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flabobcat Sep 29th, 2006 04:52 AM

Scotland Trip REVIEW !
A big thank you to all you Fodorites that posted on this site, the AA Motor Club, some really helpful innkeepers, and the website Undiscovered Scotland; with all your help, my wife and I spent 15 wonderful days (September 5th to September 20th 2006) driving around Scotland.

We flew into Edinburgh and spent two days enjoying the sites of that wonderful city. Saw the main tourist sights plus walked up and down many of the city’s streets in the old and new sections. On the morning of the third day we took the bus back to the airport and picked up our rental car. We drove down to Roslyn Chapel and enjoyed the visit at the Chapel, took a very nice long walk down a path on the back side of the Chapel, and took a nice stroll around the village of Roslyn. Next we drove north to our B&B a few miles outside of Sterling. Spent a day touring the city of Sterling, Sterling Castle and the Wallace Monument (my wife’s maiden name is Wallace). The next day we drove from Striling to ST. Andrews and then back to Sterling through Dunfirmline. Spent about three hours taking in the sights of St. Andrews including the”Old Course”. We chose to stop in Dunfirmline on the way back, because Dunfirmline is the sister city to our home town Sarasota, Florida. In fact when Dunfirmline tore down their Opera House about 15 years ago, the City of Sarasota purchased it, shipped it over to Sarasota in pieces, restored it, and then put it back together. Dunfirmline old Opera House is now home to Sarasota’s Asolo Theater. The next day our innkeeper suggested we tour the Turreschs. What great advice! We spent a delightful day riding the Sir Walter Scott Steamer, hiking a few trails, renting bikes for a few hours and just driving around that beautiful area.

The next day we drove a few miles up the road to the village of Doune and visited Doune Castle (location to Monty Python and the Holy Grail). It was an interesting Castle with great walking trails along the river next to the Castle. After Doune we drove to Birnam to visit the village and walk in the Birnam Oaks from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Then we stopped at Dunkeld before we settled in at our next B&B in Kirkmichael, a small village about 12 miles outside of Pithlochry. With Kirkmicheal as a base, we spent the next two days checking out Pithlochry, a touristy but beautiful village, and hiking some trails, and hiking up the falls.

The next stop after Pithlochry was the small village of Carr Bridge about 40 miles north of Pithlochry. During our two days there we drove to Boat of Garten and took the ride on the steam train (Strathspey Steam Railway) to Aviemore, walked the beautiful public trails within the village of Carr Bridge, drove north up to Cardow to visit the Thane of Cardow from Macbeth, and then drove a little further north to the coastal town of Nairn. On the way back from Nairn we just had enough time for a quick visit to a distillery.

We’ve now been in Scotland 8 days and only had about a half a day of light rain during our visit of Nairn and the distillery.

After Pithlochry we drove north through Inverness, then headed south along Loch Ness to hunt for Nessie, and then west to the Kyle of Lochalsh. We didn’t find Nessie but the drive over to the Kyle of Lochalsh was beautiful.

We spent two glorious days exploring the Isle of Sky and Eileeen Dolen castle. The weather was perfect with clear blue skies for both days and there are no words on earth that can describe the beauty and ruggedness of Skye.

From The Isle of Sky we took the car ferry to Mallaig. Had tea and scones at a cute little B&B/restaurant in Mallaig, then it was off to Fort William. During our drive from Mallaig to Fort William we experienced our second and last day of light rain. After walking around Fort William for about two hours we finished our day in the beautiful town of Glencoe. When we arrived at Glencoe the sky cleared, the sun came out and we were treated to a beautiful rainbow. A very striking contrast compared to what happened in Glencoe some 300+ years ago.

After a night in Glencoe we drove to Callendar. We had driven through Callander when we visited the Turschetts, but, now we took our time to enjoy the town and surrounding area. The next day we had planned to drive to Glasgow, however, we were now pretty wiped out, so we choose to go back to Edinburgh to spend our final day and night there.

The best advice I received on this web site was that it will take you twice as long as you have planned to go from point A to point B. Not because the roads are bad or driving on the left is difficult. The reason it took me twice as long to get from one place to another is that the country is so beautiful I must have stopped a hundred times each day to get out of the car and just stare and take pictures. Also, in each city, town, and village the flowers in the window boxes and planters were just beautiful, and the people were so friendly and helpful. I’m glad I took my time to enjoy them both.

The best way I can close this trip review is by quoting Robert Burns:

“My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.”

The Lodge Hotel in Edinburgh – Great place, great location a mile walk to the base of the Castle.
Hillview Cottage located 7 miles outside of Sterling – Farm fresh eggs, great innkeeper Jon, wonderful stay
Curran House in Kirkmicheal – Farm fresh eggs, wonderful place
Clunes B&B in Carr Bridge – Spacious, wonderful innkeeper, great walking trails right in her backyard
Fisher Back B&B in Kyle of Lochalsh – Right across from the Five Sisters Mountains, great innkeepers
Inchconnal B&B in Glencoe – really pretty place (ignore current internet picture), wonderful innkeeper.
Crags Hotel in Callander – right on main street, great place

All were part of the go-as-you-please CIE Tour.

crazy4Hawaii Sep 29th, 2006 06:09 AM

Thank you so much for this great trip report! Did you have accommodations on Skye or did you use Kyle of Lochalsh as your base for exploring this island? I'm hoping to spend some time on Skye next summer, so any recommendations about favorite parts of the island to explore, places to eat, etc. would be great!

flabobcat Sep 29th, 2006 07:00 AM

We stayed at a B&B located about 15 miles east of Kyle of Lochalsh as a base for two days. That was a little too far. I would recommend finding a B&B on the Isle of Skye. I really enjoyed the city of Portree and you should be able to find some really nice B&B's there. Just google “Portree B&B’s” and a bunch of links for B&B’s will pop up.

GreenDragon Sep 29th, 2006 07:31 AM

Nice, informative, concise report, thank you! I am planning in the embryonic stages for our June 2008 trip to Scotland, and will definitely keep some points in mind.

gabrieltraian Sep 29th, 2006 07:47 AM

Oh, beautiful Scotland!

Thank you for this review!
Brought back some nice memories.

mr_go Sep 29th, 2006 08:54 AM

Hey, flabobcat...nice trip report! Sounds like you had a good time, and (surprise!) some nice weather to boot. Thanks for posting.

That Undiscovered Scotland site is terrific, isn't it?

LCBoniti Sep 29th, 2006 10:56 AM

More great info for our trip in June 2008! Thanks so much!

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