Please sign in to post.

Created Itinerary & my sister is questioning it

Traveling to Scotland with extended family. We have 13 days. Only "MUST DO" is to be in Oban on Day 3 to visit the birthplace of my husband's mother but all else is flexible. Problem is my brother wants to see St. Andrews and my sister asks, 'do we really need 3 days in Skye? 'what is there to do in Inverness??' and she would like to spend more time in Loch Lomond. Help! now I am questioning my very itinerary!

  • Day 1: Stirling Castle & area tour
  • Day 2: Oban: maybe Isle of Mull/Iona tour
  • Day 3: Oban: Family heritage visit for my husband to local site (birthplace of his mom) Don't know what extended family will do that day -- maybe golf??
  • Day 4: Glenco, Glenfinnan viaduct, stay in Mallaig
  • Day 5: Ferry to Skye; Tour Skye
  • Day 6: Tour Skye
  • Day 7: Tour Skye
  • Day 8: Eileen Donan Castle and onto Inverness
  • Day 9: Inverness
  • Day 10: Loch Lomond
  • Day 11-13: Edinburgh

My brothers flight arrives Sunday morning. He is going straight to St. Andrews to walk the Old Course...should I give him another day in St. Andrews and do Stirling Day 2 then cut out a day somewhere else? Will my sister be happy with 3 Days on Skye? Will she find anything to do in Inverness? Or should we spend more time in Loch Lomond or Glasgow? Any advise is greatly appreciated. Am eager to tweak itinerary so it's a successful trip for all! Thank You!

Posted by
4663 posts

To be honest, you can probably remove day 9 in Inverness. While Inverness is a good place to stay when visiting the highlands, it is in my opinion not that interesting in itself and you can see it in half a day.

Posted by
1750 posts

Honestly, I'd draw a boundary and invite my sibling to research, plan, and propose an alternative itinerary. If they're depending on you to do the leg work, you don't have to 'sell' it to them.

Posted by
3312 posts

From everything I've heard about Loch Lomond (keeping in mind that I have not been there yet - my trip is in May), it is a pretty spot but nothing spectacular and is easily doable in one day.

It would also be helpful if instead of listing the amount of days; you list the amount of nights. For example, it looks like you have 3 nights on Skye, but that is really only two full days (plus what you can dredge out of 2 travel days, which usually isn't much). So you might point that out to your sister.

Posted by
441 posts

The problem is not your itinerary, it is your sister. If you change things will she still be whining? And will you change things again?
Who knows if she will find anything to do in Inverness and Skye? What has she looked up?

Posted by
1934 posts

To be able to give a reasoned response more detail is needed-
a) Do you and sister fly into Edinburgh on Day 1? At what time? If so that implies that brother arrived on Day 0. So on Day 1 does he drive down to EDI Apt to meet you and you all then go onto Stirling, or how else does the mechanics of this work? Is there in fact a Day -1 for your brother?
b) Glencoe is the opposite direction to Glenfinnan from Oban. Your timings need to work to see the afternoon steam train in one other direction at Glenfinnan
c) To make 2 days work on Skye it is imperative that you are on the 1st or 2nd ferry over. On most days of the week the 2nd ferry means being out of the hotel before 8am, first ferry before 7am. If you can't manage that you need all 3 days on Skye in my honest opinion.
d) What as a group do you want to do in Inverness (city sightseeing, Culloden, something else specific) and do you want to see the Great Glen on the drive to Inverness? You need to reach agreement as a party.
e) On Day 10 you just leap from Inverness to Loch Lomond, which is a half day journey. So you have precious little time at LL. If sister wants more time there she needs to enunciate what that is actually there for. If there is nothing the group want to do in Inverness I suggest using Day 9 to drive down to Loch Lomond- you can easily make a day of that with the right stops, then you have all of Day 10 there. I'm with Mardee that a full day there is adequate unless you are going somewhere else specific, like Inverary Castle or the Loch Fyne fisheries, as examples.
f) Do you fly out of EDI on day 13, or an unscheduled Day 14? Whichever it is - at what time.
On the face of this you have 1 1/2 days in Edinburgh. That can't really be cut much smaller. I don't even see Glasgow in this (just a nodding mention- maybe you are merely floating that).

To be the great trip you all want it to be you either all need to agree, or be willing and happy to work on a majority opinion.

I do apologise if this seems a tough response. The plan just seems somewhat fuzzy, which is not a critique per se, but an honest assessment. Barring these detailed questions I don't think it's a bad plan on the whole at all as it stands.

Posted by
24059 posts

I'm no expert on Scotland; I've only been there once, and without a car. But I'm not sure Day 1 and Day 2 will work. When do you travel from Stirling to Oban? The two-island tour from Oban takes most of the day. I'm not sure it's practical if you wake up that morning in Stirling

Posted by
1132 posts

I've a feeling you are on a hiding to nothing here... However much you tweek, you are likely to find that someone isn't happy.

Get a copy of DK Eyewitness Scotland and let your sister have a look at it. It has plenty of pictures and covers many places not memntioned in other guide books.

Tell her that received wisdom is that you really do need three days on Skye as a MINIMUM! After all you have expended time and money to get there, so need to make the most of it.

