Scotland Plan- Whaddaya think?

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Jan 19th, 2007, 05:09 PM
  #1
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Scotland Plan- Whaddaya think?

We have done some homework, read many posts of yours here on Fodors and we have come up with an itinerary for our Scotland and northern England trip in late May and early June, 2007. My wife and I and our teenage son plan to fly into Manchester, arriving on the morning of

Monday, May 28 and train over to York for two nights.

On Wednesday, 5/30/07, we plan to drive to Haltwhistle to visit Hadrianís Wall and stay one night.

Thursday we plan to drive from Haltwhistel to Glencoe hopefully staying at the Kings House Hotel for one night.

Friday, we plan to drive from Glencoe to Mallaig car ferry for two nights on Skye staying in Portree.

Sunday we plan to drive to Ullapool for one night.

Monday we drive to Inverness for two nights, hopefully staying at Trafford Bank B&B.

Wednesday we plan to drive to Ballater near the Dee for one night, visit Balmoral.

Thursday we plan to drive to Edinburgh to return our car and have reserved the ABC for three nights.

We fly out of Edinburgh on Sunday, June 10, 2007.

We would like any and all suggestions but specifically we would like to see Sterling Castle and I wonder if we can fit it in. Should we try it on the way to Edinburgh or do a day trip out of Edinburgh while there?
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Jan 19th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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My comment on this sort of itinerary is always the same: Too much packing and unpacking. You need fewer overnight destinations. Do day trips from them.

Stirling is interesting, but there are just tons of things to see in Scotland and the North of England.
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Jan 19th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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W/ this itinerary, you will be spending a lot of time checking in and checking out, packing and unpacking, and sitting in the car.

As for Stirling - It isn't on the route from Deeside to Edinburgh. You would have to make quite a detour over from Perth to Stirling.

If you have read a lot of Scotland threads, I probably sound like a broken record - but why Inverness?

The NW around Ullapool is terrific - but you are covering from Manchester/York in the south to Skye/Ullapool in the north, to Deeside in the west to Edinburgh -- all in 10 days. That is a LOT. I personally would not try to cover soooo much territory in less than 15-16 days.

Can't tell you what to cut since all those places are wonderful - but you really don't have time for all of it. But I do recommend you stay outside of Inverness -- to have this short a trip and spend two whole days in Inverness seems a huge waste IMHO.
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Jan 19th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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You guys are quick, I agree with you but I'm trying to satisfy two other people here. We are going to rehuddle and either cut out some things or add more days to the trip. We have only made reservations at the ABC in Edinburgh. Thanks for your suggestions. We
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Jan 19th, 2007, 05:46 PM
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Sorry, I cut myself off. We would like to see Stirling and the Falkirk Wheel as well. We are planning on using Inverness for daytrips. We are open to some other suggestions.
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Jan 19th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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oops - meant Deeside in the EAST.

If there are 3 of you this will be even harder -- w/ 3 different body clocks, 3 different interests etc . . . .
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Jan 20th, 2007, 03:02 AM
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Your original proposal is doable, but the Portree- Ullapool day is very long.

What are your interests?/
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Jan 20th, 2007, 04:13 AM
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You are obviously wanting to see as much of the countryside as possible and from what I can see you have looked into it quite well.
If you leave Haltwhistle early enough you may be able to travel to Glencoe via Stirling but it will be a long day driving. Alternatively you can take the train from Edinburgh the half hour journey to Stirling and do that as a day trip.
Ensure that you give yourself choices with the route you intend taking as often there is more to see on the slower back roads. For example when you are going from Portree to Ullapool think about taking the A832 round via Poolewe and Gairloch as this enables you the following day to take the A835 most of the way to Invernessto Inverness and saves you driving back and forward on the same road. You have chosen some very nice parts of the country and I am sure that you will see a lot in your travels.
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Jan 20th, 2007, 06:55 AM
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Just a comment re gettung an early start out of Haltwhistle. This illustrates what makes 1-night stops so difficult. If you are driving up from York you will (hopefully) want to see Durham and/or a bit of the Dales. You wouldn't be getting to Hatlwhistle until late afternoon. So not much time to visit any of the Wall sites. The wall itself never closes of course, but all the forts have regular opening hours. So at very best you would get a short look at maybe Housesteads. But Housesteads isn't a "short look" sort of place. So you will have driven up the day before seen a snippet of the wall and jumped in the car at the crack of dawn to drive all the way to Glencoe.

Now, of course you can drive straight from York to Northumberland and miss everything in between. But you still would be very rushed and not have time to explore much of the Wall. W/ a 2 night stay you would actually have enough time to explore/enjoy the area.

