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13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

Los Angeles...
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13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

Hello,

We have one month in the UK, flying into Edinburgh and out of London. We like scenery, culture, art, wildlife, and major sights and not so much into eating or drinking. We are two people, and my Mother is a senior but fit. Is this a good itinerary for the 13 days in Scotland? Haven’t yet marked out the exact sights but seems these stops are what most people recommend.

- Edinburgh 3 nights

- Train to Glasgow 2 nights. Pick up car in Glasgow for one week rental

- Pitlochry 1 night: On way to Pitlochry, see Stirling Castle, Falkirk Wheel, Salmon ladder; Leave Pitlochry and see on way to Glen Affric: Inverness, Loch Ness

- Glen Affric 1 night: Leave Glen Affric and see on way to Portee: Eilean Donan Castle

- Portree 2 nights: Tour Skye & Walks Leave Skye on Ferry at Armadale to Maillage to drive Road to the Isles

- Glencoe or Oban 1 night: Leave Glencoe or Oban and see on way to Glasgow or Hadrian’s Wall: Loch Lomond

- Hadrian’s Wall 1 night

- Return car to Glasgow and take train to York for 2 nights

- Train to London

1. Are these the good places to stay and is it enough time in each place?

2. Are there caravan parks with cabins so you can do self-catering (like in Australia) outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh? I don’t mind preparing our dinner when we are in the countryside if can save costs and also because of a somewhat restricted diet. Or can you recommend any places to stay – not hostel/backpacker but maybe like an AirBNB, VRBO or campervan cabin.

3. Need to reserve the car ferry from Armadale to Maillag on October 2?

4. Worth driving down to Hadrian’s Wall? Should we skip Glasgow or add on a couple of days and have a shorter London trip?

5. Can you buy a train ticket with a stopover in York or do need to buy two separate tickets (Glasgow-York; York-London), which costs about the same as one Glasgow-London ticket? I studied the train ticket sites but it is a little confusing.

6. Is it worth stopping in York for 2 nights?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated…Thanks very much!

1. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

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glasgow
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2. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

It looks pretty good overall. Always best to book the Armadale ferry though it's likely at that time of year you'll be fine.

The drive south to Oban is a bit longer but you do pass some nice scenery,including Castle Stalker.You could look at somewhere in the Port Appin area to stay without going all the way to Oban itself.The town is just ok,nice outlook, but it's main attraction is as the ferry port for going on to many of the Hebridean islands.

If staying there anyway, return to Glasgow via Inveraray on Loch Fyne which I think is more scenic again than via Tyndrum.

Glencoe to Tyndrum is spectacular.

Re skipping Glasgow - depends what appeals about the city itself, in terms of your research? It has many attractions.But a day might cover them if you want to spend longer in the Highlands.An extra day on Skye or on the mainland Highlands might be more memorable.

Have only visited York twice and for the day. York Minster is fantastic; the Shambles is quaint but jam-packed; the city walls are very interesting.Others may have more knowledge of whether it deserves longer.

Hadrian's Wall around Housesteads we quite enjoyed but not to the extent we would go back again,despite our interest in the history.

glasgow
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3. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

Sorry, mean to add..Inverness in my opinion is not worth spending an awful lot of time in or at all. Loch Ness is not our most scenic loch by a long way so ditto.Glen Affric down to the end of the road is stunning.

If that frees up some time then a brief detour into the Rothiemurchus area of the Cairngorm National Park would be more worthwhile to see the lochs fringed with ancient and very beautiful Caledonian Pine Forest.

London, United...
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4. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

I would not fancy a drive from Glencoe or that general area all the way to Hadrians Wall and then back again to Glasgow as a daytrip. I would miss out Hadrians Wall and have an extra day elsewhere. Yes I would visit York as it will be completely different from the other locations you will visit.

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5. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

Thanks very much for your fast replies. Now I am thinking, should we skip Skye and go to Mull? Leave the car in Oban and take the ferry (how to get around Mull)?

What about The Road To The Isles - skip that too (that was an integral part of the Skye time)?

I've read that Inverness and Loch Ness is not the best scenery but these are the places I heard about since my childhood so I feel I just HAVE to do a drive-by and wave at Nessie!

Scotlandmac - Was just wondering what to do in the Cairngorm area so thank you for that great tip and also about driving through the Port Appin area.

Think we will stay in Hadrian's Wall for 2 nights and then return the car back to Glasgow. Tried to make a one way drop off but it nearly doubled the rental fee.

Edinburgh...
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6. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

Looks like no-one answered the caravan park part of the question - or was that what the deleted post 1 was about?

On the outskirts of Edinburgh there's Mortonhall Caravan Park mortonhall.co.uk/mortonhall/… and there's a bus service into town from nearby Frogston Road, the #11 (and the N11 hourly through the night)

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7. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

Skye and Mull are both wonderful islands, in their very different ways, but whichever you choose, you will need a car.

It would be very much better to drive on from Hadrian's Wall to York, obviously. I'm surprised the one-way hire is so much more expensive - maybe get a quote from another car hire company?

glasgow
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8. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

I think you'll have to google some images and see which most appeals.Skye has some spectacular corners (Trotternish, Black Cuillin in particular). The Road to the Isles is superb and you will see the ocean with the chance to stop off at some shell sand beaches. En route to Skye, Eilean Donan is in a wonderful setting and well worth a visit.We pass it maybe 7/8 times per year and still go 'wow'.The two main routes to and from Skye (A82/87 and A830) are magnificent for scenery just about all the way once you get past the south end of Loch Lomond.

