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Flying in & out of Inverness in September ..Help planning

HI ! I'll be travelling to Scotland this fall ,September 17 thru September 24. I will need to be in Inverness on the 22nd & 23rd for the Loch Ness marathon YAY !!!... then my flight home on the 24th. Any ideas on what areas I should try to see? Some of the areas I am interested in visiting are Edinburgh, Neolithic sites , some hikes or walks , possibly Aberdeen (its where my Great Great grandmother was from) & maybe the Harry Potter train? I am really open to any advice as I am unsure how many sights I can fit in over 5 days without feeling rushed.

Posted by
5011 posts

Where are you flying in from, and how many days do you really have (not counting arrival or departure days, if you're coming from far away)? It sounds like the 23rd and 24th are already spent on that marathon, so...you may really only have a few days (say, 18th - 21st?....how are you counting that you have 5 days?). You're flying in and out of Inverness, so that's not flexible (it would be more efficient to fly in to one city and out of another - a round-trip flight to Inverness - or any single city - limits how far you can go, because you have to begin and end your trip in the same place...any chance you can fly in to Edinburgh?)

Have you been to Scotland (or Europe) before?
How are you planning to get around - is renting a car in your comfort zone?

Posted by
3 posts

Hi , I 'll be flying from Washington DC. I'll arrive on Sep 17 , I should have 5 days prior to Inverness 17th ,18,19,20,21st..where I could sightsee a bit . I've been to Europe ie. London once about 15 years ago . Im not to scared to hire a rental car if needed, but I'll be happy to use a train or bus to travel between larger cities . I may be able to fly into Edinburgh , however for some reason Glasgow always is cheaper from DC.

Posted by
3 posts

I suppose I could change flights to go round trip out of Ediburgh if this would help?

Posted by
5011 posts

Be careful in how you calculate "cheaper".

First of all, you should try to fly open jaw if you can - in to one city, then out of another - because flying round-trip involves doubling back to your arrival city (which is very inefficient, almost always burning part or all of a day), the cost of that transportation, and usually a hotel there too - be sure to figure all those costs (including what else you could have accomplished if you were not waisting that day doubling back). In some cases a circular route may work out with the same city as your arrival and departure point, but usually not.

I believe you are locked in to being in Inverness on the 22nd and 23rd, and you will be flying home on the 24th. If that's the case, then you should end your trip in Inverness. That means you should start your trip in...someplace else. The obvious choice is Edinburgh. Fly in to Edingburgh and out of Inverness (not vice versa). Then you pick what you want to do/see in between those two points, and figure out how to string them together.

IMHO the best thing you could do would be to simply allow yourself more time - seems a tragic mistake to me to go all that way if you're only going to have a few days to enjoy Scotland.

Start by being honest with yourself...

I 'll be flying from Washington DC. I'll arrive on Sep 17 , I should have 5 days prior to Inverness...

Nope, not really. You will arrive on the 17th. You will be wiped out from the overnight flight (sleep well on airplanes, do you?) and that day will be pretty much in a fog. Yes, you should be able to wander around Edinburgh (or wherever you land) for a few hours but you are probably going to be sleepy and jet-lagged. Especially since you will be running a marathon in a few days (!) you need to let your body and mind adjust to the local time zone, so I don't think it's wise to "count" your arrival day nor your departure day, no matter what time the flight is scheduled. By my reckoning, you will have about 3 to 3.5 days for sightseeing (remember, you will need to get yourself to Inverness on the 22nd, get checked in to your hotel, and settle in with whatever pre-marathon tasks or rituals you need - allocate a half day for that).

Personally, I think it's kind of crazy to fly to Europe for just a few days (unless you can do that often, or unless you can fly in first class so you arrive rested and fresh). I do understand your plan is to do a marathon, plus enjoy a little sightseeing. Still...can you carve out a few more days (or another week) to give yourself the opportunity to enjoy the place? Scotland is beautiful and amazing, and if you just get a few days you will wish you had more time! FWIW, the country between Edinburgh and Inverness is rugged, wild and spectacular, much of it is empty/real wilderness. Definitely worth a little time if you can somehow swing it.