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Safety Concerns-Scotland Public Transporation for solo female traveler

I will be using a lot of public transportation when in Scotland this August. I have had some great advice about safety concerns from these forums that was so valuable! Hoping to get more this time. Here is my public transport itinerary for Scotland. Please let me know where to heed caution or any safety advice. Thank you in advance!

-Glasgow via Gatwick flight
-Shuttle Bus from Glasgow Airport to City Centre
-Train from Glasgow Central to Edinburgh Haymarket and vice versa
-Inverness station via Glasgow Queen Street station
-Inverness Airport via bus
-Stornoway Airport
-Driving in Lewis and Harris
-Inverness via bus from airport
-Edinbugh Haymarket via train from Inverness
-Edinburgh Haymarket to Castle Street area via bus or tram
-Edinburgh Haymarkey via tram to airport

Posted by
16877 posts

Answers for these Scottish specifics should not be much different from your similar question for England. That is, there is not much to worry about. Some single-lane roads in the Scottish highlands and islands require you to really be aware of oncoming traffic.

Posted by
11450 posts

You are talking about public transport.. not driving yourself.. what are your concerns re safety???

Posted by
238 posts

I have had a pinched nerve in my right leg and that can affect my hips, knee and foot unpredictably. This means I might have to use a walking stick or move very slowly making me look a bit weak and bit like a "target." It might make me look older than I am. I worry most about things like people slicing off the backpack I might wear and running away with it. I carry a lot of camera, tablet, computer etc in either a backpack or boarding bag. I am sorry if I sound paranoid but I have had co-workers, also solo females like me, have their purses or backpacks just yanked off their bodies in broad daylight.

I do not have a smart phone and even if I did, I would never use it overseas. I have a simple UK phone number/phone that worked fine on my last trips over.

I posted in both forums because my UK friends have told me that Scotland and England have many differences. I did not post in both forums to be aggressive. Hope people understand.

Posted by
2519 posts

If you are walking with a stick in Scotland you are more likely to be assisted than targeted,Scotland is very safe , you are more likely to have problems with falling masonary than being a victim of an attack.
can I ask why you are using haymarket train station is id because you are staying nearby, the main train station in Edinburgh in Waverley, both train station have lifts and escalators for access.

Posted by
238 posts

Thank you for the re-assurance. Everyone I have talked to in Scotland (phone) does seem very nice and helpful. I am using Haymarket on the day that I am traveling from Glasgow to the Zoo. Haymarket seems like a better connection to the bus that goes to the zoo and closer to the zoo itself.

On the other day, I am staying real close to Haymarket Station also and then will need to get the tram to the airport the following day. BTW...if anyone wonders why I am not spending a lot of time in Edinburgh it is because I do not like huge crowds and I found out it is festival month in August.

Posted by
2519 posts

the bus or tram to the airport leave from exactly the same place at haymarket just a couple of steps apart, so it does not really matter what you use.You do need to buy a ticket before you get on the tram but you can just pay on the bus.the bus stops right outside the terminal , with the tram you have about a 200 yard walk.
http://lothianbuses.com/
this link will give you all the info on buses and trams in the city with info on timetable and tickets , if you have a smart phone you can download their app which is pretty good and even buy tickets using that.

Posted by
9363 posts

When I was in Scotland, I had a bad run of leaving things behind - my GPS, camera, even my passport. In every case, I had people follow me to return it. I left my camera on a ScotRail train and by the time I realized it, it had been turned in and was locked up safely at the next station till I could retrieve it. Absolutely no problems (and yes, I was traveling alone).

Posted by
5571 posts

I have always felt incredibly safe in Scotland. The people are friendly and helpful. I've rented cars and taken public transport. You will be better than fine. :)

Posted by
238 posts

Unclegus....very good advice about the bus. I definitely do not want to walk 200 yards! I do not know where I reads that the tram was the best option but glad to know that it is not ideal.

Thank you all for your stories and advice. So greatly appreciated!

