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need help and advices to plan my journey in april (7 days)

Hi, 
I'm french and my familly and I (wife+2 children) are coming for the first time in Scotland in mid april.  we'll arrive in glasgow in sunday and leave the monday of the next week. I've an idea about what i want to see but the thing is, I just can't figure out how long it takes for visiting and driving. (I dont want to drive all day long with my kids. )
Here is the journey I'm thinking of. I'd like you to give me comments and advices about it: (specially, how many hours of driving a day)
day 0 ; landing in Glasgow
day 1: leaving glasgow-stirring castle-inveraray-oban 
day 2: oban-glencoe-fort william--? (where do I have to stop since I'd like to go and visit SKY the following day, eilean Donan Castle first thing in the morning)
day 3 : SKY. I dont know How long does it takes to visit since we wont be hiking? . (night where?)
day 4: loch ness-(visiting castle) inverness-culoden moorre-(night where?)
day 5: the "whisky road" (?)-braemar-"Spittal of Glenshee"-Perth
day 6-glamis castle-edimburg
day 7 -edimburg
day 8-return to France

These are the things I'd like to see but I just dont know if it's in good order. Maybe I can do things scheluled in a day the following day or vice versa. In which cities should we stop in the evening? (days 2-3-4) knowing that i'd like to make a surprise for my children and bring them to a haunted place.
thanks for your help!

ps-dont forget we'll be coming in April. is there any snow problem?

Comments

  • Hey Froggy74!  Your 1st day looks to be pretty full on!  Stirling to Oban, via Inveraray will take you about 3.5hours to drive, so when you add on stopping in Stirling and Inveraray, lunch etc.  I think you'll all be pretty tired!  You're also missing Glasgow which is an amazing city to visit with so much culture to experience.  The Science Centre is also a good place to visit with kids as is Sharmanka (http://www.sharmanka.com/Home/Welcome.html).  Bannockburn visitor centre is also a great place to learn about our famous victory over the English http://www.battleofbannockburn.com , so you may want to do;
    Day 1 - Glasgow and Stirling, then leave the next day for
    Day 2 - Inveraray, Oban and Glen Coe (staying at Ballachulish).  You could push through to Fort William which is approx. 1.5hours driving inc. Glen Coe

    This way you could do
    Day 3 - Fort William, Maillaig and get the ferry to Skye the next day, (travelling this way will allow the kids to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct of Harry Potter fame! :) ).  Again, if you chose this way, you could spend the afternoon and next morning on Skye before leaving the island for
    Day 4 - Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Ness and Inverness which takes about 3 hours driving time.  
    Day 5 - Culloden (and Calva Cairns) could be done the next day on the way through the Whisky Trail and on to Braemar.

    Just a thought :)  It's how I'd do it and please note that all driving times do not include stopping, which you will as some of the scenery is just awesome!
    www.secrethighlands.com
  • FofomaFofoma Member ✭✭✭
    If you are looking for a spooky activity for your kids ...visit Mary King's Close in Edinburgh http://www.realmarykingsclose.com/default.aspx  
  • VisitScotlandMurielVisitScotlandMuriel Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @froggy74
    On Skye, you could stay in or around Portree which is the main town and quite handy as it's in the middle of the Island. I would say the Highlights on Skye are the Old Man of Storr on the Trotternish Ridge, Kilt Rock, Dunvegan Castle, Fairy Glen, Neist Point, Fairy Pools (involves a bit of walking but not much), the Cuillin mountains. You should spend at least a day on Skye.
    Enjoy your trip!
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    thanks a lot for your advices. Just a question, how long does it take to go from inverness to perth? since I can't visit glamis castle until 11 am, maybe it would be convenient to spend the night closer to Braemar (so I'll have more time of visiting day 5) and make 1h or 1h30 ride in the morning of day 6

