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Travel from US to Scotland at end of September

We had a trip scheduled in April and had to reschedule due to Covid. We are scheduled to go September 21 now and are considering rescheduling for next March with all the uncertainty. Would like to get opinions from UK and Scotland residents. Another dilemma is our flight connects in Amsterdam so are flights being allowed into there from the US as well. What to do???!!!

Posted by
6113 posts

There is talk this week of Americans being banned from entering the EU, but that may change by September. At present, you would have to quarantine for 14 days on arrival in the U.K., which means you can’t leave the house and garden of wherever you are staying and you should get food delivered to your address. This may change by September.

I wouldn’t be happy getting on a flight in September and hopefully by next year, the situation may have improved, however, March wouldn’t be my choice of time to visit Scotland, as you could encounter snow and cold temperatures. I would make it a 2021 trip to avoid further rescheduling.

Posted by
23355 posts

Personally I would think that anything this year would be "iffy." Just personal opinion but based on a lot of news information. It appears the EU is getting a handle on the virus but not the US. I would rebook for Sep 2021 and relax. We need to have a vaccine and good treatment protocol in place before travel can return to previous levels.

Posted by
58 posts

Scottish weather can be really rubbish (I live in the UK and watch the weather reports for the whole country). I personally would only travel there May-first week in October. It's a beautiful place but the weather can be really frigid.

Posted by
1157 posts

Personally I would reschedule for sometime after Easter 2021. I can only really speak for Scotland as that is where I live. Here are my thoughts.

While accommodation providers and restaurants look likely to reopen from 15th July, social distancing (2 metres or 6 feet) remains in place here in Scotland, so capacity in restaurants will be dramatically reduced and most are insisting on rebooking. If you are planning to travel to rural areas of Scotland then you will need a firm plan with reservations made well in advance for both accommodation and meals. Hopefully by Easter 2021 the situation will have eased and something like normality will have resumed.

Bear in mind too that healthcare provision (should you need it) outside of the cities is designed to serve our local rural communities. Here on Skye we have two small "cottage" hospitals and no ICU unit. The nearest being a 3 hour drive away in Inverness. An influx of people with COVID requiring treatment here would be catastrophic for our hospitals. We currently have 0 cases on Skye and the local community would like it to stay that way!

As Jennifer has said, at present there is a requirement to quarantine in one place for 14 days on arrival in to the UK. While this looks likely to be relaxed for some Western European countries in the near future, I think it's likely to remain in place for those arriving from the USA as it seems there infection rate is higher there than here.

Weather wise, I live on the Isle of Skye in the west of Scotland. I would not describe our weather as "frigid"! However, it is generally unsettled and can be wet and windy. We rarely get frost here at sea level, but snow sits on the tops of our mountains from late October through until late May. Central and Eastern Scotland are considerably colder than here, and also have unsettled weather. As I write this England is experiencing temperatures of around 33 celsius, while we are sitting at about 16 celsius with a fair old breeze. Rather pleasant actually!

Hope this helps.

Skyegirl (Jacqui)

Posted by
2945 posts

Skyegirl, thank you for your insights as we are looking at visiting Scotland in 2022. Is the month of May advisable to avoid the hordes of tourists during the summer?

Also, what is your favorite movie related to Scotland or Scottish culture?

Posted by
6113 posts

May, June and September are my favourite times to visit Scotland. The last time I was there in June, a local said that the temperature that day was the same as the same date in December! Expect mixed weather at any time of year.

Posted by
6633 posts

When we visited Scotland in 2008 it was in May and we generally had good weather. Some days it rained and some days were chilly requiring a light jacket or long sleeves.

Posted by
9720 posts

There is talk this week of Americans being banned from entering the EU,

Americans are already banned from entering the EU, since mid-March. They are talking about maintaining the ban that is already on place (while allowing persons from some other countries to enter).

Posted by
1157 posts

May is a good month to choose. Although the weather is unpredictable all year, May is probably my favourite month. No midges either!

As for movies - well I'm not really a big movie watcher, but I did enjoy Braveheart (although I'm not really a Mel Gibson fan). I also liked Trainspotting, which depicts a rather gritty side of Scottish city life.

Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
832 posts

We visited Scotland in mid-September for several weeks and had very good weather. There was only one day that was absolutely miserable with rain, wind and fog, so we merely adjusted our activities that day and wore our packable rain jackets. It's a beautiful country!

