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Scotland help

My husband and I are planning a trip to Scotland and are trying to map out an itenerary.

We have 11 days and are tentatively thinking:

Arrive in Glasgow and go to Oban for one night
2 nights on an island in the Hebrides
2 nights doing a long distance walk – maybe the Great Glen Way, ending with a night in Inverness
2 nights on an island in Orkney or Shetland islands
2 nights in Edinburgh

Is that too ambitious? If we only do one island where should we go?

We want to see some great scenery and divide our time between small towns and more remote areas. My husband wants to go to a few distilleries and I want to go horse backriding. Other than that we just want to walk and explore.

Thanks for any tips or advice!!!

Posted by
505 posts

Greetings

Yes, I think that's a bit ambitious, but not too bad. The big issue is doing too much - getting from place to place in Scotland can take a while - roads are narrow, islands require ferry transport (other than Skye) and roads get blocked. Firstly, with 11 days, you don't have time for Orkney or Shetland - both take a good chunk of time driving or on a train, then long ferry rides. You'd spend at least two days just traveling there and back.

I'd stick with starting in Glasgow for a day or two (then get your car), then spend a night in or near Oban. From Oban you can get over to Mull, which is a beautiful island. White sand beaches, pretty towns and, of course, Iona. It's worth at least two nights - and you'll probably need to book a spot on the ferry from Oban.

You could head out to one of the other islands, but you'd probably end up doing a lot of travelling for little reward. I'd head back from Mull (or another of the inner Hebrides), and drive to somewhere in the...

Posted by
505 posts

Highlands to your hiking (but have a back-up plan in case the weather is overly Scottish (i.e. rain). I'm not sure there's much in Inverness - you might have more fun in a little B&B someplace more picturesque rather than in Inverness.

From there, head down south to Edinburgh, return the car at the airport, take the bus into town and spend a few night there. You could do another night somewhere along the way.

There are plenty of distilleries around - you could take a bit more time going to Oban and perhaps go over to Islay or hit one of the other distilleries in that area. Not sure about horses - that depends on the season and location.

So, I think you have some good ideas, but the further islands are not doable in that time period, so I'd check the map, guidebooks and the CalMac (ferry) schedule to see what you could do on the west coast. With 11 days, I'd probably stick to the Inner Hebrides, with the exception of possibly one of the littler islands around Mull.

Have fun!

Posted by
3428 posts

You have planned alot! We did a trip of similar lenghth this summer. I'd recommend the following:
Glasgow (if you must) 1 night. Train to Inverness- 5 nights. From there you can do day trips to Skye and Orkney(very long day, that one, but worth it) and there are lots of local companies that do "hosted" walking trips- try Canny Tours- in the area. Take train to Aviemore and spend 1 or 2 nights- lots of walking trips and horse back opportunties in that area too. There are lots of whiskey tours out of both Aviemore and Inverness. Then Edinburgh for the rest of your trip- again lots of whiskey tours available. We have traveld to Scotland numerous times over the past 20 years and have always used the trains and buses. Feel free contact me if you have other questions or want more ideas.

Posted by
5669 posts

Orkney and the Shetlands are very long way. From personal experience, I can tell you that Orkney is wonderful, but it is a haul. It is a very long way to Thurso or John 0'Groats to catch the ferry, which is a several hour trip. If you want to go to Orkney or Shetland--seeing both and other parts of Scotland in 11 days will be very challenging--why don't you consider flying directly to one or the other from the US. I went straight from Wisconsin to Orkney and arrived in Orkney around 6 PM the day after I left the US flying through Gatwick, Edinburgh, Inverness to Kirkwall. Once there you can can enjoy a 2-3 days and then catch a ferry to Thurso. We took the bus that meets the ferry to Inverness--takes a day--where we picked up a car. From Inverness you can work your way south to Glasgow. If you want to work in some walking, I would reommend checking out some walking tours or guides as they can save you time and help you dodge the wearther. Check out www.roskva.co.uk. Pam