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Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

New York City, New...
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Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

Hi,

I posted on the other thread but thought I might get more responses here. I want to book the hotels (which will be different for every night we are there) and would love to get some advice & suggestions. Particularly about time allotment- too much or too little at each place? It's important since I need to get that right in order to book the hotels. TIA!

Here it is:

Sunday, 8/24- Arrive in Inverness around 1pm. Drive to Golspie. Stay the night.

Monday, 8/25- Morning: Dunrobin Castle. Afternoon: Drive to Durness through A836, stop by Tongue. Spend the night in Durness.

Tuesday, 8/26- Durness to Ullapool. Stops @ Handa Island, and Achiltibuie. Stay the night at Ullapool.

Wednesday, 8/27- Ullapool to Torridon. Stops @ Falls of Measach and Gairloch. Spend the night in Torridon.

Thursday, 8/28- Torridon to Plockton. Explore Glen Torridon and stop by Applecross. Spend the night in Plockton.

Friday, 8/29- Plockton to Isle of Skye. Detour to Eilean Donan castle. Spend the night in Skye.

Saturday, 8/30- Explore Isle of Skye- Dunvegan, Quiraing, Cuillin Hills, Talisker Distillery. Spend the night in Skye.

Sunday, 8/31- Ferry from Armadale to Mallaig. Drive from Mallaig to Arisaig. Drive to Ardnamurchan before driving back along the Great Glen to Inverness. Spend the night in Inverness.

Monday, 9/1- Flight back to NYC early morning.

What do you guys think? Am I trying to squeeze in too much? Dramatic beautiful scenery is top on our list. We are in our late 20s/early 30s living in Manhattan and we CRAVE nature. It's the main reason why we travel. Plus my fiance loves scenic drives, especially coastal, so I've included as much as I can (Tongue, Achiltibuie, Applecross, Arisaig & Morar, and Ardnamurchan). I know he will be stopping along the way for pictures....An ideal vacation has lots of nature/landscapes in remote locations, opportunity for photography, wildlife... things we don't really get in the city. Good food doesn't hurt either, but we are not really interested in museums.

Thanks again for everyone's input!

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1. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

So I realize it's a lot of driving and revised our itinerary a bit. I already tried changing our flight so we have more time in Scotland but the fees are very prohibitive. I would really appreciate any feedback- thank you!

Sun, Aug 24- Arrive in Inverness, drive to Golspie. Do the Big Burn Walk. Stay the night in Golspie.

Mon, Aug 25- Dunrobin Castle in the morning then drive to Durness in the afternoon. Stay the night in Durness.

Tues, Aug 26- Spend the day in Durness: beachs- Balnakiel, Sango Bay, Smoo Cave

Wed, Aug 27- Drive from Durness to Ullapool. Stops @ Handa Island, Achiltibuie. Stay the night in Ullapool.

Thu, Aug 28- Spend the day in Ullapool. KnockanCrag, Corneshalloch Gorge, The Bone Caves

Fri, Aug 29- Drive from Ullapool to Torridon. Whale watching cruise @ Gairloch. Spend the night in Torridon.

Sat, Aug 30- Drive from Torridon to Eileen Castle. Stops @ Applecross & Eileen Castle. Night in Dornie Village.

Sun, Aug 31- Drive back to Inverness. Stops @ Glen Coe, Loch Ness. Stay the night in Inverness.

Mon, Sep 1- Flight back to NYC.

I really want to go to the Isle of Skye, but with my revised itinerary there is just no time. Should I scratch off Dunrobin Castle and head straight for Durness from Inverness on Sunday Aug 23 when we land?

Then I would have one extra day and....

Fri, Aug 29- Drive from Torridon to Isle of Skye. Stop by Applecross and explore Eilean Castle. Stay the night in Skye.

Sat, Aug 30- Spend the day in Skye. Hike the Quiraing in the morning and visit Dunvegan castle in the afternoon. Take the ferry from Armadale to Mallaig. Drive from Mallaig to Morar to Arisaig then to Ardnamurchan point. Stay the night.

Sun, Aug 31- Drive back to Inverness along the Glen Coe and Loch Ness.

Mon, Sep 1- Flight back to NYC.

Which option do you think is better? Or should I just spend less time in the Northwest Highlands? Thanks so much- I really appreciate any feedback.

Edited: 7:40 pm, May 06, 2014
Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

I took a week last year and did a VERY high speed loop through the west and northwest Highlands (not enough time, too many places I wanted to return to after many years.) You might want to look over the minimalist trip report I filed on Fodor's - fodors.com/community/europe/micro-trip-repor…

Personal opinion, but I would probably look at not spending the first night in Golspie nor would I spend money for Dunrobin Castle, a bit of 19th century romantic hogwash populated by numerous animal heads. The history of the occupying family is, shall we say, not a source of great love locally; read this - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances - for a bit of background. Just sayin'.

Instead, I'd maybe shoot for Bonar Bridge or Lairg, and I really would recommend - if time allows at all - that you visit Croick church, to get a sense of rural life, and its 19th century "modernization" before you head into the northwest Highlands. Much of what you see on the land is the result of "managed" environments: sheep eat it all.

Anyway, I think you would REALLY enjoy the road up to Eriboll and Tongue that passes Dun Dornadilla broch and also the foot of Ben Hope - terrific hill walking in the area. There's a map reference in the trip report.

