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Highland Games Invercharron, September 2014

I and a new traveling companion are spending a few days in Ireland, then traveling over to walk Hadrian's Wall. After our walk, I'd like to travel up to Inverness for a few days, traveling up to the Invercharron Games, then out to Eilean Donan (ancestral family ties-visited long ago). The last time my wife and I were in Europe was 1982 and we used Rick's Europe Through the Back Door as our guide all over Europe. I can still remember Mrs. Johnson at the B&B in Inverness, but have long since lost the name or location of this establishment. Any current suggestions for staying in Inverness, clues on transport (we're not driving unless we have to) out to our chosen locations? Thanks.

-Mark

Posted by
5470 posts

Hi Mark,

What a great trip you have planned! It looks to me like you can take a train from Inverness to Ardgay, but you might want to email the games and see what recommendations they have. It looks like a 2-3 hour train/bus ride to Invercharron and an hour car ride--maybe a 5-10 minutes more if you hit bad traffic. I'd suggest thinking about a car, as it's a very pretty drive. You can make a side trip to Dornoch, or stay there if you don't find some place in Bonar Bridge. A bit north of of Dornoch is Golspie and Dunrobin Castle, which has beautiful gardens and a good tour. Barely a mile past Dunrobin is the remains of Carn Liath Broch on the right side of the road. The parking is on the left. You can walk down to the North Sea. Also, if you do decide to take a car, the Dornoch Firth is quite amazing. I wish I could remember exactly where we went on a recent trip, but for once I was not driving and so I''m not sure. But check out this link.

You can take the train down to Kyle of Lochalsh and either take a taxi or the bus to Eilean Donan. It's a beautiful train ride.

My favorite place to stay in the Inverness area is not handy to public transit. It's in Fortrose and is called The Anderson. Sadly, the castle in Lairg no longer houses a youth hostel. I celebrated my 45th birthday there. :) The guide book that I've really liked for Scotland, is the in the Footprint Guide series. Rick's coverage is quite limited and I have liked the detail in the Footprint Guides. I've used the Handbook and the separate book on the Highlands.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the great information! I'm conflicted about driving, as I actually miss quite a bit while I am concentrating on driving (especially in and out of larger urban areas - and on the left side of the roadway), but perhaps the compact timeline to the games and perhaps a visit down to the Eilean Donan might be better served by taking a car. The train to Inverness from London was a big highlight of my last trip - and the vistas have stayed in my mind all these years. Both of us are avid walkers, so any interesting sites we can reach along the way are really appreciated. We are not "pressed for time" but want to make the most of the time we have. Thanks again.

Posted by
5470 posts

Hi Mark, I avoid renting cars in urban areas--that what taxi's, trams, trains and buses are there for! In the countryside I love to drive. It frees me up to go where I want to go. I can stop and take a picture. I think that one of the tricks of a driving vacation is not to try to drive too far! Factor in stopping time (not the same as stoppage time in this currently World Cup obsessed world. :) ) I took a trip with parents a few years ago, and my dad just got used to me pulling over to the side of the road, hauling out the tripod and shooting some pix! I'll always remember my drive from Memerby, near Penrith, England, to Melrose, Scotland. i took all side roads, I got thoroughly lost in the Debatable Lands, but found Bew Castle, I saw stark menacing Hermitage Castle, and still got to Melrose in time to find the place where Bruce's heart was buried (supposedly.)

Inverness is not a big urban area. It's, around 77,000 people, so it's only a wee bit bigger than Appleton WI. And Appleton has Green Bay, and the Fox River Cities building up some sprawl. There are one or two round abouts that can be a bit unnerving, but I think you risk more using the one in Mount Horeb because nobody knows the rules! So hear are some suggestions for learning the rules.

Pam

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3 posts

Any creative suggestions for getting from Dublin, Ireland to the start of Hadrian's Wall west end? Looks like one could fly fairly inexpensively to Blackpool, then either bus or train up to Carlisle. I'm partial to train rides and not averse to going out of my way to see sights by taking a longer train ride. Better to go North and train back South or go South and train back north? Is a BritRail pass still a good option if there's about an 8 day period where it might be used? My companion has not been out of country, so anything she sees will be new...

-Mark

Posted by
677 posts

A Two Together Pass, costs £30 and gives 1/3 off rail fares.
Theres a Highland Rover rail Pass,that covers Glasgow north up to the top of Scotland.
4 days travel in 8 day period,with the Two Together Pass.is£53.
Might be worth comparing to Brit. Pass