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Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

Levittown, New York
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Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

So my boyfriend and I have never been to Scotland, and only have 3 days to really enjoy it while we're there (February 21-24). Because of that we have really packed a lot into our trip.

Thursday 10am - arrive & pick up rental car. Drive to Eidenburgh. Spend day light hours in the city, then drive to A Taste of Speyside for 8pm dinner (passing through St. Andrews & Aberdeen along the way) and staying at the Craigellachie Hotel.

Friday - 10am tour at Balvenie, 2pm tour at Cardhu, then spend the afternoon / dinner in Loch Ness and spend the night in Isles of Skye.

Saturday - Spend the bulk of the day in Isles of Skye then drive back to Glasgow for the evening where we will stay and prepare for our flight home the next morning.

First, because we have never been there, is it possible to get to Isles of Skye at all times of the day via the bridge? Secondly, given our short amount of time, is it better to go directly from Eidenburgh to Speyside without passing through Aberdeen? I was unsure of which would be a more scenic route.

Any suggestions are welcome! I know we are trying to cram a lot in, but I do not know when we will have a chance to come back!

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1. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

Way too much.

Where do you land? Is it Glasgow?

If so and you land at 10 you're not going to be in Edinburgh (note the spelling) till after 12.

I have no idea where A taste of Speyside is, but if you intend going to it via Aberdeen (why?) then you will have no time at all in Edinburgh.If you have dinner booked near Loch Ness you won't get on the road to Skye (there is only one island named Skye) till very late.

You can cross the bridge at any time.

The drive back from Skye will take you 5 hours so if you want to be back in Glasgow for the evening you will need to leave Skye by approximately 2pm.

You can't see much of Skye in one morning. It's a large island.

Where have you actually booked accommodation? I would forget everywhere else. If you haven't booked yet, I'd pick either Edinburgh, Skye or the Loch Ness area and head straight there for your 3 days

Glasgow, United...
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2. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

The Craigellachie hotel is a good three hour drive from Edinburgh without any detours so you will have little time to see Edinburgh, never mind Aberdeen and St Andrews.

"I know we are trying to cram a lot in, but I do not know when we will have a chance to come back!"

You are currently attempting the impossible.

Levittown, New York
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3. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

I understand it will be a lot of driving. My boyfriend really wants to go to the distilleries in Speyside. Where should we cut back? I would really like to go to Isles of Skye - but can you get the full feel of the quairing, man of storr and fairy ponds in February? I want to maximize our time.

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4. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

If it were me, I'd spend the first two days in Edinburgh, have a day trip out into the countryside on the Sunday and explore Glasgow on the Monday.

Edited: 27 January 2013, 16:06
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5. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

It's the Isle of Skye - singular.

It's not only a lot of driving, it's too much driving.

With the time you have available in your itinerary you can't get to the Quiraing etc. It's a big island.

You could head straight from Glasgow to Skye and stay there for longer. There is a distillery on Skye

Levittown, New York
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6. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

Interesting, Google has it listed on the map as "Isles" of Skye. Good to know.

I suppose Skye is out of the question then. I suppose we will spend our time in Speyside Thursday to Friday, Eidenburgh Friday to Saturday, and head back to Glasgow Saturday night.

Thank you.

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7. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

"Interesting, Google has it listed on the map as "Isles" of Skye. "

So it does - how very remiss of them.

There are distilleries a lot closer than Speyside.

And it is Edinburgh ( and Google agrees)

Dundee, United...
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8. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

I'm sorry to be blunt, but your itinerary is bordering on insane! You have to appreciate that in many rural Highland areas the roads are at best windy and slow and are sometimes single track with sheep wandering in the middle of the road - your average speed could easily be 30mph. I guess you're not flying in directly from the US, but if you are you also have to factor in jetlag and unfamiliarity with the roads/vehicle/driving on the left, which tbh could turn an ambitious itinerary into a dangerous one.

Even trying to see Speyside and Edinburgh is pushing it, considering the relative lack of daylight in February and that it takes about 3h on a notoriously dangerous road to get to Speyside from the central belt. Wirewiper makes a very sensible suggestion - Don't bother with a car, stay in Edinburgh or Glasgow and take a day trip from one of these cities to the Highlands/distilleries with someone like rabbies (www.rabbies.com). I don't know about Edinburgh, but there are distilleries v close to Glasgow - Auchentoshan (about 20 mins from Glasgow airport!) and Glengoyne.

Edited: 27 January 2013, 19:52
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9. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

Further responses may depend on whether you have already booked venues like A taste of Speyside (restaurant in Dufftown?) or whether you are totally flexible with arrangements. You mention very specific times, suggesting you're already booked.

So let's assume speyside is a must, and the rest is the icing on the cake?

I'd say you don't have time to drive through St Andrews and Aberdeen; lovely as the Fife coast can be you have too little time to do it justice.

Likewise as others have said Skye is a big island and needs a couple of days to do it any justice.

Going North:

The quickest way to Craigellachie/Dufftown would be from Edinburgh - via Perth - Aviemore - Grantown on Spey. I reckon that's about 3 1/2 hours driving, and it's mostly motorways or good roads. 3 hours? that's pushing it.

The scenic way would be Edinburgh - via Perth - Blairgowrie - Braemar - Tomintoul. This is about 4 hours, the roads take you past 2 ski areas, you climb to 2000 feet which may not sound a lot but this is Wintertime in Scotland and on roads which are therefore sometimes disrupted by snow. It could therefore take longer or be impassable if the winds blow snow onto the higher roads.

Even the A9 (Perth - Aviemore) can have snow problems if you hit heavy cold weather. And recent but luckily rare weather has seen roads closing in Aberdeenshire as well ...

The long way round (via Aberdeen), takes about 4 hours, or 4 1/2 via St Andrews

These are just travel times; they don't include necessary travel breaks nor do they include any of the nice places you should be stopping at. Just to give you an example, if you include St Andrews you really should include Falkland palace and the fishing villages of the East Neuk of Fife ... in which case that's now a full day to get to Dufftown/Craigellachie.

Use http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk to find places worth visiting; use www.theaa.com/route-planner/index.jsp… to work out reasonably accurate journey times (more accurate than google)

If you're leaving Edinburgh at lunchtime and are eating a meal in Dufftown at 8, the arithmetic speaks for itself.

Levittown, New York
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10. Re: Hectic Itinerary - Can someone help?

Thank you. This is perfect. My boyfriend really had his heart set on Balvenie & Cardhu, and so we made reservations already. I appreciate your ability to respond without being condescending. I think we will stick to Speyside and Edinburgh on this trip, and save the rest for our trip back.