Otherwise I think your trip is fine; you'll certainly see a lot. I don't have a strong preference for either itinerary. Plockton is a lovely wee village, and you certainly could do a day trip to Skye from there. Maybe you could continue to Plockton after Torridon, spend the following day on Skye, and just skip Glen Coe and the Great Glen. Glen Coe is very beautiful but overwhelmed with tourists much of the time, and frankly the drive up the Great Glen is actually pretty boring and quite trafficky. To me, the sacrifice of Glen Coe and the Great Glen would be more than worth it for more time in the northwest.

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3. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

It's a lot of driving but if you don't mind spending time in the car you'll definitely see some of the finest scenery in the country. The road that passes past Ben Hope is indeed stunning, the walk up Ben Hope itself isn't bad either (although I did find myself up to my waist in a peat bog at one point!) so definitely get out and stretch the legs along the way if you can. Maybe not time for the full hill but you've got to stop driving to appreciate the scenery.

If you like seafood then the Kylesku Hotel just off the A894 between Durness and Ullapool is well worth a visit. Beautiful pub with amazing seafood - we went one evening at the start of the dinner service and the waitress had to check if the mussels were able to be ordered because they'd only just come in on the boat! If you have time take a detour along the A837 to Lochinver (amazing pie shop in the village!!) and then head round the B869 for some amazing unspoilt beaches. You can do that road as a loop from Kylesku to Lochinver but it's an "interesting" drive - single track roads, very steep climbs, and sharp turns at the Kylesku end - so I'm not sure how confident you are with those sorts of roads!

Also worth paying a visit to the "hippy commune" just outside Durness and cocoa mountain shop/café if you're chocolate lovers. It's the most unexpected place to come find given the location!

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4. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

ooh, just realized you're coming in late august - invest in some good midge repellant!! Probably best to buy it here, not sure UK midges will respond to the same products as US ones ;-)

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5. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

>> ...not sure UK midges will respond to the same products as US ones ;-) <<

One bite of a New Yorker and they'll swear off people for good. That, or else call their friends over.

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6. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

Chris, your revised itinerary looks very good - you give yourself more time to enjoy the trip, rather just driving around. You will some great sceneries, and some great roads to drive. The trip from Inverness to Durness via Lairg is just beautiful. Get some food in a shop, and find a place to aprk the car, and have a picknick, you won't regret it.

North of Ullapool are some great little walks, and some ruins you can visit. I don't know the Kylesku hotel edinen has mentioned (though I might try it next time I am in that area), but I always enjoy in the pub / restaurant next to the ferry port in Ullapool. Never had a bad dish there.

I also hope you are more lucky than I was - been three times in Gairloch for a whale watching trip, and all three times no tour took place due to bad weather.

And obviously agree with the previous posts regarding midges - these little beasts can be very annoying

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7. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

Hi, I thought I would give an update here. We decided to change our trip so we could have more time in Scotland. All flight/ car/ accommodations booked.

Thu 8/21- Arrive in Inverness. Drive to Golspie. Stay @ Granite Villa Guesthouse

Fri 8/22- Dunrobin Castle. Drive to Tongue via Lairg. Stay @ The Tongue Hotel.

Sat 8/23- Drive to Durness- Explore beaches, caves... Stop by Cocoa Mountain. Stay @ Old School Restaurant & Rooms (Kinlochbervie).

Sun 8/24- Sandwood Bay. Stay @ MacKays Rooms.

Mon 8/25- Drive to Achilitibuie. Kylesku for lunch. Stay @ Summer Isles Hotel.

Tue 8/26- Drive to Gairloch. Stay @ Myrtle Hotel.

Wed 8/27- Drive to Torridon. Stay @ The Torridon Hotel.

Thu 8/28- Drive to Applecross. Stay @ The Applecross Inn.

Fri 8/29- Drive to Skye. Plockton for lunch, Eilean Donan around noon. Visit Cuillins (do the easy 1 hour hike), Tallisker Distillery. Stay @ Ben Tianavaig.

Sat 8/30- Day in Lewis/ South Harris. Stay @ Cuil Lodge (Uig)

Sun 8/31- Explore Quiraing in the morning. Lunch @ 3 Chimneys. Dunvegan Castle in the afternoon. Drive to Ardnamurchan via the Ferry and the "road to the Iies" Stay @ Sonachan B&B

Mon 9/1- Drive to Inverness. Stop by Glencoe, Loch Ness. Stay @ Trafford Bank.

Tue 9/2- Fly to London

Sun 9/7- Fly home to NYC

Thank you for all your help!

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8. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

I'd book yourself a week off work after this trip. You're going to need a holiday!

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9. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

I realise that this is already booked, so it may be too late to change anything, but this is quite a challenging itinerary.

Sandwood Bay is a 4-5 hour round trip across exposed moorland from the road end at Oldshoremore, near Kinlochbervie. Will you have proper walking boots and wet weather gear?

Sunday 31 August is pretty manic! To catch the last ferry from Armadale you'll need to leave Dunvegan by 4 pm at the latest. When you get to Mallaig it's a two hour drive, some of it on winding single track roads, to Kilchoan, where you'll arrive around 9 - 9.30 pm. You will then get up first thing on Monday and drive to Inverness via Glencoe, also partly on winding single track roads.

Still, at least you'll catch a glimpse of some magnificent scenery flashing past the car windows!

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10. Re: Need Help with Rough Itinerary- One Week in Late August.

Dhmellor- We will definitely be purchasing walking boots and gear. Our ferry from Armadale to Mallaig is booked for 4:50pm, arrive at 5:20pm. We are planning to get up very early for Quiraing (and plan to spend about 3 hours there). And then about an hour for Dunvegan. Lunch at 3 Chimneys around 12:30 before heading to Armadale for the ferry. Should arrive in Mallaig around 5:20pm and to Ardnamurchan around 8pm.