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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by reckless View Post
    I'm not a big fan of coach trips, particularly for a place like Scotland where driving is very easy. While it is on the "wrong side of the road," you adjust quickly and, in much of the country, the roads can be down to single lane for both directions, particularly in the Highlands. (To pass, one car pulls off the road.)
    .
    I remember being on holiday on Vancouver Island and telling a family we were talking to at a campsite that we were planning on driving across the island to Tofino. He shook his head and warned us to leave plenty of time because it was "A single track road with passing places." Of course when we started the drive we realised the North American description of this was vastly different to our experiences back home in the Highlands and that he actually meant a two way road with occasional lanes for overtaking!

    I've seen a shockingly small amount of my own country but I would definitely recommend Skye (very beautiful) and you pass Eilean Donan Castle on the way. I also love the scenery around Glen Coe - I only drove through it for the first time last summer and it's spectacular.

    City-wise, Edinburgh is much more interesting than Glasgow (although that's me being a bit biased). Glasgow has a lot of art museums but Edinburgh is stunning. It gets ridiculously busy during the Fringe Festival in August so unless you want to come specifically to see that I'd avoid that time. The whole city centre is also still in the process of being dug up for trams to be introduced (it's only taken about 6 years and they're still not bloody ready yet). Other than that I'll throw in a recommendation for my wee town, Linlithgow. If you're staying in Edinburgh and fancy a day trip it's only 20 minutes away by train. We've got a beautiful ruined palace where Mary Queen of Scots was born (in fact, Chanel just used it for one of their fashion shows a month or so ago) and it's just a lovely, historic little town.

    Hope you enjoy your trip, don't forget your midgie repellant for the Highlands, plus a rain mac and a good strong brolly!!!

  2. #22

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    <guuuuhhhhhhh> <-----me drooling at all these ideas. . . dh and I will celebrate our 20th anniv in 2014 and we are talking about FINALLY taking a trip to Ireland that we've been fantasizing about for the last many many years. Of course we would HAVE to add in Scotland, and England, and because I was there for 2 months and still have a friend or two there AND because it's an amazingly cool place, Malta.
    BARK LESS. WAG MORE.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnieD View Post
    I've seen a shockingly small amount of my own country but I would definitely recommend Skye (very beautiful) and you pass Eilean Donan Castle on the way. I also love the scenery around Glen Coe - I only drove through it for the first time last summer and it's spectacular.
    Glen Coe is beautiful. The entire area around Loch Lomand, Glen Coe, Ben Nevis and Fort William is beautiful and is really on a logical path from Edinburgh and Stirling/Bannockburn to the Isle of Skye. (My trip detoured a bit to the southwest because I have a long-standing obsession with neolithic standing stones, and wanted to see the ones at Kilmartin.) However, though I love that area and the Isle of Skye, the most truly breathtaking scenery in Scotland I saw was Lochcarron, which is northwest of the Isle of Skye. My photos from that trip are not digital, because I think they are even more beautiful than the ones I'm linking. However, these pictures kind of give a sense of the place: here and here.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by reckless View Post
    Day four was spent mostly hiking around and touring the Isle of Skye, though we spent the night in Plockton, which is back on the mainland (and, oddly, despite being in the artic circle, has a temperate climate and palm trees).
    My knowledge of Scotland isn't great, but last time I checked it was most certainly not in the Arctic Cirle.

    The temperate climate is likely, as it is in Ireland, to be an effect of the Gulf Stream.
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

  5. #25

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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Edinburgh Castle which contains the Scottish crown jewels. I could see it from the train, it is the reason I got off in Edinburgh!

    The link I provided for Dunnotar Castle has 2 suggested driving tours which include villages and half a dozen castles open for tour. The Cairngorns are also worth a drive through.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marge_Simpson View Post
    If I ever win the lottery I will spend the night in every one of these castles:
    http://www.celticcastles.com/find_scottish.asp
    Don't just stop at Scotland! Check out some of the castle hotels on this site: http://www.castleandpalacehotels.com/

  7. #27
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    Aside from being a lovely village in a beautiful highland setting, another reason to visit Plockton (despite it not being in the Arctic Circle ) is that it doubled as Loch Dubh in the fabulous televised adaptation of the "Hamish Macbeth" books by M.C. Beaton. It's also pretty easy to get to, a short detour on the way to or from Skye.

