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Scotland - Oban and Edinburgh

We leave this Tuesday and will have two nights in Oban (day trip to Iona) and four nights in Edinburgh. The rest of our trip will be in England. We have purchased tickets for the Oban distillery tour one night while there and will be staying at Sand Villa Guest House. We rented a car so will go from England to Oban passing through Glasgow and Loch Lomond Park which should be beautiful. While in Edinburgh we are staying at Kingsway Guest House on Mayfield. We have purchased two tours - one to the Highlands with Taste of Scotland Tours and one to Alnwick Castle and Holy Island with Rabbies Tours. We hope to drive to see Rob Roy's grave and possibly Stirling Castle. Any suggestions for where to eat, what not to miss, would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks so much,
Diane

Posted by
5678 posts

Diane,
Have you found viamichelin as a route planner yet? I plotted your trip between Oban and Edinburgh with stops at Balquhidder and Stirling. You may want to play with this site a bit. It allows you to easily add in detours between your starting point and final destination. As you can see it's a good four hour drive to Edinburgh from Oban. It is beautiful. If you want to visit Stirling Castle, be sure to watch your time as you'll want a couple of hours there in my opinion. There is a lot to see. The good news is that there is a parking lot right up at the castle so drive straight up the hill to the castle. It will be easy to swing by Balquhidder and see the grave site. It's a lovely graveyard. If you are there near lunch time you could drive a bit east from the gravesite to the Monachyle Mhor hotel and have lunch. I sat outside for mine and I still love the photo of my cider and the view of the loch and mountains. Watch your time though if you want to see the castle.

BTW you will drive past Doune Castle of Monty Python and Outlander fame. It's lovely, but given a choice between this castle and Stirling, I would vote for Stirling.

Pam

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5678 posts

And now that I see "Mcgreg" in your name, I am a bit sorry that you won't have time for the Loch Katrine Steamboat trip. There are lots of Rob Roy references. My grandmother always claimed some McGregor lineage, but my cousin and I have yet to find it, so it must be quite a ways back. I'll have to stick with my Sutherland and Tait ancestry which I know is real. On the Loch Katrine ride they point out an island where he hid for a while and of course, the countryside there is where Rob Roy lived, fought and roamed.

Pam

Posted by
94 posts

Regarding the Oban Distillery, if you joined this organization on-line, your tour would be free: http://www.discovering-distilleries.com/ (a marketing tool for Diageo, owner of Oban and several other great distilleries).
We really enjoyed the Oban tour (and we've been on a lot during our trip, which we're currently on). Also, if you want to try additional whisky, you can buy drams for 3#(pounds) up in their little bar. A very good price to try some of the other whiskies in the Diageo family of distilleries.
As far as places to eat, we really enjoyed Oban Fish and Chips (just a block or two north of the distillery). It's very popular and will likely have a line if you want to eat in. It's worth the wait. A slightly more upscale restaurant a block closer to the distillery is Coast Restaurant. We didn't eat there but talked to others who did - with rave reviews. At the other end of eateries is the "Green Shack" down at the ferry dock. This is seafood right out of the water (basically). You place your order, grab a seat at the huge table and bench outside (weather permitting). It isn't elegant, but it is fresh and inexpensive.
We also attended the Skippinish ceilidh on Thursday night. We really enjoyed the music but didn't enjoy all the group dancing scenarios which younger folks loved. We ended up leaving early and would have preferred much more music instead of the dancing. It was very crowded the night we went.
Otherwise, we loved Oban. It's a nice little town. We stayed about 30 minutes south but ended up coming to Oban several times. On your trip to Iona (3 islands, I assume), be prepared with waterproof, warm jacket - maybe even rain pants. We lucked out on great weather but it could be challenging in rain.
Enjoy!

Posted by
49 posts

Pam and Kay,
Thanks for all the great tips. I remember looking at Loch Katrine -- will have to see if it would fit in as we will go very near it going to Ballquihdir- my husband doesn't know his ancestry, but knows that they relate back to Rob Roy. I have used viamichelin and printed out maps - we are also taking our GPS which he had the UK maps put on - hopefully that will be good. We also have a United Kingdom AAA mapto take. Oban Fish and Chips sounds wonderful = we will have two nights for dinner and will look at Green Shack as well. Fresh seafood is what we are looking for = at a good price is a bonus. We will be in Oban on Friday and Saturday nights so hopefully there will be some great music to hear. Staying at SandVilla which is walkable from what I have seen to anywhere. Be able to park the car and walk around. Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us. On the plane in 72 hours!

Posted by
5678 posts

Hah! That's what my grandmother said too--related to Rob Roy. So, maybe we're related. : )

You should check out Undiscovered Scotland. Calandar's visitor center has info on Rob Roy and I think that the museum artifacts are now here.

Pam

Posted by
94 posts

I don't think the Green Shack is open for dinner! It's quite a "basic" place. You might end up at Oban Fish and Chips twice....like we did! Although Coast sounded very tempting. Have a great time!

Posted by
49 posts

Thank you all for your thoughtful tips. We have had to cancel our trip for this year due to illness. We hope to reschedule for next fall when the leaves are in color, temperature is cooler, and tourists are fewer. Hope that is a good plan.

Posted by
5678 posts

I'm so sorry you had to cancel your trip....I am sure that you'll have wonderful time next year. I hope that the illness that caused the cancellation has improved.

Pam

Posted by
94 posts

So sorry to hear this. I hope all is better and you're looking forward to a nice trip next year. At least, all your research is done!