Motoring Driving tour of Scotland!

Jupitus

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Hi folks - I am hoping to get some advice here. I aim to do a driving tour of Scotland, stopping at nice places to stay or eat over probably a 7 day period. Budget isn't 'massive' but 2-3k is manageable depending on what we choose. Has anyone get any advice on either car hire (a classic might be out of budget and the choice needs to be comfortable / back age friendly) or routes or places to stay? Companies who do this for you? Anything like that most welcome! Thanks!
 

Jupitus

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Oh - I should add that I am a driving enthusiast so it needs a bit of poke but nothing scary as the better half will also be at the wheel (sometimes)...
 

Scouse

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Anywhere not in the cross hatches m8.

Bold for tips.

My advice is head straight for Glencoe. Do not pass go, don't stop even for community tits. Glencoe's lovely. Then you either turn left to Oban and get on a ferry or turn right to Fort William - which is a shithole, but a good place to stock up, then LEFT onto the A830 and head up the west coast. (Don't bother with Glen Nevis > Inverness).

All the good stuff that you want to see is on the west coast and in the big mountains. You could drive over to Mallaig, get on a ferry there to the bottom bit of Skye. Go and see the Cullins from Sligachan (although if you come off at Broadford and go through Torrin > Elgol and walk down around there (Camansuray) it's nice.

I'd definitely come back off Skye and stop off in Applecross (book a table (or night) at the Applecross Inn - really really good food) and then follow that round the coast to Torridon - which is all bloody beautiful.


The reason I say dont' even think about stopping until Glencoe is that the drop-dead gorgeous beauty doesn't really start until there and if you're adamant on 7 days then you'll waste a hell of a long time just getting there. Just man up and take it :)

I've always camped, but you could stop at the Clachaig Inn if you're getting there late after a long days drive and just enjoy food and beers then head out in the morning and continue on (It'll be full of outdoorsy types).

Eat the seafood in Skirtland. It's world class. If you end up in Mull, on Tobermory at the end of the harbour is a nondescript cafe/restaurant called Cafe Fish. Amazing.

Use the ferries. It's fun.

And take two weeks doing it. Stop off at places and walk if you can.

Oh. And if you're going later than late may or very early June you're going to get bitten. But May should give you a good chance of decent weather - at which point it's fucking beautiful.

Outside of skirtland only Snowdonia (and even then only the bit around the welsh 3000's) feels like Scotland. Which is part of the reason I moved here. :)


Where's @Big G when you need the cunt!

Oh. And fuck off the East. :)
 

Jupitus

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Thanks @Scouse - that gives me some great pointers!
 

Aoami

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I like the drive from Inverness to Fort William around Loch Ness. I'd start I'd Cullen though for some Cullen Skink, but I'm bias as it's where my nan is from.

West coast is obviously great, but for me the best drive in Scotland is on Lewis and Harris. When I got married me and the lads went there for a few days to buy some tweed to be made into my suit. You have the golden road https://www.virtualheb.co.uk/golden-road-isle-of-harris-western-isles/ up there. Also, some of the most stunning beaches I've ever seen. Honestly the sand is so golden and the sea so blue it looks like the Caribbean.
 

Scouse

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Always wanted to do Lewis and Harris but no experience (and 7 days). Pic reminds me of Fhionport (sp?) on Mull.
 

DaGaffer

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I was only thinking the other day that a driving trip to Scotland would be cool (I think it was the last episode of Top Gear that did it), but then I figured the kids would be bored out of their minds.

I'm quite surprised that there are NO good driving bits in the east; my one long trip to Scotland was up to Mull and then Skye and it was pretty but I don't recall the roads themselves as great driving roads (lots of loops around lochs to get nearly nowhere I seem to recall). I do also remember getting bit to fuck by black flies on Mull.
 

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Don't National Express do Scottish tours? Senior discounts and comfortable for longer journeys
 

Scouse

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I was only thinking the other day that a driving trip to Scotland would be cool (I think it was the last episode of Top Gear that did it), but then I figured the kids would be bored out of their minds.

I'm quite surprised that there are NO good driving bits in the east; my one long trip to Scotland was up to Mull and then Skye and it was pretty but I don't recall the roads themselves as great driving roads (lots of loops around lochs to get nearly nowhere I seem to recall). I do also remember getting bit to fuck by black flies on Mull.
There may be good driving bits in the east but scenery falls off dramatically.

