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Road Trip

Ladera Ranch...
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Road Trip

In August I will be spend five days in Edinburgh for the 2011 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Festival. Then I will pick up a rental car and travel throughout Scotland with no particular destination in mind, other than a stop in Blair Atholl. My tentative route is Inverness to Aberdeen and back to Edinburgh. I will have seven days to sightsee and enjoy the products of the vairious distilleries.

I'm open to suggestions regarding "must see" and "don't bother" places. One of the questions that I have is, since August is quite busy, will I have difficulty finding accommodations each day without making advance reservations? I didn't want to limit myself to a set itinerary in case I wanted to stay longer at a particular location or take a side trip to another spot.

My wife and I visited Edinburgh several years ago, and now that she has passed away, I will be making this trip solo. I have hotel reservations for Edinburgh, tickets ordered for the Tattoo, and the rental car reserved.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Bill

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1. Re: Road Trip

Hi Bill,

It rather depends on how much driving you want to do plus what you want to see?

Personally I prefer the Highlands, going to Scotland and not seeing Glencoe would be a shame, you could head for Fort William, from where you can visit Oban, Mallaig,Ben Nevis, even Skye. Then head off via Fort Augustus and Loch Ness to Inverness, perhaps explore the Black Isle and beyond. There are some good distilleries near Alness and Invergordon. From Inverness you could return to Edinburgh lots more distilleries around Grantown on Spey. Is there a particular reason for visiting Aberdeen? I ask because I think there is much more to see elsewhere.

If you like the sound of Fort William I can recommend the Clan McDuff Hotel, see listings on here, it's a good place to stay. Fort William itself is a bit run down (again my opinion) but a great spot for touring from. The 'Road to the Isles' is a good run out, via Glenfinnan, spectacular scenery. You could also see the white sands of Morar, which is another popular thing to do on the road to the Kyle of Lochalsh/Skye.

Although in August there will be more holidaymakers, the roads are good so you shouldn't experience too much difficulty driving, I would suggest however, booking some accommodation along the journey as this could be more of a problem.

Regards

Janice

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2. Re: Road Trip

Bill, don't take this the wrong way but i hope you are not getting behind the wheel after "enjoying the products of the various distilleries"

If you get "done" for drink driving in the UK then you will be treated just like a criminal who has committed mass murder! plus the road between Edinburgh and Inverness (A9) is the most dangerous in Scotland.

As above are you not sampling the West Highlands which by far is the most scenic, you can still see Inverness but in a loop.

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Essex
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3. Re: Road Trip

Your 'tentative' touring plan is a good one, but you need some good guidebooks and maps for Scotland. Then you need time to look through them and see what appeals to you.

After all, a MUST SEE is only one if YOU think it is!!!

If you post back though, with the kind of things that YOU want to see - Castles?? Gardens?? Scenery?? Places to go walking??

Then you are bound to get so many suggestions, that you will never fit them all in!!

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Georgia
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4. Re: Road Trip

Bill,

1st, I'm sorry for your loss.

2nd, I'm jealous, we're visiting in June and will miss the Tattoo. Next trip!

3rd, Did you say how long you will be traveling in the Highlands? That might determine what to see and where to go.

4th, good earlier point re: drinking and driving. Now 1 wee dram, you probably aren't over the limit (I say that not knowing the limit in Scotland). But 2 or 3 distilleries and/or add a connoisseur tour and you're going to be sloshed. Take a look at a map and a map of distilleries, for instance in Speyside somewhere (Dufftown, Aberlour,...) and you'll see multiple distilleries within walking distance or via bus. For example, the Balvenie and Glenfiddich are a short walk from downtown Dufftown. Check in for a night or two. BTW, both Balvenie and Glenfiddich have connoisseur tours.

Also, if you are going up A9, you can overnight in Pitlochry and walk to the Edradour and Bells Blair (I think that' the name) distilleries.

Finally, I can't comment on the West Highlands as we're skipping them altogether but everyone raves about them - next trip.

I can say that if you are interested in Castles you've got a great 1/2 dozen just east/NE of Aberdeen in the Royal Deeside area (Crathes, Drum, Frasier, Craigievar, Balmoral, Breamar, Dunnotar, why stop there..., a little further away...., HUntley, Balvenie (in Dufftown), Kildrummy, Fyvie, Glamis, Edzell....

Also nearer Inverness, along the Moray Firth coast, you've got Cawdor, Brodie and several others.

You mentioned Blair Atholl, I assume that's to see Blair Castle (a great one). Also along A9, you've got Lochleven, Scone, Falkland, Hightower, not to mention Stirling and Doune Castles.

FWIW,

Kevin

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Ladera Ranch...
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5. Re: Road Trip

Thank you all for your information and suggestions. I have three guidebooks and have been searching the internet for some time, and it boils down to the fact that there are too many things to see and do and not enough time. I will be finalizing my route over the next few weeks / months. I found out that Glenfinnan is having their Highland Games on 20 August, so I will take the train from Fort William. Thanks to Janice. Kevin, do you have any suggestions regarding accommodations in Dufftown?

Thanks again for all your input. BTW, I was told to bring insect repellant because of the midgies.

Bill

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Leeds.West Yorks.
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6. Re: Road Trip

Hi Bill

Did mean to warn you about the midges - anywhere near water on the west coast is a pest! BUT.... the VERY BEST insect repellent - is NOT an insect repellant! If you know anyone who sells Avon you must buy some 'Skin So Soft' dry body oil spray -its brilliant and smells much nicer than most repellents. Apparently it's widely used by the army! The hotel in Fort William actually sells it at their reception desk! You could probably buy it online from Avon direct or even Ebay. A friend of mine who is prone to midge bites bought a 'sonic' repellant and swears by it, it's a little gadget which emits a high pitched buzz - we can't hear it but the midges do - she swears by it. Near the visitor centre in Glenfinnan they have a much larger edition and it does appear to work.Pleased about the Glenfinnan games, the monument is a lovely sight at the edge of the loch, and the viaduct at the back of the visitor centre was used in the Harry Potter films, just a bit of Trivia! The steam train that runs from Fort William to Mallaig is a good day out and is worth doing, bit expensive but lovely scenery all the way.

Regards

Janice

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Georgia
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7. Re: Road Trip

Hi Bill,

Actually no suggestions re: Dufftown, we're only driving thru, not staying.

One suggestion. I'm sure you are checking Expedia, Hotels.com, etc.... What I found is that they only cover a small percentage of properties out there and usually the more expensive ones.

I found most of our B&B's on GoogleEarth. Turn on the hotel icon and they pop up like weeds.

Just did a quick look at Dufftown and there are at least 8 or 9 B&Bs in town and at least 3 of them less than 1/2 mile from The Balvenie and Glenfiddich distilleries if you need to stagger back.

Kevin

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8. Re: Road Trip

Highland Games is a good idea, I'm sure you will enjoy that.

If you like really scenic drives, or challenging roads, then, although this 'outwardly' is a motorcyclist website, Have a look at some of the roads that are suggested on here, to give you some 'fun' in your car also:

http://www.bestbikingroads.com/

Ladera Ranch...
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9. Re: Road Trip

Thanks, but navigating through a roundabout on the left side of the road will be adventureous enough for me.

Essex
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10. Re: Road Trip

Nah - you will have that 'taped' by the 3rd one!!