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Scotland in 8-10 days

Hi,
I am Ashutosh, from India. This summer (end June), we (7 of us) are planning a trip to Scotland.
As I was planning my trip, I needed some valuable advice :
1. Do we fly into Edinburgh or Glasgow?
2. Do we travel by self drive car or travel around the country by train?
3. Is Skye and Orkney both possible in this time schedule?
4. Besides the regular touristy places, any other places which are not run of the mill with less crowds.
Looking forward for the responses.
Ashutosh.

Posted by
149 posts

Hi Ashutosh. My wife and I explored parts of Scotland by car in 2012, driving from York to Glasgow for a night and then on to the Isle of Skye. I assume you're comfortable with driving on the left so I'd recommend traveling by car. We only spent one night on the Isle of Skye and wish we had allocated more time. Give it at least two nights (three would be better) and take the boat ride to Loch Coruisk from Elgol. Dinner at the Coruisk house should be included. Flying in, I'd go with whatever is cheapest/most convenient. IMHO, Edinburgh has far more to see. If you're looking for something off the beaten path, we spent two nights on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. We enjoyed the Callanish Stones and the general otherworldliness of windswept coast, peat, and bogs. We also ate well where we stayed at Auberge Carnish but there are probably cheaper options. Have a great trip!

Posted by
1292 posts

Either airport should be ok, which ever is more convenient for you is the right one. Given the size of the party I would recommend self drive. Also the rail network is not as good as we'd wish.

Given the timescale I don't think you will be able to get to both Orkney and Skye. If you chose Skye you can choose more of the Great Glen and area.

Posted by
5562 posts

I agree that both Orkney and Skye are tough in your time frame. You will just have to come back! Wait, I'm not in Scotland right now, unfortunately, so it's "go back"! :)

Get with ever tickets are cheaper. They are very close together. I would definitely rent a car as you want to visit Skye. While I suspect you could rent a van, you might want to go with two smaller cars. The road are wee and unless you are comfortable driving a van, you might find challenges. Try the transportation forum, though to see if there are any suggestions.

I agree that the boat ride to Loch Coruisk is great, but even if you just go to Elgol--it's a beautiful drive--and check out the view of the Cuilins from the pier it will be good! There are fewer yet people on Harris and Lewis, but I am a bit concerned about time as the ferry ride is longish and again you need at least two nights, preferably three. Instead you might explore the more remote parts of Skye. Skye has many arms and most people go to Portree, check out Dunvegan, check out the Cuilins, maybe go around Trotternish, but the other "arms" are much less explored.

So, go beyond Dunvegan and up to Waternish. If you want to walk on one of the Coral Beaches there is one just north of Dunvegan. Also, there are craft shops....

Also, think about going to Duirinish. The lighthouse at Neist Point is amazing. (On the way west you drive past Skye Silver which is worth a stop if you like jewelry. I still mourn the necklace that bought there which was lost on another trip. Undiscovered Scotland can provide you with more places to look for.

The Trotternish is worth exploring too. Look for a standing stone on the west coast near Eyre. Also, a little further on is St. Columba's Isle and Burial Ground which it well worth stopping for.

I've driven out to Loch Brittle on the west coast for a photo shoot and it was beautiful. It might be interesting to explore the west coast of Skye. At the very least it looks like there are some Brochs to explore.

Lastly, if you are looking for a place with even fewer people, think about exploring Ardnamurchan. Do fill up the gas tank before driving out there!

Pam

Posted by
453 posts

i drove from the Isle of Skye back to Edi in around 4.5 hours, with no major stops for site seeing as we were headed back to the states. For your time reference to EDI. Just a word of caution. I have never driven in India so you may be accustomed to narrow roads that often turn into one lane roads. In the US we dont have many of those so it was difficult. I see that you have a group of 7 so your vehicle will be quite large by highlands standards. I hope your group is confident with driving on the left (do you do that in India?) and that your driver is skilledl! On the way to Skye we went through Fort William and the Glen Coe area which ws awesome, but to travel that way to Skye is probably a two day trip. go to www.walkhighlands.com and click to the island section and then click on Skye. Numerous sites, travel info and other helpful maps and directions are there... Orkney is there as well..have a great time. As Jim and Pam suggest we had Loch Coruisk, eglol and the boat ride in our plans, looks like a no brainer, and it is on the web site i mentioned, we got shut down by hurricane remenents but next time I'm doin eglol and the boat trip!!