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Train vs Car, what do you think?

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Train vs Car, what do you think?

Four of us are going to be in Scotland for two weeks. We are going to rent a car, but the question is when & where. We are starting in Glasgow, then Isle of Skye, next Inverness, then to Aberdeen, next Perth, and finally Edinburg. Do we want to take the train from Glasgow to Fort Williams and then rent a car for a week with a drop off at Inverness. Then take the train from Inverness to Aberdeen and rent a car in aberdeen with a drop off at Edinburg. Or do we rent a car in Glasgow and travel around for the whole two weeks using the Car, with a drop off in Edinburg. I quess the real questions is, are the two train ride listed worth the hassel of renting two different cars with probably additional cost for drop off charges. Please give me your option, or maybe an additional option. Thank you for taking time to answer my questions - Jack

Airdrie, United...
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1. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?


Sounds like you are doing a coach tour and that may be an option on how you get to see the places you intend to visit.


May have something to interest you, Failing that I would do it by rental car and keep the car for the duration, that way you will have the freedom to go where your mood takes you.

If you want to avoid one way rental charges with the car; Glasgow and Edinburgh have excellent rail links.


New York City, New...
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2. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

You definitely should not drop off the car just to pick up another in Aberdeen. Are you eager to take a train ride? I would rent a car after you time in Glasgow and then drop it off in Edinburgh. Make sure you get a big enough car. Four adults with luggage will overflow a compact. The drives are beautiful. Pam

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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3. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

I just heard the views from the train were very nice. We are taking the Jacobite train to Mallaig for our visit to Skype. Thank you for your responses. Jack

Manchester, United...
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4. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

If you are definitely committed to travelling on the Jacobite as a way to get to Skye, then that seems to rule out using a car for the entire trip, as you would have left it behind in Fort William.

However, you really need a car on Skye, and the big rental chains don't have branches there, so you will not be able to travel that far by train then pick up a one way hire on Skye and drop it off somewhere else.

Personally I'd recommend using a car for the entire trip. If you must ride on the Jacobite, do the day return to Mallaig from Fort William and then continue in your car. The train rides are very scenic, but so are the roads!

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5. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

If you drive along "Road to the Isles" from Fort William to Mallaig the scenery is amazing and it runs along the railway at least some of the way.

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6. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

i would definitely take the car option; true the train option is relaxing and there are some great routes but you lose flevibility and time changing over etc..

Here is a great route fro Glasgow to Inverness

leave Glasgow on the M8 headed west for Greenock

soon after Glasgow Airport pick up signs for Erskine Bridge whereby cross the Clyde and get great views of what is in store

pick up the A82 and progress via the banks of Loch Lomond. Crianlarich, Glencoe and Ballachulish to FOrt WIlliam

Now pick up signs for Mallaig where make the short ferry crossing to Skye

Spend a day or 2 on Skye then cross by bridge to the mainland at Kyle of Lochalsh

Now drive about 10 miles east so as to see Eileen Donan castle. Then retrace your steps for a couple of miles and head north again to LochCarron

Drive all round the Loch headed for Torridon but leave the 'main road' to take the mountian pass route to Applecross (where there is a great inn serving food from noon till 9)

hug the coast from Applecross to rejoin the road at Shieldaig which also has good places to eat - as does Torridon a little further on

At tTorridon take the detour along the north bank of Loch Torridon to Diabaig

Then on to Kinlochewe - depending on time either turn right and reach Inverness via Achnasheen

But if you have enough time go left via Badarcho (good inn_) and Poolewe to Ullapool then back to Inverness

If you now go ahead with your plan of visitin Aberdeen and Perth be sure to build in time to detout thry Fife to see St Andrews and some od the East Neuk fishing villages

BUT personally id stay io the west as that is where the top scenery is

From inverness you could drop back down to Fort Willioam via Loch Ness then continue on to Oban (visit Mull and Iona if time)

From Oban reach Loch Lomond via Inverary and the rest-and-be-thankful

After Loch Lomond head for Stirling, Calendar and the Trossachs and on to Edinburgh

have a great time!!

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

Great responses!! I guess I will be taking the car the entire trip. Thank you for all your help, Jack

Madison WI
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8. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

Jack, have vacationed in the Highlands in 2001 07 and 08 (and we'd better get back in 2010!) and we never rented a car because we enjoyed the trains, ferries and buses and had great luck with them. Ours was quite a bit different situation from yours in that we rented cottages for the week which allowed us a base from which to explore without dragging our luggage along. Since you're covering a lot of ground you'll likely find a car handy and the experts advice here sounds right on. From a fellow Badger, have a great time; wish we were there! David

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9. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

The West Highland railway line is truly awesome and offers views you just won't get from the car.

10. Re: Train vs Car, what do you think?

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