    ps-I agree 100% with you Secret Island. the scenery just seems to be very awesome! (that's why I'm coming ! ;-))
  • FofomaFofoma Member ✭✭✭
    @froggy74  Allow 2 and a half hours for the drive from Inverness to Perth and please remember that there are sections where the road is dual carriageway and sections where it is not so watch your speed. Lorries can only do 50mph so if you get stuck behind a few - you'll need to be patient.  :/
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    secret highland, tell me if I understood correctly. day 3, I take the ferry at the end of the morning for sky. I sleep in Sky, day 4 visit of sky in the morning then go to inverness where I sleep at the end of the day. 
    Will I have enough time to visit the places   (sky, fort william, eilan donan castle, urquart castle ) in 2 days and reaching inverness begore the night (when is it night in april in scotland)?
  • Hey @froggy74 sorry, retread and I can see why I've confused you! I would try to get the ferry on to Skye the same day as doing Fort William and Mallaig.  In Fort William itself there not much to see but around is really cool.  So day event would be Fort William (Neptune's Staircase at the Caledonian Canal is worth a stop), then I'd take the old Road to Mallaig where you'll pass the Glen Finnan Viaduct (you can stop and do a small hike here) before going onto a small road that takes you past the most beautiful white sandy beaches before getting to Mallaig which is a quaint little fishing village with some ace fish n chip shops!  Check www.calmac.co.uk for ferry times so you can make sure you can get on to Skye as you'll want to spend as much of the rest of the day and next before heading to Eilean Donna and Loch Ness!  If you get on Skye for 2-3pm you'll have a few hours to drive up to Portree or Dunvegan, which will set you up nicely to see some of the sights mentioned by @Fofoma .  It will get dark around 7pm I think so you'll have time to get to Inverness with the stops but it will be tight.  Urquart castle closes at 6pm so you'd have to be there for 5pm at the very latest.  Working back the way, you'd have to leave Eilean Donna at 3pm.  If you spent an hour here (arrive at 2pm) then that would give you 5 hours to explore Skye and have lunch somewhere (the Sligachan Hotel would be a good halfway point). As you'll not be hiking, you could do this, but I guarantee, you'll want to go back and spend more time there! :-)

    Hope that helps?

    www.secrethighlands.com
  • p.s. once you know how much time you will have on Skye, you may want to email [email protected] for advice (the local information centre) on the best sights because there is a lot.  I especially like the unfinished grave up by where Flora McDonald's grave is.  I think the story of why it wasn't finished sums up us Scots quite nicely!!
    www.secrethighlands.com
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    thanks a lot for all the infos! I've already booked a place in sky.
    Guess I'll have to return to Scotland to keep on visiting things..:-)
  • You'll be welcome any time @froggy74  :)  Enjoy your trip!!
    www.secrethighlands.com
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    following your advices, here's my new journey: 
    1-glasgow-stirring-arrochar
    2-arrochar-oban-glencoe (night)
    3-glencoe-fort william-mallaig-sky (timetable of ferry not available yet...)
    4-sky-eilean donnan-loch ness-inverness
    5-inverness-culloden-whisky trail-pitlochry
    6-pitlochry-edinburg
    7-edinburg

    much better. huh? :-)
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    edited November 2016
    @froggy74 Looks great. Days 3 & 4 are going to be driving heavy because you must drive around Skye (to see Old Man of Storr, Quiraing, Fairy Glen & Fairy Pools) while Day 6 is super light on driving (relatively).

    On day 3 on the Fort William - Mallaig route, make short stops at Glenfinnan & Morar for some amazing views (especially the latter as your trip does not include any of our white sand beaches). Similarly on day 4 make a stop at Fort Augustus to see the locks, better if they are in action, I believe your kids will love it :smile:
    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)

  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    we'll get up early on day 3 so that we'll try not to arrive too late on sky. As previously said, the summer timetable for the ferry is not available yet. Do someone know how many ferries a day go to sky? is there like one ferry every hour? less?
  • VisitScotlandAngelaVisitScotlandAngela Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    Hi @froggy74  

