June 23, 2018, 04:52:05 AM

Author Topic: Scotland trip  (Read 24054 times)

Hillsilly

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2017, 08:27:20 AM »
But at least you can cross the country in a day.

I've only visited Scotland once.  We stayed in a townhouse in Drymen for a week and went on various day trips.  The place I enjoyed visiting most was Glencoe.    We had a fun cruise on Loch Lomond.  Did some walking around Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.  Visited Sterling Castle and Loch Ness.  And drank lots of Irn Bru.  Glasgow was ok for shopping, but not overtly touristy - I don't know if I'd go there if I had limited time.  I also hear conflicting things about Edinburgh, but most older tourists enjoy going there.  We gave it a miss and focused on more outdoors related activities.
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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2017, 08:27:20 AM »

GammyKnee

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2017, 09:54:58 AM »
Good suggestions so far. If you're up for a hillwalk you could also go up "Arthur's Seat" for an alternative view over Edinburgh:

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/lothian/arthurs-seat.shtml

Regarding the car, bear in mind that Edinburgh isn't car-friendly; progress can be slow and it can be very tough to find somewhere to park (at least somewhere you won't get clamped, towed and/or ticketed). It was bad when I lived there, and it's much worse now.

Best of luck for the weather - May can work out quite well.
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ethanz

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2017, 12:59:33 PM »
Continued thanks for all the good ideas and information!

I've already booked a car. I'll get into Glasgow before lunch. I plan to see a few things in Glasgow then make a leisurely drive to Edinburgh. I have a hotel in Edinburgh, kind of between downtown and the airport in Edinburgh (I fly out there the next day, so I don't have to go back to Glasgow). The hotel has free parking.
If I go up near Loch Lomond, maybe go to Stirling Castle, then go through the countryside to Edinburgh, I should be out of the way of the heavy traffic? Of course it will still take a while since I'd be going the long way, but at least I'd be seeing the sights. Someone mentioned Balloch on Loch Lomond, maybe I'll head there. In Edin-bruh I'll probably walk the 'Royal Mile.'
Since I'm an American and you guys drive on the wron... opposite side of the road as us, I got the most rental car protection I could.
Holyrood Park/Arthur's Seat hill is in my plans, around sunset. Hopefully I can drive my car near there.

P.S. Great landscape pictures Paul
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takesome1

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2017, 01:33:56 PM »
Ethanz, you didn't mention if this is your first trip to the UK. Since your talking about cars I will give you my 2 cents, ask for one with an automatic transmission. Regardless of whether you drive a stick or not, it removes this distraction. Get a GPS from the rental company, with the UK's postal codes it is very easy to get around with one. Take the coverage that pays 100%, it is very easy to cut short when turning left and destroy a rim. My first lesson in the UK was a car I rented in downtown London and drove out of town during rush hour. It was a fun way to learn to drive on the other side, but I wouldn't recommend it for the faint of heart.

ethanz

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2017, 02:10:43 PM »
First time driving in UK. I've driven in Europe before. I only know Automatic, so I paid extra for it already. I was planning on using my iPhone for GPS. London at rush hour sounds like a nightmare.
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Mikehit

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2017, 03:18:38 PM »
Any major city  at rush hour sounds like a nightmare.

Fixt.  ;D

lion rock

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2017, 04:52:26 PM »
Have a nice trip there.
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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2017, 04:52:26 PM »

scotia

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2017, 05:17:10 PM »
It would probably be wise to have two plans - one for wet with low cloud, meaning little scenery to see (it happens, and not infrequently) and one for fine weather.

I dislike the motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, even when it is working well. It is probably one of the most boring stretches of road in the whole of Scotland.  And forget averaging 60 mph on it - there are long stretches of 50 mph through Glasgow and if the roadworks are still in place long stretches of 50 mph with average speed cameras through them as well. If you want to get to Edinburgh relatively quickly it is a sensible route, but if you want to see more of Scotland your idea of a country route makes more sense.

Based on your itinerary, in fine weather one option would be to miss out Glasgow. Instead you could turn west out of Glasgow Airport, cross the Erskine Bridge (if you glance to your left as you cross there are nice views to some of the Argyll hills), and then head to Stirling via Balloch. I have never been very impressed with the place or, indeed, with Loch Lomond, but some people seem to like it. I would instead detour to Aberfoyle and along Loch Ard (it is a dead-end road, so you have to head back the same route). You can head from there to Stirling (has an interesting Castle if you want a stop, and the Wallace Monument is not far out. Parking at the Castle can be difficult, particularly around holidays). Stirling to Edinburgh is straightforward on the M9, passing the Kelpies, which are visible from the motorway. You would have to exit the motorway at Grangemouth if you want to photograph them.

Depending when in May you are in Scotland, sunset in Edinburgh is some time between about 9 pm and 9.45 pm, and sunrise is sometime between about 5.15 am and 4.30 am, so you have a lot of daylight if you are willing to minimise sleep.

scyrene

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2017, 08:40:30 PM »
But at least you can cross the country in a day.

I've only visited Scotland once.  We stayed in a townhouse in Drymen for a week and went on various day trips.  The place I enjoyed visiting most was Glencoe.    We had a fun cruise on Loch Lomond.  Did some walking around Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.  Visited Sterling Castle and Loch Ness.  And drank lots of Irn Bru.  Glasgow was ok for shopping, but not overtly touristy - I don't know if I'd go there if I had limited time.  I also hear conflicting things about Edinburgh, but most older tourists enjoy going there.  We gave it a miss and focused on more outdoors related activities.

