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Trip to Scotland
Old 01-24-2015, 05:37 PM   #1
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Trip to Scotland

DW and I are planning a trip to Scotland this fall. We would like to rent a cottage or apartment in small town and do some day hikes and day trip in the car we plan to rent. This will be our first trip to Scotland. Suggestions please.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:02 PM   #2
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Really depends what kind of hiking you are looking for.

Look up Glencoe, Ft. William and Ben Nevis for one area. Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in in the UK.

Look up Isle of Skye, Black Cuillin for another area. Good hiking and scenery... with few people (at least when we were there.)

Many other places too... depends of what you are looking for... type of hiking, history,terrain, etc.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:24 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, although fit we are in our 60's so trail hiking some history would be great, and a nice pub would be perfect.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:25 PM   #4
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I drove around and stayed only a day or two at a time, seeing castles, distilleries, sightseeing, etc. I really enjoyed a hike (actually a run) in Anagach Woods by Grantown-on-Spey, and it looks like the Cairngorns have a lot of great hiking. I also hiked trails in/around Inverness, and Arthurs Seat above Edinburgh, both good city nature hikes but maybe not what you want. Did not get to hike some of the other places mentioned like the area around Ben Nevis but that looked really good too. I didn't get as far west as Isle of Skye.
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:56 PM   #5
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We were in isle of Mull last July, one of the most beautiful places we have been.


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Old 01-25-2015, 01:53 PM   #6
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DW and I are planning a trip to Scotland this fall. We would like to rent a cottage or apartment in small town and do some day hikes and day trip in the car we plan to rent. This will be our first trip to Scotland. Suggestions please.
BF
This is only my opinion so feel free to ignore it. For a first trip, I'd recommend you move around Scotland and see more of the country. Trying to see very much from one spot will be difficult. However if your goal is to just relax in one spot, then a cottage/apartment is the way to go. There is just so much to see and do in Scotland that not seeing more on a first trip seems like a waste. You didn't say how long you were going there for. If you have 3 or 4 weeks, you can do a great deal of sightseeing by spending a week in different areas.

There are great hikes all over Scotland. I suggest you decide what type of hiking you'd like to do. Go to Visit Scotland to see what is there.
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:33 PM   #7
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I have never been to Scotland, but I agree with 2B. If I were planning such a trip I might do a combination, starting with a tour, then renting a cottage for a week.
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Old 01-25-2015, 02:57 PM   #8
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If you're an enginerd, we seem to be legion on this site, then you gotta see the firth of fourth rail bridge. It is the epitome of Victorian engineering, fantastically over designed, and just outside of Edinburgh.
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:52 PM   #9
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I did a two week trip to Scotland with my parents and (now) husband. We rented a place between Edinburgh and Glasgow and used that as a base for one week, then rented another place on the west coast - outside of Oban, and used that as a base. We didn't have enough time to add another week in the Highlands.

I enjoyed the trip - and my husband got to experience my parents up close and personal - and married me despite that. (Lets just say that travel with my parents and my husband NEVER was broached again.)
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:56 PM   #10
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You might find this site interesting re: places to stay etc


http://www.nts.org.uk/Holidays/Speci...le-Apartments/


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Old 01-26-2015, 08:23 AM   #11
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DH and I LOVE Scotland and are hoping to return this year if the %^&&#! airline lets us do something reasonable with reward points.

If you spend time in Edinburgh, you should climb Arthur's Seat. It's visible from many places in the city and as soon as DH and I saw it we wanted to find a way to climb it. Turns out that many people do and it's easy access from a national park office. Warning: it gets very cold at the top! DH and I were in reasonable but not superb shape and took our time. Some people were running up to the summit.

