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Itinerary for 3-week trip in June/July

Hi folks,

I've been reading through the forum and getting ideas and thoughts on my trip this summer for my wife and me. We are flying out to Scotland on the 17th of June, and flying back to the USA on the 10th of July. That leaves about 21 days in country.

Here's a basic itinerary that I have come up with, and I'm looking for feedback on the amount of time to spend in the various places, etc.

A couple of things about this trip and our priorities... I am an amateur photographer so much of what I do on vacations involves a camera! I especially want to see the neolithic sites of Calanais and the Ring of Brodgar (among other sites out there), so Orkney and Lewis/Harris are must-see destinations. I also intend to see some architecture in Edinburgh and Glasgow. We are keen to do walking in the hills and along the ocean, and we do intend to get out to see Iona on a day trip (but most of the other destinations will probably be a little less tourist-focused and not do any guided tours, other than a distillery or two.)

This is a long trip, and I've tried to keep the "moving around" to a minimum, but it still ends up having us jumping from place to place a bit to cover the territory.

A few questions...
I could shift my nights a little to increase it in one area and decrease in another, so I'm wondering if I have a good distribution for the Oban/Glencoe/Skye segment?
Similarly, for the Lewis/Harris and Orkney segment?
Since I'm into photography, I'd like to be able to go to a distillery that will allow interior photos on a tour. I understand most do not. Can anyone recommend a distillery that should make for nice (non-touristy) images?

Here is the itinerary that I have worked up so far:

June 17: Leave USA
June 18-19: Edinburgh (sleep in Edinburgh, 2 nights)
June 20-21: Train to Glasgow (sleep in Glasgow, 2 nights)
June 22-24:  Car to Oban (sleep in Oban area, 3 nights)
June 25-26: Glencoe (sleep in Glencoe, 2 nights)
June 27-29:  Skye (sleep in Skye, 3 nights)
June 30-July 3:  Lewis/Harris (Sleep in Lewis/Harris, 4 nights)
July 4:  Mainland (North); head to Orkney (sleep in Mainland, 1 night)
July 5-7:  Orkney (sleep in Orkney, 3 nights)
July 8:  Ferry to mainland (sleep in Inverness area, 1 night)
July 9: Perth/Sterling (sleep in Perth, 1 night)
July 10:  EDI for flight

Any comments and advice is appreciated.


Posted by
196 posts

Looks good to me and makes good use of the time available.

Posted by
492 posts

Hi Michael
Your plan looks great. The only bit I might personally change would be to add a night to Skye, taking it away from Glencoe. Personally I think the variety of hikes and scenery here has more to hold one's attention than the Glencoe area, but then I am somewhat biased!

With regard to distilleries and photography I think you are correct. My husband used to work in distilleries as an excise officer and he thinks that most do not allow photography around the pot stills. However, a few years ago we went to Edradour distillery and he thinks photos were allowed there, so it might be worth checking. If they do allow photos then it would fit into your 9th July day, as it's just north of Perth.

I assume you might be looking at a ferry to Skye from Mallaig, the from Uig to Tarbert for Lewis and Harris, and then from Stornaway to Ullapool. These would all be with Calmac and get booked up quite far in advance, so you might want to consider booking them as soon as you can. I am less familiar with the routes to Orkney and I believe the are different operators for the various route to Orkney, but the same may apply as I imagine capacity will be limited.

Best wishes

Posted by
196 posts

Think about Dallas Ddu Distillery which is about 30 miles east of Inverness. This was a small Victorian distillery which closed in 1983 after a prolonged drought caused water supply problems. Now owned by Historic Environment Scotland, it is possible to wander round by yourself with the audio guide, take photographs and get into places not normally visible on the guided tours. You can see my pictures here.

There website with opening times etc is here.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks to all...

Yes, ferries are planned, and I know I need to book ASAP! This weekend...

Thanks for the recommendations for the distillery and the distillery museum! I hadn't come across those two, and will certainly put them on the list to check out.

I'll look into trimming a night at Glencoe as well. It was a bit of a "tweener" location between Oban and Skye, so that would probably be OK.

Any other recommendations; please feel free to post.



Posted by
558 posts

Edradour does allow photography throughout the tour -- a charming location, and wonderful tour, even if not a whisky fan. The other 3 we visited did not allow photographs for much of the tour. (Talisker, Oban, and Glengoyne).