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Change in plans--need advice on routes

We had planned to drive to Uig with ferry to Harris & then to Lewis returning via Ullapool. Ferry won't be running when we planned to be there so will hold that venture for another trip. So have these choices. Have no idea which might be better. Can anyone advise? We will have car but not into hiking, etc. We will be coming from Skye and just want to see the area but have no idea what might be a better choice:
1. spend 2 nights in the Gairloch Area with a day trip to Ullapool on one of those days, and the other 2 days could be used to do day trips around the Cairngorms area
or
2. spend 2 nights in Gairloch, plus 2 nights in Inverness and 1 night at an intermediate stop between Inverness and St Andrews (e.g. Pitlochry or Ballater areas)

Posted by
1280 posts

Sorry to hear about your ferry problems.

Because the mountains are in the way it is not easy to get from west to east in the Highlands so that would need to be built into to calculations. However, it really depends on what you want to see on those days as both have merits to recommend them. Possibly bring yourself further south into Perthshire and Angus if not already scheduled.

Posted by
1586 posts

Why not just do a round trip to Harris / Lewis using the Uig ferry both directions? On your return to Skye, drive directly to the Skye Bridge, then head up to Loch Torridon and Ullapool for a couple of days.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks for the ideas.

MC--Don't know where Perthshire and Angus are.
Cynthia -- We are planning on a couple of days in Skye, The round trip seemed so redundant after having my mind set on a day in Harris and a day in Lewis and returning from Stornaway to Ullapool and completing more of a loop (instead of backtracking) before heading to Inverness. Ferry schedule our of Uig is very busy as it's the only way to Skye from the Hebrides right now.

Only have 10 days to drive from Edinburgh & back before flight on the 24th & was trying to get the Hebrides in but that might not be realistic. What do you think about the above two options? worthwhile?

Posted by
5559 posts

Another idea would be to go south to Oban and stay on Mull. You can do wild life boat trips, or take the boat tours to Staffa and Iona. There are also a couple of good castles and a distillery. I stayed in Tobermory. I liked Mull a lot.

Perthshire is the heart of Scotland. It is the area that is North of Fife and bit to the west--Angus is the bit to the east of Fife. Dundee is in Angus. Glamis Castle is in Angus. Perthshire has Pitlochry with Festival Theatre, Explorer's Garden and the Atholl Distillery. Just to the north is Blair Castle. To the south, still in Perthshire are some of my favorite places--Dunkeld and Aberfeldy. The former has a great pub for traditional music and you can get over to Angus. Aberfeldy has the Cranog Centre nearby, and is the starting point for Glen Lyon. You can also drive down to Killin where there some nice water falls.

Also, both areas have gentle walks along the river.

Pam

Posted by
18 posts

Pam, thanks for your suggestions & for clarifying where Angus and Perthshire are located. I was looking at the wrong section of the map.

No one has commented on the suggestions I listed.

1. Is Gairloch worth a visit? 2 nites in Gairloch too much? Day trip to Ullapool? 2 days in Cairngorms?
or
after Gairloch do 2 nites in Inverness and do day trips from there plus one nite in Pitlochry? or Ballater? on the way to St Andrews and then do a coastal route back to the airport.

We really don't know the area so have no set places in mind.

Posted by
1280 posts

Gailoch is suitable for the North West Highlands. Wild, remote landscape as you will find in the UK and if you are into walking a good area to go.

Ballater is the Cairngorms, with the national park, but is also handy for Royal Deeside with its castles and strong houses.

The main thing that comes to mind is because of the Cairngorms, it is not easy to get from west to east which would need to be built into plans.

The Crannog on Loch Tay, if you have never seen it, is worth a detour in its own right. Loch Tay is in a spectacular setting anyway but the Crannog brings to life what the world was in Scotland before it was Scotland.

Posted by
5559 posts

I think I completely forgot about Gairloch as I mostly think of it for hiking. Ballater is good. It's very different from the West. If you go there, you'd want to tour castles--there are many. There are some stone circles as well. Also, you'll find some galleries. The Knock Gallery, near Balmoral has a beautiful garden as well as interesting art and a beautiful view. I got a wonderful painting at the Syllavethy Gallery near Alford.

Pam

Posted by
18 posts

MC and Pam thanks so much for your latest input. Really helps us feel more comfortable with itinerary being put together. As I said we're not hikers. I'm a walker but husband is not so hope we won't be wasting time in Gairloch. Maybe a day drive to Ullapool which is up in that area.

Another question off the subject; We drop the car at Edinburgh airport and will need a hotel close by as we fly out early the next day. Any suggestions? Not fussy. It's only one night so running water and clean sheets are only thing needed plus shuttle or cab to airport.

Posted by
1280 posts

There are a few hotels at Edinburgh Airport, certainly a Premier Inn and a Holiday Inn Express. Which I think are walkable to the terminal.

Posted by
5559 posts

Define early. I've taken 7:30 AM flights out of Edinburgh airport and spent the night in the city centre. My B&B set up a taxi for me and he was waiting for me at 5:30. I was there by 6 easily. And, the B&B put a breakfast in a bag at my door. :) It really is no different than catching one of those early AM flights out of NYC. In fact, it's closer and much, much less traffic in the early AM. I forget how much the taxi was, but it couldn't have been that outrageous.

Also, one thing to be aware of and check on for early AM international flights is to find out how early the airport actually opens. I will never forget getting up very early for a 7AM flight to the US. I got to Heathrow at 5 only to find out that they would not let us in until 5:30. So, do check on this. They probably open a bit earlier now as that flight was pre-911. But there was quite a crowd of us hanging out for a good half hour waiting for the doors to open. I probably had a 4 AM pick up and was no doubt at the airport before 5 AM. Sigh.

Edinburgh airport has a lot of early flights as you can do an easy day trip to London and other locations for business arriving in time for meetings and then home for dinner.

Pam

Posted by
18 posts

MC thanks for the hotel names.
Wanted something close to airport cuz have to drop off rental car at airport the day before probably late afternoon. We're dragging golf clubs and 2 small bags and just trying to make it hassle free as possible by staying near airport.

Pam, I've done the same thing--arriving before our small regional airport opened & having security question why I was there. Lesson learned! Our flight is not one of the first off the tarmac so no problem except having to be there 2-3 hr prior to flight time. I'll check with the airport website. Thanks for the tips.