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Scotland Trip in June

We are planning to visit Scotland in the beginning of June for 10 days. Thinking of staying in Edinburg for 3 days then renting a car a go on a road trip. Here are some places I was thinking about, please let me know what do you think. Thank you so much:

  • Edinburgh-Falkirk Wheel-Stirling Castle, next drive to Loch Lomond, then hike to the Conic Hill.

  • Drive to the Tarbet then to Rest and Be Thankful, then Inveraray Castle.

  • Drive to Lochawe then to Oban.

  • Next to Glencoe, drive to Kinlochleven then Fort William, Fort Augustus, and Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and Skye (not sure where to stay in Skye, or what to do).

  • After visiting Skye drive to Poolewe then to Ullapool. Then we start Costal Route 500 drive to John o’ Groats, then to Inverness, next to Aviemore, Ballater, Breamar then to Perth, St Andrew, Aberdour and finish in Edinburgh.

We have 7 full days for the road trip, so every night would be in the different place. Not sure where to stay on Skye, thinking about 2 nights.

We love mountains, castles, spirits tasting, good food and local culture, small little towns etc.

Thank you for any tips.

Posted by
931 posts

Hi, karjoka8,

That is a hell of a lot of driving for seven days. If this is your first time in Scotland, I can understand your wanting to see as much as possible, but as others have pointed out here, you're going to be seeing it from the windscreen of your car.

If you are planning on spending two nights on Skye, that would be most likely your third and fourth nights on the road. That only leaves you three days/nights to see everything else.

Unless you have a specific reason for completing the NC500, I'd recommend turning south at Ullapool or Laxford Bridge, and heading back to Inverness. Driving all the way around to John o' Groats and then down the A9 is going to take almost a full day.

Unless you can add an extra day to your holiday, you're not going to have enough time to take the Cairngorm loop from Aviemore over the Lecht Road to Ballater, then down the A93 to Blairgowrie and Perth, and then over to St. Andrews and Aberdour. It can be done, but you're going to be going flat out, with no time to explore.

You need to add an extra day, or eliminate some part of your seven day drive. Maybe eliminate one of the Edinburgh days, and get an early start for Falkirk.

Believe me, I've done it! 4,000 miles in 28 days my first time over! The poor car was never the same! Take some time to tweak your itinerary, and set some driving time goals. As many others have pointed out here, Scotland can be very deceiving as far as travel time. What looks like a short drive on the map can take much longer than you think it will.

Best wishes for your holiday. If it's your first time in Scotland, I envy you. You are going to love it!

Mike (Auchterless)

p.s. Be sure to make reservations as soon as you can once you know your days for Skye.

Posted by
18351 posts

Mike's not kidding about lodging on Skye. It is very tight. There may be some places on the mainland that are also a challenge.

Posted by
155 posts

I see you have posted this question on Trip Advisor and have already been given some advice which I agree with.

This trip sounds more like an endurance test to me than a holiday. You intend to do a lot of driving which may sound fine in theory, but Scottish roads are anything but straight, flat or wide and require concentration to negotiate. It can take a lot longer to get from A to B than you might think.

I do understand that when some people visit Scotland they are time poor and feel they need to hit the ground running in order to see as much as possible. However the Lonely Planet guidebook puts it rather well..........

"Quality, rather than quantity, should be your guide, so pick a handful of destinations and give yourself time to linger. The most memorable experiences in Scotland are often the ones where you do very little".

If you are set on visiting Skye (and it seems to me that most visitors to these shores are) then I would spend three nights there because it is a large island and has plenty to keep you occupied. After three nights in Edinburgh and three nights on Skye this leaves you a few days to do a road trip of some sort, but you are going to have to decide how you spend them.

Skye is extremely popular and I advise you to book accommodation now and don't just hope to wing it and find something when you get there. There is a Facebook group called Skye Rooms which should help you if you do have problems finding lodgings.

Posted by
11 posts

Ok I could skip John o' Groats then. What you guys think about this plan? still crazy busy? what would you possibly cut of from this trip and what is the must see? Thank you again for all your great help :)

Day 1:
Edinburgh – Blackness Castle
Linlithgow Palace
Falkirk Wheel
Stirling Castle
Burns Stewart Distilery
Over night around Aberfoyle

All together 62 miles of driving.

Day 2:
Optionally Ben Ann hiking (if weather permits) or shorter hike on Conic Hill (Aberfoyle to Balmaha).
Next Loch Lomond Distilery
Drive to Inverary (Balmaha-Inverary 52 mile) thourth Rest and be Thankful view point.
Over night in Inveraray area. Visit castle next morning or evening before.

