If (Scottish holiday advice)

Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
edited September 22 in All Saints
One was planning a two week trip to Scotland, what would be the recommendations of this board? Starting with Edinburgh (Hopefully will do this in Summer of 2020)

clarified title - Eutychus, admin
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  • Here are some possible ideas you could play with (assuming you will have a car):
    1. Edinburgh has lots of interesting opportunities and is a relatively compact city, so you could easily see the Castle, National Gallery of Scotland, National Museum and wander up Arthur’s seat over a couple of days. Leave time for a wee wander around the old town though - that’s half the fun.
    2. Travel north to St Andrews (about 75 minutes by car) to enjoy the quaint sights and charm. If you are a golfer, this is a place with many opportunities and you will want to take a few days here if so.
    3. Travel west to Loch Lomond. This is lovely but can be very busy. There is an easy Munro you can walk up - Ben Lomond - and plenty of gentler things to do. The weather can be changeable and wet though - so I would be flexible in planning time here and in Glasgow (less than an hour from Loch Lomond) for indoor activities, where the Kelvingrove Museum, Burrell Collection and Cathedral / Necropolis are worth a visit, and there are lots of great pubs with music if you like that sort of thing.
    4. Drive to Skye, which has wonderfully varied landscape - some say it’s like Scotland in miniature, and the view from Elgol towards the Cuillin Hills is reputedly the most beautiful view in Scotland (on a good day :smile: ). Take a whole day to get to Skye though, meandering a bit. If you have time divert to St Conan’s Kirk on Loch Awe on the way, and stop at Glencoe too.
    5. Take a couple of days on Skye - depending on the weather - and then drive back to Edinburgh via any different and roundabout route, maybe taking in Loch Tay, Killin and the falls of Dochart, and/or Perthshire for the Hermitage walk at Aberfeldy, which has a very reliable salmon leap.

    I could go on and on... in fact I think I have, sorry!

    One last key tip: if you are travelling in the Western Highlands in Summer, there will be midges. An insect repellent is recommended, and only something which has DEET in it will work.

    I hope you enjoy the planning and the trip!
  • Inveraray. Wonderful castle, pretty town, the clear waters of Loch Fyne, brilliant seafood, miles of sandy beaches to walk on.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I'd agree with Cameron + if you've got a car and a spare day and this doesn't infringe your principles as to a trip to "Scotland", check the tide times, and drive down across the border to Holy Island in Northumberland.

    It's virtually impossible to do that by public transport.

    If there's time, also have a look at Berwick which has a complete set of walls.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Only two weeks? I think you might need to focus.

    If you are arriving in Edinburgh, then a couple of days to orientate and sightsee. There are tour buses, but the local bus service (Lothian Region) is very good. A day ticket and a map and you can get pretty well everywhere. Old Town, Royal Mile, Holyrood, New Town, Stockbridge - hop off, wander about a bit, get another bus.

    If you want to cover as much scenery as possible, you could do the grand circuit - north from Edinburgh, across the Forth (admiring all three bridges) then up the A9 through Perthshire and the Cairngorms to Inverness.

    From there turn south and west down the Great Glen and the banks of Loch Ness to Fort William. Stay on the A82 and it will take you through Glencoe to the Trossachs and Loch Lomond, and thence to Glasgow and the central belt (which is what we call the inhabited bit).
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    So much to see in Scotland that 2 weeks can only scratch the surface! A lot depends on what your main interests are; history, culture, scenery, wildlife? For the inner Hebrides, we have always preferred the Isle of Mull over the Isle of Skye. No bridge connection, so the ferry crossing provides a greater feeling of isolation. If you are driving, be aware that Mull has mainly single track roads with passing places so travel usually takes much longer than anticipated. Mull also gives the opportunity of visiting Iona, which some consider a "must" for its early Christian heritage. Many people visiting Scotland rush northwards for the Highlands and Islands but we have found the south west of Scotland (Dumfries & Galloway) to be a delightful and less visited area. Whatever your final itinerary, enjoy and make the most of your visit. Yes, you might get some bad weather, but we have also enjoyed beautiful sunshine. And as Cameron says, watch out for those midges!
  • SipechSipech Shipmate
    Walk some of the West Highland Way. If you fancy only a short stretch, Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy is only about 6-7 miles.
  • And here I thought this might be a thread about Kipling.

