will close on Feb 27th.

Please save any personal content and exchange contact info with other members you?d like to stay in touch with. Thank you for your contributions to the VirtualTourist community.

"Scotland Travel Tips - Scotland Edinburgh Orkney" Top 5 Page for this destination Scotland by scotlandscotour

Scotland Travel Guide: 13,907 reviews and 32,780 photos

Scotland Travel Tip - Scotland Edinburgh Orkney

Scotland Travel Tips and Advice - Scotland Edinburgh, Orkney, Skye, Glasgow, Highlands - Honest travel advice from a local!

Welcome to My Scotland - Discover the truth, in my honest and sincere advice and travel tips. Feel free to contact me if you want help planning a tour, driving itineraries, advice on the best places to stay, cheap accommodation like hostels, bed and breakfast and good hotels. I am passionate about Scotland, chose to live here but I am disappointed by the tourist information and standards - so I try here to save you money where it matters and make a visit better by giving honest tips and advice for free. Best of luck.

Scotland : land of mountains, castles, whisky, broody lochs, white beaches and storm smashed cliffs ...
... music, fresh air, friendly people, wild weather, great seafood and endless history!

In Scotland there is still a sense of 'community' and a willingness to help strangers. On the down side, Scotland is still troubled by poor health due to cigarettes, alcohol and fatty food. Now, that is all a huge generalisation. When you come here you will discover Scotland is huge, with so many distinct regions and accents, amazing scenery, a richness of history unsurpassed, and far too much to see in a hurry.

Rachel and I met whilst on the Isle of Skye and lived in Perth for two years. Since May 2005 we have lived on the Orkney Islands - once part of Scandinavia and now the centre piece of a tour of Scotland. Indeed, it is my honest opinion that to discover Scotland you have to visit atleast one of these Northern Isles, one Western Isle and Edinburgh. Inverness makes a good place to aim for, with its airport and good rail / bus links to most of the "must see" locations, but don't hang around - get out to the coast and the magic of the sea meeting the land and sky.

See my home page too - much more about Scotland there, and on all other pages. I have tried with real honesty, to tell you about Scotland, as it really is. This is intended for those of you who want to visit, and is to give you an idea of what you will discover, good and bad, yet keep the element of surprise, delight and discovery! We encourage you to use all five senses when you travel to imerse yourself in the place and for a while become part of that world, that time. Enjoy Scotland!

To over come the problem of expensive / overpriced accommodation read my Accommodation UK Tip. I have inspected and tested more places than most - specialising in hostels and budget / value stays.

As I write, in September 2005, the sun shines, everywhere is so Green, it is lush and alive. The countryside is at its best, and the cities are alive with students and visitors.

Orkney Islands
Read about Cattle Drovers
Listen to Scottish Music Now

Scottish Food Recipes

The Oldest House in Europe - Orkney Scotland

The Oldest House in Europe - Orkney Scotland is 5,500 year old Knap of Howar on Papa Westray, Orkney Islands, Scotland.

Many people have heard of the World Heritage Sites on the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland. The most famous part of that being the Neolithic (new stone age) village now called Skara Brae which is a collection of 10 small stone hut like chambers, called houses. The oldest at Skara Brae are about 5,100 years old with most 4,500 years old - all dates around the time of the Egyptian Empire ad before the Great Pyramids or the huge trilathons of Stonehenge in England.

What you see at Skara Brae and get excited about - the stone furniture, fire hearth and alcoves, all evidence of obvious design and planning combined with real stone working skills and intelligence - is of the earlier dates, 4,500 years old.

Orkney and Scotland hold another impressive secret from the past - a hands on, real house from even further back in time - at the Knap of Howar, on the small island called Papa Westray. This house (pictured) is dated to be at least 5,500 years old ... a good 400 years older than Skara Brae.

