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Scotland in September 2022 for three weeks

Hi
We're traveling to Scotland for three weeks in September 2022 and was hoping to get some help with our itinerary. We are in our 60s and love history, art hiking, and meandering. This trip is a little harder to plan because we're going on separate tours on the second week - DH to cycle the north coast 500 and I'm going to Iona. So, the logistics are a bit tricky. Right now, our trip is pretty preliminary except for the two tours.

1. Day 1 - Arrive in Edinburgh from the states via Heathrow.
2. Day 2-4 - Edinburgh - plan to meander the Royal Mile, visit museums, maybe go to Leith, ;;;;;;;;
3. Day 5-6 - Reng to a car and travel and stay in the Trossachs, maybe Collander? Plan to stop at Sterling, Castle Doune, and other places on the way.
4. Day 7 - DH heads to Inverness and I go to Oban heading to Iona.
5. Day 8-14 Separate tours
6. Day 15 - 16 - meet up in Oban

Posted by
1283 posts

I think I am missing the question in here. Are you asking how to handle Day 7 and Day 15 logistics? Or what to do after the tours?

Posted by
5 posts

Ah, good question. Sorry, first time in a travel forum.

I have a couple of questions.

  1. In general, does this look like a reasonable schedule?
  2. For the Trossachs stay, is Colander a good place? Do you recommend any place to stay and good hikes?
    1. Where would you recommend for staying in Glencoe.
    2. I've been to reading about the crowds at Skye, and almost hesitate to go there, but it sounds so beautiful. Are there some out of the way places to stay that aren't completely inundated by tourists?
Posted by
19375 posts

I spent 26 days in Scotland during July 2019, including some time on Skye. Crowds on Skye are not like crowds in London or Bath or York (or Edinburgh). I'm not a hiker, so I can't comment on conditions at hiking spots like the fairy pools, but in general, I found the major effects of peak-season tourism on Skye to be the pricing and availability of hotel rooms and the need to make dinner reservations everywhere rather than just showing up.

You may be able to get an idea of the tourist load by checking out videos on YouTube. Look for videos those posted in 2018 or 2019. You want to see people in what looks like summer clothing.

Or perhaps Skyegirl can tell us from her experience that summer 2021 was as busy (with mostly domestic travelers) as 2018 and 2019.

Posted by
527 posts

Hi Rocky Mountain Traveler

Callander is a good location for Stirling and the Trossachs.

Regarding Skye. Yes it can be busy, but September is a good time to visit. Things should be easing off in terms of visitor numbers. The main busy sites are Fairy Pools, Fairy Glen, Neist Point lighthouse, Coral Beach, Old Man of Storr and Quiraing. Apart from those sites you will have things largely to yourselves. I recommend looking at Walk Highlands website to check out walks on Skye that avoid those places and you will find some great places to explore. I am not going to list my favourite spots here or they will quickly become as busy as the ones listed above (hope you understand!). But the whole island is spectacular and you'll have a great time wherever you explore.

Regarding accommodation. There are hotels and B&Bs across the island but they do get quite booked up in the summer months. Again by September you should have less problem finding a room, but I would suggest trying to booking something around March time to be certain. In addition to catered accommodation where you get breakfast, you might look at camping pods. There are wooden structures with bed, shower room and a small kitchen area with fridge, microwave and sometimes a stove top, where you can prepare your own food. They are pretty good value and again found all over the island, often in the garden of people's houses.

Restaurants are busy here right through, so you will need to book if you want to eat somewhere high end (Three Chimneys, Lochbay, Edinbane Lodge, Kinloch Lodge) and also some of the places in Portree are busy.

Hope that helps
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
5 posts

Skygirl

Thank you for the reassurance that Skye won't be too inundated and appreciate the practical advice on dealing with the crowds.

Acraven
Will definitely check out the Youtube videos.

Thinking about Skye, what do you think about two days in Glencoe instead of one and shortening Skye to two nights. Would like to go to Eilean Duran castle, see the countryside in the area, and hike Glencoe. Does this make sense?

Thanks for your help.

Posted by
527 posts

Personally I would struggle to fill 2 days in Glencoe. It is a valley with some decent high peaks in the area, but mainly for the serious hiker/climber. Skye is more varied in terms of scenery and walking possibilities - but that's just my personal opinion and bear in mind I have chosen to live on Skye!
Best wishes
Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
768 posts

Hi Rocky -

I suppose it all depends on your definition of ‘hike’ when it comes to Glencoe. If you just want a casual stroll then there’s not much to detain you, but if you want to climb the hills there’s a ton of walking in and around the area. But once out of the valley, heading upwards there is a lot of what guidebook writer W. Poucher referred to as ‘collar work’, as in, effort required. Even the walk to the summit of the Pap of Glencoe (which I thoroughly recommend) is steep on narrow and often wet paths. So the right sort of gear is required as it isn’t a half hour ramble.

The other thing, of course, is that Eilean Donan castle is very close to the bridge to Skye, so cutting down your time there means you barely have to time to enjoy the island itself (which is bigger than you might imagine). From the castle the drive to Fort William and Glencoe is spectacular, up past the Cluanie Inn beneath the Five Sisters of Kintail and always takes longer than you might imagine - a good half day at best.

Don’t get me wrong, Glencoe is wonderful and I personally love it there, but if you are not heading for the summits your time is best devoted to Skye - I’m afraid in the time you have it’s one or the other and, push come to shove, I’d go with Skye.

Ian

Posted by
527 posts

Ian has put it much better than I could! Many thanks Ian.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you Ian and Jacqui

I appreciate your advice because i have been struggling with figuring the distances and time it would take. There seems so much to see and we are constrained on time between my DH's limited vacation time and fitting in our separate bucket list trips.

Denise (Rocky Mtn Traveler)

Posted by
572 posts

A few years ago we hiked the West Highland Way in September. We loved the Glencoe area, but it was very rainy the day we hiked the Devil's Staircase (not particularly difficult in our opinion) and the views were not what one would hope for. I would not recommend planning to hike there unless you have full rain gear. It was also very rainy the day we drove around Skye; to avoid the crowds, and anticipating not much in the way of views, we toured the castle which was nice. But there was no way we were walking to the Fairy Pools in that weather.

Posted by
9 posts

We live in Edinburgh and I would definitely suggest that the whole Royal Mile would take a day. Starting at the castle and making your way down to the Palace at the bottom.
Rather than Leith, I would suggest visiting Stockbridge/new town. Especially if you love art, Dundas street is known for its galleries (to buy) and close to some of the museums near the mound and on Queen Street.
If going to Leith, I would suggest making a stop at the Royal Yacht Brittania. Lovely tour! Though, be warned that traffic is quite heavy with the tram work, so plan to commute for about an hour each way (at least).

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks. Good to get advice from a local. Stockbridge sounds lovely and I like the closeness to art galleries, museums, and the Botanic Gardens. One question - I have also read about Dean Village, how does it compare to Stockbridge? Would you do one over the other, or do both?

Posted by
19375 posts

They are both interesting, and they're less than a mile apart. You can follow a path along the Water of Leith from one to the other. I don't remember any commercial activity in Dean Village--no shops or restaurants, so that might help you choose.