    But this is much more useful, as a similar trip has been in my mind.
  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    And here I thought this might be a thread about Kipling.

    Same! But this is far more interesting than Kipling. It’s like I’m a vacation planning voyeur.

  • All the above advice is goo, but bear in mind that if you are coming I. Summer then it is best to book in advance, especially in Skye, which is getting seriously over-visited. I live in beautiful Badenoch and would be happy to show you around, Gramps, or anyone else. Just today I was congratulating some holiday-makers for finding the hidden gem that is Glen Banchor. In my humble opinion over-tourism has spoiled a lot of the highlands (don’t get me started on the curse of the North Coast 500). But it is less so in the Borders, east or West, Selkirkshire Or Dumfries and Galloway.

    But you don’t say what you are looking for, Gramps. Secenery (hard to avoid, it’s nearly all lovely), history, churches, night life (well, you never know), gatronomy (I’m not your best guide there, but I think @Firenze might be.)? As a native Fifer, who grew up in St. Andrews, I have to put in a special word for the East Neuk on most of these fronts, bar the night life
  • If you are into splendid scenery and do not have a car then it is well worth getting to Glasgow and taking a journey on the West Highland line either to Oban or Mallaig. You can spend a night at either and then return. If you want to do more exploring then Highland Rail Rover is available.

    Oh if all you are doing on the West Coast at the height of the midge season is visit Iona do not bother with the DEET; Iona has not midges due to size and prevailing winds. However, otherwise, if you are outdoors in an evening DEET is essential.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    If you're looking for somewhere as a base in the Highlands, Aviemore or Pitlochry are lovely (with lots of tourists).
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    I very much like Orkney, which is good for several days of sightseeing, particularly if you're interested in things Neolithic. (And, of course, there's the Highland Park distillery and St. Magnus Cathedral, and more.) But it might not fit into a two-week itinerary.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I wondered how long it would take for someone to mention God's Own County™, and it took someone from Over The Big Pond to do it! :mrgreen:

    Ross has a point: you can include Orkney in a two-week trip, but you probably won't get quite enough time either there or anywhere else if you do.

    If you've got wheels, you could consider the North Coast 500, and take a day-trip to Orkney, but you really need a bit longer.

    If you're going to be in Glasgow, and you're interested in architecture, there's all the Charles Rennie Mackintosh buildings, which are well worth a look; and Edinburgh is, of course, utterly divine. :)
  • If you are contemplating the North Coast 500, book accommodation well in advance.

    You can do a lot in a short space of time in Edinburgh. A simple walk up the Royal Mile will let you see (from the outside) Holyrood Palace, the Parliament, John Knox's House, St Giles Cathedral, the castle and much more, and you can visit whatever takes your fancy en route. The National Museum of Scotland is huge, I recommend choosing one thing - prehistory, or religious artefacts, or communication, or the Egyptian collection, whatever, and just visiting that, to avoid becoming museumed out. It's free, so you don't have to make the most of an entrance fee! The museum is a short walk from the Royal Mile, and if you take the George IV bridge route, you pass Greyfriars Bobby, too. (And the Elephant House, where J.K. Rowling write part of "Harry Potter" but every time I have passed it, there have been long queues.)

    It's busy, but try to snag a window seat in Jenner's restaurant, looking out over the Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens, and the Castle, for a cup of tea or light lunch. It's one of my favourite Edinburgh things.

    Do you have any family history reasons for visiting Scotland? If so, I can give you lots of advice.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Edinburgh Castle is very expensive but if you are planning to see three or four sites run by Historic Scotlsnd during your visit, membership pays for itself. More so if Edinburgh Castle is on your must see list.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    One thing to think about if visiting Edinburgh in the summer, is do you want to be there for the Festival or not? If you do, accommodation may be more difficult to obtain and you may want to be there for more of your visit. If you don't, it might be worth arranging different weeks so as not to coincide with it.
  • Avon Skin So Soft is the recommended midge repellant, though as other have said if you keep to windy areas it becomes unnecessary. If you're walking in long grass though nothing will protect you from the cleg menace - the bleeding usually stops after a few minutes and an ice pack tied to the affected area plus an oral anti-histamine will keep the worst of the swelling under control and seems to reduce the chance of infection. Nasty wee buggers.