To be fair, if driving fast is the thing then scotland is a no-no - singletrack roads with passing places. But the scenery is great :)
 

Jupitus

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Don't National Express do Scottish tours? Senior discounts and comfortable for longer journeys
Get tae fuck!!! :ROFLMAO:
 

Big G

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*wakes up*

I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts!

*falls asleep*
 

Bodhi

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Oh. And fuck off the East. :)
Ignore this, as the East Coast has the best distilleries (Speyside), the best Fish and Chips (Anstruther), some stunning scenery (Perthshire, parts of Grampian and up past Inverness to the Black Isle), the best golf courses and Scotland's nicest - if most expensive town, aka St Andrews.

Also bear in mind a lot of the West Coast makes up the NC500, which is a stunning drive granted, but in Summer will be absolutely mobbed, which means hotel prices will be eye-watering. What we usually do, is drive up to a base for the week or so, then do day trips from there. We spent the week in Aviemore a couple of years ago and went all across the North, even doing a day trip up to John O Groats - was a few hours in the car, but the scenery made up for it as soon as you got past Inverness.

Last year our base was in Dundee and we went all around the East Coast from there - Perthshire, Fife, and all my old haunts from growing up in Angus. This has the advantage of being pretty cheap, and Dundee has pretty good access to places which aren't Dundee.
 

Aoami

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Ignore this, as the East Coast has the best distilleries (Speyside), the best Fish and Chips (Anstruther), some stunning scenery (Perthshire, parts of Grampian and up past Inverness to the Black Isle), the best golf courses and Scotland's nicest - if most expensive town, aka St Andrews.

Also bear in mind a lot of the West Coast makes up the NC500, which is a stunning drive granted, but in Summer will be absolutely mobbed, which means hotel prices will be eye-watering. What we usually do, is drive up to a base for the week or so, then do day trips from there. We spent the week in Aviemore a couple of years ago and went all across the North, even doing a day trip up to John O Groats - was a few hours in the car, but the scenery made up for it as soon as you got past Inverness.

Last year our base was in Dundee and we went all around the East Coast from there - Perthshire, Fife, and all my old haunts from growing up in Angus. This has the advantage of being pretty cheap, and Dundee has pretty good access to places which aren't Dundee.
No midgies on the east coast either
 

Wij

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Why do the midges like the west of Scotland so much?
 

DaGaffer

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Why do the midges like the west of Scotland so much?
Like Mozzies, Midges need moisture and the west of Scotland is much wetter than the East. I also think there's a plant that grows in the west that the male midges like (its the females that bite you) but isn't as common in the east, some kind of heather species (my ex'es aunt lived on Mull and told me all this years ago).
 

ECA

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Did John O'Groats to Lands End in 2019 ( bicycle ) and really enjoyed the east coast of scotland, would imagine it'd be a great drive as well.
The A9 from John O Groats down to Tain was absolutely fantastic, then we avoided the a9 and took quieter roads , and cut over the west side and came over Glencoe.

Didn't stay here but stopped for coffee/snacks and it was a big country house recently converted into a hotel, family running it were great:


Also stopped at this place : staff were great


Staff were also amazing at the Bridge of Orchy hotel:

We got caught in pissing rain coming over glencoe and they put the fire on for us while we waited out the rain ( we did order food/drinks while we dried off :p not utter scum ).
was expensive for rooms so we didnt stay there, there's some weird ( but fairly decent ) hotel run by an indian billionaire down the road at Tyndrum


It was a bit surreal arriving to see it and also about 8 coachloads of dutch coach tourists who were staying there as well - I guess highlands tour etc.

After that unfortunately we had to go through glasgow ( loch lomond was nice ), as was the area outside of glasgow.
Unfortunately there's fuck all between glasgow and carlisle.
 

Big G

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Morning gents (can we say 'gents' anymore? is that gender bias supporting a global patriarchy? am I going to be cancelled? LE SIGH).

Here's a brain dump:

BUY A MIDGE NET FOR YOUR HEAD / FACE

Scotland - first off, always a gamble with the weather with the already-said fact that the west is wetter than the east by some margin, so ideally book it as late as possible if you can to make sure you get the best of it. The problem with that is a lot of places are booked up way in advance now with hotels in Skye absolutely rammed with very, very average hotels milking it at £200 a night price ranges. If you don't mind camping it could be a better way to do it, there's a lot of affordable "pods" as well as - try pitchup.com to look at various camping / glamping solutions if that's your thing.

