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Insider Scotland Tips Please!

place to discuss doing things round and about the UK or to ask advice about other locations
neversay
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Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137348

Postby neversay » May 7th, 2018, 11:09 am

I am taking the family (kids aged 7 and 10) up to Scotland at half-term, heading to Edinburgh at the start of the week and Glasgow at the end. That leaves us 3-4 nights midweek to find a location (or a couple of locations) from which to explore the highlands, Trussocks or even over to Skye.

It will be the first time I have taken my wife and kids into the highlands (they have been to Edinburgh/Glasgow) so I really want to show them the very best of beautiful Scotland. Can anyone give any insider tips on locations to stay and visit for some gentle scenic walks?

Many thanks!

N.

Snorvey
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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137351

Postby Snorvey » May 7th, 2018, 11:33 am

1. West Coast. Applecross, Torridon, Skye etc.
2. East Coast. Royal Deeside, Balmoral, Breamar etc.

Less chance of rain on the east coast. Both have mountains.

If time is a bit short, North of Glasgow. Loch Lomond, Glencoe. Avoid Fort William.

I quite like Argyll. Inverary is nice but it's been years since I've been there.

If the weather's good, go for it. It's spectacular. If it's wet, forget it. Driving through the highlands in the rain is a miserable experience.

If you head even further north the scenery, to quote Buzz Aldrin, is magnificent desolation. Beautiful, but sparse. And it's commonly used as a racetrack these days under the guise of the 'North Coast 500', so beware.

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137456

Postby Clariman » May 8th, 2018, 8:29 am

neversay wrote:I am taking the family (kids aged 7 and 10) up to Scotland at half-term, heading to Edinburgh at the start of the week and Glasgow at the end. That leaves us 3-4 nights midweek to find a location (or a couple of locations) from which to explore the highlands, Trussocks or even over to Skye.

Before I forget to be Mr Pedantic, it is "Trossachs" not "Trussocks", with a Scottish/Germanic "ch" sound not a "ck" sound. Sames as in "loch".

From Central Scotland, there are so many lovely areas you could spend a few days in. It also depends on what you and your family are interested in. The Scottish Borders (and English side) have interesting history and are great for walking. Kelso or Melrose are good bases.

Loch Katrine in the Trossachs is lovely. You can hire a bike to cycle its length or you can take the steamship Sir Walter Scott for a leisurely cruise up to the other end. Doing a cruise in one direction and cycling/walking for the return trip is a nice day out. https://www.lochkatrine.com/ . If you want to be based near the Trossachs then you could stay in Callander or Aberfoyle.

It is near Loch Lomond which is very beautiful too but I probably take it for granted. There is even a small shopping centre at the south end at Balloch called "Loch Lomond Shores" which is a popular day trip. You can catch a boat trip nearby. I personally don't particularly like Loch Lomond Shores because I feel it brings a bit of city-civilisation to what is a beautiful natural spot, but if I came across it in another country I'd probably think "Wow - what a fantastic view and there are shops selling quality Scottish goods and somewhere to get something to eat". A boat trip on Loch Lomond is great. https://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/la ... trossachs/

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs are only just in the Highlands from a geological/geographical point of view. I tend to see the main Highlands as being further north but that's probably just me - certainly if you want to see stunning scenery without any tour buses. If you have time, you could shoot up the A9 (not always the fastest road mind you - and beware the average speed cameras) and stay in or around Inverness. Here you can take in Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle and one of Scotland's most beautiful glens - Glen Affric (although it is quite a long road to get there).

If you don't want to go quite that far, then Perthshire is beautiful and good walking country. You could stay in Dunkeld or Pitlochry, both nice towns. If in the area, I'd recommend taking a visit to the Scottish Crannog Centre http://www.crannog.co.uk/ where you can see how ancient people lived in hut dwellings built on stilts out in Loch Tay.

Another option, which is not really Highlands would be to visit one of the west coast Islands. A ferry trip adds something to the holiday experience. Easily reached from Glasgow and one of the best for its variety of scenery is the Isle of Arran (often called Scotland in Miniature because it has its own 'highland' and lowland). Other ones that are easily accessible from the mainland are Mull (from Oban) and Islay (from Kintyre). Skye of course is majestic and can be reached by road these days.

The trouble is there is too much to see in the Scottish Highlands and too many areas to visit to really discuss in a single post. Hopefully this will give you some options and you can then decide where you would like to focus. P.S. when in Central Scotland ... if your kids like castles .... then I'd recommend Stirling Castle as being better than Edinburgh Castle, but both are great.

