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Scotland advice wanted

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Old March 4th, 2004, 06:02 PM
John Hewitt
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Default Scotland advice wanted


We spent two weeks in Scotland last May, on the following itinerary,
all stays in b&bs: 2 nights at Linlithgow (near Edinburgh) to see
Falkirk Wheel, Stirling Castle, etc.; 1night at Burntisland (across the
firth from Edinburgh); 2 nights at Tomintoul, access both to Cairngorms
and to Speyside distilleries; 1 night at Nairn; 2 nights on Skye; 2
nights at Oban; 2 nights in Edinburgh; 1 night at Jedburgh in the
Borders; and a final night in a motel near the Edinburgh airport. Had
we to do it over, we'd have made all stops (except the last) at least
two nights; but this was our first trip to Scotland and we wanted to
sample as much as we could. The next trip we will probably concentrate
on a single place, such as the highlands and islands -- Islay, as well
as Skye, and hopefully the outer isles.

Favorite and recommended places? I'm a single malt fan, so distilleries
were great fun -- Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, etc. Good tours, a wee dram
to sample (sometimes a bit more than a wee dram!). Just driving through
the highlands is an experience -- the trip to Tomintoul, then to Elgin,
Nairn, Inverness, the length of Loch Ness, and to Skye was brilliant. I
can't say enough about Skye itself; we'll return there some day and
spend three or four days so we can hike extensively (I can recommend an
excellent b&b and guide if you contact me); the scenery is wonderful,
the sea is everywhere, and the people are friendly. Oban and the west
coast was also enjoyable -- pretty villages, historic sites,
outstanding seafood, etc. And at the end of the trip, a visit to the
Borders and its abbeys was outstanding, as was a trip to Scott's View
(I'm a Sir Walter Scott fan, and read or re-read a bunch of his novels
to prepare for the trip).

Castles are everywhere in Scotland -- I'd strongly recommend either
buying a pass or even joining Historic Scotland, which will admit you
to almost all of them at no cost. Favorites: Urquehart Castle on Loch
Ness, Stirling Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Huntingtower, the Borders
abbeys, St. Andrews.

Driving requires only a U.S. driver's license. We found driving easy in
Scotland (except for a few crowded A roads) with light traffic loads
and general courtesy. There are a great many single track roads in the
highlands and islands, and they take a bit of getting used to. Passing
places are frequent, however, especially (in my experience) compared
with rural England. Locals have it down to a science, timing their
approach to one another so that they arrive at a passing place at the
same time. When in doubt, yield. Petrol is about the same as in England
-- about 75p/liter last May, probably higher now -- $5 or better per US

Hope this helps a bit!

Jack Hewitt

On 2004-03-04 09:06:01 -0700, (David Adler) said:

My wife and I will be visiting Scotland for a week in June. I've
bought a guide book, and it's clear that there's a lot to see - it's
overwhelming to try to determine where to go! I'd like some help
narrowing down the possibilities and with possible itineraries.

I see another post from earlier today, which had some good advice.

Basically, we'd like to spend a week in the Highlands and Hebrides.
Castles, historical sites, and gorgeous scenery are what we want to
see (I know, that doesn't exactly narrow it down!). Access to museums
and choices of restaurants is a plus. We've been to Edinburgh, and
we'll spend some time in Glasgow before starting the rest of the trip,
so no need to include these in the itinerary.

Rather than staying in a different place each night, I'd like to pick
2-3 places to use as a base and explore from there. I'm thinking
Inverness as one base, and someplace in the Hebrides (Isle of Skye?)
as a second base. Any thoughts on this plan? Better
suggestions/additions? What are the "must-see" sights around those

We'll rent a car for the trip - is an international driver's license
needed, or will one from the US suffice?

Thanks in advance!


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