As a "first time driving in Scotland", the west (Glencoe etc.) are just too busy to enjoy at weekends and peak time, not to mention there's now average speeds between Crianlarich and Lix Toll which used to be a great loop to hoon down so your driving experience is likely to be very muted unless it's off-peak. The roads are still great, just be mindful to avoid the weekends and try to do your driving in the morning or evening. The A93 that goes to Glenshee and onto The Lecht is regarded as one of the better driving roads in Scotland, much reduced traffic, well surfaced and popular with Evo magazine. It still has great views but it doesn't have the classic views of the west. Some roadside views of that route: 1, 2, 3, 4.

I'd split your time with a few days in Glencoe / Skye area, and a couple of days in Ullapool.

Doing the west however is the classic route, and here's the best way to do it (in my opinion). Avoid Glasgow and Loch Lomond - seriously, avoid it unless you want to encounter your stereotypical jakey Scotsman. If you're coming from the south, come in via the M6 to M74 at the border, take in the views of the Southern Uplands (often overlooked) then pickup the M73 just outside Glasgow and onto the M80 then M9. You get lovely views of Stirling Castle, Wallace Monument and your first glimpse of the Highland Boundary Fault with two Munros. Enter the Highlands via Callander and onto Glencoe, take the time to enjoy the route (probably busy), stop in Tyndrum for food (take your picl), and stop off to see the classic views in Glencoe. I hugely recommend the Kingshouse Hotel in Glencoe which has been fully renovated and is stunning inside. It's an excellent base to do some walking, see the hills, do the Skyfall thing. Go to Glencoe Mountain Resort and get the chairlift up for some great views.

Get the CalMac from Mallaig to Armadale on Skye. Lovely roads and views again, and Skye is like nowhere else in the UK, it's more akin to Iceland in it's geology and origins being almost entirely volcanic. Affordable hotels are sparse on Skye, but immerse yourself at Sligachan which is right in the heart of Skye. Lovely hotel, stunning views of the Red and Black Cuillin. It's a bit of a trek but get yourself to Elgol for fish and chips and lovely views of an ancient volcano.

Onto Ullapool for the next base, right in the heart of the NC500 territory - two places to see are Kylesku Bridge and Achmelvich Bay in that area. The geology in this part of Scotland is completely different to Skye, and completely different to Glencoe with some of the most ancient rocks anywhere in the world (between 4 billion and 1 billion years). The views are extraordinary, if you're into hillwalking then definitely do some.

There's so much more though - Island Hopping is worth a look (Mull, Islay, Skye), Harris has some of the best beaches in the world (icy water mind..).

TL;DR - do the west, avoid holiday periods, do midweek where possible, England to Glencoe, Glencoe to Skye, Skye to Ullapool.
 
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MYstIC G

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Take some boxes so you can reach the pedals? 😉
 

Jupitus

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Off to Lincoln tomorrow, then Edinburgh on Saturday - we'll go up the east coast in a couple of days then meander along the northern and western coasts with a couple of nights on Skye. I want to say thanks for input folks, I am really looking forward to the rest!!!
 

Jupitus

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Oh - I should add that I am a driving enthusiast so it needs a bit of poke but nothing scary as the better half will also be at the wheel (sometimes)...
Oh, my amazing brother has lent me this:
 

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MYstIC G

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Off to Lincoln tomorrow, then Edinburgh on Saturday - we'll go up the east coast in a couple of days then meander along the northern and western coasts with a couple of nights on Skye. I want to say thanks for input folks, I am really looking forward to the rest!!!
Enjoy Jup
 

Jupitus

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What's yer decided itinerary @Jupitus?
1st night Edinburgh, then we'll head up the east coast in a couple of hops, north coast in about 3 and then head down the west coast over about 5 days, inc. 2 nights on Skye. Highlights include much lovely seafood, the northern-most zipline in the country (apparently), a mixture of resting spots, some flash and some quite basic, Oban distillery and other things that take our fancy along the way (y)
 

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Oh, my amazing brother has lent me this:
Hope it has a step in the boot your missus can get out for you so you can then get in the car. Also, how many cushions will you be sitting on?
 

MYstIC G

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Oi @Jupitus !

We know you're back, so how was it FFS! :eek:

You can't leave us with a cliff hanger like this, we need to know...
how did you reach the pedals? ;)
 

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