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Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

Florida
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Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

We are about 12 days away from our fsmily trip wherein we will arrive at, and depart from, Edinburgh, and in between, over the course of 8 days, see as many sights around the country as we can reasonably take in. I have never been this excited about a trip (first time outside the U.S., for one thing). Adding to my excitement is the fact that everyone I talk to who has been to Scotland tells me it is the most beautiful place they have ever visited, and the people are among the friendliest on earth. Am I in for any disappointment or is it truly as wonderful as I have read, heard and seen? For instance, is there a big Jumbo-Mart super retail center cropped just outside the frame of all of the awe-inspiring Eilean Donan photos?

Glasgow
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11. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

Only you will know, in time, if the reality matched the expectations.

Scotland has much beauty to commended it and also some unspeakable ugliness visited upon it by planners, developers and people who just don't care.

When the weather is nice it can be truly awe inspiring, but when you are in the middle of no-where with the rain lashing down and nothing open to visit or get a bite to eat or drink then it can seem the loneliest place on earth.

Some extremes above, but what you get will hopefully be towards the pleasant end.

Many people are friendly and will chat away to you for no apparent reason, just wishing to be nice and pass the time of day.

Of course you will meet some people you wish you have never encountered.

We do not all exist in some historical, mythical vacuum and Scotland is a vibrant modern country, but it has strong roots which help make us what we are.

Enjoy your holiday/vacation and keep asking questions.

scotland
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12. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

hi

last year we (wife and i, early 50s) spent 10 days in florida (our 11th visit t the US) between st Petes beach and turtle bay off sarasota

we also had a week in the boathouse of the Torridon Hotel (go on look it up!!)

Florida is amazing and the weather is great but its all reclaimed swamp i guess so 10 out of 10 for mans ingenuity

In Scotland man hasnt rally had to be involved much, its pretty much perfect already - ok it rains most days but its dry most days as well and you have wall-to-wall good weather in florida so yo uwont mind a change....

my wife would love to live in florida and i love it for a vacation but if i had to choose between florida and wester ross(see below) i wouldnt need 2 seconds to make up my mind

have a wonderful trip !!!

When people talk about how beautiful Scotland is, names like Glencoe, Loch Lomond, Pitlochry and the Trossachs crop up.

These places are all great but if you get to the Eileen Donan castle you are on the very edge of even greater wonders

so i would urge you to visit he castle and have a few days in hand so as to do othe following

just before the castle take the detour to Glenelg

cross to Skye and spend a couple of days there

return to kyle of Lochalsh and take the route via Plocton(good spot for lunch) to Loch Carron

drive all round Lochcaron and continue on to Torridon

but soon leave the 'main' road and take the mountain path to Applecross - a great place for an overnight stop

continue by the coast route to Shieldaig - another lovely village with good pub and restaurant

continue on to Torridon - do take the dead end detour to diabeig alonf the northern bank of Loch Torridon

from Torridon go on to Kinlochewe - if short of time go right and get to inverness

better, turn left and make for Badachro for lunch. Poolewe for the gardens and on to Ullapool

THe roads in this area are narrow and a big car can be a liability - a good powered small car is ideal

BUT in the area i have been describimng the roads are quiet, the distances not vast so even at a leisurely pace you make reasonable progress

and being in the car is nearly always a delight - the scenery is spectacular

if yo uare fit get out and walk too of course

you want to bring stout shoes waterproof clothing and something to keep the midges away

let me know if anything else occurs to you

Edinburgh, United...
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13. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

Beeble100's touring suggestions are spot on - you couldn't fail to be captivated by some of the most beautiful scenery to be found anywhere if you follow his advice (which I urge you to do). Keep an open mind, and stay relaxed about the less than perfect weather, and you're sure to have a wonderful time.

New York City, New...
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14. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

Don't be afraid to try the wee roads that are mentioned above. The scenery is wonderful, but goes up a notch when you go to some of these less traveled places. Pam

Manchester, United...
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15. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

Pam writes: 'Don't be afraid to try the wee roads that are mentioned above'.

Whilst that may be good advice for some people, I note that this is your first trip outside the US, so this will be your first experience of driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. And maybe you are not used to a manual gearbox? And the narrow twisty mountain roads in the more remote parts of Scotland are quite challenging, even for UK drivers. Just something to be aware of - if you are supremely comfident and experienced drivers you should be OK.

Btw, re beeble's warning about midges, you should not get those in April - it is too early in the season.

Edinburgh, United...
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16. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

Footnoted,

Don't be discouraged from driving these narrow country roads. "Supreme confidence" isn't necessary - just caution and common sense. Many of the roads are single track, but those roads have frequent pull-over bays to allow approaching cars to pass each other. The locals often drive these roads fast and with "supreme confidence" but everyone else takes them slowly and enjoys the scenery. If you do the same you'll be fine.

Angus

Manchester, United...
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17. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/630167

Scotland
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18. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

I'm with Dhmellor on this. I've been driving for donkey's years but I get quite anxious on the road to the Glenelg ferry.

The last time I admitted this on TA I was ridiculed, but hey, I'm thick skinned!

Edinburgh, United...
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19. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

Agreed - if Footnoted is a learner driver or towing a caravan then I wouldn't recommend the road to Applecross (which is the highest tarmaced road in the UK, so not entirely typical). We welcome hundreds of visitors from the US every year (we have a guest house), many of whom are driving on Scottish roads for the first time. We encourage our guests to try out the smaller country roads for the reasons Pam suggested -the opportunity to see fantastic scenery and find special places off the beaten track. So while I acknowledge that extra care should be taken on these roads, I would also say that, provided you are aware of the need to drive with caution and attention, don't forego the opportunity to find some of the best places in Scotland. And bear in mind there is usually little traffic on these smaller roads.

Edinburgh, United...
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20. Re: Am I overestimating how awesome our Scotland trip will be?

Footnoted, the trick with single track roads is to look ahead to see if anyone is coming the other way between the next passing place and the one after that. In this case, stop at your passing place to let him pass. Saves having to reverse.

If you can't see that far ahead, slow right down so you can stop on the instance, Other than that, it's nice to drive slowly to soak up the scenery.

One other thing. Make sure to go back to the left hand side when you rejoin a two lane highway.