Scotland, The Land of Lochs

So you want to go to Scotland, home of Nessie, beautiful lochs, and golf. I’m going to give you a few tips on things to do, how to get around, and some of the places that I have visited.

Things to do…

When planning a vacation one of things that can be the most fun, and sometimes the most challenging is planning what to do. As with many destinations, there are the most popular attractions that people want to visit. In this case, I would say Edinburgh Castle, Loch Ness, The Jacobite Steam Train, and Princes Street  are some of the most well-known places to visit. They are well worth the visit.

Scotland2018

 

Kilchurn Castle: (56.4072370,-5.0167210)

https://goo.gl/maps/FxnwPQawzsN2

This is a fun castle of visit. After a short walk you are able to walk around the castle ruins. The parking lot can be a bit tricky to get into cause it comes up quick, so I gave some coordinates.

 

 

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The Jacobite Steam Train (Harry Potter Train): (56.8717180,-5.4374960) https://goo.gl/maps/jUzYvab42CG2

I don’t think this Viaduct and Train need any introduction. This is the Bridge/Viaduct that is used in the Harry Potter films. There are a few ways to get to this location. You can go to the station and hike for a while to reach a higher vantage point, or go to the coordinates above and take a short 5 minute walk to the base of the Viaduct. It’s great for picture taking. If you want to see the train get there early, it leaves at 10:15 and 14:30.

 

Edinburgh Castle: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, UK

https://goo.gl/maps/hyKWsLykdnA2

This is obviously a popular place to visit. It’s probably the best known castle and so much history has taken place inside its walls. It’s hard to miss it when you are in Edinburgh, being on top of a volcanic plug and a prominent part of the skyline. Be ready for crowds and though.

https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/  

 

St. Andrew’s Golf Course: St Andrews KY16 9SF, UK

https://goo.gl/maps/h4ckFrmTT9J2

If you are a golfer this is sort of a no-brainer to visit.  With multiple courses, some over 600 years old it is a dream to play here. Greens fees range depending on which course you choose to play, you have seven to choose from.

https://www.standrews.com/  

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Isle of Skye: https://goo.gl/maps/15G2vkbqho52

If you are in the mood for a drive and some beautiful views take a trip out to Isle of Skye. There are quite a few things to while out there. If you enjoy hiking you can visit The Storr, which is an awesome trek to just over 2,000ft. It is a great workout. There are also the Fairy Pools, which is an easier hike to some beautiful waterfalls and standing pools.

The Storr: Portree IV51 9HX, UK , https://goo.gl/maps/scoUHDa2kqm

Fairy Pools: Glenbrittle, Isle of Skye IV47 8TA, UK , https://goo.gl/maps/TPhiKUXjvk82

Loch Ness

The legend of a beast beneath this loch is one im sure you have heard. Is it fact or fiction? Just go find out for yourself. This is synonymous with Scotland and is fun to see. There are some nice places to pull off the road and get a view one of the deepest Loch in Scotland. It is located near Inverness, which is a nice town to stop in and visit their castle, art gallery and beautiful cathedral.

Loch Ness: https://goo.gl/maps/cgTUnER6yvu

Inverness: https://goo.gl/maps/zFH1mg2GuJv

Getting Around…

While in the larger cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow for instance, they have fairly decent public transit. Busses are readily accessible and generally go to most of the most popular attractions and out into the suburbs. I was able to get a day bus pass for 4 Pounds, which allowed me to ride as often as I needed throughout the day. I will say that I was told the busses do not give change, so bring the exact amount.

https://www.visitscotland.com/info/transport/lothian-buses-p267621

https://www.citylink.co.uk/index.php

You also have the option to rent a car. This can be an awesome way to get around. It allows for the freedom of going where you want when you want and exploring off the beaten path. It can be a bit expensive if you are on a budget. A few tips if you do rent:

  1. Rent through the companies website. While it may be tempting to book through a 3rd party app such as Kayak or Expedia, oftentimes they do not show you the cost plus insurance, which is usually mandatory to have.
  2. Budget for gas. In Missouri, we are spoiled with cheap gas prices. As I type this gas is roughly $2.37 /gallon near my home and it costs roughly $25 to fill up my tank. While in Scotland it cost roughly $80 to fill up the tank on my Vauxhall Astra. In July of 2018, gas was about 2.30 Pounds/Liter. Don’t let this dissuade you, just be ready.
  3. Get the expensive insurance. I honestly did not want to purchase the full coverage insurance for the car I was renting, it was expensive and I thought it would be fine, but I was wrong. Driving on the other side of the road can be a little tricky and the roads are not always as good as you would like. Long story short, I had a few scratches on the front bumper of my car when it was returned, but luckily I had a $0 deductible, so I did not have to pay anything out of pocket.

Obviously if you have any specific questions about my visit, planning yours, or my travels please reach out and leave a comment!! Thanks for visiting!

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