Solo in Scotland 10/27-11/4

Sep 10th, 2007, 11:20 AM
  #1  
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Solo in Scotland 10/27-11/4

After being a voyeur for a few months, it's time for me to ask for help: I'm landing in Edinburgh on 10/27 and departing on 11/4. I've been dared to take the trip and not plan a thing, and I am incapable of doing so. I like castles and scotch, Skye sounds interesting, and it seems that loch ness is ok to miss. So, there you have it. I'm female traveling solo and wouldn't mind hitting a session or 2 in a pub. Thanks in advance for your ideas!
cidergal is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 11:30 AM
  #2  
 
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Scotland is the best place imo for scotch and castles Will you be hiring a car or relying on public transport? I think this will impact the advice you are given.
mancfi is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 11:41 AM
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i traveled around Scotland solo some years ago and had a wonderful time. If you rent a car, it's good to know that driving to Loch Ness takes alot longer than it looks on a map. I stayed in hostels, (Scotland has some of the most beautiful hostels- one was on an Estate at Loch Lommond. Stained gass windows, huge marble and oak-carved fireplaces and so forth. This was nice because I met very interesting people, including a couple (one of them was a college professor) who were traveling around camping out in Stone Circles.
Try haggis. (I actually liked it) But have a scotch at the same time. And do take care not to drink and drive! Good travels to you.




Alloro_beata is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 05:53 PM
  #4  
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I'm wide open - I thought of staying in Edinburgh and day-tripping from there, but that seemed too limiting. I'm up for hiring a car. perhaps a combo of the two with the first weekend in Edinburgh and the balance on the road?

Dumb question about hostels - I thought they were only for the under 25 set, not true? B&B's and maybe one night in a castle were my thoughts.

(I'm leaving the US so that a significant birthday won't really happen ;-}
cidergal is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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Hi, I traveled solo in Scotland about 6-7 years ago and had a great time. I got around by rail and bus. I find a rail pass to be really convenient--just hop on and off wherever you want to go. I liked the people I met, esp. important when you are traveling alone, I feel. Day trips from Edinburgh are a good idea--I took several excursions offered by local companies --check with the TI for info. But, I actually stayed in Sterling-it was cheaper and a quick train trip to either Edinbourough or Glasgow. I loved Skye--but I'm not sure of the weather in late Oct. I also liked St. Andrew's and Argyll. I took an overnight trip on a cargo ship from Inverness to the Orkney Islands--they just couldn't figure out what this crazy American tourist was up to, but it was a great trip, although, again somewhat weather dependent. One final thought, is that York in England isn't all that far away, and if you've never been there, is certainly worth it. Hope this helps
Libby123 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 06:36 PM
  #6  
twk
 
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I'm sure the resident Scotland experts will give you some excellent suggestions when they get around to this thread, but having just been last June, I'll offer my two cents:

First, given when you are traveling, you need to keep in mind that days will be shorter, and opening hours will often be shorter as well. Some accomodations and even sights might be closed at that time of year (although not too many, I would think). All that considered, it seems to me that time of year points more toward urban sites than rural.

If you really want to go to Skye (and it is a great destination) you might consider taking the train through Inverness to Kyle, then renting a car there from one of the local outfits. But, keep in mind that you can't do a one way rental with these folks.

I really like Argyll and Inveraray. If you wanted a feasible drive from Edinburgh, you could go to Inveraray through Stirling (and see the castle then) and base yourself in Inveraray or Oban for some sightseeing in that area (you could see Mull & Iona, and even Glen Coe using either Inveraray or Oban as a base).

With only 8 days and shorter daylight hours, you're going to have to be a little bit choosy.
twk is offline  
Sep 10th, 2007, 07:19 PM
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I was in my 40s when I hosteled, and met people of dofferent ages, even though the majority were young.
Alloro_beata is offline  
Sep 11th, 2007, 02:09 AM
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Hi there cidergal, I hope you have a good trip.

What time do you fly in, and are you coming direct from the States?

I would probably suggest that you spend what's left of Saturday and Sunday in Edinburgh.

If you're going to take a trip, I would suggest you have 2 choices. Either hire, in which case you'll have much more flexibility, or take one of the longer trips (3 days is what I have in mind) with one of the mini-bus tour companies- Rabbie's, Timberbush, Haggis or Wild in Scotland. With them you don't have to drive, you get good interpretation, and I understand they offer a range of different types of accommodation at each stop. Because of eth style, the groups are smaller and younger, but that's no bad thing.

So you're back in Edinburgh, say Wednesday night.

Take a day trip to Glasgow by train, spend another day in Edinburgh, and then take a day trip to St Andrews by train and bus.

You should pick up a distillery on your trip to Skye (Talisker), but you should also consider finding a tasting-maybe at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society or at one of the specialist shops or hotels.

I'll come back to castles

sheila is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 12:37 PM
  #9  
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I didn't even think about the shorter days - what an eegit! I land in Edinburra @ 10 AM on Saturday. Does it make sense to jump on a train north, hire a car and zig-zag my way south? I'm sure Saturday will be somewhat of a fog due to jet lag...
cidergal is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 12:51 PM
  #10  
twk
 
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I think I'd spend whatever time you want to devote to Edinburgh at the front end of the trip.

Your rental locations up north, for a one way rental, would pretty much be limited to Inverness (you can rent cars at Skye or Fort William, but they aren't national rental chains and can only be used for local rentals). So if you wanted, you could take the train to Inverness, and make your way back to Edinburgh over the course of a few days, but I don't think I'd start the trip with that journey.
twk is offline  
Sep 12th, 2007, 01:20 PM
  #11  
 
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I'm sure, with the jetlag and all, you'd be better to stay put over the weekend.

then head out
sheila is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 03:04 PM
  #12  
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OK Edinburgh for the first weekend. Thursday night I want to do something special - an amazing meal followed by pub and (do they say 'craic' in Scotland?)... and castles and some night life. Am I being too greedy?
cidergal is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 03:13 PM
  #13  
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oh, accommodation recommendations in Edinburra?
cidergal is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 05:24 PM
  #14  
RTT
 
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Try The Conifers a nice B & B on Pilrig (sp)St. (Just off Lilith Road)They have a website. It's on the # 11 bus route that takes u up to Princes St( about a 5-7 minute ride) and the hub of everything.
Don't miss the Jolly Judge a really great little pub located just down from the castle but hidden off a small alleyway so there's not a lot of tourist traffic. The Edinburgh tour buses stop on the street near the pub. Just look for the sign. I think they have a website as well.
Have fun,
RTT
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Sep 13th, 2007, 05:35 PM
  #15  
RTT
 
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cidergal:
I found my info on the Conifers B&B. www.conifersguesthouse.com. 56 Pilrig St, Edinburgh.
Look for the shingle hanging on St James Court pointing down thw alleyway to the Jolly Judge.
Thanks,
RTT
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Sep 15th, 2007, 10:33 AM
  #16  
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RTT,
Thanks for the rec - I'm booked in there for the weekend!
Cidergal
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