Same goes for most 1-nighters. 1 night does not give you 1 day in the place since you will need a few hours to get there from the previous stop. I would definitely sit down and seriously think about which areas are most important and then try to work out 2 night stops in fewer places.
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Jan 20th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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Thank you for all your replies. We are going to have a family meeting this weekend and make some decisions. Our original intent was to return to Scotland since our first trip was so brief. We may eliminate our England portion of this trip and fly into EDI. I will post questions or new itinerary. Thanks, again.
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Jan 20th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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Sheila:
To your question about interests; we have many, but we want to visit with the people of Scotland, while seeing their beautiful countryside. My son wants to see the Falkirk Wheel and my wife wants to see Stirling. I just don't want to make long drives and return home worn out. I love the history of Scotland, Rob Roy, Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobites, the fierce independence of the Scots. On our last trip, as we were watching a high school drum/bagpipe parade at Edinburgh castle, my wife broke into tears and a nice local lady turned to us and said,"Aye, ya must have Scot blood inya, if ya cry at the pipes."
We can't wait to return!
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Jan 20th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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d1carter: York is fabulous, and Hadrian's wall is fabulous. But w/ what you have just written - if I were you, I'd drop both in a heartbeat and fly into either Glasgow or Edinburgh (doesn't make much difference which - just go w/ the one that gets you the better airfare)

W/ your 10 days you actually would have time to easily do all of your Scotland sites (and have at least 2 days/nights in each area). That will give you a lot more "down time" and let you actually get out of teh car and see/do things and meet people.

But do stay somewhere near Inverness - not IN it. There are a lot of terrific places w/i 15-20 miles of Inverness so it is worth staying in the area but you really don't need to go into the city at all.
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Jan 20th, 2007, 05:48 PM
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I would agree about limiting yourself to Scotland this go around, unless you can add some more days. Even then, you could find more than enough to fill your time. (That being said, we really loved York on our visit this summer, and I am dying to do Hadrian's Wall myself!)

With your expressed interests, you will want to make sure that you have enough time to visit Glenfinnan, Glen Coe, Culloden, Balquihidder/Rob Roy's grave, Stirling (Castle and Wallace Monument). If you've already been to Edinburgh, you might have time to visit Stirling as a day trip from Edinburgh. The train will get you there easily and there is a hop on hop off bus that takes you to the Castle and the Monument. Nearby Doune Castle might be fun for its Monty Python/Holy Grail connection, but it is more of a car destination.

I'd recommend Glen Affric for when you are in the Inverness area. It is a magnificent wilderness area that gives a flavor of what Scotland was like before the time of sheep grazing. The glen has one of the few remaining stands of virgin (and regrown) Scots pines in the land. The landscape is postively primeval in feel. With a couple of hours, you can drive back in there and even wander around on the trails for a bit.
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Jan 21st, 2007, 01:20 AM
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other people's comments are valid. At that time of year there's a non car ferry doing north Skye to Ullapool, so you could do that as a day trip as an alternative to driving round- mind you, you'd miss a lot of beautiful country if you so
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Jan 21st, 2007, 09:59 AM
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We have had our family meeting and it is agreed that we need more down time. We have redone our plan and this is what we think fits. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Schedule for Scotland 5/27/07 to 6/10/07


Sunday, 5/27/07
Flight to EDI

Monday/Tuesday, 5/28/07-5/29/07
Arrive Edinburgh, UK
Rent car/drive to Falkirk/Stirling area for two nights

Wednesday, 5/30/07
Falkirk/Callander to Glencoe for one night

Thursday, 5/31/07-6/2/07
Drive to Skye for three nights

Sunday, 6/3/07-6/4/07
Drive to Gairloch/Ullapool area for two nights

Tuesday, 6/5/07-6/6/07
Drive to Inverness area for two nights/

Thursday, 6/7/07
Drive to Edinburgh Airport return car, taxi to city and ABC for three nights

Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night
Edinburgh at ABC

Sunday, 6/10/07
Fly home
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Jan 21st, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Oh - I think you will enjoy this sooooo much more.

Just one suggestion - for your first two nights stay a bit west of Stirling - like in/near Callander/Aberfoyle. It would be a great base for seeing Stirling/Doune and the Trossachs. You could stop and visit the wheel enroute.
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Jan 21st, 2007, 10:29 AM
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No expert, but it looks a lot better to me.

I suppose Iverness is a must for you but do check out some of the areas close by for overnights. The Black Isle might is a good option as well as Beauly or even somewhere along the A96.
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Jan 21st, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Historytraveler: I noticed d1carter said "Inverness area" this time around so I think that part has sunk in

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Jan 21st, 2007, 10:51 AM
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I do value your advice. Can anyone give suggestions on B&B's for the areas that we have listed. I like your suggestions on the first two nights but I was worried about driving long distances after the flight. How far to Callander or Aberfoyle from EDI? We're booking the flights today...
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Jan 21st, 2007, 10:59 AM
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Callander is only about 10 miles beyond Stirling so if you can drive to Stirling you would have no trouble getting as far as Callander.

Normally I don't advise driving much if any on the first day - but EDI to Falkirk > Stirling > Callander is not far and not hard.

The other option would be to stay the first day/night in Edinburgh and pick up your car on day 2. Move everything else ahead 1 day and stay just 2 nights in Edinburgh at the end.
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