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  1. #1
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    Post Highlands & Islands trip planning

    Clan Dunbar tours Scotland about every 5 years. I'm going for the first time and taking my family. After the tour we are going on a driving tour of the Highlands and Islands to see areas where the Clan rarely if ever goes. We were a lowland noble family with the Earldoms of Dunbar, March and Moray. Moray borders the Highlands and that is where my ancestor came from landing in the Colonies in 1650.


    This is a rough map of our travel plans. The hotel cost is something like $400/night and we need 2 rooms. Looking at about $4000 for rooms alone. So instead of renting a car I thought we might rent a Expedition vehicle and camp. Doe anyone have suggestions of what we might miss of importance on the above route? This would be in the first week of August and we know we will see rain but we are camping veterans. We can rent one from Scotland Overland. Are there parks or campgrounds where we can shower rather than boondocking it the entire time?

    We would love to meet for pints with any X-Marks members who we might find on our route.
    Slainte!

    David Dunbar
    Chieftain Clan Dunbar
    Last edited by Dunbar; 9th March 19 at 02:05 PM.

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  3. #2
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    10th January 19
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    Probably not the best adviser

    I've only done one trip into the highlands, and it was a one-day bus tour, so please take everything I say with a grain of salt.

    Our trip from Inverness back to Edinburgh followed (mostly) your eastern leg of the trip (minus the trip out to Elgin). I found the trip through the Cairngorms to be a lot less visually interesting than our outbound trip, which passed through Glencoe, and then up along Loch Lochy and Loch Ness.

    If there are specific points of interest along the Cairngorm route, that's definitely an overriding factor. But if you're largely just traveling through the area, the route along the lochs seemed much more ... scenic ... in a differentiated sort of way. The Cairngorms seemed like a lot of the same thing repeated mile after mile. (But that may be because we didn't stop for anything along that route.)
    Trying to look good on a budget.

  4. #3
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    Looks like a good itinerary, and you should see some good scenic parts of Scotland.
    There are some good roads there where you will be able to travel at up to 60mph but there are many other sections where you will need to ca' canny (go easy). The one which immediately springs to mind is after you leave Uig to head round the north tip of Skye the road climbs quite steeply, with some tight hairpin bends. Allow plenty of time once you leave the class A roads on the mainland. Also bear in mind that many of the roads are single track, which means that you will often need to give way at passing points to oncoming vehicles. Coming off a single track road, as a visitor from across the pond, it would be too easy to forget to once again take to the left hand side of the road. I have had a few near misses over the years with cars and even coaches driven by tourists, coming at me on the right hand side instead of the left.
    Vice-President and Regional Director for Scotland for Clan Cunningham International, and a Scottish Armiger.

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    6th July 07
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    Your route is as good as any other, there are other choices of course.

    Things to remember!
    Drive on the LEFT.
    When your fuel tank reads half full/empty STOP at the FIRST fuel station you see. Do not expect them to be open in isolated parts after 1700Hrs!
    Drive on the LEFT.
    Watch out for ticks.
    Bring plenty of anti midge cream.
    Drive on the LEFT.
    Be very careful of fire, open moorland and forestry can burn easily, even though it rains a lot!
    On single track roads DONT park in the passing places.
    On single track roads, if someone behind you toots their horn and/or flashes their lights, they are usually a local Doctor/nurse needing to be somewhere urgently, they are NOT being aggressive idiots, please let them pass as soon as it is safe to do so.
    Drive on the LEFT.
    Bring binoculars.
    Drive on the LEFT.

    The vehicle you have illustrated will be OK for this bit of road, but its not for the feint of heart! Click to enlarge.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Jock Scot; 10th March 19 at 04:37 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.


  7. #5
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    22nd March 07
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    I've done two driving trips in Scotland; 2003 and 2007. It looks like you have a good one planed. Best of luck.