Parts of Edinburgh are VERY touristy. But outside the very central part, it's fine - just a few streets from Princes St/the Royal Mile, it's just like any other city. My favourite part so far is the New Town, which has lovely architecture, plenty of shops and restaurants, etc, and down to Stockbridge and the Botanic Gardens.

Of course, if time is limited, you are maybe best going for outdoor stuff. It all depends what you're into :)

Depending when in May you are in Scotland, sunset in Edinburgh is some time between about 9 pm and 9.45 pm, and sunrise is sometime between about 5.15 am and 4.30 am, so you have a lot of daylight if you are willing to minimise sleep.

I missed the time he was visiting - good point! One thing Scotland has lots of in May is light :)
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ethanz

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2017, 10:51:30 PM »
Thanks guys. As I get closer to the trip maybe I'll post the itinerary so you can see how crazy I am.
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Stewart K

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2017, 05:51:34 AM »
Please do, i'm interested in where your going, in a completely non-stalker'ish kinda way :)
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rfdesigner

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2017, 08:45:27 AM »
First time driving in UK. I've driven in Europe before. I only know Automatic, so I paid extra for it already. I was planning on using my iPhone for GPS. London at rush hour sounds like a nightmare.

It is. 

I've driven in Canada and UK.  There's not that much difference, except our roads/lanes a narrower and twistier and a few priorities & signs are different.

Read our Highway Code first:  https://www.gov.uk/browse/driving/highway-code-road-safety

UK is similar to Europe, but I'll list the big things people can get into trouble over that I can think of.

If you ever venture onto the variable speed limit motorways they can have "variable speed cameras" (such as M25 M40~M3 section nr London, I don't know about the Glasgow-Edinburgh motorway, I'd expect it to be similar), increasingly people are keeping to the 70mph motorway limits too as speed cameras appear left right and centre.  It really is best if your car has a driver-settable speed limiter, many do.

Unlike the states any pedestrian on any road other than a motorway ALWAYS has priority (technically at least).  There is no such thing as jay-walking.  If they drunkenly walk out into traffic without looking and you hit them, technically it's your fault, if you meet pedestrians/horses on a country road with no pavement (sidewalk) then you must give way, it is not their job to get out of your way. 
Lorries (Trucks) also have to keep to lower limits than cars on most extra-Urban roads, so don't be surprised if they are holding things up. 
You can't turn left at a red light, sometimes there'll be a green arrow light (filter) but without one you can't turn on a red light.

UK roads are amongst the safest in the world, you'll be fine with a bit of preparation.

have fun
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 08:47:56 AM by rfdesigner »
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ethanz

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2017, 11:24:58 AM »
Thanks RF. I had a problem with the speed cameras in Switzerland when I was keeping up with the traffic flow...
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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2017, 11:24:58 AM »

lion rock

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2017, 09:23:42 PM »
I drove about 1190 miles in Scotland on a rental automatic car.  True, it's different arrangement than American vehicles.  Everytime I signaled for a lane change, the windshield wipers came on.  Took a long time to get used to the left hand/right hand controls.  When I came back to the US., the same thing happened.  Lane difference wasn't too bad, just think that I was always driving on the fast (left) lane.  Though, exiting a parking lot was more exciting, muscle memory took over, nearly always going to the right lane for turning into the traffic.
I did pay for full insurance with the rental car, BUT, after 14 miles (yes, they use imperial distance measurement and celsius temperature scale) and parked in an Edinburgh neighborhood overnight, I discovered the front passenger tire was flat.  The car rental insurance DID NOT cover it (wind shield is not covered), so another 120 pounds to replace with the SAME brand of tire.  Do be careful of that, talk to the rental agency first.
Some people speed there, but I think most of the locals drive within the speed limits, it was mostly tourists who sped.  We were staying overnight near Skye and heard of a motorcycle accident whose drive was not expected to live.  A German tourist.  Shame.
Do enjoy your visit to Scotland.  Oh, if time allows, go to Farne Islands to shoot puffins, they roost in there in May.
-r

AlanF

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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2017, 11:18:43 PM »
I drove about 1190 miles in Scotland on a rental automatic car.  True, it's different arrangement than American vehicles.  Everytime I signaled for a lane change, the windshield wipers came on.  Took a long time to get used to the left hand/right hand controls.  When I came back to the US., the same thing happened.  Lane difference wasn't too bad, just think that I was always driving on the fast (left) lane.  Though, exiting a parking lot was more exciting, muscle memory took over, nearly always going to the right lane for turning into the traffic.
I did pay for full insurance with the rental car, BUT, after 14 miles (yes, they use imperial distance measurement and celsius temperature scale) and parked in an Edinburgh neighborhood overnight, I discovered the front passenger tire was flat.  The car rental insurance DID NOT cover it (wind shield is not covered), so another 120 pounds to replace with the SAME brand of tire.  Do be careful of that, talk to the rental agency first.
Some people speed there, but I think most of the locals drive within the speed limits, it was mostly tourists who sped.  We were staying overnight near Skye and heard of a motorcycle accident whose drive was not expected to live.  A German tourist.  Shame.
Do enjoy your visit to Scotland.  Oh, if time allows, go to Farne Islands to shoot puffins, they roost in there in May.
-r

Insurance in Scotland doesn't cover wind shields and tires but a good insurance policy will cover windscreens and tyres.
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Re: Scotland trip
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2017, 11:18:43 PM »