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Scottish Itinerary

My husband, sister in law and I will be going to Scotland in the Middle of May. Each of us has a MUST DO! Hubby has the Falkirk Wheel, my sister in law- visiting friends in Portmahomack and mine is Hadrian’s Wall (I know that is North England but it is the closest I am ever going to get.) This is our itinerary. We have possibilities for each day but some are out of order and I need some help with what makes logical sense. For instance, does Stirling Castle make sense on the way to Glencoe or on the way back down to Edinburgh. I would appreciate any insight of what makes sense and are we missing something we just MUST see!
Thanks to all.

MAY 14TH(TUES.)-LEAVE FOR SCOTLAND; FORT LAUDERDALE TO PHILADELPHIA, PHILADELPHIA TO EDINBURGH
MAY 15TH(WED)-ARRIVE IN EDINBURG AT 9:15 AM; PICK UP CAR AND GO TO HADRIAN’S WALL (HEXHAM, ENG);
MAY 16TH(THURS)-HADRIAN’S WALL
*POSSIBILITIES-
*AYEDON CASTLE-CORBRIDGE
*HEXHAM ABBEY
*HOUSESTEAD FORT
MAY 17(FRI)-DRIVE TO GLENCOE-ON THE WAY
*STIRLING CASTLE
*FALKIRK WHEEL
*GLENCOE
*LOCH LOMMOND
*GLENCOE FOLK MUSEUM
MAY 18TH (SAT)-DRIVE TO ISLE OF SKYE
*CALEDONIAN CANAL; FORT AUGUSTUS
*THERE IS A DISTILLERY, LIGHTHOUSE, HIKES AND BEAUTIFUL SCENERY.
MAY 19TH (SUN)-ISLE OF SKYE
MAY 20TH (MON)-DRIVE FROM ISLE OF SKYE AND STAY IN PORTMAHOMACK-ON THE WAY
*LOCH NESS
*EILEEN DONAN CASTLE
MAY 21ST (TUES)-STAY AT PORTMAHOMACK
POSSIBILITIES FOR DAY TRIPS
*INVERNESS
*CULLODEN
*CLAVA CAIRNS
*CAWDOR CASTLE
MAY 22ND (WED)-STAY AT PORTMAHOMACK
MAY 23RD (THURS)- DRIVE TO EDINBURGH; HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT EDINBURGH YET.
MAY 24TH (FRI)-EDINBURGH
MAY 25TH (SAT)-EDINBURGH
MAY 26TH (SUN)-TRAIN TO GLASGOW-
MAY 27TH (MON)- MEMORIAL DAY-Leave for Iceland

Posted by
1386 posts

Hi, Nancy,

Just to start with, as you're going to Falkirk, why not visit the Antonine Wall. It's not as spectacular, or as famous, as its southern cousin, but if you're at all interested in the history of the Romans in Britain, it's well worth a visit. It was built in the second century A.D. under the rule of Antoninus Pius, and served the same purpose as Hadrian's Wall.

There are several good sections of the wall between Falkirk and Croy.

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
6113 posts

Day 1 - driving 3 + hours whilst jet lagged after a long flight is dangerous to you and others, so please don’t do it! Have a couple of nights in Edinburgh to recover first.

You are spreading yourselves too thinly, so I would suggest scaling back on the number of places you plan on visiting.

Hexham to Glencoe is a 5 hour drive without stopping, so pick one of your options.

Glencoe to Portree on Skye is a 4 hour drive. You are only planning on one full day on Skye, which is 2 days short of the time I would want just to scratch at the surface. When I was there in late June, mist covered all the mountains 2 out of the 3 days I was there.

Loch Ness certainly isn’t the most picturesque loch in Scotland although it’s popular with children.

Posted by
2559 posts

Arrive in Edinburgh then stay a few days before heading to Hadrian's Wall. Driving down to Northumberland after a transatlantic flight is not a good idea.

Posted by
1386 posts

Hi again, Nancy,

I have to agree with Jennifer. I just went back and looked at your itinerary. There's no possible way that you could visit the Falkirk Wheel, Stirling Castle, and Loch Lomond on the way to Glencoe, except for just waving at them as you drive by.

