(Late edit of what's posted below: Oops, wrong again! My wife says we'd go directly to the Shetlands if we were to make a trip that way again. My bad.)
We spent ten days a number of years ago driving around the coast of Scotland, up the East coast, to the Orkneys and down the West coast. Our favorite places were The Orkneys (Scapa Flow ), driving through the Highlands and peat bogs of the Northwest, stopping at the village of Scourbie, and all around Skye, particularly the west coast where on a good day there's a spectacular view of offshore islands (the Outer Hebrides, if memory serves).
If we were to do it again and had a few days only, we'd fly to the Orkneys, rent a car (or perhaps hire a driver for a day) and tour the Mainland from Stromness in the southwest (beautiful harbor and lapstrake boats) all the way around to St. Margaret's in the southeast (beautiful sweaters). The stone circles and ancient half-buried dwellings along the way are intriguing and inspiring
In our case, the car ferry trip from the northern tip of Scotland (leaving John O'Groats?) to Stromness was a wonderful way to start the visit there. The scenery was spectacular as we approached the islands, especially a natural stone pillar on the shore of the island of Hoy called 'The Old Man'. I can't imagine what a winter storm would be like on that shore. I imagine those forces of wind and wave must have been what carved out the pillar. There was also a Royal Navy exercise taking place with jets and frigates practicing their gunnery on a remote firing range, recalling the days when Scapa Flow was a prime harbor for the Home Fleet.
Whatever you do, have a great time and good luck with the weather. We went in March , in connection with a business trip to Europe, and though the weather was cool the trip was , too.
[ 08-03-2003, 10:00 AM: Message edited by: rbgarr ]
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”