And, if you like whisky, go to Cadenhead's on the Royal Mile. They sell whisky from the major distillers, but it's poured straight from the cask into the bottle. No blending (even with the same malting), no dilution, no filtering. It's not cheap but you'll get stuff you can't buy in the US. BTW, DH and I have nearly always taken double the liquor allowance back into the US when we've found interesting drinks and/or good prices. We've always filled out the Customs Form honestly (this is key) and have never been charged duty. A few agents have looked askance at me and reminded me I was over the limit, but that's it. YMMV.
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Old 01-26-2015, 09:19 AM   #12
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We've always filled out the Customs Form honestly (this is key) and have never been charged duty. A few agents have looked askance at me and reminded me I was over the limit, but that's it. YMMV.
The only time I've ever been charged was many years ago when I traveled frequently. I brought back my usual stash, but it was less than 30 days since my previous trip and they nailed me for that. I guess the agent figured anyone bringing alcohol in that frequently must be up to something. Not a big deal -- I think it cost me less than ten bucks, but it got my attention!
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Old 01-27-2015, 10:07 AM   #13
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I hope I'm not hijacking this thread, but since the OP is also talking about traveling in the fall:


how is weather in October compared to September? Depends on the area, I know, but I've been trying to book reward travel in Business Class and have finally been able to put an itinerary of 9/28-10/12 on hold, which is about a month later than we'd hoped. We'll be around Edinburgh and probably the Orkneys. How bad is early October compared to early September?
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:10 PM   #14
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About the weather, don't just look at temperatures...the wind, if that's the season for it, can be brutal over there.

To test my theory of how small Scotland is, I picked a random town in the middle, Crieff, and did drive times (maps.google.co.uk).

1/2 hr to Perth
1 hour to Glasgow
1 hour to the rail bridge at firth of fourth
1 1/4 hours to Edenburg
2 hours to Aberdeen
2 hours to Dumfies
2 1/4 hours to Galloway Forest Park
2 1/4 hours to Inverness

I'd advise that you get a car with a GPS (they call it "SatNav") or a smartphone (with a reasonable data plan for the UK) so you can drive home at night without worry. At Heathrow, the car was $15/day, unlimited mileage, and they wanted $10/day for the GPS! Although I didn't have a data plan, I could load a trip into my tablet to get directions, but it wouldn't correct the route. I decided not to pay for the GPS, but the car I got had one built-in! Got it for free (and glad I had it).
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:04 PM   #15
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Thanks- forgot about the wind till I remembered what it was like at the top of Arthur's Seat!


Neither DH nor I have ever gotten up the nerve to drive in Europe of the UK. In the UK that "wrong" side of the road factor is scary. I'm wondering about renting a car in Kirkwall; there's a lot in the Orkneys that just can't be reached by public transportation and when we looked at the cost of a driver it was pretty prohibitive. I'm thinking Kirkwall would be a better place to try it rather than, say, Edinburgh!


Any experiences?
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:16 PM   #16
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About the weather, don't just look at temperatures...the wind, if that's the season for it, can be brutal over there.


I'd advise that you get a car with a GPS (they call it "SatNav") or a smartphone (with a reasonable data plan for the UK) so you can drive home at night without worry. At Heathrow, the car was $15/day, unlimited mileage, and they wanted $10/day for the GPS! Although I didn't have a data plan, I could load a trip into my tablet to get directions, but it wouldn't correct the route. I decided not to pay for the GPS, but the car I got had one built-in! Got it for free (and glad I had it).
As it gets later in the year, days become very short in Scotland. Your sightseeing has to get compressed. You can check typical weather for various cities on the internet. You can get sunrise and sunset times. I typically put them on my trip planning spread sheet.

I bought a Garmin with Europe city card. It works on the main roads and most of the smaller cards. It's definitely cheaper that getting a GPS with the car. The last time I was in the UK I didn't take the GPS but it was in the car anyway. I wasn't charged for it so no issue there. I didn't check to see if it was functional. I just plugged in the Garmin.

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Thanks- forgot about the wind till I remembered what it was like at the top of Arthur's Seat!


