Has anyone ever checked Scotland driving times given by Googlemaps against reality? It is saying 3:15 from Edinburgh to Inverness, 2:35 from Inverness to Oban and 3:00 from Oban to Edinburgh. Obviously that doesn't account for stops or congestion, but does that sound realistic? I will be travelling with an 18 month old and am trying to keep it to under four hours per travel day in the car.
A rule of thumb used by some travelers, including Rick, is to multiply the driving times given by Google and Viamichelin by about 1.25. And the times don't allow for stops or unusual traffic conditions.
I always multiply by 1.5. Cows in the road. Slow driver and no passing.
Edinburgh to Inverness is about right if you move right along -- most of it's on an M motorway. The main factor here is the start point and time of day in Edinburgh. Inverness to Oban might be hard, especially in tourist season with lots of people poking along the Caledonian Canal -- maybe figure on an extra hour. That last leg's a bear: never driven the whole thing straight through (may have even missed a segment or two) but it's lots of small towns and twisting roads and plenty of intersections. If I were going to my own wedding, I'd probably allow for a tad over four hours.
We found that ViaMichelin (www.viamichelin.com) times, increased by a littel over 1.25 was about right. Be forewarned that a lot of Scottish roads are winding and narrow, especially by American standards, thereby causing driving times to take longer than you otherwise would think. Not to mention the odd stray sheep in the road...
BTW, while you can do well navigating Scotland with a good road map, we found our GPS to be a real marriage saver. Round-abouts are well-marked, but it definitely helped, having the GPS tell me to take the 3rd exit, as opposed to having to look at the sign and figure out which exit to take. It also came in extremely handy when navigating in towns, for which we didn't have a road map. I definitely recommend taking one.
The GPS is also extremely handy when you goof up and take the wrong exit on the round-about, like I did on my first few round-abouts. It will quickly recalculate your route and get you on your way. A few times, it even told us which lane to get into, to make sure that we navigated the round-about correctly.
Thanks for the feedback. Glad to know I shouldn't be expecting my twelve lane Houston superhighways all the time! Will consider the GPS. Hubby usually drives while I navigate, but I may be sitting in the back with the little man in the car seat which will greatly reduce my usefullness as navigator.
I'll check out viamichelin.com too.
We have done four driving trips in the UK and find that theaa.co.uk route planner is very accurate for times.