    Frank
    Drink to the fame of it -- The Tartan!
    Murdoch Maclean

  8. #6
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    21st January 17
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    I did a very similar trip 2 years ago, but based myself in Inverness, Skye, Fort William and loch lomand, using each of those as bases for day trips. I did B&Bs for all of them but loch lomand (hotel) cost was generally under 100 per night in June, so it may be worth considering this. The great thing about staying a couple of nights in a B&B is that you get to chat to the owners and they are great at providing local information on local attractions. Whilst this may not be practical for your trip it may be worth looking as you are garaunteed a shower, somewhere warm and no midges.

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  10. #7
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    3rd March 15
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    Looks like a good trip - followed a similar route in June last year, except we started and finished in Glasgow, missed out Edinburgh altogether (been many times before and since), spent some time around Loch Lomond and Helensburgh as well as doing a loop through Argyll to Oban via Kilmarten Glen and missed out on the Northern part of your route, instead heading down to Great Glen and on to Inverness that way.

    We took it easy - as my youngest is only 3 - so most days spent less than 3 hours on the road over 17 days, spending 2 nights each on or in Helensburgh, Mull, Skye, Inverness and Glasgow. We budgeted 120 per night for accommodation - and as we needed family rooms our choice was limited - we actually spent 1575 and stayed in some great places (mixed bag of hotels, B&Bs, hostels and glamping pods). Car hire was 425.

    We also bought Family Membership of the National Trust for Scotland, which paid for itself in about 3 days - it's about 100 and includes entry and parking at all of their sites - compared to the normal price for a family of 4 of 20 to 30 for each place. Historic Environment Scotland (who own and run many of the castles) have a similar scheme and there are also Scottish Heritage Passes - which combine both NTS and HES but are only valid for a week and (I think) only for individuals rather than families.

    Highlights for me were Kilmarten Glen, Stor and the Fairy Pools on Skye, Culloden, Bannockburn (turning up on the anniversary of battle was kinda special), Glencoe, Hill House and the Devil's Pulpit in Finnich Glen.

  11. #8
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    15th February 18
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    Looks a great trip - I would also keep in mind that the speed cameras the length of the A9 between Stirling and Inverness are average speed cameras as opposed to standalone cameras - it's infuriating, especially when people brake every time they see one! Seems mostly effective though. Nice camping (with showers etc.) at Dalraddy (Alvie estate) just south of Aviemore if you were to be stopping around there.
    To the King, over the water

  12. #9
    Join Date
    6th July 07
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    I am sure that after looking at the map of your proposed route many of us can see "wee diversions" that you could take. The reasons that you have chosen your particular route could easily be that you have already seen the "wee diversions", but there might be something worth mentioning just in case you haven't.

    If we look at Oban on your map you have chosen the route -----assuming you are going anticlockwise-----south via Loch Awe. A good choice but, did you consider the slightly longer route heading towards Fort William? You need not go that far though, because after passing the wonderful sight of Castle Stalker, you will turn onto the A82 road heading South at Ballachulish(pronounced Ballahoolish). You will then drive through the village of Glencoe and the wonderful----stunning even---- scenery along the road South(as seen in the James Bond film Skyfall) and across Rannoch Moor. You will then rejoin your original route towards Crianlarich.

    In my humble opinion, not sights to miss and the Ballachulish hotel is not a million miles from where I stay, so perhaps we could meet up for a pint?
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 14th March 19 at 07:17 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  14. #10
    Join Date
    6th July 07
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    A wee update.

    I had reason to go to Glen Coe yesterday and Mrs Jock and I called into the Clachaig Inn for a bite to eat for lunch and a wee dram. I can fully recommend the no frills menu, cheerful staff and recently refurbished decor and the hills are just as awesome as they always were. Yes the target clientele are mountaineers, skiers and hill walkers and they go there in droves, so evenings are extremely busy, but talking to friends who live nearby it is THE place to go for a fun evening. And worry not, THAT famous sign is still there-------even if the wrong assumptions about it are STILL being made!

    I would be more than happy to meet up with any Xmarker for a wee dram there----at the less crowded lunchtime preferably------- for a meet up. It may not be always convenient for me, but I will try my best to fit in with your time line.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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