    I like the islands, obviously, being a resident, but I also have a soft spot for the north west highlands, particularly if you head through the heart of it, rather than up the coasts. I made the journey in early March one year for a job interview and it was really quite other-worldly.
  • I visit Edinburgh every year to see relatives, and haven't run out of things to do yet. If you like Pandas then you must visit the zoo , given their rarity. For old churches, you'd do well to go south to the Pentland Hills to visit Rosslyn Chapel. And Holyrood Palace is a must.
  • Now I am embarrassed. Turns out due to family commitments, it looks like we have to forgo this one more year. 2021 sounds like a good year.
  • Avon Skin So Soft is the recommended midge repellant, though as other have said if you keep to windy areas it becomes unnecessary. If you're walking in long grass though nothing will protect you from the cleg menace - the bleeding usually stops after a few minutes and an ice pack tied to the affected area plus an oral anti-histamine will keep the worst of the swelling under control and seems to reduce the chance of infection. Nasty wee buggers.

    If bitten by midges or other nasties try Lidl's handcream with beeswax and Vitamin E - it works on nettle rash, wasp stings, thrips and ant bites.

  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Now I am embarrassed. Turns out due to family commitments, it looks like we have to forgo this one more year. 2021 sounds like a good year.

    That just gives you more time to plan and anticipate!
  • This thread has certainly whet my appetite to return to Scotland for more holidays.
  • Be careful though - "whet" in Scotland can (especially on the west coast) often turn to "wet".
  • edited September 24
    Avon Skin So Soft is the recommended midge repellant, though as other have said if you keep to windy areas it becomes unnecessary. If you're walking in long grass though nothing will protect you from the cleg menace - the bleeding usually stops after a few minutes and an ice pack tied to the affected area plus an oral anti-histamine will keep the worst of the swelling under control and seems to reduce the chance of infection. Nasty wee buggers.

    I like the islands, obviously, being a resident, but I also have a soft spot for the north west highlands, particularly if you head through the heart of it, rather than up the coasts. I made the journey in early March one year for a job interview and it was really quite other-worldly.

    I got well eaten in Scotland this summer (camping with no car, so no escape!) And then I went to Poland and got an infected tic bite...still on antibiotics. Can one get Lyme disease from clegs I wonder?

    (And on the heart of the highlands - I went up the coast to Durness, and joked with my friends back home that I thought about going all the way (to Jo'G) but in the end decided I'd have more fun if I drew the line at Tongue :smile:. South from there, I went through hamlets which looked like Ukraine. It was, as you say, a bit other-worldly.)
  • Has anyone been to Applecross ? Do you recommend it ? It's always been an ambition of mine to go there.
  • I have been, years ago and indeed drove back over Bealach na Bà. I remember it as a small quiet village but do not remember any special remains. By the way, there is a coastal road as well if I recall correctly.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Now I am embarrassed. Turns out due to family commitments, it looks like we have to forgo this one more year. 2021 sounds like a good year.

    That just gives you more time to plan and anticipate!
    And as noted, some others of us have been hatching similar plans.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    I've been to Applecross, but like Jengie, it was many moons ago.
  • I visited Applecross three years ago, as part of the North 500. Unfortunately it was a day of rain and mist, so we didn't get to enjoy the views from the Bealach na Ba.
  • I enjoyed the pass, but it isn't as tricky as say Hard Knott - a bloke in a Jewson's lorry was coming down as I was going up! The coast road from Applecross to the North is really nice. I'd recommend Assynt too - it was a wet misty morning when I passed through and the hills were poking through like something out of a Japanese watercolour, while the roads were awash. Really lovely - I'll stick around and go walking next time.
  • Incidentally, if anyone is a minister (denomination flexible so long as you can act Presbyterian) and is willing to combine an island break with a little light preaching PM me and I can put you in touch with our interim moderator.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    ... denomination flexible so long as you can act Presbyterian ...
    Bring your own supply of Long Notes for the start of the psalm-tunes! :mrgreen:
  • Piglet wrote: »
    ... denomination flexible so long as you can act Presbyterian ...
    Bring your own supply of Long Notes for the start of the psalm-tunes! :mrgreen:

    We'll even lend you some of those [muggins here is precenting in our current organist shortage].
  • A fixed point on almost all my trips is Iona. It has changed a lot over the last twenty or so years, but is still good, especially if you go off season. If you arrive via the Oban train, you'll have one of the best train rides in the country, though Glasgow Queen Street station looked like London in the blitz last time I was there. Anyone planning to go should check to make sure I'm not going at the same time. When I go, there is guaranteed to be torrential rain. It will rain there ten days from now.

