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  1. #1
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    Scotland in December

    My wife and I will be in Edinburgh the first week of December and will have about 1 week to explore with no strings attached. I have been to the Fort William area years ago, and I have always wanted to go back and explore more of the Highlands. Other than short days and shitty weather, what are we looking at that time of year? We are planning to rent a car and wing it as much as possible, but I need to sell her on some semblance of a plan. I was thinking of making a loop, heading up to Inverness first for a few days, and then over to Fort William before going back to Edinburgh. I am not planning on a ton of outdoor activity given the time of year and that fact that we will be traveling light, but I will have running/hiking gear for shorter day hikes if possible.

    Is there anything between Ediburgh and Inverness off of the A9 that is worth exploring for day or any cool areas in the Cairngorns that time of year? A few people I have spoken with told me to skip the eastern part of the coast (Aberdeen, Fraserburgh, etc.). I was told good whisky but not as dramatic of scenery. What about the A9 north of Inverness, or really anything North/Northwest of the A82 between Inverness and Fort William? I assume we will be more or less relegated to main roads that of year.

    Like I said we are very flexible so I am looking for any suggestions and people here usually have a few (including do you own research JONG). Any info is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Glen Morangie factory tour was enjoyable


    you could do a loop around the east coast to Inverness and then back inland to Edinburgh
    i'm surprised about the coast comments you got; i bet the coast is pretty dramatic at that time...drive is prolly pretty slow tho
    the new V&A museum in Dundee just got a favorable writeup in the paper not too long ago


    (& don't trust Google maps time estimation for small roads in the highlands/countryside)

  3. #3
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    Mrs. Plug and I did a very similar trip. It was April, but rained every day, so we did one mountainous hike early on, (Lochnagar), and didn't see a damn thing but fog, so then stuck to waterfalls, castles, wildlife viewings, and stone circle style historical stuff. We had a blast.
    We did just what you're planning and stayed in B&B 's most of the time, or a castle here and there. We still joke that we never turned the wipers off, so bring the good stuff for raingear/cold wear.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  4. #4
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    Perhaps I am odd, but with only a week and that time of year, I would stay and explore Edinburgh for at least 3 days and stay at the Balmoral, then jump on the train and hit Glasgow for a few days. Oban is an awesome seaside town in the summer, so I would like to see it in winter. Rent a car and drive there from Glasgow.
    While the countryside is beautiful in summer, I think I want to have plenty of warm places to go in the winter. Seeing stuff, eating and drinking would be way up on my list. Could be an excellent time to catch up on having fun with each other Check and see if any bands you like are playing while your up there, as that is always fun too.
    I love Scotland. I hope you can luck into some snow if you stay in Edinburgh. It makes the city look enchanting. O and if you have to go back to London, the steam train from Edinburgh to London in the 1st class seats is a beautiful trip we will never forget. Have fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I should have clarified that we will have a week in addition to couple of days in Edinburgh. We have been there and Oban in the summer, but Oban in the Winter might be interesting. We loved Scotland so much the first time that we have been planning to go back for a while. December is obviously not the ideal time, but everything aligned for us work wise where we can take the trip (and screaming good flight deals). I am more or less planning to eat and drink too much and catch up on reading. Glascow was not really on our radar, but I will look into, however, we both really like smaller towns and I assume everything should be fairly quiet that time of year.

  6. #6
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    I've not been to Scotland yet, but spent all of November 2016 in Portrush, Northern Ireland. It was awesome, there were three days it didn't rain at least a little, but as you know there's no such thing as bad weather if you're wearing good gear. As I live in a tourist area, like Portrush is, I found it really fun and rewarding to be there in the total off-season. I only saw one other American in the pubs, and I was out every night. It was a lot easier to get to know the locals a little. As a golfer, if I had your itinerary, I would spend 2-3 nights drinking in Dornoch, as the course there has all of the history of St Andrews, and would have had an Open Championship if not for it's small town and remote location. I also just started reading A Season in Dornoch, which has been a great read so far...

    When you hit a pub the third night in a row, you're generally moved out of the 'Ugly American' category.
    Something about the wrinkle in your forehead tells me there's a fit about to get thrown
    And I never hear a single word you say when you tell me not to have my fun
    It's the same old shit that I ain't gonna take off anyone.
    and I never had a shortage of people tryin' to warn me about the dangers I pose to myself.

    Patterson Hood of the DBT's

  7. #7
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    Wi nÝt trei a hÝliday in Sweden this yŽr?
    °”rale, vato!

  8. #8
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    How is the fishing in Scotland in Dec.? I bet that it is f**king great, even if you don't catch anything.
    http://scotiafishing.com/packages/wi...hing-scotland/
    Also, I'd consider checking out the locations of Outlanders
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    ďA society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.Ē
    ― Milton Friedman

  9. #9
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    Oh, man... go to the Isle of Skye if you can pull it off. Incredible...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by skaredshtles View Post
    Oh, man... go to the Isle of Skye if you can pull it off. Incredible...
    That is on the radar. I am tentatively thinking some thing like this for a route.

    Drive from Edinburgh through the Cairghorns for a day and up to Ullapool, maybe skipping Inverness. From Ullapool work my way over to the Isle of Skye and then back to Edinburgh some how. This would give me what I understand to be one of the best parts of the North Coast 500 route.

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  11. #11
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    The drive on Skye down to Glenbrittle is amazing - gets you on the "other" side of the Cuillin Hills.

