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August 2023 Trip

Hi all,

Planning our first trip to Scotland for August of this year. We are planning to be there in early August (2-12ish). Thinking we might like to start in Edinburgh, travel up Inverness, over to the isle of Sky, and back down to Glasgow.

We like hiking and would like to see more of the countryside than the city. Bonus if we can arrange some paragliding time for my husband (advanced beginner pilot). Not very interested in St. Andrews - not much of a golf fan. Whiskey isn't my thing but my husband might enjoy that.

I don't want to change hotels every night and was thinking 3 days in Edinburgh, 3 days in Inverness, 2 days in Isle of Sky, and the rest in Glasgow. We would use public transit in the cities bur rent a car for the Highlands portion.

Any must see places? Culloden and Lock Ness are obviously included. Was also considering doing a tour at least one of the days to get some of the history and insights from a good guide.

Does this sound reasonable, feasible, realistic? I am getting anxious about booking but experiencing analysis paralysis so any insight is welcome.

Posted by
14601 posts

Be aware that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival starts on Aug 4 and runs through the end of the month. If you haven't made hotel arrangements yet, don't wait too long.

Posted by
569 posts

This information is not meant to be discouraging. Edinburgh will be dominated with festivals in August including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Royal Military Tattoo, the Art Festival, the International Festival, Film Festival, Book Festival, and some others. There will be lots of folks, tons of fun, etc. In the past, it has not impeded getting around, seeing sites, enjoying restaurants, etc. The toughest area to maneuver (occasionally) will be the Royal Mile. Book a hotel for Edinburgh sooner than later and enjoy the fun. I’ve gone twice during August. Other areas in Scotland were not negatively impacted.

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, mizereke,

I hope that you have started looking for accommodation. Many of the places you'll be going, the Isle of Skye, in particular, are close to being fully booked up by now. But that's not to say that you can't still find good lodging. For Edinburgh, Inverness, and Glasgow, the chain hotels should still have rooms available, and you can always go on bucket shops like Priceline or to see what's out there. If you see something that you like, try contacting the venue directly to see if they'll give you a better price. The bucket shops take a healthy percentage of the booking price, so you may stand a better chance of booking direct.

There is just so much to see that I'd be hard pressed to make any specific recommendations. I hate to denigrate Loch Ness, but it's just a big loch. There are many smaller lochs in Scotland that greatly bypass Loch Ness' beauty, and are more worthy of your time. However, if you have your heart set on a Loch Ness cruise, with a visit to Urquhart Castle, it's a good day out, and money well spent.

The best thng to do at this point would be to check out some of the wonderful travel videos on YouTube, and get hold of a couple of really good guides, like the Rick Steves guide and the Rough Guide.

There are plenty of places to hike in Scotland - the country was made for it. Skye and Inverness, in particular, would fill the bill. As far as paragliding, there are several locations in Scotland. There is one in Kinross, which is not too far from Edinburgh.

Don't let the planning give you anxiety. Relax, and plan one day at a time. But be sure to book that accommodation soon!

Good luck, and best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
26441 posts

The first sentence of your post indicates you're thinking about spending roughly ten days in Scotland. I believe when you mention possibly spending two days on Skye (as one example), you're really thinking two nights. To have two full days there, you'd need three nights.

I wouldn't want to head to Skye for just two nights. It takes time to get there, it's a large island, and there are many interesting places to see. Furthermore, weather in western Scotland tends to quite wet. Rain comes along frequently. You could go all the way up to Skye and have very messy weather for your one full day there.

Although I like Glasgow a lot, I'd drop it if I had to in order to allow more time on Skye. Ten days just isn't very long if you hope to see both Edingburgh and Glasgow as well as Skye and multiple sights around Inverness.

I would be concerned about finding affordable lodging in both Edinburgh and Skye at this point, so I'd start exploring options in those places. Availability of rooms in those especially tough locations could dictate the order of your itinerary.

Posted by
3851 posts

I second acraven about counting your nights. You definitely need 3 nights if going to Skye and 4 isn’t bad, especially if you have a car.

And yes, choices for lodging disappear quickly - especially Edinburgh during the Fringe. That said, I booked a few nights kind of late last August by being willing to stay further out and take a 10 min bus ride into the center. Book Skye quickly.

Edit: But Scotland is beautiful and there are no bad choices - only the fact that time is limited. :)