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Planning my own trip to Scotland....Help!

I am interested in planning a trip to Scotland next year and have several concerns and questions. In 2015, I traveled solo to Ireland with a touring agency's help. I have never been interested in tour groups but last year I traveled to Scotland with a small tour group. We did see a lot but on some nights, I sat in the hotel attempting to remember everything and felt I missed out. So.......I would like to go back to Scotland in September, 2019. I am not the typical tourist because I shy away from the busy places. I would like to fly into Edinburgh, travel to someplace close to Dunnottar Castle and stay 4 or 5 days to relax, walk around nature, and visit locals. Don't know if I can get to one of the islands to see some wildlife. I believe I can drive it (like I did in Ireland) but don't know anything about car rentals. About me : I'm no spring chicken but not dead yet lady and enjoy history and being outside. Would anyone be interested in communicating information on how to plan my trip? Thank you  

Comments

  • ScotlandAdventuresScotlandAdventures Member ✭✭✭
    Hi Diana,

    You could stay around Stonehaven which is a pretty harbour village near to Dunnottar Castle and is well equipped with shops etc.  If you don't want to drive you could plan public transport options using the Traveline website http://www.traveline.info/
    Hiring a car can be done easily from Edinburgh airport if you prefer to drive yourself, the road from Edinburgh to Stonehaven is an easy drive - here is all the car hire info for the airport https://www.edinburghairport.com/transport-links/car-hire
    If you want to explore the local area, I've written a blog post with the highlights along the Aberdeenshire coast if you need any inspirations for places to visit https://www.adventuresaroundscotland.com/scotland-travel-blog/aberdeenshire-coastal-trail

    Hope that helps  :)

    Susanne
    Scottish Travel Blogger at Adventures Around Scotland

    Follow me on Social Media at Twitter Facebook Instagram Pinterest

  • DianaDiana Member ✭✭
    Susanne,
    Thank you for the info. I also was thinking of Stonehaven to start my trip thru Scotland. The web sites will be very helpful and I totally enjoyed your web site.
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    @Diana I second the Stonehaven suggestion made by @ScotlandAdventures It is one of my favourite daytrips from Edinburgh and I put up some of my pictures here, a splurge meal at the Tollbooth comes recommended :smile:  There is an RSPB nature reserve very close to the Dunnottar castle at Fowlsheugh so you don't even have to go to an island to see rich bird life (including Puffins!)
    walk around nature, and visit locals. Don't know if I can get to one of the islands to see some wildlife
    I would recommend going into the Cairngorms vs staying at the coast for nature walking. Deeside and Angus are underappreciated destinations in Scotland IMO. One of your daytrips should be to Ballater + Braemar (so many castles), another recommended daytrip would be to Clova to walk through Glen Clova. If you are up for it, the Corrie Fee hike is one of the very best in Scotland yet you'll see only a fraction of the folk who visit Glencoe.

    Lastly, I would recommend checking out the Visit Aberdeenshire website for travel info and inspiration. I'd also like to page in my dear friend and Aberdeenshire expert @YourScotlandTour to see if he has recommendations suited to your tastes. He is also this forum's go-to whisky expert so do let us know if going to a distillery is part of your plans at all. Feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you need.
    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)

  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    @Horizons thank you for the introduction :)
    @DianaI I live about 10 minutes away from Dunnottar castle, as suggested there’s fowlsheugh - my suggestion there is to ignore the signs a little and go find the waterfall off the cliffs into the sea below ;-) Just walk passed the ‘offical’ Entrance... follow the noise. The puffins are a long way along the cliff, just passed the observation hut but if they’re there well worth it. Cute wee birds.

    There’s loads to see and do all along the coastline there - the area’s called The Mearns, really under-developed in terms of tourism which means there are very few tourists in the area a total bonus in my opinion! The most ‘tourist’ place is Dunnottar Castle and then probably Stonehaven itself - travel south down the coast a few miles to Johnshaven, Inverbervie, Gourdon and you’ll find sleepy wee fishing villages with some B&B type accommodation and friendly locals... just be aware that often times the locals speak a bit funny with a strong accent which may be hard to get your ear into at first.

    A little further South You’ll find St. Cyrus nature reserve, a massive, beautiful and mainly deserted beach - you can walk there from Johnshaven, Gourdon and even Inverbervie! 

    And then you can go inland, to Edzell and beyond to pick up the ‘Angus Glens’ and do some walks up there, mainly they’re fairly easy ‘path’ walks so quite accessible although with a few steeper bits here and there. Have a look for Corrie Fee (probably my favourite easy walk in the area). It’s slightly further south but worth the drive. 

    There are a few other things to see and do - but if that’s whetted your appetite let me know and I’d be happy to work with you to develop a more detailed plan :)
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • HorizonsHorizons Member, VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭✭
    @YourScotlandTour my pleasure! Now I am looking forward to visiting this area as I haven't been to most of the spots you've just mentioned.
    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)

  • YourScotlandTourYourScotlandTour Member ✭✭✭
    @Horizons  my pleasure matey - there's plenty more in the area too - let me know when you want to visit and I can put you (both) up for a night or 2 :)
    Bespoke tours.
    Whisky, Castles and Food a speciality.
    yourscotlandtour.co.uk
  • DianaDiana Member ✭✭
    edited April 2018
    Thank you @YourScotlandTour & @Horizons for all the information. I am going to check on all the various places and begin planning. I believe my trip will be the last week in August into September: two week vacation. Hope the midges will be gone. Have a great weekend!
    Diana
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