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Scotland Itinerary

My sister and I will be traveling to Scotland in September. We arrive on September 3d, late afternoon and fly home on September 14- so it's 10 full days. My plan is seeing Edinburg 2 nights - (so one full day and then more before taking a train) Glascow, 2 nights (one evening and a full day there) rent a car and then drive to Oban, Glencoe, Inverness, Stirling and back to Edinburg to fly home. I really would love to fit in some island visit but just not sure that can be squeezed in. My preference would be Orkney, but Skye would also be wonderful. So what do you think is possible? I envision spending a couple of nights in Inverness to see Loch Ness and Culloden.
In September, I figure the days are getting shorter so that is a consideration for seeing sights. And I'm assuming it will be cold (for a Southern Californian anyway). Would love some input before I start booking my stays.

Posted by
595 posts

Orkney and Skye might be a bit difficult with your time frame, but if you want to do an Island visit have you considered visiting some from Oban? There are boat tours to Mull and Iona, or Staffa, or a number of different islands there. When we took the RS tour. We did the Mull and Iona tour, which is great for scenery and history with the Abbey on Iona. This year we are going to Staffa and a few smaller islands instead to see the geologic sights and the wildlife.

It is possible to do all the stops you mentioned if you don't mind longer driving times and 2 night stays. That is how we like to travel so it wouldn't bother me, but everyone is different. Here is a sample, but it doesnt give you long on the Isle of Skye for the amount of driving you are doing.

9/3 - land in Edinburgh
9/4 - Edinburgh, sleep Edinburgh
9/5 - train to Glasgow, sleep Glasgow
9/6 - Glasgow, sleep Glasgow
9/7 - Drive to Oban. Drive along Loch Lomond, perhaps visit Inverary and the beautiful castle there. Sleep Oban.
9/8 - Boat tour to chosen Islands. Sleep Oban.
9/9 - Isle of Skye - visit Glencoe along the way
9/10 - Isle of Skye, sleep Isle of Skye
9/11 - Isle of Skye for the morning, drive to Inverness
9/12 - Culloden and Loch Ness, sleep Inverness
9/13 - Drive Inverness to Edinburgh, visit Stirling along the way.
9/14. Fly home

This plan includes both the Islands near Oban as well as Skye, so you could do one or the other and add more days elsewhere. Or if the outdoors is the most important, you could cut out Glasgow. Someone else will chime in I am sure with a better plan, but this is just to say that I believe it is possible, but fast paced. I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
458 posts

The suggestion above is a good one, if you can find accommodation at this late stage on Skye.

I'm not sure Inverness is worth a couple of nights, as Loch Ness is not one of Scotland's prettiest lochs.

You could always fly to Kirkwall (Orkney) from Glasgow if you wanted to do that instead of Skye.

Posted by
7 posts

I so appreciate the input! Thank you SO much!

Posted by
2564 posts

If you'd prefer a smaller town than Inverness, just east of Culloden Battlefield and Cawdor Castle is the town of Nairn.

Also, I'll put in another plug for Inveraray Castle, which I think RS guidebook does a disservice. It has beautiful gardens and, in a separate pasture, a flock of black sheep. Inside it has a fabulous display of arms & armor as well as plenty of lovely historic furniture, and information about Clan Campbell. You might even get to meet the duke in the gift shop (we did!).

Posted by
902 posts

@epitd,

Unfortunately, as this is the RS website, I find that his guidebook does a disservice to various parts of Scotland. But used in combination with other guidebooks (Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, etc.), it can be useful.

@Debi,

As you're going to be in Oban, you may want to consider visiting the nearby islands of Kerrera and Lismore. Both are easily reached by ferry. Kerrera is for foot traffic only, but you can take your car to Lismore.

Best wishes,

Mike (Auchterless)