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  1. #1
    Forum Member MrKnitster's Avatar
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    Scotland! 8-10 days, Aeronaut 45s

    Hello, all! We are finally going to Scotland, something we have wanted to do for many years. We are going in late June, and will probably stay 8-10 days if we can. There are four of us (wife and I and two teens). We each have an Aeronaut 45. Is that enough room for packing for this trip? We want to travel light, but don't want to cut it too tight. I'd love some advice.

    Also, any recommendations on any aspect of the trip are welcome! We are just starting the process. Flights/airlines, hotels, best sights, things to avoid, etc.

    Sorry for the super open-ended post, but looking forward to everyone's thoughts!
    MrKnitster on ravelry
    Aeronaut 45s in Burnt Orange, Verde, Navy and Steel, all with Northern Sky interior, Maker's Bag in Navy/Wasabi, Swifts in Burnt Orange/Northern Sky, Olive/Linen, Medium Cafe Bag in Navy/Cayenne and tons of pouches, stuff sacks, straps, etc.

  2. #2
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    My initial thoughts are that Scotland in June will be freezing to anyone coming from the US. Where are you coming from?

    Pack sweaters, sweatshirts, packable down jackets, whatever easy layers you have. Also, it will be wet. If you're doing hiking ("walking", or "hill walking", it is called here) you might want waterproof stuff. If you're just in the city centres you will be able to get by with whatever rain jacket you normally would wear at home.

    I lived there for 8 years so I can offer more tailored advice. Where are you going? Or if you're going to travel while there, where are you flying in and out of?


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  3. #3
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    Last year, at my hotel in Edinburgh, I met a guy checking in who had an Aeronaut 45.

    No one can say if an A45 is enough room because we don't know how you pack. You won't need a heavy jacket but as stated layers are best with something for rain.

    What do you plan to do? Where do you plan to go?? Cities? Highlands? Coast? It would be like someone asking you....I'm going to Massachussetts...etc, etc. (Although Scotland is about three times the size of Mass.)

    Are you going to rent a car or use trains/buses?

    Scotland is one of my favorite places. The Highlands are beautiful, the people are friendly and they speak a language that sounds something like English.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  4. #4
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    I was in Scotland end of June last year for 12 days. All I brought was an A45 with an S25 packed *inside* it. If your family likes to travel light, then an A45 will be fine. For the weather, I had a waterproof shell and a fleece as a mid-layer. I wore a polo under that and it was plenty warm. I did only wear one pair of shoes though and if you bring a second, then it may be a bit tougher to pull off.

  5. #5
    Forum Member MrKnitster's Avatar
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    As usual, everyone was quick to reply! Sorry to be slow in posting again. I realize my first post was embarrassingly vague. Here's what we think so far:

    We are coming from Massachusetts, so cold weather is no surprise. I saw that in June in Scotland we might expect temperatures in the 50s, with lows in the 40s and highs maybe into the 60s. Perfect weather for me, at least.

    We are thinking of flying into Edinburgh and staying there for a few days. After that, in no particular order, we want to see Inverness, the Highlands (somewhere yet to be determined; I know that it's a wide area, of course), the Isle of Skye (and possibly other Hebrides), and hopefully down to the southeast to see sheep/wool country (I'm a knitter) and even Hadrian's wall from the north side (I'm a Latin enthusiast).

    I know it will be brisk, but I'm hoping we can cover that in 8-10 days. I'm not sure where we'll fly out from; it depends on where we end up. While we are in cities, we will count on public transportation. To get from city to city (e.g., Edinburgh to Inverness, or to Isle of Skye) I am hoping we can use trains. I expect that once we are off into the Highlands, we will need to rent a car.

    Another question for the experts: boots. I need a good pair of hiking boots for our excursions. No mountain climbing, but certainly lots of outdoor hikes. Preferably waterproof or at least resistant. Here's the issue; I can never find comfortable boots for my wide feet. Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much. This community is such an excellent resource.
    MrKnitster on ravelry
    Aeronaut 45s in Burnt Orange, Verde, Navy and Steel, all with Northern Sky interior, Maker's Bag in Navy/Wasabi, Swifts in Burnt Orange/Northern Sky, Olive/Linen, Medium Cafe Bag in Navy/Cayenne and tons of pouches, stuff sacks, straps, etc.

  6. #6
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    I did much of what you wish to do via public transit.

    There is a train from Edinburgh to Inverness. Nice Ride.

    There is no train from Inverness across to Ft. William (where you can get a train.) I took the bus and it was enjoyable. No major highways. Just back roads through small towns and along the shore of Loch Ness.

