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Mother/Daughter Scotland Trip!

My mother and I are traveling to Scotland this September, and we are hoping to see many sights without spending too much time traveling/driving. We know that we will have to miss some great things, but would like to see as much of the best of the country as we can in the short amount of time we have. We love history, nature, walking, and meeting people. We will be in Scotland for 9 days and our plan is to rent a car and travel that way. Any advice/suggestions on our itinerary would be much appreciated! We are wondering if people think we are trying to do too much or if we are missing anything really worth seeing. Below is the itinerary we are thinking about, with some questions we have:
Day 1-2: Edinburgh
Day 3: Pick up the rental car and drive from Edinburgh through the Trossachs & sleep somewhere near Glencoe/The Great Glen or Mallaig (Any suggestions about what town/city we should stay in? We don't want to spend too much time driving and would like some time to relax/explore. I don't really want to do Fort William).
Day 4: Drive from wherever we stay to the Isle of Skye (stopping in Glennfinnan to see the viaduct along the way). Stay two nights in the Isle of Skye.
Day 6: Ferry from Skye to Isles of Lewis & Harris and spend one day there. (Does this make sense to do or should we skip this altogether? We would love to see the standing stones there).
Day 7: Ferry back to Skye (or Ullapool?) and drive to Inverness area to see Cawdor Castle (I'm a big Shakespeare buff) and Culloden battlefield. Spend the night in Inverness (or a smaller town on the Moray Firth. We can't decide if we want to stay in Inverness or somewhere else?).
Day 8: Drive back to Edinburgh and see Blair Castle, Glamis Castle, Dunnotar Castle?, and maybe Pitolchry? Stay in Edinburgh (or Stirling?)
Day 9: Tour Stirling castle and then it's off on a train to London that night!

Thank you for your help in advance!

Posted by
1400 posts

Since you are driving your own car your itinerary can be flexible; especially in September. Look at the Visit Scotland Web site. It is very interactive and informative with videos on the different regions. I would caution that it often takes longer to drive than the mileage may indicate; especially the coastal locations. Look at Google Earth to check the routes. If you like nature and hiking you should check on accommodations in or near the National Parks. Take a smart phone you can use to book on the way. Historic Scotland features most of the Castles: Some have Victorian remodels. You may need to make advance reservations on Skye as it has become very popular. There are admissions passes available that can save you a lot of money. They do have a Mary Queen of Scots Trail that you can follow to visit all her historic sites.

Posted by
3111 posts

To your Day 7 question, I can recommend Nairn, about 1/2 hour east of Inverness and very near Cawdor Castle. The Tali Ayer Bed & Breakfast was superb.

If you're interested in standing stones, go see Clava Cairns neolithic site. It's just a (pardon pun) stone's throw from Culloden Battlefield.