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Delinquent (i.e. tardy) trip report

I tend to plan exhausting trips, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. We travel very light, always have a car, and enjoy wildlife and historical stuff far more than snazzy castles or art galleries. Lodging is always walking distance from live music. A detailed 22 page trip report with pictures is available if you message me. It is more personal in nature, so I’d rather not broadcast it.

Flew long haul from US west coast to Edinburgh, then on to Stornoway. Long travel day!
Day 1, we explored northern Lewis, including Butt of Lewis, two Blackhouse villages, Dun Carloway and all three Calanais Stones.
Day 2 to Harris for Luskentyre Beach, St. Clements Church with it’s racy carvings, and the Golden Road loop.
Day 3 flight to Shetland, then stopping for Dunrossness Cemetery, Broch Clickimin, followed by a midnight boat trip to Mousa to see the Storm Petrels, which was fabulous. The Queens Jubilee made mincemeat of our planned schedule.
Day 4 to the north of Lerwick, visiting Stanydale, Eshaness, Moder-dye, Frankie’s Fish & Chips, and the famous knitted fence at the Textile Museum, followed by great Scottish trad at the Douglas Arms.
Day 5 walking around Lerwick, exploring St. Ninian’s Isle, and a long visit to the excellent Shetland Museum, ending with piano music on the wharf.
Day 6 after visiting Scalloway Castle, Jarlshof Village and Sumburgh Lighthouse, which was teeming with puffins, we flew to Glasgow visiting Kelvingrove Museum, then Irish food and trad at Kitty O’shea’s.
Day 7 picked up friends and rental car at Paisley, visited Finnich Glen, then poked around Loch Lomond on the way to Oban.
Day 8 included Kilmartin valley with it’s castles, standing stones, and tombs, and Mhor Moine.
Day 9 we took the Three Island Tour of Lunga, Staffa, and Iona, seeing lots of puffins along the way in hot and sunny weather. Simply fabulous.
Day 10 moved us on to Fort William, via Dunstaffnage Castle, Falls of Lara, Glencoe Lochan trail, and Steall Falls.
Day 11 included visiting the Jacobite Steam train in the station, driving up to Glenfinnan to view the train crossing, then to Mallaig for the ferry, a stop at Fairy Pools, then on to Portree.
Day 12 toured the west side of the Trotternish, including Lealt Falls, Kilt Rock, Storr, and Quiraing, all in somewhat wet and windy conditions.
Day 13 took us up te east side of Trotternish to RHA Falls, Fairy Glen, Flora Macdonald’s grave, and ClachArd.
Day 14 saw us made stops at Eilean Donan and Urquart castles on the way to Inverness, where we had great trad at MacGregor’s Bar.
Day 15 included Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns, Ossian’s Well, leaving us in Dunkeld.
Day 16 saw us visit Wallace Monument, Doune Castle, Stirling Castle, a drive-by of The Kelpies, on the way to EDI to dump the car and fly to Orkney.
Day 17 was the Neolithic loop including Maeshowe, Unstan, Stennis, Ring of Brodgar, Marwick Head, and Earl’s Palace. Time and tide was wrong for Birsay Brough.
Day 18 saw us take the ferry to Rousay to visit Traversoe Tuick, Blackhammer, and Yarso tombs.
Day 19 included stops at the Grain Earth House, Rennibister, Cuween Hill, and Broch of Gurness on the way to the flight to Edinburgh.
Day 20 included Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Gardens, and fabulous afternoon session at Sandy Bell’s
Day 21 was an early departure back home.
Everyday included Guinness, whisky, and usually some sort of trad music.

Posted by
30293 posts

This doesn't read like you're a Delinquent

Posted by
364 posts

Delinquent as is it took me since June to get to done.

Posted by
77 posts

What a fabulous trip and a succint report. Now, I must find all of these places on a map because--
Even when I was younger, I did not have THIS energy.
Good on you, jjgurley!!

Posted by
364 posts

I'm hesitant to admit that when I plan, I end up with a spreadsheet divided into 15 minute intervals with everything assigned a spot. Of course each spreadsheet column has a link to the Google Maps route for the day, along with routes to all the bars and restaurants at each stop. My traveling companions are only vaguely aware of my guide, but they can tell when we get too far behind, as I get cranky. All my driving times are padded by 25% or so to allow for "Oh - stop there!"'s and slow farm equipment. I actually find that Google driving times are pretty accurate if you're comfortable driving at the speed limit.

I loved the days when you could just show up and decide what to do and find lodging that day, but I think the internet ruined that.

Posted by
24050 posts

That's a very impressive itinerary. I commend you for pulling it off. If I had that in front of me, I wouldn't have the energy to step on the plane!

Posted by
21 posts

Great report. It is interesting to me how you managed the logistics of travel to all the islands as I am planning a similar trip in 2024 but as I travel solo don’t have to worry about falling behind schedule.

Posted by
1253 posts

Very Impressive itinerary!

Where did you stay on the Isle of Skye, Inverness, and Edingburgh?

Was your trip during the month of June? What was the weather like?

We are planning a 16-night trip to Scotland for June 2023.

Can you give some restaurant recommendations for Isle of Skye, Inverness area, and Edinburgh?
Thank you!

Posted by
364 posts

to kmkwoo:

As mentioned in the original post, we ALWAYS stay within walking distance of music.
- Stayed an Grenitote B&B in Portree (small room but very good breakfast - arranged via email, found by luck), Ness House in Inverness (Covid downgraded to continental breakfast), Royal Mile Apartments on Fleshmarket Close in Edinburgh (very noisy all night long)
-Trip was May28 thru June 19. Weather started out as sunny in the 80s, but in Skye it was gale driven rain, remainder of trip was mostly dry and 60s. We actually abandoned our Quiraing hike due to being unable to walk without using hands on the ground. We're usually in the Isles in April-Jun and usually have great weather.
- Restaurants in Skye needed booking or standing in long line. Ended up at Taste of India twice (good food, less crowded) and Cuchullin by waiting 30 minutes. Inverness music was so good at MacGregor's we skipped dinner, then had a absolutely terrible pizza at Dominos. Edinburgh was Whiski and Greyfriar's, both good, but not gourmet. We don't travel for the food :-)

Posted by
1253 posts

thank you, jjgurley, for your detailed response. So it looks like the weather is usually better on the Isle of Skye in June than it was this past June. I realize weather changes from year to year. It looks like you spent 3 nights on Skye; I am thinking of 4 nights in case we have a very rainy day, and hopefully that extra day will be sunny instead of rainy. I hope? But one never knows for sure when it comes to weather. I certainly don't want to hike with my hands on the ground.

Posted by
364 posts

I think you have to be prepared for wet weather, no matter what the season. I wouldn't reserve too many days for backup or you'll postpone only to find out the next day is worse. The gales on Skye were highly unusual and were only a problem when the rain was added or you were on exposed ground.