  12. #12
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    Stirling is pretty close to Edinburgh and very much worth checking out for history stuff. Stirling Castle, Church of the Holy Rude, etc. It's a beautiful little town and well worth the visit on your way to the highlands.

  13. #13
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    I am uncertain if you like scotch, but one trip we did the Whisky Trail for a few days. Went to a few different distilleries for their tours, it was fun. We stayed at a B&B in Duftown and the misses was a gourmet cook. Really great dinners were had.
    Spend the night in Dingwall at the Castle Tulloch (more of a keep). Again, great dinner, nice place and part of my ancestors heritage. https://www.bespokehotels.com/tullochcastlehotel

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    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  14. #14
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    Portree, Isle of Skye. The Rosedale was nice to a bum in 1979.

    Fort William was beautiful too.

    Campbeltown on the Kintyre is also striking with Spring Bank distillery there.

    Be sure to see Trainspotting for an introduction to the gentle Scottish
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Be sure to see Trainspotting for an introduction to the gentle Scottish
    The little old lady on the bus in Dingwall told me not to come into town once dark, as the drug addled kids would roll us. We stayed up at the castle and had a great time.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
    I think you'd have an easier time understanding people if you remembered that 80% of them are fucking morons.
    That is why I like dogs, more than most people.

  16. #16
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    If you don't already have your plane tickets take a look at Norwegian Air, they have some cheap flights to Edinburgh, a friend of mine did it from Providence and said it was fine, and it was cheap.

  17. #17
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    Following thread closely.

    Let's do some livin'
    After, we die

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by acinpdx View Post
    Glen Morangie factory tour was enjoyable


    you could do a loop around the east coast to Inverness and then back inland to Edinburgh
    i'm surprised about the coast comments you got; i bet the coast is pretty dramatic at that time...drive is prolly pretty slow tho
    the new V&A museum in Dundee just got a favorable writeup in the paper not too long ago


    (& don't trust Google maps time estimation for small roads in the highlands/countryside)
    I did some exploring of Scotland many, many moons ago, we did Glasgow, scotch tours, etc. You'll probably get better specifics here but driving in rural Scotland, Wales is a trip and really fun. You'll get used to the left side of the road but before GPS on phone it is easy to get a little lost. Funny story, I stopped at a pub to get directions to Glasgow and all the friendly locals immediately chimed in helpful directions, but I literally could not understand them. Bought a pint, set down my map, and did the same hand language I do in non-english speaking countries!!!
    Education must be the answer, we've tried ignorance and it doesn't work!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaDuKa View Post
    That is on the radar. I am tentatively thinking some thing like this for a route.

    Drive from Edinburgh through the Cairghorns for a day and up to Ullapool, maybe skipping Inverness. From Ullapool work my way over to the Isle of Skye and then back to Edinburgh some how. This would give me what I understand to be one of the best parts of the North Coast 500 route.

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    A brace o'wee stoats mah mukker Ewan mit oan th' road ta Achiltibuie, in th' sprin' ay thes year.

  20. #20
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    Love Scotland, you are in for a great trip, no matter your decisions. I lived in Glasgow for a year in Uni and visited multiple times before & since.
    A few things:
    -not sure its possible to over state how short daylight is going to be that time of year. You are farther north than you may realize.

    -Glasgow is a great city, and the Loch Lomond area to the north of it is beautiful. I am biased having lived there but I feel it is much more a real Scottish city than Edinburough. It is Aspen to E-burgh's Vail

    -Inverness is a good base to do day trips from around the highlands. The town itself is a bit touristey, but the area spectacular

    -dont go skiing, even if tempted. Its awful. Touring is fun there though.

    -while I love love love Skye and all its products, it is going to be raw & cold on the island and the coast in general.

    -something my dad and I did on one of my trips back was walk parts of this: https://www.westhighlandway.org/ Obv weather will be a factor, but since you are posting here I imagine being active in the winter isnt an issue. some of the hikes between towns are as short as 10 miles. There is something so cool about entering a town on foot. Usually a pub at the edge of town and a B & B or similar there.

    -pint of heavy Tartan Special or similar depending on where you are. Not to be confused with Special Brew, which. just stick with the Heavy

    -Whisky, just whisky

    -IRN BRU best cure for a hangover in the world (aside from a BH and that has a significant impact on the rest of your morning/day)

  21. #21
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    Irn Bru = syrup with some carbonation

    Do not be tempted to order a hamburger anywhere. Or, just let your wife order one and take a pic at first bite!

    Breakfast will be remarkably similar at each B& B ó youíll see what I mean...itís almost a meme if it werenít so sincere

    Iíve always wanted to hit the Orkneys, but itís always such a commitment. In the winter, it must be exquisitely stormy, barren and lonely

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by acinpdx View Post
    Iíve always wanted to hit the Orkneys, but itís always such a commitment.
    This reminded me of that part in the book/movie ďThe Big YearĒ where that guy takes his fiancťe to Attu island to look at the birds.

    P.S. OP, donít go to the Orkneyís in Dec....or maybe do go (my wife would kinda like it).

    Thinking about our trip and this thread... when most of our plans were changed because of the weather, we basically did something, and then looked up something cool nearby and drove to it. Thatís how we did the whole trip.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  23. #23
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    i spent a december in the hague. it was dark at 4:30 on a rainy day. it rained a lot

  24. #24
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    I spent a year one weekend in the Hague.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  25. #25
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    How come The Hague gets a "the"? Either everyone gets one or nobody, I say.

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