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9 Days in Scotland - Need help settling an internal conflict

Hello, and thank you in advance for helping me (or contributing) the internal turmoils of my mind while I try to determine what to do with the nine days my wife and I will have in Scotland. This is going to be our first trip to Scotland, and we will be renting a car. Although we love seeing cities, our lives have been far too chaotic lately and we have decided this trip will be primarily to escape the city, and to explore at slower pace than we are used to (We will be coming back the following summer and will see Edinburgh and more of Glasgow then). As of now, this is the itinerary I have haphazardly put together. Thoughts as a whole welcome, but I have a few specific questions as well.

We will be in Scotland from May 23 - June 1, and we leave super early that morning.

1 Night (May 23) - Glasgow
2 Nights (May 24-25) - Lockerbie
4 Nights (May 26-29) - Skye
2 Nights (May 30-June 1) - Inverness/Loch Ness

The first three nights are kind of a lock, day one we will be getting over jet lag and from what I have heard Glasgow is a pretty great city, so I don't really want to move that day. Days 2 and 3 our friends are getting married in Lockerbie so we will be there celebrating with them. I am most conflicted about whether to break up the remaining time as planned, with 4 nights in Skye and 2 in Inverness, or break it up 50/50 with three nights each. What would you recommend? I currently have lodging booked as scheduled, but it is flexible and I can change it if need be.

To provide some context here are some of the things we like or are planning to do:
- Glenfinnan Viaduct while en route to Skye
- Hiking, we want to do a lot of hiking/wandering
- Loch Ness/Urqhart Castle boat trip
Dunvegan Castle
- Scotch Distilleries (I am hoping to do at least a couple, but ideally one in each of the four regions we will get to see)
- Nice dinner in Skye to celebrate our anniversary (thoughts on where? I am debating Three Chimneys, Loch Bay, or Edinbane Lodge - very open to suggestions)

Posted by
448 posts

This web site was very helpful for our trip to the highlands that was pretty much dedicated to hiking. The site is great for planning of hikes and for driving to trail heads. https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/ We added the Glenfinnan Viaduct to our plans on the spur of the moment and it was pretty cool. The web site I mentioned has the hike listed and we got the schedule for the train and were able to take the short hike on the trail above the viaduct and watch the train chug thru, pretty cool. Then if you follow the hike around it takes you down to the train station and a little diner car set up there. Nice low key, easy hike with great viewing paybacks!!! My experience is any time devoted to Skye is time well spent, I loved it out there for three nights, mainly up in the Trotternish Peninsula area.

Posted by
5308 posts

I would definitely give more nights to Skye than to Inverness — including adding another day to Skye and taking one away from Inverness.

Posted by
580 posts

Definitely more nights on Skye, taking one from Inverness. Nothing wrong with Inverness, it’s just that Skye is amazing. It has enough walking/hiking to keep you occupied for weeks as opposed to days, so you’ll be spoilt for choice there.

I’ve said it before, but if you’ve seen one distillery you’ve really seen them all, the process is more or less the same whichever one you visit.

Ian

Posted by
16589 posts

The weather in western Scotland is unpredictable, so it would be great to have enough time on Skye to fit in some walking even if you have a couple of rainy days.

Posted by
3079 posts

Add me to the “more Skye, less Inverness” group, rather than 50/50. It seems that a previous post in the past year or two mentioned that Three Chimneys changed chefs, and that things were t as great as they’d been in the past. I can’t confirm any of That, but our meal there 4 1/2 years ago was fabulous.

We’d booked seats at the chef’s table in the kitchen, with a special menu, plus getting to see some of what goes on “behind the scenes.” It was over on the side, so not directly in the middle of the hustle and bustle, not hot or smoky, not loud. But it’s a group table, and the two of us were joined by 4 more, or maybe 6 more, I don’t recall how many. The eating experience was wonderful, but if it’s a special anniversary, you might want more privacy than a group table would provide.

Driving back to our nearby B&B in the dark, we encountered sheep lying in the middle of the relatively warm road. Another Skye experience.

Posted by
440 posts

Yep definitely more time on Skye and less (none) in Inverness. Order of preference for restaurants based on living on Skye and knowing and liking all the places you mention would be 1) Lochbay 2) Edinbane Lodge 3) Three Chimneys.

Walkhighlands.co.uk is the best resource for finding great hikes - as you've already been told!

Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you guys so much for the recommendations! I guess it is pretty unanimous, more time in Skye it is. Unfortunately we can't add a fifth night there, but we will keep the 4/2 split. Thank you all for such great recommendations! I am checking out the walking websites as we speak, and based on your experiences have submitted our reservation request at Loch Bay (really hoping we get it). It sounds like Three Chimneys was rough for a while, but has since turned around, so if we have time we might check that or Edinbane out too.