Posted by
49 posts

I would echo everyone else - I've never felt as safe as I do in Scotland. Just got back from my latest trip to the UK with most of the time in Scotland (overnights in Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh) and I had the same experience - people are more liable to offer you assistance! Just some notes from my partner (who also needs a cane to help her walk): Edinburgh is very hilly (especially the Royal Mile). We took a taxi to the castle (top of the hill) as soon as it opened in order to save her energy and then just walked downhill all day; the trams and buses do not go all the way to the top of the hill, so you might want to spring for a taxi that day. Other than that, just remember to look both ways when crossing the street - that left-hand driving can startle you! Enjoy!

Posted by
1636 posts

We are currently in Glasgow and today I took a local bus from Glasgow to Glencoe by myself. I'm 60+ and had no frame of reference for where I was going other than the RS guidebook ( which can be a little off- hand in some of the details). I was perfectly safe and everyone was very helpful when I had a question. I managed to get there an back, even though the pick-up point was basically the side of the road. The one thing I have found in both Ireland and Scotland is that "it's a 10 minute walk" is more a figure of speech than a literal time frame-just be aware of that. Taxis in Glasgow seem relatively cheap and plentiful. I'm not sure about the rail station, but at the Buchanan bus station it was 30p for the toilet. There was a change machine right next to it. Have a great trip!

Posted by
238 posts

Very helpful advice, thank you! I was wondering about the toilets and if there would be a charge. This might be a bit off topic but are restrooms (WC) in airports free or is there a charge to use those? What about restrooms in restaurants?

Posted by
5571 posts

Restaurant WC's are free for patrons. I can't recall having to pay to pee in the airports. I really ran into the Pay to Pee mentality more in Europe. I am sure it exists in the UK, but perhaps not to the same level. I remember paying in train stations. Of course, I recall having to pay a dime to get into a stall in the ladies room in many a department store in Chicago in the 1960's. Keep some pence on hand.

Pam

Posted by
2519 posts

airports are free for toilet use,all bars and retaurants toilets I have been in are free in the Uk, In Edinburgh many public toilets are free though some in some areas are pay one usually 30p, train stations tend to have a fee.
In Europe most public toilets are pay ones many will have a caretaker and a charge will be obvious and a tray or plate to put the money on.I have been in bars in Prague where they charge for the toilet but these tend to be the touristy places.

Posted by
26353 posts

If you are traveling on a train the toilets on the train are free.

If they are working (modern technology tends to outsmart itself sometimes).

Posted by
40 posts

I spent 2 weeks in Scotland last September on a solo trip to celebrate my 50th birthday! I felt safe 100% of the time.

I flew into GLA, took the shuttle to Queen Street and hopped on a train to Edinburgh/Waverley
-Train from Waverley to Aberdeen
-Train from Aberdeen to Inverness
-Taxi from my B/B in Inverness to the airport (travel to Dublin)

I never once felt uneasy on public transportation. Honestly, I never felt uneasy even walking in Edinburgh/Old Town alone at night.

Just be on your guard like you would be any time you are traveling alone.

I had so much fun that I am going back-ALONE in September to celebrate turning 51!

Posted by
1 posts

What about a female solo traveler leaving Glasgow Central Station at 5:30 a.m. -6:30 a.m. on a Nov. Saturday? I want to come see a concert Friday night but have to take the very early Saturday morning train and be in York before 11:30 a.m.

Posted by
26353 posts

Most of the early people on trains - I don't know about Glasgow but I'm sure it is the same everywhere - on a Saturday are either workers going to work, workers finishing overnight work, drunks who slept the night on the station benches or outside, people going to an airport, or people going to sporting activity.

If they are any of the above categories except the drunks, they won't bother you on the train. If they are quiet drunks, most of them on Saturday morning, after all they have been drunk a long time, they won't bother you either.

If they are boisterous they are unlikely to bother you, but you may want to move to a quieter part of the train. There aren't very many of them.

If they are nasty drunks - very rare indeed - you can move away, or tell the Conductor (often at the back of the train, or in the train compartment) and move away. They won't be popular, and they will be dealt with.

Posted by
2519 posts

It really won't be much of an issue,very unlikely to be any problems.