Scotland trip

scotia

EOS M50
Dec 21, 2013
32
0
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

EOR R
Dec 4, 2013
2,459
318
UK
www.flickr.com
Hillsilly said:
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 :)

scotia said:
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 :)
 

rfdesigner

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 12, 2014
876
0
New Forest, UK
sites.google.com
ethanz said:
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
 

lion rock

EOR R
Jan 1, 2013
1,920
37
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

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,434
2,589
lion rock said:
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.
 

slclick

EOS 3
Dec 17, 2013
3,036
563
A shot with the Dugald Stewart Monument is a must. Enjoy your short visit, I bet you'll want to return for more!
 

lion rock

EOR R
Jan 1, 2013
1,920
37
Ahh, nuance (nuisance) of English! I'm still wondering where is the pronunciation of the letter "r" in FebRuary?!
Haha.
-r

AlanF said:
Insurance in Scotland doesn't cover wind shields and tires but a good insurance policy will cover windscreens and tyres.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,434
2,589
lion rock said:
Ahh, nuance (nuisance) of English! I'm still wondering where is the pronunciation of the letter "r" in FebRuary?!
Haha.
-r

AlanF said:
Insurance in Scotland doesn't cover wind shields and tires but a good insurance policy will cover windscreens and tyres.
Where r?

Seriously, I take out a yearly "collision waver" insurance for driving a hired car in Europe. It costs £39.99, which is usually much cheaper than the cost of the additional insurance for a single trip of one week.
 

lion rock

EOR R
Jan 1, 2013
1,920
37
For insurers who repeatedly travel to Europe, that's great.
For a tourist who visit occasionally, screwed.
-r


AlanF said:
Where r?

Seriously, I take out a yearly "collision waver" insurance for driving a hired car in Europe. It costs £39.99, which is usually much cheaper than the cost of the additional insurance for a single trip of one week.
 

ethanz

1DX II
Apr 12, 2016
1,004
256
ethanzentz.com
I had a great time in Scotland. When I rented the car I told the rental lady about my situation and she said "Oh you have all the insurance, go ahead and crash it if you want" so great :)
Even with no sleep I did not have any problems driving on the wrong side of the road. Only got honked at a few times, but no crashes.

Here was my schedule:
12pm left car rental at Glasgow airport
1pm ended up near University of glasgow trying to get Pounds and food. (travel companions were getting very restless)
Saw the beautiful courtyard at Uni of Glasgow and ate at the campus cafeteria.
2pm started driving to Lock Ard near Aberfoyle. Beautiful countryside, very narrow roads. Eventually made it, the Loch was ok.
3:45pm started driving to Edinburgh
Went to Stirling castle parking lot...
5pm checked into Edinburgh hotel
6pm were too late to Edinburgh castle...
walked down Royal mile
Went into St Giles cathedral, great place.
Ate dinner at some Italian place
Went to Calton Hill? for beautiful sunset pictures
11pm went back to hotel and died

Maybe I'll post some pictures soon
 

lion rock

EOR R
Jan 1, 2013
1,920
37
Sounded like a nice vacation.
Surprised you got honked at, the drivers were more gentle to me when we were there.
So, look forward to some photo narratives.
-r

ethanz said:
I had a great time in Scotland. When I rented the car I told the rental lady about my situation and she said "Oh you have all the insurance, go ahead and crash it if you want" so great :)
Even with no sleep I did not have any problems driving on the wrong side of the road. Only got honked at a few times, but no crashes.

Here was my schedule:
12pm left car rental at Glasgow airport
1pm ended up near University of glasgow trying to get Pounds and food. (travel companions were getting very restless)
Saw the beautiful courtyard at Uni of Glasgow and ate at the campus cafeteria.
2pm started driving to Lock Ard near Aberfoyle. Beautiful countryside, very narrow roads. Eventually made it, the Loch was ok.
3:45pm started driving to Edinburgh
Went to Stirling castle parking lot...
5pm checked into Edinburgh hotel
6pm were too late to Edinburgh castle...
walked down Royal mile
Went into St Giles cathedral, great place.
Ate dinner at some Italian place
Went to Calton Hill? for beautiful sunset pictures
11pm went back to hotel and died

Maybe I'll post some pictures soon
 

Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,209
395
Some nice shots there, Ethan considering photography was not the main purpose of the trip.