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Possible trip itinerary for next Summer

After talking to everyone who may come on this trip and watching some youtube videos and reading a little bit, here is a possible itinerary I came up with. I still haven't decided exactly where to stay but would like some ideas.

Fly into Glasgow, stay the night
Pick up rental car and drive to Loch Lomond, stay 2 nights
Drive to Fort William and take the Jacobite train the next day, stay 1 or 2 nights
Drive to the Isle of Skye via the bridge and spend 3 nights possibly in Portree
Drive up the north west coast to the north east coast to see Castle Sinclair-Girnigo near Wick, staying 1 night halfway on this road, possibly in Ullapool or one of the other nearby towns on the coast (Achilibuie, Lochinver or Achmelvich-haven't looked them up to even see if that's possible), spend 1 or 2 days near Wick.
Drive to Loch Ness, stay 1 night
Drive to Glasgow and drop the car off, take train to Edinburgh, stay 2 or 3 nights
Train to Glasgow and fly home

Posted by
2145 posts

Scotland is such a MAGICAL place to visit.
Are you planning to attend The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh in August, or avoid it? I think The Fringe is an incredible experience, [and have gone twice,] but it does take over the entire New Town and Old Town areas, and significantly increases hotel costs. I personally think it's worth it!
Safe travels, and have a wonderful time.

Posted by
974 posts

Hi, k588,

Going in June, you'll have plenty of daylight. Around the solstice, it's daylight until about 11 p.m., and dawn arrives about 4 a.m.

I have a couple of suggestions, for what it's worth:

First, there's not a whole lot to do around Loch Lomond, but a cruise on the loch would help you get an appreciation for it. If the Maid of the Loch is back in operation by June, that would be the best way to see the loch. You could also hike up Ben Lomond, which is the easiest of the Munros to climb. You can then claim that you've "bagged" a Munro. There are great views of the loch from the summit.

If you're going to Skye from Fort William, you may want to consider taking the ferry from Mallaig to Armadale on the way there, and the A87 across the bridge on the way north. Unless you're planning to visit Eilean Donan Castle, in which case you definitely want to take the A87 from Invergarry.

If you're going from Portree to Wick on what appears to be day nine, you should try to get farther north than Ullapool. Lochinver, Scourie, Kinlochbervie, or Durness would be better bets, and not only would you have a good chance of finding accommodation, but you'd have less distance to Wick the next day. Achiltibuie and Achmelvich, although beautifully situated, don't offer much in the way of accommodation. Personally, I'd go with Scourie or Durness, if I had to stop midway to Wick, but Lochinver is a charming town, and Kinlochbervie has a couple of good small hotels (Kinlochbervie Hotel and the Old School).

Best wishes for your travels!

Mike (Auchterless)

p.s.: If you're taking the Jacobite, make your reservation as soon as you finalize your plans. The train fills up very quickly during the summer months. There is only one train per day. You may want to consider taking the Jacobite to Mallaig, and the regular Scotrail train back to Fort William (or vice-versa). There are three choices of seating. If there are only two people in your party, you should consider the two-seater option in the first class open category.

If you take the Jacobite both ways, you'll have just under two hours on the ground in Mallaig, which should give you enough time to explore the village.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks Auchterless for the suggestions. I decided against taking the ferry so we could see the sights along the drive. Will probably change the stopover to further up on the north coast. Still looking for places to stay in each stopover. It's a little hard right now as only 3 of us are going for sure. 2 may only be coming for a long weekend and my son maybe not at all. He's in the Air Force and not sure he can get off yet.

Posted by
974 posts

Hi again. k588,

Sorry, I should have gone back to your earlier posts to see that there were at least three of you travelling. I'm in the middle of working out a September itinerary for some friends, so I didn't take time to check back on your earlier posts.

Anyway, accommodation is definitely going to be harder to come by with three, four, five, or six of you travelling. But if you have two cars, it'll be a bit easier for you to split the lodging. The northwest coast has become very popular due to the North Coast 500. Plus the scenery is absolutely amazing! If Lochinver doesn't work out, there is a small (but pricey) hotel at Achiltibuie, and a very nice hostel close to the beach at Achmelvich.

Getting back to the Jacobite - there are seating arrangements for two and four people in the First Class Open section of the train. So perhaps you could get a two and a four directly across from one another.

Best wishes once again.

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
2949 posts

Having done much of the first part of your itinerary, I'll offer a few tips.

If you want to stay right by/at Glasgow Airport, the Holiday Inn is excellent and Holiday Inn Express is OK. They are literally a stone's throw from the terminal.

When you get into your rental car, ask the agent (the person in the parking lot who actually puts you into your car) which signs to follow at the roundabouts leaving the airport campus to get onto the motorway headed toward the Erskine Bridge and Loch Lomond. The signs are not self-explanatory. If you find yourself headed toward Glasgow (the airport is in Paisley, north of Glasgow), you're going the wrong way.

Cruise Loch Lomond has some nice cruises on the loch, leaving out of the tiny & scenic village of Luss.

Basically any route you choose from Loch Lomond to Fort William will have gorgeous scenery. In Fort William, the Morrison's supermarket is right by the train station and it has an excellent cafeteria where you can get a very affordable meal.

Outside of Fort William is the scenic ruin of Old Inverlochy Castle, and nearby at Banavie is Neptune's Staircase.

If you have trouble finding lodging on the Isle of Skye itself, the Dornie Hotel is a stone's throw from Eilean Donan Castle, a 5-min drive to the Kyle of Lochalsh Bridge. It's very affordable, clean, with helpful staff, and has a nice pub/restaurant that is popular with locals.

Hope this helps!

Posted by
23 posts

Sorry it took so long for me to get back here, been working a lot. Thank you Mike and Epltd for your suggestions. I'm making notes of everything. Hope to book everything within the next 2 weeks.