As we plan our excursion in Scotland around the Highland Games in Stirling, we are seeking advice and recommendations regarding travel mode and sites. Starting in Edinburgh, then to Stirling, we would like to spend a few days in the highlands, perhaps Loch Lomond. Also, reading Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island has brought Inverness into view. Wondering if the trip and visit to Inverness, flying to Ireland from there, is worth to distance, expense and time rather than heading to Glasgow to catch a flight to Dublin? We will be retired and happily flexible. A major consideration is our preference for train travel rather than car.
How many days do you have? There's certainly lots to see on the drive north, but not if you only have a couple of days.
I'm not sure what the train routes are, but I would always spend more time in Scotland. Perhaps visit the Orkney Islands from Inverness.
Flights between Scotland and Ireland are frequent and convenient, but how much time would you have to enjoy Ireland? If you're flying Aer Lingus to/from the USA, then a stopover in Dublin or Shannon could work out easily. That would allow you a taste of Ireland on your way to or from Scotland. But I don't know that I would want to break up a Scotland trip with a hop over to Dublin and back.
Actually we will fly to Edinburgh from Bologna, Italy (attending the Palio in Cagli 2nd weekend in August). Planning to spend 4-5 days in the area of Edinburgh and then train to Sterling for the Games taking place the following weekend. Our itinerary is open from that point. Eventually, we will venture to Ireland. So, off toward Inverness or Glasgow before flying to Dublin? What would you do, and why?
OK, I love the western highlands so I would drive north from Stirling to Inverness and head west along the north shore of Loch Ness (see Urquhart Castle and the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition), then via either Glencoe or Connel to Inveraray. The latter takes you past the Cruachan "hollow mountain" hydroelectric station and Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe.
Inveraray is a charming well-preserved Georgian planned town on Loch Fyne. The castle is gorgeous inside & out, and nearby is Auchindrain Township open-air museum. En route from Inveraray to Glasgow you drive along Loch Lomond, where you can take a short boat trip out of the village of Luss and/or stop for lunch at Duck Bay.
End up at Glasgow Airport, turn in rental car.
If you need overnight accommodation at Glasgow, there's both a Holiday Inn and a Holiday Inn Express literally walking distance from the terminal.
Thank you for these very inviting suggestions. We just might do exactly that itinerary. The more we explore possibilities the more willing we are to consider driving. My first car was a 1950 MGTD. I can just imagine us enjoying this excursion through the Scotish Highlands behind the wheel of an English roadster.