As said, the two islands are different.

Mull is quieter, far less populated,wilder, with lovelier shores and white sand beaches - in my opinion, more beautiful overall but it doesn't have some of the sheer spectacle you will see around the Storr or Quiraing or anywhere the Cuillin come into view.

Iona is an absolute gem.Gorgeous.Stunning beaches.

You can actually 'do' the south west of Mull/Iona and possibly also Staffa/Fingal's Cave as an organised day trip from Oban where a coach picks you up at Craignure.It's a long day, great if that's all the time you've got but Mull deserves longer and you wont see the north west of it and up towards Calgary beach area.Stunning coastal scenery.

Re your interest in wildlife - there are certainly sea/golden eagles on Skye.A boat trip from Portree goes out to a nest. AquaXplore in Elgol also go out looking for dolphins and whales.

Mull, in my experience, is wildlife central. Otters and eagles a - plenty.There are also wildlife tours available on the island and a visit to the sea eagles nest is worthwhile.Boat trips also go out to the waters around Coll to see basking sharks and cetaceans.

Rothiemurchus - Loch Garten is beautiful and the RSPB Osprey reserve and hide is there too(they leave Aug/Sept).http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/l/lochgarten/

Loch an Eilean is lovely, fringed with Scots Pine and with a mountain backdrop.Nice cafe at the Rothiemurchus Centre or try The Old Bridge inn.

Edited: 01 August 2014, 10:55
Los Angeles...
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9. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

Wow, Thank you for your advice! Decided to go with Skye this time. Revised the itinerary to do a counterclockwise loop taking in some of the Wester Ross. Would you please advise what to do in these areas given that I am with my Mother in her late 70s who can do easy walks. Most of the reviews I've seen are for more challenging hikes so not sure what to do in certain places. My main question is what to see there or is it mostly scenic driving?

1. From Glasgow, rent car for 9 days and head to Pitlochry 1 night

- Drive to Cairngorms (Frank Bruce Sculpture Trail) > Culloden > Drive by Iverness > Loch Ness > Urquhart Castle (Is all this doable in a day?)

- Where to stay the second night? Go to Glen Affric (Plodda Walk)? Or skip Glen Affric and stay in Inverness?

2. Head to Ullapool – what is there to do for a day?

OR go up to Gairloch and Poolewe and then head down and stay in Torridon?

- What to see in Loch Maree?

- Drive to Applecross via Bealach na Bà and then backtrack to Eilean Donan Castle

3. Stay in Plockton (1 night) or continue to Portee (2 nights)? How long does the Castle and drive take?

4. Leave Skye on Ferry at Armadale to Maillage to drive Road to the Isles

- Glencoe 1 night: What is there to do in Glencoe?

- What is there to do in Loch Lommond?

5. Hadrian’s Wall area 2 nights: Hexham Abbey

6. Drop car back at Glasgow or continue to York if can find a decent drop fee

Thanks very much!

glasgow
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10. Re: 13 Day Itinerary - Please advise

Glasgow to Pitlochry is just under 2 hours. Stirling castle is excellent but just to make you aware of additions/alternatives. Dunkeld is a lovely wee place.Only 5 miles north of Pitlochry is stunning Blair Castle.

Your 2nd day is doable if you simply drive by the city and Loch Ness and overnight in the Glen Affric area.I'd always prefer to stay in the country rather than Inverness,though your overnight option may be Cannich which I've never been impressed with.I'm no fan of Inverness either.

I'd head for Torridon directly after that given your time limits. It is a stunning area, absolutely wonderful.I love Ullapool and around, but I think Torridon puts you in the heart of sea loch and mountain grandeur which rivals Skye easily.Quieter and wilder, yet with lovely places to eat and stay and easy level walks along the shore or along Coire Nobuil in wonderful surroundings.It's about 1.5hrs from Inverness.You can still take in Loch Maree en route with a small detour.There are trails but not sure if your mother would enjoy them as they tend to climb a bit.

Glen Torridon itself is wonderful.The easy Loch Clair walk gives grand views in peaceful solitude.

The coastal drive to Appplecross and over the Pass is stunning.The Pass itself has been voted one of the world's top 10 drives.But the drive round via Kenmore and the ocean is out of this world too.Give yourself time to simply drink it all in.Sand beach offers a lovely short walk.

Eilean Donan is about a 15mins detour but time there depends on whether you do the tour.The setting and location are the best thing which might take 30mins to enjoy.Don't miss the War Memorial inscription.My husband is a history buff , very knowledgeable and cringed throughout the tour re.the inaccuracies.I found it quite entertaining! Excellent shop.

Plockton is a good place to stay,very pretty with stroll along the bay opportunities.

Skye is big and its best bits well spread out.It's about half an hour from the the Bridge to Sligachan and a further 25mins approx to reach the Storr.Think what you want to see on the island.The Glen Brittle road brings you close up to the Black Cuillin and offers an easy stroll along the beach if it's nice or stroll a short way along the big track that goes out to Rubh'an Dunan.

A stroll to see Camusdarach beach south of Mallaig is worthwhile. Glencoe is superb but primarily a walking area.Perhaps adding an extra night in Torridon or Skye would be better.From Mallaig, it's at least 4hours to Glasgow without stops.

Loch Lomond....drive past it,mostly! Boat trips possible. Luss village is pretty though touristy but gets you beside the loch if you want a stop.

Come back if you decide on Ullapool anyway and Glencoe as an overnight as I've gone on too long already with this reply! The problem is always what to leave out. I still find that difficult with our own trips,despite how many times we've seen it all!