Clariman

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137465

Postby Snorvey » May 8th, 2018, 9:16 am

A ferry trip adds something to the holiday experience

Indeed. Head to Mallaig on the west coast and take the short ferry hop to Skye. A quick lap of the island and back to the mainland via the bridge.

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137473

Postby JamesMuenchen » May 8th, 2018, 10:01 am

Not exactly what you asked for, but might be an interesting way of getting to Mallaig/Skye:
https://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/jacobite-steam-train-details.cfm
Described as the greatest railway journey in the world, this 84 mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis!

I plan on doing it this summer

neversay
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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137547

Postby neversay » May 8th, 2018, 2:32 pm

Thank you for all the wonderful tips - I'll get planning.

Hanging my head in shame with the Trossachs blooper... :roll:

N.

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137556

Postby kiloran » May 8th, 2018, 3:34 pm

If you are heading north from Edinburgh, try to make a detour to junction 6 of the M9 near Falkirk to see the Kelpies. They are stunning.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kelpies

--kiloran

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137574

Postby Dod101 » May 8th, 2018, 4:19 pm

JamesMuenchen wrote:Not exactly what you asked for, but might be an interesting way of getting to Mallaig/Skye:
https://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/jacobite-steam-train-details.cfm
Described as the greatest railway journey in the world, this 84 mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis!

I plan on doing it this summer


The problem is that it means visiting Fort William, not a very nice place.By coincidence my weekend paper advises that you can take the train (not the steam train of course) all the way from Glasgow's Queen Street Station to Mallaig and return the same day, having time for lunch at Mallaig. It is a long day though. Check rail times.

Dod

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137594

Postby Slarti » May 8th, 2018, 4:55 pm

kiloran wrote:If you are heading north from Edinburgh, try to make a detour to junction 6 of the M9 near Falkirk to see the Kelpies. They are stunning.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kelpies

--kiloran


Isn't the wheel lock there?
Probably of greater interest to kids.

Slarti

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137595

Postby swill453 » May 8th, 2018, 5:00 pm

Slarti wrote:
kiloran wrote:If you are heading north from Edinburgh, try to make a detour to junction 6 of the M9 near Falkirk to see the Kelpies. They are stunning.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kelpies


Isn't the wheel lock there?
Probably of greater interest to kids.

The Falkirk Wheel. It's 4 or 5 miles away. A nice walk up the canal or a 15 minute drive.

Scott.

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137615

Postby jackdaww » May 8th, 2018, 6:24 pm

midges can be an issue in the west , loch lomond in particular .

dumfries is very nice - not so far to go - turn left at gretna - we also like the mull of galloway - unspoilt .

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#137623

Postby Dod101 » May 8th, 2018, 7:44 pm

Speaking of which we have them this evening in West Perthshire, ideal conditions. Fairly still, fairly warm and damp. I thought of a spot of weeding but will give it a miss.

Dod

neversay
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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#143438

Postby neversay » June 4th, 2018, 9:40 am

Just a quick note to say a big thank you for all your great responses to my thread. In the end, we 'lucked out' with the weather and had the most beautiful week.

On our way up, we called in the beautiful Cragside and did some walks, visited the house and took a canoe out on the lake. We then stayed with family in Edinburgh, before stopping by the Kelpies and Falkirk Wheel on the way up to Callander - which was a great base for the first leg. We had a wonderful log cabin from which to explore the area - including cycling around beautiful Loch Katrine, some great hikes and the wonderful Three Lochs Forest Drive. We were able to grill every night and thankfully were not bothered by midgies.

In the second leg we went up to Loch Tay and stayed at the Kenmore, the kids enjoyed swimming, golf and table tennis. We did the excellent Highland Safaris with red deer/barn owl, gold panning and a 1.5-hour forest safari in a 4x4 with an excellent guide. Plus the interesting Crannog Centre as suggested.

On the final night we were going to stay in Glasgow and do the museums/galleries but, with heavy rain forecast, instead headed back to break the journey in Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle which still had wonderful weather on the Northumberland coast. The kids enjoyed rock pooling and we had an unexpectedly close encounter with a baby seal.

The kids (aged 7 and 10) are back at school today but we all agreed that it was a fantastic family holiday. Thanks to the Lemon Fools here, that's 'mission accomplished' as my main goal was to make sure they had great first memories of Scotland - which will make it easier for me to get them to come back soon to do all your other great suggestions. Thank you!

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Re: Insider Scotland Tips Please!

#146661

Postby JMN2 » June 19th, 2018, 1:03 pm

Wouldn't the kids like some Loch Ness monster hunting?


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