Day 3:
Inveraray – Oban (38 mil/)
Oban (Oban Distlery).
Next drive from Oban – Glencoe (50 mil).
Drive to Etive Mor Valley ( to see maybe a little portion of the valley)
From Glencoe next to Fort William (30 mil)
Overnight in Fort William.
Possible stop at Ben Nevis Distilery.

Day 4:
Fory William – Fort Augustus (32 mile).
Then drive to Loch Ness (20 mil).
Visit to the castle Urquhart.
Then drive to Skye to Eilean Donnan Castle (66 mil).
Overnight around the start of Skey or in Potrtee.

Day 5:
Drive from Broadford to Elgol – unil the "end of the road".
Possible hiking if the weather and time permits.
Then drive around island of Skye. Portree thought A855 to the Northern part of the island. Hike around Old Man of Storr.
Driving to Uig.
Drive to Borve thourth Dunvegan until A87.
Possible visit to Talisker Distilery then overnight in the area.

Day 6:
Skye – Ullapool (160 mil) . Ullapool to Inverness possible to Aviemore if time permits.
Ullapool-Aviemore (around 2h driving).
Overnight in Inverness or Aviemore.

Day 7:
Drive to St Andrew (two possible ways)
First Tomintoul, Balmoral, Braemar.
Second through Pitlochry to Perth then to St Andrew. We can stop and visit Pitrochry and possibly visit two distilleries: Blair Atchol and Edradour .
Then from Perth to Edynburg directly or if we have time we could visit St. Andrew Eden Mill distillery.
If we decided to visit St Andrew on the way back to Edynburg we could drive along the coast. Possible stop in Burntisland or Aberdour.

Posted by
931 posts

Hi again karjoka8,

The first part of your new itinerary looks better. If you're visiting Blackness Castle, and are Outlander fans, Midhope Castle (Lallybroch) is only about 5 miles up the road.

Anyway, if you do continue on to Skye on day 4, and are planning to drive to Elgol in the morning of day 5, you should stay in Broadford, Breakish, or Kyleakin. If you stay in Portree your first night on Skye, it's about an hour's drive back to Broadford, then 45 minutes to Elgol. There are a couple of good hikes out of Elgol, and one to Camasunary from Kirkibost. However, if you were thinking of taking the Bella Jane to Loch Coruisk, I'd advise against it if you want to have time to drive around the Trotternish Peninsula to Uig, and then on to Dunvegan. Last entry to the castle is 5:00 p.m., I think.

Day six will find you viewing the West Coast through the windscreen. As you said, it's 160 miles, give or take a few, from Dunvegan to Ullapool, and then if you're turning and going to Inverness, that's about another 100 miles, depending on which way you go. Then you're going on to Aviemore. Ullapool to Aviemore is a good four hours, and you're going to need to stop for food, petrol, and toilet breaks. A lot of the roads you'll be on will be two lane, but you may still encounter some places where it narrows down to one lane with passing places.

Day 7 - Aviemore to St. Andrews. You have a long way to go, but this can be done in a day. A9 past Perth to Bridge of Earn, then the A913 to Cupar and the A91 in to St. Andrews. Or if you're going by way of Ballater and Balmoral, overland to the A93 at Ballater, then the A93 south to Blairgowrie, the A923 to Dundee, cross the Tay Bridge, then the A914/A919/A91 to St. Andrews. However, that drive would take so long that you'd have little time to spend in St. Andrews.

The one thing that you have going for you is that you're traveling in June, so there'll be lots of daylight. Days five, six, and seven, however, are going to involve a lot of driving. I don't want to discourage you, but just be prepared for long drives and long days.

I don't know how many of you are traveling, but if you're stuck for accommodation near Dunvegan on day five, the Skyewalker Hostel in Portnalong may be a possibility. In addition to dorm accommodation, they also have en-suite twins and some 2-3 people yurts.

Best of luck!

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you guys for the great recommendations. As of today I have to book accommodations on Skye as almost nothing is left. I found a charming lodge in Broadford and thinking of staying there for two nights as originally planed from night 4 and 5 and do road trips around the island. As for the rest of the plan I will ned to cut in half of even more. It is 2 of us my husband and I . We are looking for adventure and definitely don't wan't be rush anywhere. So maybe in this case we should just focus on one attraction per day? And yes one or two distilleries are just fine :)
Should we still drive the same way? Any thoughts what will be the must see daily (we are not funs of Outlander)? Or should we completely change the driving route?