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Author Topic: A trip to Edimburgh...and Highlands?  (Read 3217 times)
aebolzan
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« on: June 29, 2013, 08:00:06 PM »
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Next July I will be visiting Edimburgh with my wife and daughter.....we will be there from 25th to 29th and then we will fly to Ireland to be there with friends and visiting several places (I heard that there is a place in the east coast where one can find puffins!). The point is that several people told me that I cannot leave Scotland without visiting (and taking photographs!) the Highlands!. Therefore,   I would like to know what is the best way to visit the Highlands considering that we are in Edimburgh....for a comparatively short time....I do not know where to go and how to go there......some people told me about Ullapool, Fort Williams, Malleig, etc.....can one go for the day there? Or it is better to take a day and stay in some particular place till next day and then return to Edimburgh?....Is it possible to take a train or one should rent a car (uhmm....driving on the left side.....)?......Any advise will be more than welcome!.....although I will be visting several cities in UK with my family, what I really like is landscape and wildlife photography.....

Thanks in advance!

Agustin
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Box Brownie
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2013, 08:46:10 PM »
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Hi

Though I cannot specifically help re Scottish landscapes here are a couple of wildlife pointers:-

Dolphins of the Moray Firth
http://www.moraydolphins.co.uk/

The Farne Islands for amongst other seabirds Puffins
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/farne-islands/

and
http://www.farne-islands.com/

We have been to the Farnes and I highly recommend them ~ though we spent a whole weekend there with two boat trips out to them Smiley

Hope that helps???

Smiley
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stamper
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2013, 03:20:48 AM »
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If you wanted to go to Mallaig by train it would be awkward and expensive.

http://www.scotrail.co.uk/timetables-routes/1801/1811/2012/winter.

The train starts about 04.50 hrs in the morning and it would be about 23.00 hrs before you would be back in Edinburgh. About 12 hrs sitting on the train there and back. You are probably on the wrong side of the country for the west highlands.

It would be better to go to Inverness and see the highlands which are a central part of Scotland.

http://www.scotrail.co.uk/timetables-routes/5151/1841/2012/winter

The journey isn't - imo - quite as good as the former but still worth doing.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2013, 02:58:49 PM »
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You can drive from Edinburgh to Fort William, via Glencoe in about 3 hours - so there and back in a day is easy. The only real downside is that, if you don't leave until, say, 8:00am and want to get back before midnight, then you are going to miss the best light at dawn and dusk.

Alternatively, you can get to one of the "gateways to the Highlands" at Aberfoyle or Pitlochry in 2 hours from Edinburgh.

Don't worry about seeing it all in one trip. I have lived in Scotland for 68 years and doubt if I have seen 50% of the country.
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stamper
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 02:59:32 AM »
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<You can drive from Edinburgh to Fort William, via Glencoe in about 3 hours - so there and back in a day is easy.>

It might be easy if you have done it before but the poster brought up the problem about left side of the road driving and if he hasn't driven before in Scotland then roundabouts are a hazard? The problems would probably be a distraction from any enjoyment and imo Fort William isn't the most glamorous place to visit. The enjoyment of the trip is probably best. If you stop off in Glencoe it makes the trip longer. In a day you won't be able to see and experience very much hence the idea of letting the train take the strain would be more enjoyable?
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 01:48:21 PM »
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<You can drive from Edinburgh to Fort William, via Glencoe in about 3 hours - so there and back in a day is easy.>

 and imo Fort William isn't the most glamorous place to visit.

Sorry - wasn't suggesting that Fort William itself was worth visiting - but the route there and back goes through and past some very scenic landscapes and, from FW, an hour either along the Great Glen or a bit along the Road to the Isles is worth doing.

(and if a car is being rented, pick it up from EDI, then you have no city driving to do. Driving on the unaccustomed side of the road is not a problem when you have the correctly configured car. Any Brit will tell you that driving his own RHD car in France is awkward for the first few hours, but driving a rented LHD car in USA is a dawdle.)

PS - nearest place to Edinburgh for easily accessible puffins is the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth. Boats from Anstruther in Fife.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 01:51:49 PM by PhotoEcosse » Logged

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Slim
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2013, 04:50:09 PM »
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I got back from a similar trip in June.  I rented a car so I could see the things I wanted to see a remain in places for as long as I needed to.
If you are from the States like I am, most of the rental cars are manual and the roads are much narrower with curbs so I kept on drifting left and sometimes brushing the curb so be careful with that.  The roundabouts also take some getting used to.

