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First Time Scotland Adventure

NYC, USA
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First Time Scotland Adventure

I'm traveling to Scotland for the first time at the beginning of November for a friend's wedding. We'll be in Edinburgh for four days for the ceremony and surrounding activities - then its every man for himself. I've gathered a few friends and talked them into renting a car to do some touring. So far, our only concrete plans are a post-wedding reunion of sorts in Oban for two nights.

I was thinking of doing a day in Glasgow - home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Then driving up to Oban to meet the other folks. I know Loch Lomond is in between, what's the best route to take - and by that I mean the most fun/interesting/picturesque, not the fastest? Are there any ferries still running at this time of year? - we love ferries.

After Oban, we've got two more days before we have to be back in Edinburgh to catch our flight out and no concrete plans. We're all fairly oddball travelers who prefer the unique as opposed to the 'overrun with other tourists'. I'd appreciate any input at all. We're still pondering the 'Monty Python' castle route vs the 'Sure to see Nessie this time' tour vs the 'follow only signs for places you've never heard of and hope to find somewhere to sleep' package.

Thanks so much.

Scotland
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for Scotland
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1. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

Hi

in a bit of a rush right now but will come back to you. However, take a look at this

www.calmac.co.uk

It has all the ferry routes you need, including winter timetables.

Edinburgh, United...
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2. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

From Oban how about taking the ferry to Islay ,lots of whisky distilleries to visit there as well as a very unusual church in Bowmore and the Kildonan cross ( an Ancient Celtic stone cross) on the very north east of the Island.you coulsd also take the very short hop fro Islay to the Isle of Jura as well.

Edinburgh, United...
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3. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

TGW we are doing it again.

NYC, USA
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4. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

I've got one person who REALLY wants to go to Loch Ness - so barring any better ideas, here's our tentative plan:

Drive from Edinburgh to Glasgow - see the sights, stay the night

Drive from Glasgow to Oban - maybe crossing at Dunoon or Hunter's Quay to take A815. Visit the distillery if possible. Stay the night in Oban.

Ferry to the Isle of Mull - Ferry back, Stay the night in Oban.

Drive from Oban to Loch Ness. Stay - I don't know where and see - I don't know what.

Drive from Loch Ness back to Edinburgh - maybe stop in Stirling on the way down.

Any suggestions or warnings for us? We'd appreciate the input.

Thanks for the ferry link TGW - the winter schedule is a good reality check for our boundless enthusiasm.

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

Another reality check is the fact that several roads are single track (indicated by hatched lines on maps) and the daylight hours are fewer in November (dark at 4pm).

Going to Oban via the A815 will mean you miss Loch Lomond, although it is a pretty route in itself and Inverary is a lovely town.

By going north to Loch Ness, you are also in danger of missing Glen Coe, which would be a great shame.

I would suggest omit Loch Ness - buy your friend a postcard of Loch Ness - it will be a good view and they would have about the same chance of seeing Nessie as they would if they went there.

When in Mull, Iona is well worth a visit, but if you are only there for a day, time may be tight.

see -

www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk for places, sights, advice on roads, etc.

Shrewsbury
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6. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

Never understood the appeal of Loch Ness. Its main attraction seems to be a non-existent "monster". Scenically it's hardly the best of the Highland. Why not stay overnight in Tobermory, rather than return to Oban? This would give you time to get to Iona as already suggested without being rushed. You could then get the ferry across to Kilchoan, take a short side trip to Ardnamurchan Point and then work your way across through Strontian and up to Glencoe?

Hampshire, United...
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7. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

Tell your friend the loch Ness monster migrates to Loch Lomond for the winter, so s/he should look for it there, and to look for wild haggis in Glen Coe ;-)

Glasgow, United...
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8. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

Sounds a good trip.

I'd definitely suggest Islay or Glencoe over Loch Ness. I think Loch Ness seems to have a much bigger fan club outside of Scotland than it does here - it is just so big that it doesn't really have the appeal of smaller lochs.

Maybe I'm just bitter and twisted because I spent many childhood journeys driving home past its banks looking out for elusive monsters, but I think you could definitely do better. (Sorry, Nessie!)

If you want another idea for after Oban, how about driving to Fort William and taking the train to Mallaig and back - stunning scenery and a nice restful day on the train (with options for a good lunch in Mallaig).

Edinburgh, United...
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9. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

see this site for all your Haggis Hunting info.

www.flyinghaggis.co.uk/haggis/hunting.htm

go get them partner!

Scotland
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10. Re: First Time Scotland Adventure

I think that given the time of year and short daylight hours your plans are a bit ambitious. You could end up spending all your daylight hours in the car just getting from A to B and having no time to enjoy the experience.

You can do Glasgow in a day very easily by train from Edinburgh. You could then drive from Edinburgh to Oban via the Trossachs. If you head up the M9 from Edinburgh you can be at Doune Castle (Monty Python & the Holy Grail) in an hour. Then press on either north or south of Loch Lomond to Oban. Either route would be very scenic.

I would spend a night on Mull and visit Iona. Its truly magical and you will never forget it. If you have any time left the mainland between Oban and Fort william is stunning. Someone else mentioned the railway journey to Mallaig. Its supposed to be one of the top railway journeys in the world.

I would forget about Loch Ness on this trip.

Good luck with your planning.