Neither DH nor I have ever gotten up the nerve to drive in Europe of the UK. In the UK that "wrong" side of the road factor is scary. I'm wondering about renting a car in Kirkwall; there's a lot in the Orkneys that just can't be reached by public transportation and when we looked at the cost of a driver it was pretty prohibitive. I'm thinking Kirkwall would be a better place to try it rather than, say, Edinburgh!


Any experiences?
It's not hard to drive on the left. You are still sitting close to the center line. You need to realize that we typically guage our road position against the center line. Fight the urge to try to position yourself against the outer edge of the road.

Standard transmissions are common. For most Americans that's the bigger shock that the left side driving. Be sure to reserve an automatic if you don't want to learn to shift gears with the wrong hand. In Ireland automatics are almost non-existent.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:32 PM   #17
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As it gets later in the year, days become very short in Scotland. Your sightseeing has to get compressed. You can check typical weather for various cities on the internet. You can get sunrise and sunset times. I typically put them on my trip planning spread sheet.

I bought a Garmin with Europe city card. It works on the main roads and most of the smaller cards. It's definitely cheaper that getting a GPS with the car. The last time I was in the UK I didn't take the GPS but it was in the car anyway. I wasn't charged for it so no issue there. I didn't check to see if it was functional. I just plugged in the Garmin.


It's not hard to drive on the left. You are still sitting close to the center line. You need to realize that we typically guage our road position against the center line. Fight the urge to try to position yourself against the outer edge of the road.

Standard transmissions are common. For most Americans that's the bigger shock that the left side driving. Be sure to reserve an automatic if you don't want to learn to shift gears with the wrong hand. In Ireland automatics are almost non-existent.
My biggest issue with driving was that I kept wanting to look up to my right for the rear view mirror, and it wasn't there. The only other issue was a couple towns that had some really narrow roads with high enough curbs to scrape the hub caps. I had no problem renting an automatic in Scotland, but had a manual in Ireland. Shifting with my left hand took some getting used to.
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Old 01-29-2015, 05:16 PM   #18
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My biggest issue with driving was that I kept wanting to look up to my right for the rear view mirror, and it wasn't there. The only other issue was a couple towns that had some really narrow roads with high enough curbs to scrape the hub caps. I had no problem renting an automatic in Scotland, but had a manual in Ireland. Shifting with my left hand took some getting used to.
Me too with the rear view mirror! But I had side mirrors that were natural to use.

If I didn't need luggage room, I'd opt for a smaller (narrower) car because of those narrow spots. They park on the road so much, and the drivers behind you get antsy if you pull into a wide spot to wait for the oncoming traffic to cease.

I only scraped the rim while parking, and it was Minor enough that they didn't "count off" for it.

Shifting wasn't too bad except 2nd to 3rd, and I blame that on the car. I did walk up to the wrong door many times, though!
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Old 01-29-2015, 05:50 PM   #19
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Neither DH nor I have ever gotten up the nerve to drive in Europe of the UK. In the UK that "wrong" side of the road factor is scary.
I absolutely hear you!
I was always the same way. I totally relied on the tube in London, and trains/buses elsewhere. But a few years ago we decided to see what the great attraction was about the Lake District.

Needless to say, we immediately discovered what a delightful place it is, and why it's so high on the list for vacationing Brits. But in order to visit it, we needed a car.

Standard transmission was no problem; that's what I grew up with. And driving on the "wrong" side of the road ceased to be problematic after about five minutes. You just have to keep your wits about you.

The only difficulty was in driving on very narrow roads where there is absolutely no shoulder and four foot high drystone walls on each side, with impatient locals right behind you. I'll never forget a trip on the A593 from Ambleside to Coniston. White knuckle time the whole distance.

That said, the terror tends to fade with time, and we're planning a return visit this summer. All in all, well worth it!
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Old 02-14-2015, 01:49 PM   #20
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I highly recommend hiking in Isle of Skye - dont miss it. Some of the most spectacular scenery in the world - a spiritual experience.


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