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9 nights in Scotland

Hi everybody,

I am from Canada and I finally get to take my dream trip to Scotland! There is so much to think about. I think I most need help with itinerary so far. My must-have places on a general level are Speyside distilleries, Skye, Iona and Glencoe. I am trying not to have too many different accomodations as we did when we were younger travellers. So for next September, 4 people, 2 of whom live in England and will have a car.

Day 1 get picked at Glasgow airport zoom through Glencoe and end up in Dufftown area 3 nights (somehow see Cairngorms, distilleries, Elgin)
Day 4 head through Inverness area to Ullapool area (culloden etc)
Day 5 to Skye 3 nights
Day 8 to Mull 2 nights (Iona being the main goal, but have heard lovely things about Mull)
Day 10 loooong drive to Durham

Anything stand out as not workable? Any votes for reversing the circle?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Posted by
21300 posts

It does appear to me that you'd reduce your mileage somewhat by reversing the itinerary, assuming that the starting point (Glasgow Airport) and ending point (Durham) are already determined.

I haven't been to Culloden, but I believe it's very near Inverness, so it appears you are going to Ullapool just to experience the drive. That may be worthwhile, but I don't know how much time you're going to have to stop to see things along the way, or on the way back to Skye from Ullapool. I would have liked to get up to Ullapool myself, but I didn't have time to do so.

Posted by
1253 posts

There was CBS 60 Minutes story about the Isle of Islay Whisky. Watch it if you can. You may want to go there. If this is a once in a Lifetime trip you may want to skip the ordinary tourist areas and head to the Western Isles before they get too crowded with Tourists like Skye.

Posted by
629 posts

Hi Laura

The Glasgow airport to Dufftown bit via Glencoe is the bit that looks odd to me. The more logical step would be to drive along Loch Lomond until you reach Crianlarich and then head east via the A85, picking up the A9 to then head north. However, if you want to go through Glencoe you could keep going north until you reach Spean Bridge and then turn right and head across to Dalwhinnie and pick up the A9 there.

There is not an awful lot to see in Ullapool (It is a tiny village). A route to Skye from the Inverness area that you might enjoy would be to head to Applecross via Torridon and the coast and then over the high pass (the Bealach na Ba or pass of the cattle), before picking up the Skye Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh. The pass is very famous and it's a very scenic route (although not for the faint hearted).

Mull to Iona is going to take you all day. But I guess your British companions already know that.
Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks folks!

Yes the Ullapool detour is just to get up into that area and soak up the scenery. We could just do Applecross if it seems too far out.

No time for Islay on this trip, I'm afraid.

I am definitely squeezing Glencoe in where it doesn't fit. I had it on the way back to Durham originally, but it seemed even more of a detour then.

Sorry, just to confirm, you mean it will take all day to see Iona, not just to get there?

Posted by
974 posts

Hi, Laura,

You need a good four hours (at the very least) for Iona. Especially if you plan to do some hiking, e.g.: Dun I and the Bay at the Back of the Ocean.

If you're going directly from Skye to Mull, the most scenic and shortest route would be to head south from Lochailort through Moidart and Ardnamurchan, and take the ferry from Kilchoan to Tobermory. That would put you at the very north end of Mull, and from there it's a good two to 2 1/2 hour drive to Fionnphort, where you catch the passenger only ferry for the short crossing to Iona.

If you're just planning to "zoom" through Glencoe, you could possibly go that way on your route from Oban to Durham. Once you leave Ballachulich, you'd be on the A82, which would take you through Glencoe and down toward Glasgow. From there, the fastest way to Durham would be to cross the Clyde on the Erskine Bridge, take the M8 east to the M74/M6 for Carlisle, then east across to Durham on the "A" roads.

Going to the Cairngorm/Dufftown/Elgin area via Glencoe seems a bit more out of the way than going through Glencoe from Oban. You want to spend as much time in the Speyside area as possible, and you can head directly up the A9 from Stirling, which is just over an hour (road construction permitting) from Glasgow Airport. If you're just arriving in Glasgow after an overnight flight from Canada, you probably wouldn't enjoy Glencoe as much as you would later on.

Whichever route you decide, have a wonderful time on your dream trip!


Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
629 posts

Hi again
I don't know why I typed Iona - when I meant Durham! Mull to Durham will take all day to do!


Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for all the info! And thanks for the clarification, I am quite willing to spend a whole day on Iona, not take a whole day to get there from Mull!