We will be visiting Scotland in late July. We will have a few days outside of Edinburgh (civilization), then about a week in the highlands and Skye (scenery), then returning to Edinburgh for the Tattoo and festival (fun!). I have become a big fan of Peter Irvines's guidebook "Scotland the Best" and will reference his check (√) system in this question. Basically I think entering one or two of each (castle, manor house, and ruin) will be plenty, in addition to others we will view from the outside.
Leaving the Lake district early, we will spend the morning at Hadrians wall near Houseteads and Once Brewed. We will drive to a Border Abbey town to spend the night. #1, Would you suggest a visit to Jedburgh√√, Dryburgh√, or Melrose? Maybe tour Jedburgh and since Dryburgh looks the most evocative, spend the night there for moonlight walks or views?
We will spend the next day sightseeing on our way to St. Andrews. The Tweed valley looks like a picturesque route. Later we may stop at Rosslyn Chapel√√√. #2, With time for another stop would you suggest Linlithgow Palace√√√ or Traquair House√√? Although highly rated, the former is another ruin but probably very different than the abbeys. Our other manor house option would be Falkland Palace√√ the following day. #3, tough question....Linlithgow, Traquair or Falkland…or, best two of the three??
We do have the next full day to wander around St. Andrews and probably go no farther than a couple of the East Neuk villages and coastal walk.
Finally we will leave St. Andrews early to go to the Airth Highland Games. I think the morning would be enough time there, as there are mainly track events in the afternoon. We have reservations in Stirling that night, but would like to go by the Falkirk Wheel after the games. Would that give us enough time to visit Stirling Castle in the late afternoon? #3, Would you suggest Stirling Castle√√√ as well as Edinburgh Castle√√√ (later in our trip)??
Thank you in advance for help with those four days. I realize a lot will depend on the weather and how ambitious we feel each day. I do like a to have an optimum plan in mind, however!