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Advice needed re: May itinerary with an injured wife

We arrive in Edinburgh on May 25. 3 nights there, then drive to Invergarry for a night, 3 nights in Portree on the Isle of Skye, and a night in Glencoe before we depart from EDI. We are generally active and spend most of our time outdoors hiking and exploring (and are particularly excited to see lots of castles).

Here’s the catch. My wife has a fracture in her leg and is currently in a walking boot. We don’t know the extent of the injury yet, but I suspect she will still be in the boot by the time we arrive. What are good suggestions for things to do, especially in the countryside, that won’t involve extensive walking? Besides distilleries/pubs/etc. Do we need to revise our itinerary? Would appreciate any thoughts.

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, mjknycmjk,

My best advice would be to try to postpone your vacation, if at all possible. Normally a walking boot is in place for about six weeks, and even at that, your wife's good leg is going to be stressed out from the extra pressure put upon it.

Edinburgh is a very hilly city, and involves a lot of walking. You can take taxis from place to place, but one of the joys of Edinburgh is walking everywhere. The museums and the castle also involve a lot of walking. Portree is also hilly, especially if you're heading down to the harbor. Skye does have some hikes that don't involve a lot of walking, but most of them do. You could take a couple of boat trips out of Elgol - AquaXplore have landing and non-landing boat trips. You may want to take the cruiser rather than the RIB, as it has onboard toilets. You could also take the Bella Jane for a non-landing trip to Loch Coruisk, or a 1 1/2 hour landing trip, if your wife feels that she can negotiate the jetty steps at the Loch Coruisk landing. There's probably a video somewhere of the steps.

There are some scenic overlooks on your way from Invergarry to Skye, so that wouldn't require too much walking from the car. Many of the castles which are along your proposed route involve not only walking from the car park to the castle, but also negotiating steps and staircases within the castle.

If there are any Highland Gatherings scheduled during the time you're in Scotland, that would be something to enjoy without a lot of walking. Also short walks/hikes to scenic sights like waterfalls and overlooks would be another possibility. Many, like Mealt Falls and the Kilt Rock on Skye, have a car park right there. The Fairy Glen would be another possibility, if you can park close enough.

I don't want to discourage you, as I love Scotland, but it's a very "outdoor" country, and to get the most out of it, you really need to do a great deal of walking. If your wife feels that she's up to it, by all means go for it. But I'd follow the advice of your physician(s) regarding whether the boot should remain on her leg while you're in Scotland. You can get free medical advice from health clinics while you're in Scotland. Your hotel/B&B would know the location of the nearest one, should you need assistance while you're in Scotland.

Very best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

p.s.: If you're anywhere near Mallaig on your way to or from Skye, you may want to take a sail on the Knoydart ferry operated by Western Isles Cruises. The best non-landing trip is the 2:15 out of Mallaig, which stops at Tarbet on Loch Nevis on its way to Inverie. It's about a three hour tour (with apologies to the S.S. Minnow). You'll get to see some parts of Scotland that are almost inaccessible without lengthy hiking.

Posted by
1358 posts

There are at least 3 boat touring companies at Portee that are online. This might be a solution for one of your days on Skye. Glencoe might be not be that big a deal if you can't go hiking and it is misty that day. Visit the Kelvingrove in Glasgow for easy access and cool stuff to see and do. Rent a car and look at Visit Scotland, Secret Scotland, Historic Scotland and World Heritage sites online for Castles (a lot are on top of a hill) to visit. I agree with Mike; but if you must go take it slow.

Posted by
3104 posts

Sorry to hear about the injury! As the others commented, if you're able to postpone your trip that would probably be best.

However, if you're unable to postpone, this might be a case where renting a car and going out to the less populated areas would be a good solution. In other words, save Edinburgh for a future trip, and enjoy the scenery from the comfort of your rental car. If you're not already locked into nonrefundable room reservations, try to book lodging with a nice view -- if not in your room itself, then in the dining room or other common area, so your wife can sit around and still enjoy the scenery. Be aware that (in my experience) very few Scottish hotels or B&Bs have any rooms on the ground floor, and many of them don't have an elevator ("lift").

Unfortunately when you visit castles, they will generally have lots of stairs; uneven stone stairs at that. Don't be shy about asking people to move aside so your wife can use the railing. People tend to congregate at the sides of stairways without realizing that they're blocking access for people who need the railing.

Posted by
1796 posts

You might want to consider using one of your Edinburgh days to visit some of the Border Abbeys or Rosslyn Chapel. It has been a few years since I visited either of those places, but I don't remember them as being hilly.

I remember Doune Castle as relatively flat, although I don't remember if it was steep from the parking area to the castle.

One of your days on Skye you could do a loop drive of Plockton and Torridon.

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi again, mjknycmjk,

If you do decide to visit Plockton, check out some of the episodes of "Hamish Macbeth" on YouTube to get a feel for the place. BTW, there are no Highland cows wandering the streets. They're over the hill in Duirinish.

Mike (Auchterless)