of your trip. Then after a couple of days in Edinburgh, pick up a rental car and head out -- a short drive to Stirling to visit the castle and maybe Doune Castle. I wouldn't stay IN Stirling but somewhere a little to the west like Callander. Then the next morning leave early and drive to Oban and take the ferry to Mull.

After your Mull/Skye/Loch Ness/Culloden loop, drive back down the A9 straight to Edinburgh airport and drop the car before flying back to Manchester.
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Old Dec 16th, 2004, 09:16 AM
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to clarify a bit - I didn't necessarily mean driving from the north all the way to the airport in one day (though it would be a reasonable drive).

Depending on your flight times @ Edinburgh, you could stop enroute (like Dunkeld or Perth), stay the night at Edinburgh airport or even at Manchester.
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Old Dec 16th, 2004, 11:47 PM
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There are so many different ways to do this trip - it just depends on your priorites. If the plan is to go to Stirling first, that's a short drive from Edinburgh airport. The drive from there to Oban is 87 miles - and a beautiful drive. Due to the geography of Scotland, in some places the distance between east and west isn't that great - e.g. it's only 47 miles from Edinburgh to Glasgow - which is also a possibility for flights from Manchester. You could fly into Glasgow and out of Edinburgh - the possibilities are endless...
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Old Dec 17th, 2004, 11:55 PM
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Geez. Do you still want to come, after all that???

(I've been in Brussels a couple of days with no web access, so, here I go now.

IF you decide to go to the west first, DON'T fly.

It's about 4 hours drive to Stirling all on motorway.

I heartily agree with the advice to come off Skye through Morvern and Ardnamurchan.

my favourite places to stay on Skye, so far, include the Eiean Iarmain, the Sligachan and, if I could afford it, the House Over By.

Edinburgh accommodation depends on price. The Crown Plaza is well located, as is the whotsit in the Grassmarket, begins with an "A". (gads I hate, getting old).

Actually I think your route's pretty logical all things considered. If there are other things you want to do, adjust accordingly.

As to booking on the ferry- I always book if I have the car IF a) it's summer- it's not and b) I know which boat I'll be on.

It's not likely to be a huge problem in March, but book if you know what you're doing.

Have a great trip
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Old Dec 20th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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OK, now my head is spinning Thanks for the lodging suggestions, Sheila!

Our original plan was to head west first and end the loop to the east, in Edinburgh. Neither of us has any interest in seeing Glasgow, so we though Stirling would be a logical place to stay the first night, kind of midway between Manchester and Mull. We'd both like to see Stirling Castle, which is another reason we chose Stirling.

I like the idea of taking the train right to Oban for the first night, then getting a morning ferry to Mull. Would Stirling be a logical stop on the way from the Inverness/Culloden area to Edinburgh on our way back down south/east?
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Old Dec 20th, 2004, 10:06 AM
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Sure - Stirling would be a reasonable stop over. But it is a pretty quick drive from there into Edinburgh.

You might want to stop somewhere else along the route - in March you won't have ANY problems finding accomodations as you go along so you can change plans on the fly.

Say you stop farther north than Stirling for the scenery or because you get delayed, or because the weather is bad and you just want to stop and relax - then in the morning just drive on to Stirling (you can park right at the castle), devote a few hours to touring the castle, and then drive on to Edinburgh Airport to drop off your rental car and take the airport bus right into the city center.

Except for the Train/Oban/Mull/ferrys and your accomodations in Edinburgh bits, I wouldn't book ahead. When I'm traveling in the UK and especially in Scotland in the off season I usually play it by ear and go where the weather takes me . . . . .
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Old Dec 20th, 2004, 11:13 AM
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Janis, you just used a forbidden phrase: "on the fly." I am a notorious OVER-PLANNER, and usually have my vacations planned about 10 months in advance, from every hotel stay to each train and ferry trip! This is unusual for me. But perhaps a little spontaneity wouldn't be such a bad thing once in a while...
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