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Isle of Arran, Skye and Orkneys in 12 days

After doing the nc500 in 5 days on my own, I'm dying to get back to Scotland! I'm planning on going for 12 days this time in July... 

- Flying into Glasgow early morning 

- First night in Isle of Arran

- Second night near Glencoe / Glenfinnan

- 4 or 5 nights in Skye? ( all accommodation seems to be booked up already so planning on camping? Is this safe to do alone? Are there plenty of showering facilities available? )

- 4 or 5 nights in the Orkneys... can I take my car on all the Ferrys? Not sure which islands to visit? 

- Flying out of Inverness 

also will be using Arnold Clarke car rental as I found they were great last time and the cars are litterally brand new only 3000 miles on them :) 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @cbb91, it sounds like you really enjoyed your last trip and you want to discover more places. I would try and break it up a bit more, i.e after Arran, spend one or two nights en route to Glencoe. There are many places to explore in the West like Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Loch Fyne and Inverary, Oban and the Isle of Mull - a very beautiful island less popular than Skye. Spending 2 to 3 nights on Skye should be sufficient and, as you said, accommodation is very tight. I can't advise about camping on your own, it is a very personal thing but I'm not sure where you would find showering facilities unless you stayed in a campsite.
    You can take your car on all the ferries - Caledonian MacBrayne on the West Cost and Northlink Ferries  for Orkney are the main operators. Please visit our webpage on Orkney where you will find lots of information. I have never been myself unfortunately - one day definitely!! Have a fantastic holiday and please share your experience on the community!  :D
  • cbb91cbb91 Member ✭✭
    Hi @VisitScotlandMuriel thanks for your advice! I was thinking myself that 4 or 5 nights in Skye would have been a bit much, also I'd prefer quieter places so Isle of Mull is on the list now thank you :) so much planning involved! but suppose it's all part of the fun :) 
  • argyllgirlargyllgirl Member ✭✭
    Make sure you book all ferries ahead of time when using a car.  To get to Orkney you can also take Pentland Ferries from Gill's Bay near John O'Groats. 
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    Hey @cbb91 I'd highly recommend staying more than 1 night on Arran, there is enough on the island to keep you busy for 2 full days, climb Goatfell and visiting Glen Rosa, Blackwaterfoot and the south (possibly the Holy Isle) on day 1 and then Glen Sannox, Lochranza (Isle of Arran distillery) and Machrie standing stones on day 2. Both Goatfell and Glen Sannox are incredibly beautiful!

    On Skye, the Sligachan campsite does not take bookings and is very well located but doesnt have the best facilities. I've heard only great things about the Glenbrittle campsite, try to see if they take bookings and spend your Skye days in that area.

    Finally, I definitely recommend visiting the Isle of Hoy on Orkney even if it is just to see the Old Man of Hoy. :smile: It is even better if you enjoy bird-watching due to the large numbers that live on the cliffs.
    I'm Anirudh, an Indian travel blogger who has explored a lot of Scotland by public transport. My blog. Find me on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 week itinerary (fully by public transport)

    My Scotland travels (includes EdinburghSkye, HarrisMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban, DunoonSpeyside)

  • cbb91cbb91 Member ✭✭
    @Horizons @argyllgirl both great info thank you so much :) instead of camping in a tent I have been thinking about maybe renting a van ( ford transit or similar ) putting a rug or a piece of carpet down and an air mattress and sleeping bag and sleeping in the van? Do any of you know if this is practical / legal? And would I be able to get on the ferries in a minivan? 

    I was then hoping I could pay for showering facilities at a campsite now and again?
  • DMWScotlandDMWScotland VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    Hi @cbb91 :)

    I agree with @Horizons about spending more than one night on the Isle of Arran. So many beautiful walks and hikes! I'm walking the Arran Coastal Way in June (65 miles) and really excited to see more of the island on foot.

    I have a few blog posts on the walks I've done over the years. Have a wee look and see if it persuades you to stay longer :).

    Have a fun holiday whatever you decide!
    I blog about places I've explored in Scotland on Love Exploring Scotland  <3
    Follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube :)
  • cbb91cbb91 Member ✭✭
    Thanks @DMWScotland will have a look! I can't wait! Have a great holiday too :)
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2017
    [Deleted Content]
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