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Help Planning Trip centered on Orkney and Narrowboating in Yorkshire

We are thinking about three weeks in September of 2020. We really want to spend a week narrowboating on the Leeds Liverpool Canal between Skipton and Foulridge England. The boat hires start Monday or Friday there.

The ruins, both Scandinavian and Neolithic in Orkney have also caught our attention.

Is this a reasonable itinery?

Saturday: Fly to Edinburgh

Sunday-Tuesday nights (3 nts):  Edinburgh

Wednesday: Fly to Kirkwall and stay through Saturday (4 nts)

Sunday:  Overnight  Ferry to Adberdeen Rent car and stay in Perthshire through Wednesday doing castles lakes and hiking (3 nts in Perthshire)

Thursday:  Drop car and train from somewhere (?) to Skipton

Friday to Thursday (7 nts): narrowboating.

Friday: Exit boat and train Edinburgh, Glassgow, Manchester or other airport city.

Saturday: Fly Home

First, are we giving too much time to Orkney?

Second, what about after Orkney? We have also thought about these alternatives: (1) flying from Kirkland to Glassgow and spending the time slated for Perthshire in Oban; (2) flying back to Edinburgh from Kirkwall and taking the train on to Newcastle to do Hadrians Wall before Skipton; (3) flying from Kirkwall to Glassgow and immediately taking the train to Skipton for a Monday start narrowboating and then spend to remaining Monday to Thursday doing York and Hadrians Wall or heading down towards London. Are these better ideas?

We like a mix of cities, hiking, ruins, and villages. I remember Edinburgh and Hadrians Wall fondly from a trip 30 years ago. My husband has never been. Neither of us has been elsewhere in Scotland. We both loved Wales and Chester last September. We've been in London three times in the last seven years.

Posted by
642 posts

Hi Jen
Yes it's doable.

Orkney is well worth 4 nights.

Perthshire is also well worth a look and in September the autumn colours will be just getting going. Pitlochry might make a good base. It's a pleasant little town and nice and central for getting out and seeing castles, lochs and doing some hiking. Walk Highlands is an excellent resource for planning hikes.

Rather than ferry to Aberdeen and rent a car there, which would then end up being a one way rental (likely to be more expensive). I would fly from Kirkwall to Edinburgh, rent a car there, head up to Perthshire (not a long drive at all) and then return the car to Edinburgh airport, before taking the tram into the city to pick up the train to Skipton (you will change in Leeds I think). National Rail is the site you will want for planning your rail journey and don't forget to look into the various railcards and discounts that might be available. The cheapest rail tickets are 'advance' tickets which commit you to a specific train, but which are much cheaper than fully flexible tickets. They usually go on sale about 12 weeks before the journey date.

I hope this helps.
Jacqui (Skyegirl)