    The summer timetable for the Mallaig to Armadale ferry should be available from the end of December so keep an eye on the Caladonian MacBrayne website for the new timetable.  This year, the ferry service was pretty frequent (roughly every 90 minutes or so) although it can be a busy ferry.  If you are planning to take your car across to Skye definitely consider booking the ferry in advance.   I totally agree that the route from Fort William to Mallaig is spectacular and I'm sure you will have an amazing trip!! :)
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    edited January 2017
    on day 5, I have a doubt on my journey. starting from inverness to Pitlochry and doing the "whisky trail'. I just bought a road map of scotland and I'm not sure of the road I must follow. the main road is A9 but is it the road i have to take?I had read somewhere that the whisky trail goes thru Braemar but it's not the same road at all!  I'm not so interested in distileries  I just want to visit one, and take pictures from others. The landscape is more important to me. knowing that, and since I can cancel my reservation in Pitlochry if necessary what journey would you recommend me?  (on days 6, we must be in Glamis Castle at 11 am)

    happy new year 2017 to everyone!
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    The A9 is the main north/south route, Dalwhinnie is just off it, Edradour is near Pitlochry and within a few miles you'd be able to get to a few other distilleries. 

    https://www.maltmadness.com/whisky/map/Scotland/ May help :-)

    A more interesting route would maybe be to follow the A939 and A93 south. 
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    edited January 2017
    ok, i'll follow your advice and take a939 and a93.  I'be just booked an hotel in Blairgowrie. I wont go to Pitlochry, it's not on the road and it goes west instead of south east.  now; i'va to look for some distilleries to see on the way.....

  • Waow! @froggy74 you seem to have a great plan now with everyone's advice!!  I really hope you have a great time!!
    www.secrethighlands.com
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    The A939 is just on the western edge of 'Speyside' 

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/search/distillery/@57.2750034,-3.6973024,10z
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    I think you're right "secret highland", Thanks to all of you I think I'll have a very nice trip. :smiley: I'm so sorry no to spend more time in SKY but I just have 7 days so I do have to make choices ... And I need to keep some things unseen or unvisited for when I come back ! :-) 
    as for Urquart Castle, I 've the idea we could go there in the morning of day 5, so that we could stay a little bit longer in SKY the previous day. 
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    Looks amazing! Enjoy.
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    edited March 2017
    I've just checked the ferry timetable from Mallaig to Armadale. (for SKY, it's armadale right?) I want to follow "secret island " idea for day 3 and 4 and So, I plan to take the ferry at 13:30. how long does it take to go from Glencoe to Mallaig?
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    Hi froggy; you can use google maps to get pretty good timing for most journeys - maps.google.co.uk
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • VisitScotlandAngelaVisitScotlandAngela Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    edited March 2017
    Hi @froggy74.  You are looking at the correct journey (Mallaig to Armadale).....Armadale is a small village at the southern end of the Isle of Skye. :)
    If you are taking your car on the ferry you need to be at the ferry terminal in Mallaig at least 20 minutes before the departure time, so if you plan to take the ferry at 13:30 you would need to be in Mallaig at 13:10 at the latest.  Also I recommend that you book your ferry in advance as this can be a busy crossing during the summer!  
    The journey from Glencoe to Mallaig is around 59 miles / 94.5 km and takes around 1.5 hours driving directly, although my advice would be to leave more time because the scenery is absolutely stunning and you will definitely want to stop along the way to enjoy the beautiful views!  :)
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    I've just checked on google maps the time of driving between the different place I'll be visiting. that soud very strange for me. Portree to Dingwall: it says 3h.drive without traffic but how must I add if there are cars? another thing is strange: Dingwall to Blairgowry is 2h30 via A9 (Pitlochry) and 3h  going via  Grantown Braemar. A 30 min difference doesnt seem much considering the narrowness of the road. how much time, in your opinion, "for real"?
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    I would suggest using an average speed of 35 mph as a realistic 'touring, stopping for photos' type average.

    I can average about 45 if I'm on my own 'cruising' and a little more if I'm really in a hurry.
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    on my way to blairgowrie from Dingwall, taking  A939 then A93 south, if you had time just to visit one distillery, which one will you choose? 
  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    Tomatin, just off the A9 and not much of a detour. Glen Ord near the start of the journey...

    You could also cut across the Moulin Road through kirkmicheal to get to Edradour - great tour and bar. Watch the opening days/times though....
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • froggy74froggy74 Member ✭✭
    I've started m'y trip!  :) i'm on Glencoe. Someone told me to give up taking a93 south cause there maybe snow on thé road. True?

  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    Not today froggy; https://trafficscotland.org/
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
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