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Holidays

Scottish Islands

15 replies

Maryfloppins · 04/02/2020 15:39

I would love to take my DD on holiday this summer and explore some Scottish Islands but I have no idea how to do this .
Anyone done this before ? Any top tips or any mistakes to avoid ?

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billybagpuss · 04/02/2020 15:47

How old is your DD? We did Scotland when they were around 4 and 6 They loved the Harry Potter train from fort William and were into bird watching at that age so enjoyed their binoculars fr short periods. My youngest had a full on strop when I told her she was too young to climb Ben Nevis. They loved the Loch Ness exhibition, but there were times when they were just too young for it, we did quite a bit of walking.

I wouldn’t have taken them when they were older unless organised outdoor activities were involved but we’re looking at it for next year and now they’re all adults and drive they are wanting to come too, this time we looking at snorkelling around mull maybe some scuba if I can find a group to join, culloden and things like that.

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midsomermurderess · 05/02/2020 14:09

Arran always gets good reports, 'Scotland in miniature' etc. I like the small isles, Rum, Eigg, Mick and Canna although they are quite remote, and Islay. I have never been that keen on Mull, or Barra, both seem a bit dull but many will disagree. Harris and Lewis just strike me as dour. Skye is massively over-touristed.

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INeedNewShoes · 05/02/2020 14:16

I prefer The Isle of Mull to Arran just to confuse things Grin

Skye was an idyl in times gone by but it wouldn’t be top of my list now. It has changed so much.

You can buy an island hopper ferry ticket for the car if you want to visit a few different places.

Sounds patronising but factor in that driving to the ferry ports on the mainland can be a much longer journey than it appears at a glance on the map so use Googlemaps or similar to work out what might be your best departure point and how long a drive that will be.

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BeyondMyWits · 05/02/2020 14:24

Would fly to Orkney and hire a car there. It is an absolute gem of a place, stuffed brim full of history, both ancient and modern - and full of things to do. A beach for every day of the year. A distillery with a fantastic visitor centre, a leisure centre, island hopping , birdwatching, seal watching.

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Srictlybakeoff · 05/02/2020 14:31

I think Skye is lovely but it’s very touristy and you don’t get the real isolated feeling. The touristy bi5 means there are more restaurants and things to do. You can drive there . I think the north part of the island is better than the south.
Lewis and Harris are beautiful and much quieter. The beaches on Harris are stunning But there are fewer amenities/ restaurants, an£ you do feel more isolated. Ferries do from Ullapool to Stornaway or Uig ( in Skye) to Tarbet. So it takes a long time to get there . We saw dolpins , porpoises and seals on the Ullapool route.
It’s a few years since I was in Islay. It has a gentle feel to it but scenery maybe not quite so spectacular imo.
Never been to Arran or Mull. The Uists are gorgeous but not sure I would spend a full week there

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june2007 · 05/02/2020 14:32

One word. "Midgies"

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MaisyMary77 · 05/02/2020 14:42

Orkney is wonderful. Although I’m Orcadian so slightly biased. 😀
Fly up and hire a car as PP suggested. The mainland has some fantastic stone age sites-Scara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Broch of Birsay, Maeshowe. There are also the Churchill Barriers and Scapa-Flow-where they scuttled the WW1 German fleet. You can still see a few wrecks. Kirkwall has St Magnus Cathedral and the Highland Park distillery. You can get ferries from Kirkwall to the smaller islands. Stronsay is well worth a visit-especially Rothiesholm beach. Beautiful!
I could go on and on Smile

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MasakaBuzz · 05/02/2020 14:52

I have been to most of them. Shetland is my personal favourite.

Look on the Cal Mac website. You can buy various Island Hopscotch tickets for different routes on the Western Isles. They save a lot.

cal Mac.co.uk

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HuggeeH1bernat1on · 09/02/2020 13:58

I've traveled by car from South to the see the Kelpie horse statues & canal at Falkirk. Then to Oban
Ferry to Barra
Then stayed on Barra, Harris, Lewis
Ferry to Ullapool
Stay at Pitlochry

I've also been to Arran, Mull, Skye & the music festival at Tiree

I've pre-booked the accommodation & ferry tickets

You will definitely need to pre book accommodation on Outer Hebrides, because there is not much choice

You could fly to Barra to land on the beach !

Interesting history & stunning scenery, but be prepared for very changeable weather, including strong winds

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HuggeeH1bernat1on · 09/02/2020 15:56

I've also been to Isle of Bute & Northumberland in the same trip

Also a separate trip to Isle of Man

Each island has its own character

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Snuffkindle · 16/02/2020 09:09

I've only been to Mull. We were lucky with the weather so to me it was heaven on Earth, with those incredible white beaches and turquoise sea. We took a boat trip to Staffa which was incredible both in terms of geology and puffins. I would like to go again but I did find the driving arduous.

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5foot5 · 16/02/2020 22:32

We have had some nice times on Arran. Seal watching at Kildonan. Pony trekking. Some fantastic beaches that we had virtually to ourselves. Loads of walks. We particularly enjoyed hiring bikes at Lochranza the taking the ferry to the Kintyre peninsula and cycling to Skipness for lunch at Seafood Cabin
oh and the boat to Holy Island to walk there was fun

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Verily1 · 23/02/2020 08:54

Some of the islands need there own holiday and couldn’t really be done on one ‘package’

Eg
Arran
Mull
Skye
Orkney
Shetland
The outer Hebrides

If you want to do a few islands maybe have a base in Oban and get the various ferries from there?

Use the calmac timetable as your guide. You NEED to book in advance or you won’t get on the ferry on a lot of routes! And you need to arrive at least half an hour before departure!

There is also very limited accommodation on a lot of islands- don’t expect to find a b &b with vacancies.

Think about a campervan/ motor home but the roads aren’t designed fur them (lots of passing places esp Skye) and the locals don’t like them, so there’s not many facilities.

The best circular routes to try are:

Ardrossan- Campbeltown- day trip to Gigha- could hop over to Islay/Jura then back via Lochranza on arran to Brodick and back to Ardrossan then day to Bute up the coast.

Up the glenfinnan viaduct to mallaig ferry to skye, drive up Skye (it’s a big island and this takes a while) then ferry from Uig to Harris then drive up to Stornaway then ferry back to Ullapool.

Be aware of Sabbatism in the outer Hebrides (Sunday closures).

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dementedma · 23/02/2020 08:57

Agree with maisy re Orkney. My favourite of them all. But make a choice soon..ferries and accommodation already booked for many dates

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Sweetpotatoaddict · 23/02/2020 09:06

Have a look at calmac website they do an excellent island hopper ticket.

You can sail from Oban (2.5 hours drive north of Glasgow), to Tiree-barra- uists-Harris-Lewis then back to Ullapool approx 4.5 hrs north of Glasgow.
Absolutely amazing trip, proper remote feeling. Most beautiful beaches in the world. I love the Scottish islands.

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