    Orkney has become another favourite; one of the most beautiful and liveable places on earth (and was reminded of it last week while visiting a friend whose cat is named Magnus).
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    What an excellently named pussycat!
  • If you arrive via the Oban train, you'll have one of the best train rides in the country, though Glasgow Queen Street station looked like London in the blitz last time I was there.
    Some would question whether it surpasses the Glasgow to Mallaig ride, with a change at Ft William. Queen Street is undergoing major renovation for several more years.

  • It was at Fort William station, in the buffet between trains, that I first encountered square (Lorne) sausage.
  • It was at Fort William station, in the buffet between trains, that I first encountered square (Lorne) sausage.

    That was served on rolls for breakfast in Greenock when I was very young, and I loved it. When I tried again a couple of years ago I was crippled with heartburn right after. It should carry a government health warning.
  • It was at Fort William station, in the buffet between trains, that I first encountered square (Lorne) sausage.

    That was served on rolls for breakfast in Greenock when I was very young, and I loved it. When I tried again a couple of years ago I was crippled with heartburn right after. It should carry a government health warning.

    Did you not see the sign when you entered the country: "Abandon heart-health all ye who enter here"?
  • Ah, now I know from whom we in the American South inherited our preference for a diet that’s not particularly heart-healthy.

  • It was at Fort William station, in the buffet between trains, that I first encountered square (Lorne) sausage.

    That was served on rolls for breakfast in Greenock when I was very young, and I loved it. When I tried again a couple of years ago I was crippled with heartburn right after. It should carry a government health warning.

    Did you not see the sign when you entered the country: "Abandon heart-health all ye who enter here"?
    The other risk is that you'll love the country so much that your heart could break when you leave.
  • It was at Fort William station, in the buffet between trains, that I first encountered square (Lorne) sausage.

    That was served on rolls for breakfast in Greenock when I was very young, and I loved it. When I tried again a couple of years ago I was crippled with heartburn right after. It should carry a government health warning.

    Did you not see the sign when you entered the country: "Abandon heart-health all ye who enter here"?
    The other risk is that you'll love the country so much that your heart could break when you leave.

    Each time we take off from Glasgow, the feeling is indescribable. Some day I'll return and stay.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    [tangent]
    It's most likely that I'm going to be moving back: I haven't been able to get a job here, so I have no means of support. If I can get the house sold, I'll be heading to Edinburgh, where all my family live and where D. and I always said we'd love to live if money were no object (not that money is no object - I'll have to presume on my sister's good nature at first).
    [/tangent]
  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Prayers that those plans go well in due time, Piglet 🕯
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    Thanks, Doone!
  • More travel advice. Don't go to Iona when I go. As soon as I arrive they turn off the sun and turn on the rain. Which they did again today.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    We are heading off to Scotland this evening and for a fortnight have taken a house in the Highlands so that we can "live local". Fly to Edinburgh, train to Inverness and pick up a car there. It was to have been for a month, but when selling Madame, she had to maintain a connection and that means that she has to be back by the last week of the month. We're near a town where we can shop and are looking forward to local game that we really only get here as farm-bred. No plans for much touring or being tourists, just to live differently.
  • DardaDarda Shipmate
    We do something similar over Christmas, taking a place on the west coast of Scotland. Many of the tourist attractions are shut then anyway, so we just enjoy living in that area and culture for a couple of weeks.
  • More travel advice. Don't go to Iona when I go. As soon as I arrive they turn off the sun and turn on the rain. Which they did again today.

    Ah, so it's youse messing with the boats this weekend? I was planning to go to the mainland Monday but now am going today to avoid the weather.
  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    It's nice to know who to blame, isn't it? :mrgreen:
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