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Itinerary Help

My husband and I will be traveling to Scotland as part of a late honeymoon in August. My mother is from Dunoon and we will be there for the Cowal Gathering. Since I have only been to Scotland once when I was ten and my husband having never been, I'm struggling to plan the perfect trip to see as many of the sights as possible while being realistic as to our time. We arrive in Edinburgh and fly home out of Inverness. We would love to see Isle of Skye, the Hebrides, Ben Nevis, Loch Lomond and some castles. I would love any input you have regarding our tentative itinerary.

8/25: Arrive in Edinburgh
8/26: Edinburgh
8/27: Depart Edinburgh to ???
8/28: ???
8/29: ???
8/30: Dunoon
8/31: Dunoon
9/1: Depart Dunoon to ???
9/2: ???
9/3: Outer Hebrides
9/4: Outer Hebrides to Isle of Skye
9/5: Inverness

Posted by
458 posts

From Edinburgh you could visit Stirling which has a great castle, or you could head to the Isle of Arran, which is said to be Scotland in miniature. From either of those it would be an easy trip to Dunoon.

You are really pushing it to get to both the Outer Hebrides and Skye. The drive to Skye from Dunoon for example would take all day. And you are really going to struggle to get good accommodation (or possibly even 'any' accommodation) at this late stage. You don't say why Inverness is important, so I'd drop that from your plans as it really is just a working town with little to detain the visitor. Ben Nevis is an odd choice as for most of the year it is hidden in cloud, so unless you want to climb it, again I'd give it a miss.

If you want to see some of the Outer Hebrides you could get a ferry from Oban to Castlebay on Barra and from there work your way up the chain of islands, but with only potentially 4 days I would say this would feel very rushed. It might be better to depart Dunoon and drive up the side of Loch Lomond, via Glencoe to Fort William, from where you could see the Nevis range (and possibly the Ben itself if the weather is kind). Another way of seeing the Outer Hebrides would be to fly to Stornaway from Glasgow, rent a car and see the island of Lewis & Harris, which has plenty to occupy you for 3 nights.

Hope this helps.

Posted by
2564 posts

Since you're going to Dunoon, you'll be not too far from Inveraray, which is a beautiful town designed by a Georgian architect. The castle is stunning inside and out (the RS guidebook says it's boring, but I disagree). There's also the historic jail, and south of town is the Auchindrain Township open-air museum; also Argyll Adventure with horseback riding. I can recommend Brambles for lodging and daytime food, and the George Hotel for dinner & pub. An hour's drive puts you at Kilmartin Glen (just outside of Lochgilphead), with its cairns and carved stones.

Another option in that general western region is the isle of Arran, if that appeals to you.

Posted by
901 posts

Hi, kimasse,

Here's another vote for Arran. We visited the island last year, and it is beautiful. The main towns of Brodick and Lamlash can be quite crowded, especially at the weekend, but it's easy to get away from the crowds, especially as you drive north from Brodick to Lochranza, or south to Lagg and Blackwaterfoot.

There are two good castles, Lochranza (free) and Brodick (not free). Brodick Castle has some lovely gardens, and there's even a mountain (Goatfell) to climb.

As Skyegirl noted, Arran is Scotland in miniature. There are mountains in the north, and lowlands in the south. The Highland fault line runs through the center of the island. Lots of places to hike, explore, and picnic.

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)

p.s.: Have you heard Billy Connolly's song "Why Don't They Come Back to Dunoon?"? He wrote it with Tam Harvey while they were the Humblebums, a little over 50 years ago.