Part of the Celtic Legend Travel Group

Scotland for the Independent Traveller

Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. What will the weather be like during.......?

A. This is the question we are asked most often! I think we can safely say it's changeable and suggest for more information you take a look at some reliable weather sites. We generally use the Norwegian service or the BBC.

Q. So which is the best month to travel to Scotland?

A. Scotland has something to offer all year round, the massed ranks of Rhododendrons in the spring, the snow covered hills and mountains in winter and the beautiful scenery at any time!

It's usually busiest in July, August and September when the weather should be better but the accommodation may be slightly more expensive and schools in the UK are on vacation. If you decide to come then, it's best to make arrangements well in advance to get your first choice of where to stay. Actually, that's not bad advice at any time.

Spring is beautiful and May and June are quiet months of long days and often very good weather. The autumn (fall) is a season of 'mists and mellow fruitfulness' (yes we did steal that line but it is true, so....).

Q. What kind of clothes should I bring on my trip?

A. Whatever season you visit the trick is to wear layers of lighter clothing, rather than a couple of heavy items. It's easy to take off and put on layers as the weather demands. A light weight, wind and water proof top is probably a very good idea, too, at any time of year. For that cozy in the middle of winter feeling bring along your favourite fleece and woolly hat.

Q. What happens if something crops up and I need to cancel my trip?

A. It is absolutely essential you have travel insurance which will cover any costs that have been incurred in the unlikely event that you have to cancel your trip. Travel insurance would also cover you if your flight was delayed and this impacted on your travel or accommodation arrangements.

In the unlikely event of medical repatriation being needed, the costs can be astronomical - US$150,000 upwards for medical repatriation from Europe to the USA for example.

For more information on what this means and what is involved, read this (we do not recommend any particular company for cover, just this article to see what is involved) - http://www.expatmedicare.com/content/international-health-insurance-guide-medical-evacuation-repatriation

 

Q. Are there any dangerous animals or creepy crawlies in Scotland?

 

A. Not really. There are wild cats in the northern Highlands but these are very rare and very rarely seen. These are slightly larger than a domestic cat. You may also see foxes or more rarely badgers but these will keep well out of your way and are nothing to worry about.

There is only one poisonous snake, the Adder which can be found up in the hills.

 

It wants to meet you even less than you want to meet it so, it's liable to be well out of the way by the time you blunder along. If you should encounter one don't try to stroke it! Their bite rarely kills but if you are unwell or have any previous medical problems it can be serious. They have a clear 'V' on the back of their heads.

That's it, no creepy spiders, no horrific insects, although the tiny midge and the quite large cleg or horse fly can make you itch in the summer months.

 

Q. How do I get to Scotland?

A. There are lots of ways to come to Scotland and it naturally all depends on where you start! If you are coming from North America, you'll either have to take an expensive cruise across the Atlantic or you fly.

Icelandair and American Airlines fly direct to Glasgow and we hear there are plans to have direct flights to Edinburgh, soon. Icelandair fly from Baltimore/Washington, Boston and New York, with connections and free stopovers in Reykjavik, Iceland. American fly from all over North America, but you'll have to change in New York to fly to Glasgow.

Most airlines will bring you to London where you'll have to change planes to fly up to Scotland. The problem with that is, Heathrow airport is a horrible place in our opinion. Compared to most hub airports in Northern Europe, like Paris, Amsterdam or Brussels, it's the absolute pits. If you decide not to fly direct, then check out airlines like Delta who have a code sharing agreement with Sabena, the Belgian airline and after a change in Brussels, you can fly direct to Edinburgh. For more details on flights from the US, e-mail lindascot@iname.com

If you are coming from Europe, you can fly to Edinburgh and Glasgow from most European capitals. We also have special deals with DFDS Seaways for you to have an excellent cruise from various Northern European ports

Q. Is it difficult to drive on the left?

A. Not really. It's all about paying attention to what you're doing. We recommend you stick a little arrow on the windscreen of your car, pointing to the left. With this always in view, it's hard to forget which side you're on. In the rural Northern areas and on many of the islands, the roads are single track with passing places, so there is no right or left. That makes it pretty easy. Scottish drivers are generally very courteous and tolerant and will often give way to other traffic. If you rent an automatic, you'll have one less thing to think about.

Q. What are the speed limits on the road in Scotland?

A. In urban areas, the speed limit is generally 30 miles per hour (mph), which sometimes goes up to 40 mph on dual carriageways (these are four lane roads with 2 lanes going in each direction). On roads outside town, the speed limit rises to 60 mph on normal roads and 70 mph on dual carriageways or motorways.

Q. Is there sales tax on my purchases and can I claim it back?

A. There is something called Value Added Tax (VAT) on many items you will buy and as a non British citizen, you can claim much of this back when you leave the country. Check with the Customs authority when you arrive and they'll give you details. The most important thing is to obtain receipts for everything you buy. VAT is at 20% now so it is definitely worth having back!

Q. Do I have to buy haggis and a kilt before I leave?

A. No, surprisingly, you won't see many Scots wearing haggis or eating their kilts (oops), sorry, eating haggis and wearing their kilts. Kilts are kept for more formal occassions like weddings. While people do eat haggis quite regulalry nobody likes to admit it.

Q. What is haggis?

A. The haggis is a small, very round, three legged bird which lives in the Highlands of Scotland. They generally live on the sides of the mountains and because of this have 2 legs longer than the other to prevent them falling down the hills. This means they can only run one way, so they are very easy to catch. All you need to do is force them to turn round and with the long legs uphill and the short one downhill, it quickly falls down the hill and into your waiting net. Simple. It is so easy to catch haggis that they have become quite rare and many people now eat vegetarian haggis which tastes just as good without the unnecessary slaughter :o)

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