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First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

Birmingham, AL
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First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

I've asked a similar question previously, but have tried to fine-tune our goals for our first (landing) day in Scotland to a more reasonable first-day jet lagged drive. Perhaps I still want to try to do too much that first day in....please see below.

At the end of this month we'll be flying from the States to Glasgow (arriving at 7 a.m.), picking up our rental car and heading straight to Luss. I expect to be jet-lagged, and was hoping to get some advice about the following sites/sights (Inverary Castle, Kilchurn Castle, Saint Conan's Kirk) to be seen after checking into Luss.

Would it be reasonable to try this loop the first day we arrive?:

https://goo.gl/maps/OqXEB

....or should we just hang out in Luss for the whole first day after flying in?

Or perhaps a subset of the three sites listed above? Please comment. Thanks!!!

Edited: 05 May 2014, 18:48
Georgia
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1. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

Question: what exactly are your flight arrangements?

Perhaps as simple as ATL to Glasgow, ours' was ATL to CHI to Amsterdam (with a delay) to Edinburgh. I cannot begin to tell you how tired I was that day. We finally arrived around 11am. You'll arrive at 7am, which I think will be something like 2 or 3am according to your body clock.

My advice would be to have an aggressive plan (as you do), but be prepared to give your self a break and go to plan B quickly if needed. We stayed our first 3 days in Edinburgh. I can't imagine getting off the plane, gathering a rental, driving to Luss, checking in then onto a 94 mile itinerary. But that's me.

We went directly to the hotel by taxi. Took a hot shower (needed after nearly 24 hrs traveling), laid down for a few minutes and ended up sleeping for 3 hrs. Even then, we were dragging until we met w/Uncle Gus at 5pm and had some medicinal scotch. I felt much better after that, the scotch and a 2nd wind, I think.

Bottomline, play it by ear and allow yourself some recoup time, if needed. Maybe a trip to Stirling Castle on the way to Luss? Or, if I were to do it again, I'd go to Inchmahome Priory on the way to Luss and find a quiet, cool patch of grass and sleep amongst the ghosts. Or maybe take some of those boat tours of Loch Lomand.

Now, if you do visit Kilchurn Castle (one of our favorite sites) I believe it's open dawn to dusk, so not a bad place to go relax and catch a sunset.

Enjoy the trip!

Birmingham, AL
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2. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

@Kevin: We're flying Birmingham AL to PHL, then on to Glasgow. We take off around 2 pm local time and get into Glasgow at 7 a.m. local time. So that translated to 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. travel time. Last year we had a very similar arrangement to Dublin and I was dead on arrival. But I didn't sleep at all on the flight. I will have a little help with the sleep this time, if I choose to take it. The best move may be do do the nap thing you mentioned. Then we could head out to Kilchurn to see/photo it late in the day in good light. Maybe see Saint Conan's Kirk, too. I think we are most likely to skip Inverary Castle. I hear mixed reviews, anyway, and apparently you don't get to see a majority of its interior on the tour. I really don't want to miss Kilchurn, though. The next day we will be going over to Loch Katrine for a boat ride and Doune Castle. Stirling will be near the end of the trip. Inchmahome may be a go for that day, too.

Day 2: https://goo.gl/maps/8MJDs

Edited: 05 May 2014, 20:51
London
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3. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

I fear day one is too ambitious if you're jet lagged. The scenery on that drive is stunning, but the roads need your full attention - they're very twisty in places. You'll encounter everything from cyclists struggling up steep hills, heavy trucks negotiating narrow corners and at the other end of the scale there's always some very fast motorbikes. You don't want to drive it tired.

You want to see the sunset at Loch Awe, but remember that by the end of this month that's going to be about 2200 - so that's an awfully long first day. Then driving back on an unfamiliar, twisty and unforgiving road in the dark?

The google map driving time for your circuit is laughable - it will take longer. There are currently roadworks at the top end of Loch Lomond - I queued for 30 minutes to get past them last week - and those works won't be finished before your visit. Those works also involve some night time cloures (it's a 70 mile diversion....), so you really need to check that if you're planning to drive back from Loch Awe at night.

Birmingham, AL
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4. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

@rcspeirs: Thank you SO much. Critical information. Maybe we'll hang around Luss and just regroup that day. I just hate so much to miss Kilchurn castle. Guess we should have planned less time in Skye (the next stop after Luss). We're going to see Stirling, Edinburgh, Dunnottar, Eilean Donan castles, so we'll see a few good ones..

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

I think the key point is at the start of your post..

You can't really fine-tune such an itinerary without knowing the roads and how you will feel.

If you feel great and want to drive to Kilchurn, then fine. But do heed the advice of the people who know the local conditions.

You could always see it on your way north, if you want to give it the time...

Birmingham, AL
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6. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

@peterscot: Thanks. I hear you. :)

Georgia
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7. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

Like I said, we loved Kilchurn. Now if you can't make it, like you suggest Dunnotar will give you a similar experience, only more of it! Again, Kilchurn (as far as I know) is open dawn to dusk, so maybe it fits somewhere else.

I'll mention Inchmahome again, it's sort of on your way from the airport to Luss. It would be a low-key type visit, probably nothing in the way of crowds. So I'll thru it out as somewhere that is just tailor made to "chill". You could curl up in a ball to sleep and no one would bother you. Also, was atmospheric as you could ask for. Similar to Kilchurn in that respect, maybe more so. And if I remember correctly, you are a photographer? It's much more photogenic than Doune Castle or Kilchurn, IMHO. FWIW....

Enjoy,...

Kevin

Georgia
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8. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

And, yeah!!!! Try to sleep on the flight over. I just couldn't get comfortable!

Edinburgh...
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9. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

A better way of 'hanging around Luss'?

There are ferries on Loch Lomond. I'm not sure of timings, but some combination of Luss/ Rowardennan/ Tarbet/Inversnaid/ Balmaha/ Balloch may be possible. If the weather's decent, that's a pleasant and stressless way of seeing the islands and the surrounding mountains

http://www.cruiselochlomond.co.uk/

http://www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/waterbus/

http://www.sweeneyscruises.com/

Edinburgh...
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10. Re: First day itinerary in Loch Lomond area

Sorry should've mentioned: bus services from Tarbet-Luss-Balloch, and Balloch-Balmaha as well.