    The train from Ft. William to Glasgow is very pretty as you ride through the Highlands. Not a modern high speed train.

    Skye is on my next visit so I can't help you with that.

    I like Edinburgh and there is so much to see. I will suggest looking into the Hop On Hop Off bus. There are four different routes. While some find this very touristy, I don't. It will take you past all the major sights, where you can get on and off as you please, and there is commentary about what you are seeing.

    A company I have not used but hear great things about is Rabbies (https://www.rabbies.com/en. They offer small group tours of Scotland. Many just one day. I may use them the next time I visit for areas not easily reachable by train.

    Let me also suggest you go over to Rick Steves' website. Rick Steves Europe: Tours, Travel Guides, Tips & Video that is all about Europe. You can get lots of information on visiting Scotland as well as ask people in the forum any question you might have about your trip.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  7. #7
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    Sounds like a great trip!

    I don't think you'll have any problem with A45s if you pack light. You'll probably wear several layers while traveling. Will you do laundry in the middle, or sink laundry for tshirts and underclothes?

    For boots, I'd order a bunch you like from zappos and try them out in your house. There's no way to tell until you try them on and walk a bit. Waterproof is a great idea, then you could potentially have those be your only shoes for the trip (and save a lot of room in the A45).

  8. #8
    Forum Member MrKnitster's Avatar
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    #Frank II -- thanks for all the good advice! I love the idea of the hop-on-hop-off in Edinburgh; I hear cars there are more trouble than anything with parking

    #sarah_atx yes, I am trying to avoid having to bring multiple pairs of shoes; such precious packing space!
    MrKnitster on ravelry
    Aeronaut 45s in Burnt Orange, Verde, Navy and Steel, all with Northern Sky interior, Maker's Bag in Navy/Wasabi, Swifts in Burnt Orange/Northern Sky, Olive/Linen, Medium Cafe Bag in Navy/Cayenne and tons of pouches, stuff sacks, straps, etc.

  9. #9
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    I have wide feet too and I have New Balance waterproof hiking boots. The reason I like NB is that they tell you which last each model is made on, and I was able to find boots that accommodated a wider forefoot but a narrow heel. I think to view all that info you need to browse on the NB site.


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  10. #10
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    I spend a fair amount of time in Scotland crawling around woodland, through streams, scrambling up mountain sides etc whilst managing deer populations. When you're buying boots assume that it will always be wet - so i'd say waterproof is essential.
    I have a pair of Harkila boots. they're expensive but incredibly well make, comfortable and completely waterproof (I have stood in forest side stream for a good 45 minutes with no wet sock issues). Fit is fairly wide too.

    Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the UK. I'd climb it for that reason alone.

    Any mountain in Scotland higher than 3,000 feet is called a 'Munro' there are 282 of them. This is a great resource to assist planning walks in the hills-
    https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/munros/
    it lists all Munros (as well as Corbetts 2500-3000 feet and Donalds 2000-2500 feet). Lots of info about routes is included such as; safest route, hill difficulty etc. give it a read.

    Keep an eye on this site-
    https://www.smidgeup.com/midge-forecast/
    Midges can really ruin your holiday!
    Last edited by Mathew; 03-27-2017 at 10:06 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrKnitster View Post
    #Frank II -- thanks for all the good advice! I love the idea of the hop-on-hop-off in Edinburgh; I hear cars there are more trouble than anything with parking

    #sarah_atx yes, I am trying to avoid having to bring multiple pairs of shoes; such precious packing space!
    Parking a car in Edinburgh can cost as much as 25 a day! EEK!

  12. #12
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    I will second Frank and suggest a one day coach (bus) trip, though I don't have any firsthand experience with Rabbies. If you kind of just want to see the countryside and have a taste of a lot of places, it can make that really easy.

    I will also second Frank on the hop on hop off bus, I love them. Much easier than learning the Lothian Bus routes around the city!

    I doubt it makes sense to fly in and out of a different airport. Scotland is small. The remoter places do have airports but you would likely have to connect in Edinburgh or Glasgow anyway since those planes are tiny. Glasgow is only an hour away from Edinburgh.

    There is something to be said for having 4 days in Edinburgh and then renting a car for a trip to Skye or the SW (to both is a lot of driving! Maybe test a route on google maps before deciding). Skye is beautiful and the drive there is incredible. I would do a two - pronged vacation in Edinburgh and Skye, myself!


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  13. #13
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    I went to Scotland last June for 8 days; my partner and I both had A45s. Neither of us are really minimal packers, but it was do-able. I found a fully packed A45 to be really too heavy for me to comfortably carry (in the wake of that trip, I switched over to the A30 with a second bag if necessary.)

