Scotland places to stay?

Old Jul 15th, 2010, 11:27 AM
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Scotland places to stay?

Hi! We are 2 couples on an 8-day tour around Scotland, at the end of August. We've got accommodation for the end (Edinburgh) taken care of. Our plan is to rent a car, stay the first night in St. Andrews, then generally head in a counter-clockwise tour of Scotland, through Inverness, the Isle of Skye, then back through Stirling, Pitlochry, etc and back to Edinburgh. We will be 5 nights on the road (excluding Edinburgh).

We would like to work our trip so as to include interesting places to stay: nice B&B's, interesting inns or maybe the odd castle or two. Places with a good Scottish feel. The only requisite is that once we have parked the car for the night, we'd like to be within walking distance of a place where we can get a meal and beverage (so the driver can also partake!). 2, 3, 4 star places are all fine as long as they are interesting/charming.

Might there be some recommendations? I know it is a loose itinerary but we are OK with that. The only place we know for certain we want to stay, is our first night - St. Andrews.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Need your budget.

BUT - 5 days is not long enough for St Andrews, Inverness, Skye, Stirling, Pitlochry, plus wherever you lump into 'etc', and then on to Edinburgh.

Yes you could drive it in 5 days -- but not w/o HOURS in the car and very little time to see anything. It won't just be the driver who needs a break - the poor couple in the back seat will be homicidal.

For instance - St Andrews to Inverness is about 4 hours straight driving w/o any stops. If you just visit Scone, and Blair Castle and nothing else - you will be 9 to 10 hours just enroute. Stopping in Pitlochry (Why?) would add another hour maybe.

And that is the fast route up the A9. If you take a scenic route up through Glenshee or along the coast, and Deeside - then you are up to 5-6 hours car time w/o any breaks/stops.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 11:47 AM
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oops - hit post when I meant preview. . . .

You can have a very nice 5 day driving tour - but not covering half of Scotland. Try 2 night stopovers because 1 night doesn't = a day.

You will spend most of the day traveling, and then have to take off again early the next morning w/o seeing anything in the local area.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 12:11 PM
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We were in Edinburgh mid-June...stayed at the Scotsman which was wonderful. You didn't ask but don't miss the restaurant Wedgewood. We had an unbelievable dinner there.
Missing Scotland!
P
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 12:30 PM
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We just had a very nice stay at Woodbine House, a lovely B&B in Uig on Skye. Not many dining options in Uig itself, but you can walk to a couple of places. If that is an issue you might rather stay in Portree while on Skye.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 12:44 PM
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We stayed at a wonderful B&B called The Westerton in Callander, Scotland in the
in the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park. It is a beautiful & elegant B&B; not to far from Stirling. They do have parking and we did walk into town for dinner. Check them out on the web.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Re-work your itinerary as janisj suggested, then look for places to stay. You'll find plenty of wonderful hotels and B&B's in Scotland.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 01:08 PM
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All good suggestions -- however, Inverness to Uig on Skye is a 3.5-4 hour drive w/o any stops/sightseeing - so a minimum of 7-8 hours actual time.

And Uig to Callander or Stirling takes 5.5 to 7 hours w/o any stops, depending on whether one takes the bridge or ferry.
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Old Jul 15th, 2010, 02:00 PM
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I didn't pay really close attention to our drive times, but janisj's estimates sound consistent with our experience. Our itinerary was arrive at Inverness via the Caledonian Sleeper, drive to Uig on Skye by way of Loch Ness, then drive to Edinburgh by way of Crianlarich (slept there) and Stirling, so we would overlap with your plans.

On our first day, we arrived in Inverness about 8:30, took showers at the train station, collected our rental car, made a stop in the shopping mall in downtown Inverness for some necessary supplies, wandered a bit on the Inverness High Street and took pics of the castle (did not visit), drove along Loch Ness, visited the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre and Castle Urquhart, then drove on to Skye (beautiful drive with little traffic), had dinner in Portree, continued to Uig, checked into our hotel, then had a stroll through the Uig Wood. It helped that sunset was so late up there. That was a full day.

We spent a total of 3 nights on Skye and didn't get out of the Trotternish Peninsula. On our departure day we left Uig about 10:00, took the bridge (weather was rainy and windy so we skipped the ferry option), had lunch in Fort William, stopped at the Visitor Centre in Glencoe (due to the weather this was a short stop, would have loved to spent time hiking there), and continued to Crianlarich, arriving in time for dinner nearby.

The next day we drove on to visit Doune Castle and Stirling, then onward to Edinburgh, arriving for a late dinner there.

The point being, we didn't have the St. Andrews to Inverness leg on our trip, so as janisj says you'll be covering a lot of ground over that 5-night period.
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Old Jul 16th, 2010, 04:35 AM
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OK, I see we are going to have to rethink our itinerary. It doesn't seem so far when you "Mapquest" the distances. I'll be back for ideas for places to stay over when I've done my homework. I WILL check out the places suggested above. Thanks to all!
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Old Jul 16th, 2010, 05:04 AM
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Have a look at our trip report for our Scottish week:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...d-354860-2.cfm
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Old Jul 16th, 2010, 05:13 AM
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It's some time since I did any driving tours in Scotland, but we used to go to the Tourist Information Centre to look at B&B brochures for the next place we were aiming to stop at, and get the TIC staff to book it - a handy way tocombine flexibility with reassurance.
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Old Jul 16th, 2010, 06:41 AM
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"It doesn't seem so far when you "Mapquest" the distances. "

The distances aren't all that far. However you won't be on motorways/freeways/turnpikes. Count on averaging 35-40mph over much of your route -- and less in some areas.

The Trotternish Peninsula for instance (the VERY scenic bit at the top of Skye) is mostly single track road -- in other words, one lane. Not one lane each way -- one lane total shared by cars going both directions.

And most of the rest of the route is two lane w/ few places to pass. Get behind a caravan (travel trailer) or lorry/truck and you might be going 25-30 mph.

Now get that map and start over
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Old Jul 16th, 2010, 07:37 AM
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After reading this, I'm hoping you do make the part of the trip through Skye. (maybe pick some less interesting places to skip). We were in Scotland in 1998 and have spent the last years regretting, regretting that we did not get to Skye.
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Old Jul 17th, 2010, 12:54 AM
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Rather than looking at distances, go to the RAC http://www.rac.co.uk/
where there is a route planner. If you don't have a Sat Nav, you can print out a detailed route.

For example it says for St Andrews to Inverness
Total Distance: 150.15 mile(s), 241.64 km(s)
Estimated journey time of: 3 hour(s) 7 minute(s)
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Old Jul 17th, 2010, 10:09 AM
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However - the RAC and AA route planners (which are about the best) do tend to underestimate real life drive times by 25% - 35%+ (and more for visitors since you aren't familiar w/ the roads)
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Old Jul 17th, 2010, 10:18 AM
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True, they don't anticipate the tractors or flocks of sheep ;-)
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Old Jul 17th, 2010, 10:35 AM
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>> . . . they don't anticipate the tractors or flocks of sheep
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Old Jul 21st, 2010, 03:11 AM
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any update robbie?
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Old Jul 21st, 2010, 07:57 AM
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YES! Thank you all for your comments. We've reworked it to a reasonable trip, I think. We are going to spend 2 nights in the Elie/St. Andrews area; a night around Balmoral Castle; and 2 nights in the Fort William/Glencoe area. No Inverness or Isle of Skye this time round, but hopefully there will be another chance.
So, suggestions for inns around these areas? Criteria: 2 - 3 star, clean, CHARMING, within walking distance to a good pub. We like places that are interesting!
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