Please sign in to post.

Feasibility of Driving to these Destinations?

Greetings!

I'm planning a trip for next year. So I'm curious if it is feasible to drive from Iverness to Edinburgh in one day---or is this an insane idea that requires going over a bunch of mountains and nasty terrain and I should plan for it to take 8 hours and not 3.5?

The other area I was curious about, is driving from Iverness to Glencoe, stopping in Glencoe for a couple hours, then driving to Glasgow (staying overnight in Glasgow)....is this too much?

Please advise.

Posted by
1292 posts

Both are doable in one day, they are two of the main north south routes in Scotland. The A9 is pretty direct and easily doable in 4 hours, unless you want to stop off along the way. The A82 will be slower, but still doable in a day with a few stops along the way.

Posted by
3091 posts

You could do this , but you would be missing some of the best eye candy anywhere ( and I mean ANYWHERE ! ) The Scottish Highlands screams for you to meander and take it in . I would rethink your time frame and try for a more leisurely pace , you will be missing a lot if you go at breakneck speed .

Posted by
4998 posts

Weather and traffic could affect your pace. On our trip last August, major roads on a couple of rainy days (not mist or showers, but heavy rain) moved slowly with heavy traffic, but the traffic did move, and we got there before too long. Are you familiar with driving on the left side of the highway, with lanes that might be narrower than you expect, sharing the road with tourists who may not be as familiar (and may not necessarily always stay on their side of the center line)? You may need to pull over for a break, in addition to pulling over for scenery, sights, etc.

Posted by
5562 posts

I agree that this is doable, but if you can figure out a way to slow yourself down a bit, you will see more and enjoy more. The A9 is the main road north to Inverness. It's not an Interstate type road, but at times is limited access. It's the switching back and forth that can be disorienting to an American. You can be buzzing along at full speed limit and then all of sudden there is a hay wagon and tractor going 15 MPH. And there are speed cameras.

At the very least, I suggest stopping a couple of times to enjoy the views. I would stop in Dunkeld/Birnam and walk around the cathedral and village square--have a coffee or early lunch depending on time. Further north, stop and enjoy the Queen's View. There is a tea room. A little bit further is Killiekrankie with a small visitor center and short walk. Or, take a longer time and visit Blair Castle. There are additional "long cuts" that I can recommend as well. I think I would try to put another day in your trip back south to Edinburgh. Allow yourself time to wander a bit on the road west and south if you can.

Pam

Posted by
5 posts

and... having driven the roads, I would advise not to do so after dusk. I was not warned of this. Many locals are off the roads in the Highlands and for very good reason. Sheep on smaller roads, Deer and then near Glencoe and other areas, the large Stag are literally in huge herds close to the highways. A trip that should have taken me 3 hours took me 5 driving at half the speed for fear of hitting something.

Posted by
5011 posts

I've been wondering about this route, too.

I'm planning a short trip through Scotland in July - so I'm expecting long days, and at least a passing chance at moderate weather (hey, I live in Seattle, I'm used to rain, I expect I'll feel right at home).

I'm looking at driving from Edinburgh to Inverness in one day - via Stirling, Crianlarch, Glencoe, and Fort William (basically, M9 to A84, A85, A82 - I think). The idea is to get from Edinburgh to Inverness in a long day, with enough time to stop and enjoy the scenery (moors, highlands, and obligatory Loch Ness sillyness). I'm OK with a long day in the driver's seat (and driving on the "wrong" side of the road) - although I'd like to reach Inverness by dark (we'll get an early start, and it'll be early July). I'm expecting lots of pretty scenery, maybe some rain, roads that are good although not big highways, an occasional slow truck and/or wildlife, and lots of options to stop, stretch legs and take photos - but no real "must see" attractions (except a few obligatory items towards the end of the drive, Nessie, Urquhart Castle, etc.).

I chose this route because I figure it's a reasonable compromise between speed and scenery - Rick's recommended route takes you out to Oban, which I'm sure is nice, but we are not heading to Mull/Iona (we will end up on Lewis, but need to get to Inverness first). I assume that the scenery is nice going over the top from Edinburgh to Glencoe, then we'll complete the drive along the scenic Caledonian Canal. Admittedly we will miss the scenery between Glasgow and Glencoe, but will get the Moors and mountains as compensation.

I know it will be a full day, and a lot of driving through nice scenery. We expect to depart from Edinburgh around 8 am, and hope to arrive in Inverness before dark (sunset is after 10 pm), allowing for occasional brief photo op stops.

I think this is a reasonable plan. Is it?

Posted by
5562 posts

It's not a drive I would do. It's 5.5 hours with perfect traffic and no rest stops. Also, if you are going to Lewis from Inverness, you will likely drive part of it either on the way to Lewis from Inverness or on the way back south from Inverness. That's why I would head up the center. Here's an alternate route that is an hour shorter, and takes you back into some of the glens and off the main highways. When you're in Tummel Bridge looking west across Loch Rannoch, you're at the eastern end of the Road to the Isles. The drive over the mountain from Aberfeldy to Tummel Bridge is single track and wonderful.

If you are not going to be driving back from Lewis, then maybe I would think about your route. :)

Pam

Posted by
5011 posts

We're going to fly from Inverness to Lewis (Stornoway) and then fly back to Inverness. Actually, from Lewis we will fly to Kirkwall (via Inverness).

On the way north (driving) to Inverness, I think I'd prefer to go via the route I described, because it takes us up through Glencoe, and along the Caledonia Canal/Loch Ness, scenery we would like to see (even if only briefly).
And we won't be driving back to Inverness or Edinburgh at all - going north, it's a one way drive. We will return from Orkney (flying back to London). I know, not a typical itinerary. :)

Given that, does it make more sense in that case?

Posted by
1292 posts

The timescales is believable and doable in a day. But once past Stirling, the motorway will run out, the curse of the tractor and motorhome may be upon you. The road along the lochs from Glencoe to Inverness can be crowded at that time of the year.

Plus some of the places like Callander, Doune, may creep up and make you want to stop. And the A82 going across Rannoch Moor (the Crianlarich-Glencoe section) can make you want to spend longer there if the lighting and weather conditions are right.

It is certainly doable, but prepare for your heart to veto the head before the Great Glen. And once you get to the Great Glen you will have potentially two hours of driving. Unless you drive like a local.

Posted by
5562 posts

MC has it right about the conflicts between heart and head. Whenever I drive I Scotland I find that I am constantly stopping and taking photos or just enjoying the view. But, yes, if that is your only time to drive the west coast then I understand. You, might however, want to have a plan B in case the black Cloud descends on the west. Not much point in taking the scenic route if you can't see it. Watch the weather forecast. It can be sunny in the East and poring rain in the west.

Remember, you can come back....

Posted by
1292 posts

Pam is right about a weather plan B, always useful in Scotland! However I do think Rannoch Moor and Glencoe on the A82 when it is dreich or worse have an atmosphere that make them even more spectacular.

Posted by
5562 posts

I saw Applecross through absolute downpours. The water literally spouting out of the mountains quite spectacularly.

Pam