Scottish Higlands with a baby, need help

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Feb 15th, 2012, 05:13 AM
  #1
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Scottish Higlands with a baby, need help

My wife and I will be traveling to Scotland in late May with our 14 month old. We will be staying 7 nights (arriving EDI on Sat morning leaving the following Sun at noon). We plan on staying in Edinburgh for 3 nights most likely,probably on the back end. I will be using Hilton points to stay at the Caledonian. Where we need help is for the Highlands portion. Since we will have the baby, we think it will be easier to use one place in the highlands as a base, and take day trips from there. (we will rent a car) We definitely want to see castles (Dunnottar and Eilean Donan), Loch Ness and Urqhuart and as many other "must see's" as is feasible. While we want to see a lot, we also want to enjoy ourselves and the surroundings and not try to overdo it.

We are thinking somewhere in the Inverness area would be a good base. Probably not in the city though. Glengarry caslte looks promising. Seems pretty central and also seems like a beautiful place to just hang out for a day if the baby (or one of us) needs a break. The Maryculter House looks nice too, but I think it might be too long of a drive to get to the West Coast sites. A self catering option would be fine if we could find the right place. I think it would be more convenient, but it would be nice to have some things to do on the property (like how some of the castles have self catering cottages on the grounds).

Please let me know your thoughts, and also other places to see once we are there. There is so much information in the guidebooks that it can be difficult to determine what to actually see.

Thanks,
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Feb 15th, 2012, 06:06 AM
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Have you looked at Coylumbridge?
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Feb 15th, 2012, 07:19 AM
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We loved our stay at Kinross House B&B in Grantown-on-Spey. It's not far from Inverness, but a smaller town and very charming. Bridget was a fantastic hostess, and it was a half block from a warm pub with great pies for a quick meal - a nice walk with a stroller

Grantown is a great day-trip base for the 'Castle Trail' around that area. You will, as I'm sure you know, be slower than most travelers simply because of the baby, but a long day trip could get Dunnottar and several other castles in the area along the trail. Another day trip up to Inverness area will get Loch Ness and Urquhart. There is a nice restaurant on the highway out from Inverness to Loch Ness - has picnic benches out front, a French woman married a Scottish man and they make great food together! One of the few places that have signs before you get there warning you it's coming
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Feb 15th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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There is single place is an easy base for both Eilean Donan and Dunnottar. Halfway between (like Coylumbridge) is doable but you'll have long drives/days. Don't think I'd do that w/ an infant. If you can face the long drives -- then Coylumbridge would be good.

But IMO you might want to decide if you want Inverness and to the west side or Inverness and to the east.

If you are happy limiting yourselves to Dunnottar, the Castle trail, Loch Ness, the Cairngorms . . . you might want to consider this place on the Dee. http://www.hiltoncraigendarroch.co.uk/?WT.srch=1

it is a hilton for your points, it is gorgeous, and it has both hotel rooms and really great self catering units.

A day trip from there to Loch Ness and Urquhart is long but doable.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 09:30 AM
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Maryculter House is just outside Aberdeen, it's not close to Inverness and definitely not close to Eilann Donan. It is close to the various Aberdeenshire castles and it's west of Aberdeen which means you don't have to drive through the city and its traffic to get to the castle trail.

Do not underestimate how much the monkey will slow you down. We've traveled when our boy was 20 months and his sister was 19 months (different trips, obviously) and the hobbits slow you down. They also bugger off and go wandering about and have their own ideas on what to see. Yours will be 14 months, so that's past potted plant stage.

Stop by Perth on the way back to Edinburgh to see Scone Palace. You can also visit Glamis Castle, which is basically where HRM grew up. If you're going to the western Highlands, you should check out Stirling Castle.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 11:02 AM
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oops--major typo

Should have read >>There is no single place that is an easy base . . .<<
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Feb 15th, 2012, 02:08 PM
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Thanks a lot for all of the information...very helpful. I'm thinking it probably makes sense to choose between either the east stuff or the west. So with that said what would you reccomend? I know there is no right answer and it is probably like splitting hairs, but let me know your opinions.
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Feb 15th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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My opinion: There is no right answer and it is probably like splitting hairs.

Honestly. You can't see/do everything, and especially not w/ a toddler in tow. Either Aberdeenshire/the Highlands/Inverness area - or - Inverness area/Highlands/the west coast would be a wonderful trip.
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Feb 16th, 2012, 12:31 AM
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If it were me (and I spotted that you're not), I would pick somewhere to sat that was good for the child- decent food with childminding; activities if it's raining; and close to some of what you want to see.

The three places that come to mind are Coylumbridge, Craigendarroch and Crieff Hydro. Crieff Hydro, which is way south of the other two, is possibly better for getting to the west as well. It's a long way from Loch Ness, but there's other stuff
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Feb 16th, 2012, 07:11 AM
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Any of Sheila's list would a terrific base (the three C's)

Crieff would be a wonderful base - not so much for the trip/sites you originally planned, but for a whole other list of great sites.

Honestly -any of the three would be perfect. I've twice stayed at Craigendarroch for a week, have not stayed at Coylumbridge but know it pretty well and have stayed in the general Crieff area countless times. Haven't stayed at the Hydro but have eaten there. Would be a lovely place to stay.
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Feb 16th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Thanks so much. We will have to figure out what works best for us,but it sounds like all are great options.
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Feb 17th, 2012, 05:04 AM
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One thing to bear in mind is that the roads in the highlands are very twisty and car-sickness inducing for susceptible passengers, particularly small kids (*horrid childhood memories creeping back here*).
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Feb 17th, 2012, 07:04 AM
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Thanks Gordon...noted.

Do you guys know anything about the cawdor cottages (near Cowdor Castle). a friend recommended it and looks nice. Seems like a decent location too.
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