I wrote about it here.

http://shakyphoto.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/scotland-set-2-on-the-road/


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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2013, 04:15:12 AM »
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If you are from the States like I am, most of the rental cars are manual......  The roundabouts also take some getting used to.




All car hire companies have a few automatic transmission models specifically for American visitors. Specify that when booking. Roundabouts are what the Americans call "rotaries" (which are now much more common is US than they were 20 years ago) but do keep in mind that in UK (and most of the other countries that drive on the traditional side of the road), you give way to traffic approaching from the right when entering a roundabout.

(Cue for a wee history lesson. The reason that we drive on the left side of the road goes back to the days before motor cars and guns. Most people are right-handed so, when on horseback and approaching a stranger on a road, you want to pass sword arm to sword arm in order to be more able to defend yourself if necessary. Obviously it would cause traffic problems if horseback riders were on one side of the road and stage coaches on the other, so everything drove on the left.)
« Last Edit: July 21, 2013, 04:21:22 AM by PhotoEcosse » Logged

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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2013, 04:40:37 PM »
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(Cue for a wee history lesson. The reason that we drive on the left side of the road goes back to the days before motor cars and guns. Most people are right-handed so, when on horseback and approaching a stranger on a road, you want to pass sword arm to sword arm in order to be more able to defend yourself if necessary. Obviously it would cause traffic problems if horseback riders were on one side of the road and stage coaches on the other, so everything drove on the left.)

Now that I didn't know  Grin

Having driven in the US and Canada many times, I can say that getting used to driving on the opposite side of the road other than what you are used to, is actually quite easy, or at least much easier than you think it will be, takes about an hour of feeling a bit odd and apprehensive, but then it soon becomes fairly natural for the length of the holiday. Just be willing to take your time and get used to what you are doing and perhaps put up with a few locals shaking their heads at you.

Although where I live, we do quite often see people driving on the wrong side of the road, having absent mindedly reverted back to their native side of the road, which can be interesting.

Dave
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davidgp
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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2013, 02:53:23 AM »
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And be careful when you get back to your country and don't do like me... I drove for the left side for a few minutes when i got back from scotland in Barcelona...
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 09:49:05 AM »
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Although where I live, we do quite often see people driving on the wrong side of the road, having absent mindedly reverted back to their native side of the road, which can be interesting.

Dave


Dave,

Anywhere north of Edinbane and the Skye roads are largely single track with passing places. How do you tell which side folk (natives and foreigners alike) are driving on?

Smiley

.
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papa v2.0
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« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2013, 09:42:28 AM »
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Hi
I live in Inverness and here is the route I would suggest.
By car.
Edinburgh (castle) to Falkirk (Wheel, Linlithgow Palace) to Stirling (Castle, Wallace Monument) to Perth  and A9 (wilderness distilleries etc) to Inverness (Picts, vitrified hill forts, castles) to Lochness (monster) to  Invergarry (well of the 7 heads) to Kyle ( Sevensisters, Sheil bridge)to Skye (beautiful) to Ardvasar and ferry to Malaig (Glen Finnan)to Ft William (Ben Nevis) to Glen Coe (spectactular) to Loch Lomond to Glasgow (glasgow school of art) and back to Edinburgh.


Spend a night in Inverness and one in Fortwilliam.  Google Earth it and look at the street views.
Great tour.
Lots to see more that i can mention.

We have long daylight hours in the summer. Its not getting dark till 10.00pm at the moment and sunrise about 5.00am.
Iain
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Piboy
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« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2013, 08:44:08 PM »
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Rabbies Tours was flexible and great! Not a photo tour company but was great for traveling with my family and getting some great shots. Very efficient, economical and they book all of your accommodations to suit your budget. They get you efficiently through highlights of the Highlands and Islands. We did the 5 day Iona, mull, and Skye but there are shorter itineraries.
http://www.rabbies.com/index.asp?lng=en
I travel all around the world mostly on pure photographic trips. This was great in that it was logistically easy and was entertaining for my family as well.
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Sam W.
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