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7+ Days in Scotland Itinerary Critique

Hello all. I'm finalizing the Scotland portion of our June/July 2020 trip to Scotland and Ireland, and I've got things nailed down to the point that I would like criticism from more experienced folks.

I am trying to heed previous advice here and not plan for too much driving in any given day, leaving plenty of time for traffic and stops to see the sights. We're going open jaw to avoid burning time on backtracking.

Itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 0: Arrive Edinburgh 7pm
  • Day 1: Edinburgh
  • Day 2: Edinburgh
  • Day 3: Morning in Edinburgh, collect rental car and tour Fallkirk, Stirling (sleep in/near Stirling)
  • Day 4: Depart for Pitlochry, enjoy sights along the way (sleep in Pitlochry)
  • Day 5: Morning in Pitlochry, drive to Glencoe (sleep in Glencoe)
  • Day 6: Drive to Inverness via Glenfinnan Viaduct and Loch Ness (sleep in Inverness) - The longest drive/travel day
  • Day 7: Daytrip to highlands sights (sleep in Inverness)
  • Day 8: Morning to see Culloden and Clava Cairns, return rental car at INV, departing flight 4:50pm

The longest travel day is easily Day 6 which includes a long detour to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct. If this day is too aggressive, I am considering compressing the Edinburgh->Fallkirk->Stirling->Pitlochry leg from two nights to one night (press on to Pitlochry after seeing Stirling, rather than stay the night in Stirling).

The arrival in Edinburgh is fixed. The departure day from Inverness is relatively firm, as it would require a radical rework of this itinerary to avoid impacting the continuation of this trip into Ireland.

Thanks in advance!

Posted by
128 posts

Actually Glenfinnan viaduct isn't putting on that much of a detour - less than 40 miles round trip. from Fort Augustus. It is about 120 milkes total drive which is easliy doeable in a day, even with a lovely relaxed itinerary.

I wouldn't try and reach Pitlochry on Day 3 and would stick with your intitial plan. I'm not sure what your plans are for Falkirk - are you intending to visit Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies? Stirling with its castle will take several hours. So you do have a busy day.

Posted by
17 posts

That's very helpful! Thank you.

I haven't yet booked the hire car, so I'll be sure to set the pickup early enough to support a full day.

Posted by
128 posts

Make sure you hire from a reputable company - Arnold Clarke are recommended. AVOID Green Motion or Easirent. Their initial charges may look a lot cheaper but they then clobber you on various excesses, making them a lot more expensive. They regularly get negative reviews.

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you, I'll check those as well. I've used Europcar and Sixt with good success elsewhere in Europe previously, but I will of course seek multiple options.