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Touring Scotland

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Touring Scotland

Postby Johnny Fubar » Wed Apr 05, 2006 11:00 pm

Hello all,

My wife and I are planning a trip to Scotland and want to do it off season. We are looking for a little input on when the best off season time period is. We are looking for information on whether we can come and travel by car reasonable well to get around to all the regions.

We are into the off-beat, non-touristy things. We both are looking forward to visiting numerous distilleries.

So here are a few questions:

1- Can we successfully book rooms day by day around the country without reservations in the off season/

2- Can we rent a car and get to most of the country in 10 days? No? What do you recommend?

3- We don't want fancy hotels and busy cities (except for maybe a day or two in either Glasgow or Edinburgh, what should we expect to spend for local accommodations?

Any comments or recommendations appreciated.

Thanks,

Cris Yarborough
yarbz@comcast.net
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Apr 06, 2006 12:49 am

1. Yes, but you do run the risk of not getting what you want. I did several trips this way before settling down to planning ahead, having a better idea of where I wanted to go. I had a bad experience in Inverness (although it was because I was a single--no one wanted to give me a double room), and once could not get a room in Dumfries because an AA convention was in town! A shame, the pubs would have been nice and quiet. I usually travel in October, maybe late September, and haven't had too much trouble. Be aware that some attractions close at the end of September, and many more at the end of October. If you're going to do this, try to get into whatever town you want to stay in by 4:00 at the latest, and make use of the tourist office. They will find you a room for a modest fee--usually a pound or two (I think it was three in Inverness...what's with those people?). There's nothing more disheartening than walking around knocking on doors at 7:00 or 8:00.

2. Yes, but for god's sake don't! You'll see everything, but you won't see anything. For ten days, I would strongly recommend that you stay three nights in three places, and see those places well or make day trips out of each. If you feel you must wander, book a couple days at the front and at the end of your trip, and have a realistic idea of where you will go in between. Or pick two regions and spend four or five days in each--e.g. Speyside, west coast, Borders, Glasgow/Edinburgh, etc.

My first trip was seventeen days, and I had no idea whether I would go again, so I crammed in a lot--Edinburgh, Orkney, Lewis. Fortunately I have been back seven more times, and of course had to go back and do all those things right! I still go back to some places and find more to see. Far better to pick the few things you want to see most and concentrate on them than to try to do everything.

3. B&B's generally run from £25pp on up. Sometimes you will find bargains, especially in remoter areas. Low-end Hotels start at £30pp, generally. These are about the floor--if you are wandering, be prepared to pay more, as lower-priced rooms may be booked. Also, rooms in the cities will be more.

Start with the Undiscovered Scotland website-- http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk --it's a great resource for things to see and do, accommodation, and restaurants and pubs. Also the Scottish Tourist Board (http://www.visitscotland.com). The more research you do ahead of time, the more successful your trip will be.

That said, some of my best memories are of the spontaneous, like the time I wandered into the Crask Inn, in the middle of bloody nowhere. There was a house across the street, where the innkeepers lived, and not another for nine miles in any direction. And the pub that night was jumping! The generator went off at midnight, though.
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Postby Johnny Fubar » Thu Apr 06, 2006 1:37 am

MrTattieHeid,

Thanks for the long and well thought out reply. I am always tempted to do more than I should for the time I have. I will try HARD not to fall into that trap again.

I am very interested in checking out the Hebrides islands of Islay and Jura (I want to go to Laphroaig and Caol Ila at least...)

As far as the attractions go, we're more interested in the people and culture that attractions.

I will check out the sites you mentioned and see what I can organize in advance. September is probably the best time for us.

Thanks,

Cris
Hartford, CT
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Apr 06, 2006 2:10 am

Cris, USAirways has good fares to Glasgow out of Bradley via Philadelphia. You can get better fares out of Boston or JFK, of course. You might spend your first day there (an afternoon nap is good for jetlag) and then head to Islay. You'll want at least three nights there. From there you might head up the west coast a bit, and then maybe over to Speyside, back to Glasgow, and out. That's a lot for ten days. Check out some of the other threads on Scotland travel for suggestions. And ask me anything, I love to blab about it and can't be shut up.
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Postby Choochoo » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:50 pm

When Mr. Fubar goes to Scotland I can watch his cats and raid his bar.

The following year when I go to Scotland, Mr. Fubar can watch my cats and raid my bar.

I may have more whisky in my house, but Mr. Fubar has a swimming pool so we can call it even.
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Postby ianbanks » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:56 am

Hello

The best experiences are sometimes not planned. I believe you should follow you nose with someof the recommendations at hand. Enjoy your trip.

Ian
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Postby ScotchBlog » Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:33 am

Johnny Fubar wrote:MrTattieHeid,
I am very interested in checking out the Hebrides islands of Islay and Jura (I want to go to Laphroaig and Caol Ila at least...)


Tattie, would you agree that it's a half day's travel from Glasgow to Islay between the drive and the ferry?
2-3 hour drive to the ferry and then 2.5 hours on the ferry.

And depending on the time of year there are limited ferry services.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Apr 08, 2006 3:42 pm

That's probably about right, Kevin. I think it would be a hard slog on your first day arriving from across the pond. Somehow I always seem to be approaching Islay from Oban way--this past year took the ferry from there via Colonsay--and then lay over in Inveraray on the way to Glasgow. Loch Fyne Whiskies and the George Hotel.
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