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12 days in Scotland - itinerary help needed!

My wife and I are planning a trip to Scotland in May 2024. We went once with our kids several years ago, and had already spent time in Oban and Edinburgh (the trip was too short which is why we want to return). We enjoy hiking, castles, distilleries, and nature. We tend to enjoy smaller cities and the countryside, as opposed to larger cities. My original idea was as follows:

fly into Glasgow, spend 1 night
Drive and ferry to Islay, spend 2 nights
Drive to either Pitolchry or Glencoe, and base for 3 nights for hiking.
Head North - spend 1 night in Thurso.
Ferry to Orkneys, spend 3 nights in Kirkwall.
Ferry back, drive to Inverness, spend 1 night in Inverness.
Fly home, out of Inverness.

Thoughts? Is it a mistake to skip Skye? Should we go to Skye instead of Islay, or instead of Glencoe/Pitolchry? Any other recommendations are welcome. I know we are covering a lot of ground, but we've always wanted to see the Orkneys. Also if there is a good town to stay in for a hiking base instead of Glencoe or Pitlochry let me know. We did stay one night in Killin on the last trip and loved it.


Posted by
1971 posts

No its not a mistake to miss Skye. Islay and Orkney will more than make up for it!

Havere you found the Walk Highlands website - the walker's Bible? Either Pitlochry or Glencoe would make good bases. The walking around Pitlochry is possibly easier than Glencoe. Blair Atholl Distillery in Pitlochry does tours. (Errradour Distillery website says it is still closed for tours, but it is worth checking later to see if this changes. ). Blair Castle is just a short drive. there is also Castle Menzies at Weem

Posted by
24 posts

We will miss Islay on this trip and it was definitely the next item on our list. Please report back on your visit there.