And here is the magic - the reward for travelling here - there is no-one else there, no tourists, no shop, nothing! And it is free. It is like a great secret! Just so long as people respect it and do no harm to the place it should stay like this - saved by being somewhat remote, on a little island.

But one more secret - there is a plane that will fly you there for only 12 pounds (return) and in doing give you a scenic tour of the other islands! So, suddenly it is not remote, just not on the tourist trail - long may that continue.

Evening Light - I hope this captures the mood!

<- View full size if possible!

This is the view from the top ramparts of Doune Castle, near Stirling and Edinburgh - overlooking trees as green as I have ever seen, bathed in a warm evening light.

If you can bravely ignore the guide books and the beaten paths of tourism for a moment, there are many such places to discover in Scotland.

We came here because of it's connection with filming Monty Python's Holy Grail, and discovered a beautiful, charming, fun and very real castle, which we could clamber over and explore. I'd like you to find the same.

For more like this, browse my pages - I hope you get a feel for the REAL Scotland. Also see Rachel's external website. Feel free to write for honest, local advice - free and from the heart. I want you to find the unique and special aspects to life - not just where others have trod before. This is the potential power of Virtualtourist - finding real people, like minded folk, who care! Enjoy!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Whisky, Standing Stones, Mountains, Castles, Music, Historic Sites, Safe, Fresh Air, Friendly People, Stunning Scenery
  • Cons:Hotels Overpriced; "tourist tat" everywhere the tourists go, variable weather, cost of fuel.
  • In a nutshell:A Place to Discover Your Self - Best Part of UK - Land of Magic!
  • Last visit to Scotland: Nov 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (95)

Comments (102)

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Jul 8, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Hi Malcolm, as always a fantastic page, so well written, with so much info, beautiful pictures, and a real attitude... I loved reading and enjoyed your valuable tips very much. Every tip shows how much you love your country! I visited Scotland for the first time last February and fell in love with it, I plan to travel there many more times!!! Next time will be this August, but only for four days (I know August is bad, but couldn't go a different time).

  • ocicat's Profile Photo
    Dec 29, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Love your comment about the difference between the tourist board Scotland and reality. Now if I can just find a tour driver/guide that can figure that out! LOL

  • aussirose's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2010 at 3:04 AM

    Hiya Malcolm. I had a lovely afternoon rummaging around your pages :o) Good stuff!! We plan to visit next year. Looking forward to it!! Cheers, Ann :o)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2009 at 12:10 PM

    Hello, Malcolm ! Thanks for your great insider tips and pictures! I would like to the the Land of Magic! .....

  • Nov 11, 2009 at 7:59 AM

    The Instant BBQ is a great invention for a quick bite Please see This product, which is a stylish stand for the instant BBQ allows you to cook on ANY surface ANY where!!

  • May 4, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    Took us three years to get in and we were somewhat disappointed. We found Lochbay Seafood Restaurant in Stein better and minus the pretension.

  • cascadesunset's Profile Photo
    Jul 18, 2008 at 12:22 PM

    I want a castle, always have, are their really abandoned ones? I love your page by the way, Scotland is my dream

  • Toshioohsako's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2008 at 12:35 PM

    splendid pictures of Scotland. My trip to did not go beyond Glasgow and Edinburg. I must go further north next time. Have a good evening.

  • Sage49's Profile Photo
    Feb 25, 2008 at 12:44 PM

    your dog's absolutely adorable. It reminds me of a Cocker Spaniel that I used to have. Love to visit Scotland.

  • Oct 21, 2007 at 10:59 AM

    One very painful episode in Scotland's history, also evident in northern and western Scotland. Thanks for highlighting.

scotlandscotour Lives Here!


“Explore gently ... with all you senses ... feel at home, where ever you may be! :-)”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 3 2 0

Badges & Stats in Scotland

  • 361 Reviews
  • 346 Photos
  • 142 Forum posts
  • 90,071PageViews
  • 14 Cities

Have you been to Scotland?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Scotland

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)