    The big distinction between my trip and your proposed one was that we went to the Shetland Islands (so much farther north), although we did spend one day in the Inverness general area and had one extra night (due to flight cancellations) in Edinburgh.

    I am a city person through and through (I live in New York!), and yet I'd say if you're going to Scotland, skip the cities. Yes, Edinburgh and Glasgow have lots to offer, but I'm thinking if you're going to Scotland, cities aren't really what you're after. Or maybe I'm just saying this as someone who lives in a city and wanted something different.

    We're actually thinking about going to back to Shetland this year. It was otherworldly, remote, and much less trafficked than what we experienced in the Highlands. The Highlands are beautiful, but-- and this sounds crazy-- in comparison to Shetland they were a bit meh, actually! Or we might head to the Hebrides, or a distant third choice is possibly driving the North 500 route. (I'd also like to go to St. Kilde one of these days, but that will have to wait.) These choices are mostly motivated by our desire to get away from the busloads of tourists we encountered in the Highlands and around Inverness, which were all the more jarring after having been away for a week in a place where we rarely saw other humans, just sheep.

    Re packing: again this is colored by my experience on one of the far northern islands, but I should have brought warmer clothes. Inverness/Fort Williams felt balmy in comparison (low to mid 60s?), but otherwise we never topped 60 on Shetland. Ignore this advice if you plan to stay more southerly, but if you're going north or to the Hebrides, this might be helpful. I should have worn low rainboats or wellies instead, because the ground was boggy and muddy, and having dry feet would have been better than grip/support. Definitely get totally waterproof shoes/boots, however you decide. A Barbour jacket would not be out of place-- it never downpoured, but was drizzly-- and if we do go back, I'm taking my wool camp jacket from a Japanese brand called Snowpeak and will plan to layer with sweaters. I'll also bring gloves (which I bought in Shetland!) and a cashmere hat.

    Probably more randomly (again, see the caveat that I am not actually a minimalist), I will definitely bring wool Haslinger slippers AND sherling-lined Arizona Birkenstocks. My memory of last year was desperately wanting to take off my hiking shoes once we were back in the car, and the fuzzy Birks would be perfect.

    Also, I have a new appreciation for whisky! (If you fly through Heathrow T5, go to the Duty-Free area, where they will let you taste many, many whiskys. If you don't otherwise have lounge access, it's a good wear to get quite a few drinks. Plus, it's a good selection, and the prices are better than in the U.S. and they have many things unavailable here.) So regardless of where you choose, you will have a magnificent time.

    Oh, and editing to add: if you are flying places (particularly to any of the islands, although our longest flight delay was LHR-EDI), use a credit card with good trip delay insurance and book connections as a single ticket, so you have protection from the airline. Meaning, last year we had LHR-EDI-LSI (Shetland) all on one ticket. Our LHR-EDI flight was delayed-- due to a combination of a French ATC strike and weather-- but BA was still responsible for paying for our hotel and meals in Edinburgh (and rebooking us onto the next available flight) since we missed the connecting EDI-LSI flight. I'm very good at creating elaborate itineraries with separate tickets, but I would not do so for flights to any of the Scottish islands without a lot of time for delays built in. For example, I'd be wary of booking a Flybe ticket from Barra to EDI on a separate ticket if I had a transatlantic flight to catch just a few hours later.
    Last edited by turnleftbrighteyes; 03-27-2017 at 11:11 AM. Reason: added stuff about flights

  14. #14
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    If you only care about the Wilderness, then skip Edinburgh. But if you want to see the real history of Scotland as well as a unique city, keep your plans to stay in Edinburgh. Just don't drive there.

    The Hop on Hop Off bus I suggest is: Edinburgh Bus Tours - official hop on-hop off guided tours

    For Trains....https://www.scotrail.co.uk

    For Buses...Citylink : Connecting Scotland
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

  15. #15
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    I forgot....since you have teens....and if they are Harry Potter fans......this is the Hogwarts Express:

    The Jacobite €“ Steam Train €“ Official Site


    From Mallaig, you can get a ferry over to Skye.
    Last edited by Frank II; 03-27-2017 at 02:34 PM.
    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

    Aeronaut(2), Tri-Star(2) Cadet , Large Cafe Bag, Travel Tray, Travel Money Belt, Absolute Straps(3), Side Effect, Clear Quarter Packing Cubes (2), 3D Organizer Cubes (4), Aeronaut & Tri-Star Packing Cubes, Clear Organizer Wallet, numerous Organizer Pouches,, Guardian Dual Function Light, Vertical Netbook Cache, Nexus 7 Cache, RFID Passport Pouch, numerous Key Straps.

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