Posted by
1376 posts

Hi, Big Mike from West By God Virginia,

I have to say that I haven't heard that description of WVA in about 30 years. I used to say that any time I mentioned the state, and folks would look at me as though I was crazy! Well, maybe I am! :)

Anyway, I wanted to add to Jacqui's list of Scottish movies, so here goes. Some of these are personal favourites.

Local Hero - My personal all time favorite Scottish movie . Bill Forsyth's masterpiece. It has recently been released on Blu-ray and DVD by the good folks at Criterion. If you have a choice of only one Scottish movie to watch, this is it!

Hold Back the Night - This independent film has been seen by virtually no one. It was made in 1999, and filmed entirely in Scotland. It's a road trip movie, with the final destination being the Ring of Brodgar. Apparently it's available to view on Amazon Prime. Another personal favourite.

Sunshine on Leith - I'm not much for musicals, but this charmer, based on the songs of the Proclaimers, is a treat! It's a paean to Edinburgh. "500 Miles - Sunshine on Leith" is on YouTube. Keep some Kleenex handy!

Restless Natives - The Clown and the Wolfman come up with the brilliant idea of robbing tour buses. This one is a hoot! The scenery is gorgeous. Another personal favourite.

Dear Frankie - Set in Clydeside, this is a touching drama about family life, and a mother's attempt to hide the truth about her husband from her son. Early Gerard Butler. Yet another personal favorite.

Gregory's Girl - Early Bill Forsyth. Charming tale of teenage love, starring John Gordon Sinclair, and Dee Hepburn in her only movie role.

American Cousins - Funny gangster film, set in Glasgow. Any movie starring the delightful Shirley Henderson ("Hamish Macbeth") is worth watching.

Ae Fond Kiss - Beautifully acted film about inter-racial relationships.

My Name Is Joe - Peter Mullan in a superb performance as a recovering alcoholic. Another personal favourite.

And speaking of Peter Mullan, check him out in Tyrannosaur and True North, two slice of life movies. True North was partially filmed in Norway.

Stone of Destiny - Delightful movie, based on the story of the students who stole the Coronation Stone from London back in the 1950s.

Ring of Bright Water - Bill Travers in this film based on Gavin Maxwell's book of the same name. Virginia McKenna stars as Travers' love interest. Not true to the book, but the scenery is wonderful!

Geordie - Also known as "Wee Geordie." Starring Bill Travers (again), plus the wonderful Alistair Sim. Story of a Highland farm boy who sends away for one of those "Charles Atlas" type of books to learn how to become muscular. The course is so successful that Geordie ends up representing Scotland in the Olympics.

Whisky Galore - The original was produced by Ealing Studios in 1949, and was filmed on Barra. The 2016 remake was filmed in Portsoy. The original is a classic. The remake was good, but not great. Based on Sir Compton MacKenzies tale of the S.S. Politician.

Breaking the Waves - Psychological drama starring Emily Watson in an early performance. She was nominated for an Oscar. The graveyard scene at the end was filmed on Skye at the foot of the hill leading down to Neist Point Lighthouse. Perhaps Jacqui can let us know if the gravestones are still there, or if they've been taken away.

Rocket Post - Whimsical tale of the attempt in 1934 by a German scientist to build a rocket to deliver the post from the island of Scarp to the larger island of Harris.

Sunset Song - Remake of the 1970s STV television miniseries, based on the novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon (which, by the way, has been named the best Scottish novel of the 20th. century). Unfortunately, most of the movie was filmed in New Zealand, and they used an English actress to play the part of Chris Guthrie.

More to come!

Posted by
1376 posts

Young Adam - Ewan MacGregor and Tilda Swinton in a gritty drama, featuring murder and nudity.

Red Road - Another gritty drama, starring Kate Dickie as a CCTV operator in Glasgow. This one got great reviews in the national press.

NEDS - Peter Mullan directed this movie about teenage gangs in 1970s Glasgow.

Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Maggie Smith ("Downton Abbey") won an Oscar for her performance as as a teacher in an exclusive girls' school. Set in 1932 Edinburgh.

Filth - James McAvoy as a totally corrupt policeman in contemporary Edinburgh. If you liked "Trainspotting," you'll love "Filth"!

