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Working on an itinerary for a trip to Scotland in October


My husband and I, both in late 50s, have decided to use some airline credits and go to Scotland this October. The dates that worked for us are flying out on 10/10 and coming back on 10/19. We will be flying in and out of Edinburgh and we will be renting a car, at least for some of this trip. Here is a rough outline of what I have so far and would love your feedback before I start booking anything:

Arrive 10/11 in Edinburgh and stay two nights.
Head to Inverness area and stay two nights at Tulloch Castle (I know this is not right in Inverness, but I want to stay here as it was the Castle for Clan Davidson and I am a Davidson :-))
Head to Isle of Skye for two nights (thinking Portree)
Spend one night (open for suggestions) somewhere between Portree and Edinburgh
Head back to Edinburgh for very early flight next morning back home.

Please let me know your thoughts so far and any suggested hotels and stops along the way. We were thinking that we would like to stop in St. Andrews on the way to Inverness and we are interested in seeing at least one distillery. We love castles and ruins, too. My husband is a big history buff and I love the outdoors.

Thanks for your help!


Posted by
1817 posts

If you only have two nights, I don't think it's worth it to go to Portree. Yes you could use your one full day to see all the major sights on Skye, but it's a long way, and I think there are more beautiful and interesting places to visit in Scotland. I would stay somewhere in Glen Coe (whether in the town of Glencoe or other places nearby) and do Rick's recommended drive there and maybe some hiking. The scenery there is unmatched in all of the British Isles IMHO. There's also a lot of history there related to the Jacobites and some of the clans. (You can learn why the Campbells are the most hated clan in Scotland -- and apologies to any Campbells in this group for saying that, but it's probably true.)

Posted by
45 posts

Thanks for the info Lane, I will consider it.

Interestingly enough, while I am a Davidson from my father's side, my mother's mother was a Campbell, so I guess I need to learn why they were so hated.

Posted by
1188 posts

It's a full days drive from Edinburgh to Skye, and daylight will be less in October, so personally I wouldn't bother coming all the way to Skye for 2 nights (1 full day). Instead I'd suggest exploring areas between Edinburgh and Inverness - for example the Fife coast, the Cairngorms, or maybe the area around Pitlochry. It will be a lot less driving and there's plenty to see and explore. You could include Stirling Castle too, or Dunfermline - which is pretty interesting and less visited. You will be very close to Speyside (one of the main whisky areas) when you travel to Inverness, so lots of choice on distilleries to visit, but it's wise to book tours in advance.

Posted by
6839 posts

I agree with Lane and Jacqui, but wanted to point out that if you stay in Glen Coe, you could make a day trip to visit Inveraray Castle, the seat of the Dukes of Argyll, chiefs of Clan Campbell. The castle itself is lovely and there is that historical connection to your family. :)

Posted by
45 posts

Thank you all for the input so far. Based on some of these suggestions, I am now thinking of this itinerary instead:

2 nights in Edinburgh
2 nights in Glencoe
2 nights in Dingwall (Tulloch Castle) but visit Inverness area
1 night in St. Andrews
Last night at Edinburgh Airport since we such an early morning flight.

Sound better?


Posted by
1188 posts

Unless you plan to do a lot of hiking then I'd have thought 2 nights in the Glencoe area is too much. You could add another night in Fife near St Andrews and explore from there.

Glencoe village is very small so accommodation options will be somewhat limited too.

Posted by
45 posts

Should we stay in Oban instead and visit Glencoe on our way to Inverness area?

I wouldn't mind seeing some of the west coast as well as the east coast.

Would it make more sense to do Edinburgh to Oban for 2 nights to Dingwall for 2 to St. Andrews for one before heading back to Edinburgh?

Posted by
1188 posts

I'd suggest Fort William instead of Oban. You drive through Glencoe on the way to Fort William and from there you could explore the Road to the Isles out to Mallaig and back to Fort William in an easy half day trip. You could even take the train from Fort William to Mallaig, which would enable you to take in the scenery without the stress of driving. Plenty of accommodation options in Fort William too. And less of a detour than Oban.

Posted by
1652 posts

I agree with Lane about Glen Coe. The scenery is stunning! We spent 2 nights at the Glencoe Inn in Glencoe village. We were coming from Skye, did some sightseeing along the way, so we arrived in Glencoe in the late afternoon/early evening. We basically had one full day there, and I wished we had an extra day for some of the easy walks. You can go to the Glencoe Visitor Center to get information on hikes/walks.

I highly recommend driving down the Glen Etive Road that follows the Glen Etive River and ends at Loch Etive. It's 12 miles one way there and 12 miles back. The scenery will take your breath away. The mountain sides were covered in rhododendrons in June, which I assume won't be the case in October. But the scenery, with the mountains, valley, river, lush greenery and the lake at the end is stunning. A scene from the Bond movie Skyfall was filmed here. This drive was one of the highlights of our trip.

The photos from this blog actually don't do it justice. It was much greener and lush when we were there.

Posted by
32 posts

Another voice for Inveraray Castle. We found it interesting and beautifully done (and we aren’t Campbells). The Laird was there the day we visited and we chatted with him. Quite fun

Oban is out of the way, but it is one of our favorite seaside towns. The drive there is most scenic, and we visited Inveraray Castle and the town on our way to Oban .

Our only time to see Glen Coe was a day that the weather was absolutely wretched- blowing hard rain with low cloud cover, and it as still captivating.

We stayed in Inverness in April and took train to Dingwall, then a cab to Tulloch Castle. It was worth spending times there for me because I am a Davidson. When we hired the cab, Roy, the cabbie said, “ Must be a Davidson…”
The small museum was packed with information. We only had a couple hours to look around, next trip I hope to stay there.

All the best on your trip. Scotland is incredible on so many levels.