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What to do with 3 days in October?

I will arrive is Glasgow on 10/6 and take the train into Edinburgh. I will venture along the Royal Mile on my own until my lodging is ready for check-in. I elected to go at my own pace versus going with a structured tour setting.
I will take a 2-day tour to explore/experience Loch Ness, Inverness & the Highlands.
On 10/9, I will take to Discover Malt Whisky Small-Group Day Tour. After the tour is over, I will take the train to Glasgow to get into the lodging for the remainder of the trip.
On 10/10, I will take a 3–5-hour tour for the Hidden Glen. Kind of a unique little getaway.
On 10/11, I will rent a car for 3 days and venture out to explore Scotland. My vacation ends on 10/15/ when I board the plane at 10AM to return to Portland Oregon.
I am looking for suggestions for the last 3 days. Castles, eateries, photography ops, cultural experiences, etc. I will have the freedom of the car to go at my own. Any unusual sites, little hidden villages tucked away off the beaten track? Any things to be weary of for the October time of year? Any ABSOLUTES for photo ops?
I thank you all for your inputs, and value your opinions. Any changes that you suggest is welcome. I know that I have to go back for a second trip sometime. Thank you again.

Posted by
585 posts

As you will be starting from Glasgow, stick to thebeautiful west coast. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Drive to Gourock and take the ferry to Arran a large island in the Firth of Clyde and spend time exploring
  2. Take the road alongside Loch Lomand up to Oban; take the ferry over to Mull and visit the Abbey at Iona,
  3. Take the road along Loch Lomand to Tarbet, then to Arrochar and Inverary, the castle and town are both worth exploring, then Lochgilphead and up to Kilmartin. Kilmartin is an area full of stone circles, barrows, and other Neolithic sites, as well as a church and castle. You could drive back through the Mull of Kintyre, take the ferry from Claonaig to Arran and the ferry from Brodick to Gourock and straight to the airport for the trip home.

October will see shorter days and more likelihood of rain and mist and possibly snow in higher elevations, kind of like the Pacific Northwest! But you could get wonderful clear days with great colours.

Posted by
13 posts

How significant is your whisky interest? If this is something you are really into, then with 3 days a visit to Islay is do-able, and offers fantastic photographic opportunities of obviously the 9 iconic distilleries on the island, but also wildlife, scenery and historic stuff including Finlaggan, the ancient seat of the Lords of the Isles. I would suggest in fact this would be a much better whisky related experience than the Tour you have booked. Check out images of Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Bunnahabhain distilleries if you are not familiar with them (and most of the others are in just as stunning settings)
To get round you could either take your car on the ferry (ca. £100) but that would limit any tastings at the distilleries, as Scotland has an extrememly low permitted blood alcohol level - or you could arrange one of the local taxis to take you around for a day.

Posted by
40 posts

Thank you for the recommendation for the coastal photo ops, and the whiskey suggestions. I am not a big whiskey person so I will experience the novelty of the tour at this point.

Thank you both for your feedback. Can you park the car and take the ferry across to the Isle for photos? Any suggestions regarding the best points for photography?

Thank you


Posted by
3122 posts

If you want a less taxing day trip, you could simply drive up to Loch Lomond and take a boat trip. Here's the company we used; they have more than one departure location.

It looks like they continue running through Sunday 10/30/22. There is also a company called Sweeney's, if I remember correctly.

Another pretty easy day trip would be to drive to Inveraray and see the castle. Brambles is good for lunch. IMHO the RS guidebook doesn't do the castle justice -- I thought it was really beautiful and interesting inside and out. However, it suffered a devastating fire in the 1970s so what you see today is rebuilt.