Angel's Share - Ken Loach film about the search for the perfect whisky. Billed as "Scotland's answer to 'The Full Monty.'"

I Know Where I'm Going! - This is a classic! Powell and Pressburger's classic, starring Wendy Hiller and Roger Livesey. 1945 black & white. Not to worry, the Corryvreckan Whirlpool scene was filmed in a tank! The ceilidh scene is wonderful!

Edge of the World - Another Michael Powell great! This 1937 film was based on the evacuation of St. Kilda. Powell wanted to film on St. Kilda, but the owner of the island (the Marquess of Bute) wouldn't give permission. So Powell filmed on Foula, in the Shetlands. Also available on Criterion.

Hallam Foe - Quirky Comedy-Drama featuring Jamie Bell ("Billy Elliot"), in a movie filmed entirely in Edinburgh, mainly on the rooftops.

Okay, that's enough to get you started for an evening of Scottish films. And since we can't travel to Scotland for a while yet, this will have to do for now.

Don't forget to save me an aisle seat!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
27253 posts

I recognize the names of quite a few of Mike's suggestions because they've been broadcast on TCM. If you get that channel, keep an eye on its schedule. I've linked to the US schedule; the Canadian schedule is in some cases different because of rights issues.

Posted by
2945 posts

skyegirl and aucherless, wow! Thank you. I didn't realize how much I didn't know.

We will travel in May because a lot of U.S. kids don't get out of school until June, so looking out for bank holidays this has worked out fairly well for us. When we visited Ireland in May 2017 there was no issue at all with crowds. It was amazing to see massive parking lots more than half empty and then imagining what it would be like if they were full of tourist buses.

Is there a less desirable time to visit Scotland as it relates to tourists, not weather?

Posted by
271 posts

One film which does not appear to have made it to the list although if there is more to come it might, is What We Did on Our Holiday starring the legend that is Sir Billy Connolly. Definitely one of my favourite films set in Scotland.

Another is Edie starring Sheila Hancock and Kevin Guthrie.

Some of the 2016 film of Sunset Song was filmed in Aberdeenshire not far from where I live and members of the local community appeared as extras in the film. When the film was released there was a special showing in a local hall and the tickets sold out very quickly.

As for visiting at a time which is less desirable for tourists and not the weather I would say July and August are to be avoided. May is a good time because of lengthening daylight hours and school terms still under way.

You mention March as a possibility for a visit, but I would visit later if you can. Many tourist attractions do not open until April and if you visit too early some may not be accepting visitors.

I would also do some research about any tourist attractions which you may wish to visit. It is widely accepted that the National Trust for Scotland is in difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic and everything it has brought with it. Apart from the financial implications, complying with social distancing rules at certain properties and attractions is not possible and some may have to be mothballed. For example a short while ago I read the Bannockburn Visitor Centre will not re-open until 2022.

Posted by
1157 posts

Yes, yes, yes to the recommendations by sownack above, and also to Mike's (Auchterless) list. Local Hero, Whisky Galore, Gregory's Girl, What We Did On Our Holiday, and Edie are all wonderful.

Also of interest might be a recent Netflix film called Outlaw King about Robert the Bruce. Some scenes were filmed on Skye, including on the Coral Beach. We were surprised to see our house in the background across the loch! Of course the background was blurry as our house was certainly not built when Robert the Bruce was around, but we knew that the white dot in the distance was our house! Lots of locals were extras in the movie too.

In terms of when to come I'd avoid July and August because the weather always seems a bit rubbish and there are midges, and in Edinburgh huge crowds in August for the festival (unless that is your kind of thing of course).

Jacqui (Skyegirl)

Posted by
1157 posts

Mike - re Breaking the Waves. Had never heard of the film, so obviously now have to search it out! As far as I know there are no gravestones at the foot of the steps at Neist Point. But I will double check next time I am there. Incidentally I was up there last week and there was not another soul there - it was actually quite wonderful.

Mention of Neist Point reminds me that a film to be released in 2021 starring Mark Wahlberg will include scenes shot up there last year. We got a call in October 2019 to ask if we could accommodate some people involved in a shooting a movie. We opened the B&B specially for them, secretly hoping for a movie star. We got the ambulance crew! Which was actually quite interesting as they turned up in a huge off road vehicle, which they had to drive across the moors to the top of the cliffs, just in case they were needed should a stunt go wrong!