What sort of things does she enjoy doing? From Inverness there is Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns (believed to be the inspiration for Craig na Dun in ’Outlanders’.) You could go on a boat trip on Loch Ness (who knows she may even see Nessie... ) and visit Urquhart Castle. You could go for a drive up Glen Affric and do the short walk to Plodda Falls with its view point over the waterfall.

Alternatively do a boat trip on the Moray Firth to search for dolphins. There is Fort George, one of the most impressive military forts ever built and still used by the military. Alternatively there is Cawdor Castle... There's even shopping in Inverness...

\What are her expectations of Loch Lomond and what is she wanting to do/see there? Does she know?

Picking up on acraven point - you will need to leave Stirling on Day 1 to go to Oban and spend the night there if you are wanting to get to Mull and Iona.

Eilean Donan Castle looks stunning from the outside (and is the one you see in all the pictures.) However, it was rebuilt from a ruin about a hundred years ago and the inside is less impressive than the outside. In some ways this is one to admire from the outside and move on.

Posted by
1934 posts

The morning ferries from Oban to Mull leave at 0835 and 0955. It is a 2 1/4 hour drive from Stirling to Oban (I know it's only 86 miles but these aren't interstates) and a 30 minute check in.
So for the 0955 ferry that is a 0630 to 0645 start from Stirling, for the first ferry more like a soon after 0500 start.
That would be better as Heritage Visit Day 2, Mull and Iona Day 3

Posted by
17 posts

I am a new contributor and hardly well versed in Scotland. But here goes:
We went to Luss (many years ago) on the shores of Loch Lomond and it is a delightful small village. You could hire boats, but we wandered around, did shopping, took in the old cemetery, and had lunch. Then we drove back to Balloch and took a short tour boat out on Loch Lomond then had a lovely dinner in Balloch and returned to Glasgow where we were staying.
There are a number of places to have a similar experience, no doubt, but we enjoyed our day in Luss and Loch Lomond.
I agree with the others that have posted, working to accommodate your family party can be a frustrating worm hole.

Oban to Glencoe to Mallaig and return to Oban is a day trip we did the last time we visited, although the weather was wretched that day. Oban has enchanted us, April will be our 3rd trip to Scotland and we have spent time in Oban every trip.
All the best on your trip.

Posted by
1934 posts

I am a new contributor and hardly well versed in Scotland

Penguin 73- everyone's contribution is valued. Welcome

Posted by
1117 posts

Hi Zuk -

My twopennorth is that your sister is right about Inverness and wrong about Loch Lomond. Now if the intention is to visit Culloden and/or Clava Cairns, then I see the point of an overnight in Inverness. If it’s to see it for itself, in my view it’s not entirely essential. Personally, given the option I’d head for Torridon and the west coast, but it’s the wild landscapes that float my boat.

Its much the same with Loch Lomond - nothing at all wrong with it, delightful scenery, but not much to do especially and it’s an exciting teaser for bigger and better things to come in the Highlands.

Skye is worth three days to do it some sort of justice and it is bigger than you might imagine. Eilean Donan is more impressive from an exterior point of view, but if you feel you must see the inside then do. You can afford to arrive fairly late into Mallaig as there’s not much to it apart from the ferry and a lot of fishing boats, certainly it can be thoroughly explored in a couple of hours. Also if you are heading there in summer you’ll get extended daylight at both ends of the day, worth remembering if you have a lot of driving to do.

Whatever you decide with your sister I’m sure you’ll have a great trip - Scotland, especially the Highlands is mightily impressive.


Posted by
809 posts

I agree with all the advice you have received so far.

In particular your plan doesn't seem to take account of the distances and time needed to travel from one place to the next. Day 1 and 2 look bothersome in terms of the time you need to allow to get from Stirling to Oban (basically at least half a day). Does that happen on day 1 or day 2. If it's on day 2 then you certainly won't be getting to Iona on Day 2.

Inverness is not worth a day unless you plan on visiting specific sites in the area. The town itself is a working town and a centre for those of us who live in the Highlands to buy what we need. It's not particularly pretty, just a good base for the area.

Loch Lomond is pretty but just a huge body of water. Do you want to get out on to the water? Do you want to hike in the area? Do you want to visit Luss? Getting from Balloch at the southern edge of the loch to Edinburgh is a good couple of hours drive. Does that happen on day 10 or day 11?

I think you need a more detailed plan including travel details, and I think your sister needs to do some proper research and throw in some suggestions of what she actually wants to see. At the moment it's all on you and your companions appear to be setting you up to fail. Good Luck!

Posted by
3239 posts

What is it about Loch Lomond that she wants to see?
What is it in Inverness and area that you want to see?
We never stopped along Loch Lomond, but we hugged the highway beside it driving to Glasgow from Oban in June last year. It's pretty, but so is Loch Ness which is on the way to Inverness. As has been mentioned above, Inverness is just a place to spend the night and visit sites in the area such as Cawdor Castle (the garden is spectacular), Clava Cairns and Culloden. Somehow, among all of your travels, I do highly recommend that you fit in Stirling castle, it was one of our favourite sites in Scotland and we spent about 5.5 hours there.