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Your Thoughts on Fodor's Scotland Itinerary?

Your Thoughts on Fodor's Scotland Itinerary?

Aug 17th, 2014, 12:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,283
Your Thoughts on Fodor's Scotland Itinerary?

Was looking at the Fodor's Scotland guide and saw their suggested itinerary.


Your thoughts? We would probably flesh it out a little and perhaps add a few days in London first but I thought I would see what you Scotland lovers/frequent travelers thought of this as a basic itinerary.
patandhank is offline  
Aug 17th, 2014, 01:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,085
Not good IMO.

Lots of issues -- but mainly it is one of those hours and hours in the car every day and mostly one night stands.

It is obvious the writer has taken the google/AA/you plug in the name of whichever mileage calculator and repeated the drive times. Except for maybe Edinburgh>Stirling>St Andrews, every one of the drives would take significantly longer.

Then there is the silliness of day 5 -- they have you driving fro St Andrews to Inverness via Blair Athol on day 4 and then the very next day suggest you drive back SE to visit Balmoral and the Castle Trail. That is nutty. (If one wants to visit the Castle Trail/Balmoral/Deeside -- it can be done enroute St Andrews to I'ness w/o huge backtracking)

I love it (not) -- they hint that one could play a round on the Old Course in the morning, Blair Castle in the afternoon, and Inverness for dinner -- while crossing half of Scotland. Say 3.5-4 hours for the golf, 2 hrs at the castle and 4-4.5 hours for the drive . . .

And the Inverness/Skye bit . . The drive from I'ness to Portree takes about 3 hours plus stops -- so in real life about 6 hours. And they want you to leave Skye by 9AM at the latest the next morning???

Talk about a forced march.

Basically it is a 5 or 6 hours in the car every day sort of itinerary and very little time AT any place.
janisj is offline  
Aug 17th, 2014, 02:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,202
Greetings Pat and Hank.
We did Scotland On A Skateboard. By which I mean, we had a good time but didn't dawdle as we only had 7 nights total. I wouldn't go faster than we did. We also went in clockwise direction, i.e. the opposite direction from Fodors. We skipped Glasgow this trip.

Edinburgh - 3 nights (we arrived late in Edinburgh so this gave us 2 full days, enough for a first visit IMO.)

Car pickup. Edinburgh to Glencoe (not Oban) - 1 night. After our night in Glencoe:

A peek at the Glencoe visitor centre and a stroll, then detour to Glenfinnan, then back through Fort William to a BandB near Skye bridge and Eilean Donan castle - 1 night (you could take the ferry from Mallaig instead but I hate having to be on time for ferry departures. )

Inverness - 1 (First 2/3 of day getting an impression of Skye's mountains. Since that was what our brief trip permitted, we were happy enough. You want to see the whole island, you will need more time. Arrived in Inverness in time to relax before dinner.

As we spent only 1 night and the following morning in Inverness, we skipped castle viewing (but we've seen other castles), but we did take in Culloden before heading via a quick stop near Blair Castle to
Crieff - 1.

We headed for Edinburgh airport the next morning, dropped off our car, and flew to London that afternoon. For us to see Stirling castle and St.Andrews, we'd have needed an extra night or two for St. Andrews, and we'd have stayed in Stirling instead of Crieff.
Sue_xx_yy is online now  
Aug 17th, 2014, 03:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 761
I'm with janisj on this one. Strikes me it is a race against time, a tourist tick list, or the worst sort of escourted tour where you scamper round at top speed without time to relax and enjoy a place.

I gave a hollow laugh at their advice "Don't visit too many sights or your day may become a forced march; two to three castles or distilleries is a good number." Depends what they mean by castles. If ruined, then yes you can manage two or three in a day, but not if they are the 'stately' home type which take considerably longer to visit and enjoy. It also depends on how far you are driving that day.

I would also dispute some of their suggestions of places to visit, particuarly from Inverness. I wouldn't rate Kildrummy castle as the best to visit,especially as it is a round trip of 15o miles and four hours in the car. The gardens of Castle Fraser are nothing special and do not merit a two and a half hour drive to get there (plus another two and a half hours back). We weren't over impressed by the Castle either and the tea room is very poor. If you do visit, make sure there isn't a wedding reception that day as part of the castle will be closed. Much better are Pitmedden Gardens which are slightly closer. Closer still is Cawdor Castle which has lovely gardens in August/September. If you want a really good stately home then Ballindalloch Castle is definitely worth visiting and it has an excellent tea room with the cheapest cakes in the Highlands. Even so, this is still a two hour+ round trip.

The ideas for day 6 also leave a lot to be desired. If you are going to Glen Brittle then you need to find the pools which means a walk (and TIME!)

There doesn't seem to be any allowance for refreshment breaks or to just stop and enjoy the scenery. Long days in the car and one nighters do not make for a relaxed holiday.

Over all verdict - 'Could do better'.

Scrap this. Get yourself a good guide book with lots of pictures (DK Eyewitness is the best) and also spend some time on the Undiscovered Scotland Web site which has loads of information and pictures. I use this for planning all our holidays in Scotland.
ESW is offline  
Aug 17th, 2014, 05:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,283
Thanks everyone! I appreciate the comments. We plan on a 2 week trip which may or may not include London. Sounds like I need to do a little more reading as you all suggest.
patandhank is offline  
Aug 17th, 2014, 11:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,190
I too agree with Janisj,looks like the person that wrote that intinary has never actually done it.
My suggestion would be for you to look at guide books and decide the things you want to see than build an intinary around that. This company
can help you work out a route for a small fee.
unclegus is offline  
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