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Two weeks in Scotland.

I have just returned from 2 weeks in Scotland and I received some valuable advice in these forums. I wanted to thank the posters for the good advice they regularly dispense!

We arrived September 28 and spent 3 nights at the Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh - stunning hotel. The location is perfect, everything you could ask for from the staff and really great room. We got the king room which was HUGE. After that, we picked up a camper van from Spaceships and had it for the next 11 nights. We did not sleep in the van one time! It was a little chillier at night than we expected and I guess I'm too old/spoiled to sleep in a van these days (we did it a couple years ago in Iceland and loved it). anyway, we were able to get rooms in decent places - some better than others :-) - every night without reservations. October really seemed to be the start of the shoulder season with winter hours beginning at many castles and a lot of things were starting to close down in smaller towns. We were pleasantly surprised that things weren't overrun with tourists at all (I realize we are tourists too but I've been places that are so crowded you can't enjoy them).

We are American and driving on the left side of the road was a challenge, as were the single track, narrow roads. My suggestion is NOT to try to drive right after a trans- Atlantic flight when you are tired and just not as sharp as you will be after a little rest. We were so glad we didn't get our rental until a couple of days later. We found the people in Scotland so friendly and warm and welcoming. It was a really enjoyable trip for us.

After leaving Edinburgh our route was like this: 2 nights in Glencoe, 2 nights in Portree, 1 night in Ullapool, 1 in Inverness, 1 in Grantown on Spey, 2 in Pitlochry, back to Edinburgh for a final night before flying home.

We were so fortunate with weather - we had amazing, blue sunny skies in Glencoe and Portree! It did rain on us as we went to Ullapool and we got drenched touring the battlefield of Culloden in a sudden downpour but we really can't complain. The weather was better than expected! The only thing I can't say we loved was the full Scottish breakfast - that is not for us hahaha! Otherwise, what a beautiful country that we hope to return to! Our absolute favorite scenery was right around Glencoe and on the Isle of Skye, we also had a fantastically scenic drive from Pitlochry to Ballater and back - the scenery was rugged and wild and beautiful. If I could do anything differently it would be to linger a bit more on the western side of the country - we wanted to make sure we had time for the Cairngorms but 3 days there was likely more than we needed. I might have preferred to add that day to the area north of sky or just hang out in Glencoe a bit longer. Our best meal? The restaurant at the Portree Hotel. If ever in town, try the restaurant. It was absolutely fantastic. We also had a tremendous meal at Aspendos, a Turkish restaurant in Inverness. Those were the two best meals of the whole trip.

Thanks for your hospitality!

Posted by
681 posts

Sounds absolutely great. How did you find driving in your van on the Isle of Skye. We had a small-midsize car and I was biting my nails the whole time.

Posted by
68 posts

Hi Nancy, the driving everywhere was a challenge! The single track roads were really something else! We managed but that was some high - stress driving for us. We were so lucky though to have excellent weather on Skye with sunny, blue skies.

Posted by
2989 posts

Hello! Enjoyed your trip report very much!

If you could go back on a return trip and spend more time in any of the locations you visited, which location(s) would you choose? Would Portree make that list? We are thinking of going there in spring 2020. Thanks.

Posted by
68 posts

Hi Rebecca! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it! We stayed at the Portree Hotel right on the main square in Portree - very centrally located but you do have to park off- site (although it is literally a 3 minute walk and was no problem with rolling luggage). The food at the restaurant there was the best meal we had. The hotel was booked spur of the moment so I didn't have a lot of selection. If you end up staying somewhere else, I'd still eat there (will likely need to call or stop in and make a reservation).

If I could have stayed somewhere longer it would be Glencoe or Skye but probably Glencoe. I also would have taken another day to explore the area north of Skye - Applecross or points north of Ullapool. The scenery west of Inverness was our favorite. We had fantastic weather in Glencoe and Skye so that might be the reason we loved it so much!