You could possibly get an early start from Hexham, visit either the wheel or the castle, then take the A82 up the west bank of Loch Lomond on your way to Glencoe. Like Loch Ness, Loch Lomond is not one of the most attractive lochs in Scotland, and you won't see a lot of it from the road. However, Luss is a charming village along the way, and worth a quick stop.

I know from experience that you want to see as much as possible in the time that you have in Scotland, but don't try to pack too much in to each day. Take time to savour the scenery, enjoy the food, and talk with the people.

Slainte!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
6788 posts

Yep to all the above.

Your plan is not just unrealistic, it's dangerous. By all means, do not jump in a car on your arrival day and zoom off down the (wrong side of the) road. Do not underestimate the risk of that - it's serious!

You've got days where you list 5 attractions you plan to see. That's simply not going to happen (unless all you want to to drive by and see something from the parking lot before you move on). You need to shorten your list, slow down and give yourself time to actually see and experience things.

Sorry, I know you don't want to hear this but it's true.

Posted by
1013 posts

Nancy
I think you could make some adjustments to your itinerary and make this a much more enjoyable vacation. I also caution you above driving so far on your first day. I know you really want to see Hadrian's wall, but I would skip this in favor of spending more time in Scotland. The driver also has to enjoy the vacation and this itinerary looks a little stressful. Take another look at the map - Either head North from Edinburgh to Inverness (BTW, Pitlochry and Blair Atholl castle are good places for a stop on this route). OR go west towards Glasgow to begin your itinerary. Either way, make your first few days around Edinburgh. The airport is to the west of the city. We stayed at a wonderful B&B (Just B) https://www.justbedinburgh.com/ or found on Booking.com. This B&B is not too far from the airport in a small suburb of Edinburgh. Bus 44 takes your into the City in about 15-20 mins. (this will be better than trying to drive into Edinburgh) The bus runs all day and night. You could easily do the Falkirk Wheel and Kelpies from your base here.

From Inverness make your way down Loch Ness to Fort Augustus. This is a wonderful village. You can see the Locks on the Caledonian Canal and even take a speed boat ride on loch Ness up to the castle. Another very nice B&B is Whitehouse B&B (a 2 min walk into the village). Then Head west to the Isle of Skye via the bridge, stopping on your way to see Eilean Donan. From the Isle of Skye, take the Ferry over to Malliag to Fort William/Glencoe area. From here head down to Glasgow then East to Stirling Castle spend your last night around here before dropping car at airport. If you must do Hadrian's wall you could put it on the end of your itinerary before heading back to Edinburgh. By this time, the driver will be more comfortable with the road. However, I think I would play this one by ear and see how you are feeling towards the end of the trip. You may not feel up to driving anymore.

have a great trip

Margaret

Posted by
681 posts

Thank you for all your kind thoughts. Working on revision. We hadn't planned on doing everything listed but was having trouble formulating which way to see the 3 must dos. Those continue to be Hadrian's Wall, Portmahomack stay and Falkirk Wheel...The rest will be filled in and believe it or not relaxing. We have driven throughout Ireland and feel fine about the driving portion.

Posted by
3122 posts

Looking at your three Must-Do items, and understanding that you're determined to get out of Edinburgh upon arrival, I suggest making Falkirk your first destination. It's nearer to Edinburgh and would not be such a perilous drive.

Posted by
8618 posts

I love Hadrian’s Wall area. I just don’t think you are giving it the time it deserves. If you are only going to be there for one day, absolutely hire Peter Carney as your guide for the day. He will customize a tour to your interests and needs. We were so glad for our day with him. http://www.hadrianswall-walk.com/

I can also suggest Ashcroft Guesthouse in Haltwhistle. Slow down, focus on your three priorities.

Stirling Castle and Falkirk wheel will take at least 4 hours to enjoy. It is not realistic to drive from Hadrian’s Wall , visit them, and drive to Glencoe on the same day. I’d stop in Stirling that day.