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Scotland without driving

Doing a 12 day trip in late June. Spouse and I are retired, and our 25 year old intellectually disabled son is coming with us. Arriving and departing from Glasgow. Having done a 3 week Irish trip where I drove over 2,000 km (but have no recollection of many places, since it seems all I saw was road...) I wanted to not drive this time. And given the train and bus transport systems, Scotland seems perfect. I've been able to map out a car free visit to Edinburgh and of course around Glasgow. Between AirBnB and a solid hotel, that portion works. But my wife has ancestors from the Elgin area and wants to spend 2 days in the area seeing where her people came from. I get that, and think it would be fun. I can get us to and from there via rail or bus from Glasgow and I can find some AirBnB places that work for us in Elgin itself, so that part is hopefully under control.

So why am I posting here? Because I'm looking for advice or recommendations regarding transport for the time we are in the Elgin area. This is the one time having a car makes sense, but there have to be other options. Local taxi company that would take us around? Local guide for hire? And if a car rental becomes the only way, any recommendations or cautions? If I rented, I'd likely want to pick up there, and return near Glasgow airport.

I'm all ears for any advice. Thanks


Posted by
2949 posts

I'm going to recommend a B&B in Nairn, near Elgin, whose host is extremely helpful with specialized questions like yours. It is called Tali Ayer and the hosts are David and Rowena Cameron. See Even if you don't end up booking in with them, a phone call would likely give you some helpful ideas about local transport options.

Posted by
13234 posts

If you can research and come up with specific sites for the ancestral home that would focus your visit. the local TI or the parish church might help. Bthen a taxi ould take tou there.

A few years back we di a roots trip for my husband's Swiss ancestors. His great-grandfather emigrated from there, landing in Ohio as a dairyman. But we knew the great-grandfather's brother founded a brewerie in a small town near Thun. Webhad two different addresses from Internet research but were determined to find the property.

We rode the train to Thun and hired a taxi from the station. I showed the driver the two addresses and explained I did not know which was correct. (This is going on in German and while I cannot speak Swiss Germn, she could understand me, as I could her). When I told her we were looking for my husbnd's ancestrlpoperty, she said he has " Swiss blood" and asked if I do too. I answered "no" ( my ancestors are Irish) but said I have a Swiss heart.

Between the two inflicting addresses we had trouble finding the place, nd at one point she switched off the meter so we were not charged. When we finally did find the property, we found that the unle's brewerie had been given to the community when he died, and on the day we were there, they had a special exhibition of he architectural features of the place. When I told the entry official of my husband's connection, she gave us a private tour of the features. If only I ould have understood Swiss Gemn better!

I hope you no your wife have a similar good experience. Depending on how far you want to range, a taxi may or my not be he answer.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks folks. We know of places like Duffus and Bishopsmill, not specific addresses. I think she'll be happy just visiting the towns and places from the 1700s that would have been there when her people lived there. Her branch came to the us in late 1790s, not sure about any who stayed. If we track down a specific cemetery, that would be a must visit :)

Posted by
28147 posts

Have you searched the census records (every 10 years) or the Latter Day Saints records?

Posted by
3 posts

Nigel, thanks. Been doing genealogy for over 35 years, but the Scots linkage for the spouse is only been uncovered in the past 6 or 7 years. The Elgin area folks seemed to come from Aberdeen in 1600s, but Morey specifically Elgin area is the center for them for 100 years until her branch headed to the US. Obviously a lot of family stayed and that's always being researched, but not really looking to visit 4th cousins 2x removed in Scotland unless they are looking too :) I did find a local guide/driver whose rate is 28 pounds per hour inclusive I may consider for a full day of exploring. But if a car rental for a few days is less.... Choices will be the death of me yet.