    As for Edinburgh vs. Glasgow, I can't disagree that Edinburgh is the more obvious tourist destination, especially for a first-time visitor. It's a beautiful and historic city with everything you could possibly want for a quintissentially Scottish trip. But I also love Glasgow, for different reasons. It's more modern and urban, but also beautiful in its own right. Especially if, like me, you have an interest in architecture -- the legacy of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the School of Architecture is on practically every streetcorner.

    And, as others have said, you can't go far in Scotland without hitting a beautiful and historic castle, but I want to give a shout-out to a couple of my favourites:

    Bothwell Castle, between Glasgow and Edinburgh -- excellent example of 13th century architecutre. But the completely biased reason it's a favourite of mine is that when we lived in Scotland for a year when I was a child we were able to play everywhere and climb all over the castle walls. My brother and I still call it "our castle." Fences now prevent that but it's still a great locale to visit.

    Doune Castle, near Sterling. Another great castle in its own right ... but extra special because it doubled as the setting for almost all of the castles in Monthy Python and the Holy Grail. (Are you sensing a theme here?)

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oreo View Post
    Don't just stop at Scotland! Check out some of the castle hotels on this site: http://www.castleandpalacehotels.com/
    I recommend that site too. I treated myself to a stay at Ruthin Castle in Wales the last time I was over there -- not the most "authentic" castle stay experience but within my budget and still fun.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    Aside from being a lovely village in a beautiful highland setting, another reason to visit Plockton (despite it not being in the Arctic Circle ) is that it doubled as Loch Dubh in the fabulous televised adaptation of the "Hamish Macbeth" books by M.C. Beaton.
    I got this television series for Christmas this year and if it was all filmed in and around Plockton, it is a truly beautiful place.
    If this is to end in fire
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  10. #30

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    You people are awesome, although you do realize that I will now need a 3 month vacation to see everything you are suggesting!

  11. #31

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    Artemis@BC ........those are exactly my kind of castles!

  12. #32

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    Bumping this thread up because I'm going to Scotland next week! This thread proved enormously helpful in planning my itinerary. But I wanted to see if anyone has suggestions for can't-miss things to do, see, or eat in Edinburgh (bonus points if anyone knows of any gluten-free dining options). I'll only be in Edinburgh for 2 days.

    Thanks!

  13. #33
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  14. #34

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    Thanks, Vagabond! Those are great suggestions.

  15. #35
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    The coolest castle I explored in Scotland is Dunnottar Castle.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=dunno...3-6zjdpPHFM%3A

    Parts of Mel Gibson's Hamlet were filmed there. I also agree with climbing Arthur's Seat. If you do it at night, you get the most incredible view of the castle and city lit up. Sigh - incredible memories.

  16. #36

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    So I am bumping up this thread because today is my 25th anniversary, and in 30 days we leave for our second honeymoon!!
    We have decided to take a coach tour, as our work and life schedules don't allow us the hours and hours it would take to actually plan out a day by day itinerary and all the accommodations required and the routes to get places. And this way, "discussions" about where to go/ what to do/ where to stay etc. are basically eliminated.

    We are going with Royal Scottish Tours, and taking the Celtic Classic Tour, which is both Scotland and Ireland.

  17. #37
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    Have a wondeful trip, quartz!
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by quartz View Post
    We have decided to take a coach tour, as our work and life schedules don't allow us the hours and hours it would take to actually plan out a day by day itinerary and all the accommodations required and the routes to get places. And this way, "discussions" about where to go/ what to do/ where to stay etc. are basically eliminated.
    I think you've just revealed the secret to your long marriage.

    Happy anniversary, and have a fabulous trip!

  19. #39

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    Going on the Rick Steve's 10 day tour starting next Monday-- will let everyone know how it goes! Going for our 30th anniversary! So excited!

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by dancefan17 View Post
    Going on the Rick Steve's 10 day tour starting next Monday-- will let everyone know how it goes! Going for our 30th anniversary! So excited!
    Whooooo!! Happy anniversary to you too!

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