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Traveling to Parliament
Home » World Gatherings » Clan Parliament 2010 » Traveling to Parliament  
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General information

Parliament publications

General travel information is included in the Parliamentarian's Handbook, which incorporates the "Travel Tips" leaflet from Parliament 2006.   The "Travel Tips" document was put together using advice from ACMS members in Europe, the Americas, and Asia, and includes information on public transportation, currency, and technology.

For 2010, Peter MacLeod of Australia has also prepared a wonderful little leaflet, Clan MacLeod Parliament: Some Questions Answered.  This is primarily directed to Aussies, but it is also an enthusiastic review of all things Parliament and Skye.  

The big picture

In 2010, Parliament excursions will range from Kylesku in the north (Assynt) to Armadale in the south (Skye).  Please note that this Parliament's logistics do not require that you make ferry reservations.  

Travel within Scotland and the UK

Public transportation within Scotland

There are many local transportation providers located throughout Scotland. "Traveline Scotland" is a centralized service that will advise you on the routes and modes of transportation required for your journey within Scotland, using all forms of transportation. They will give personalised advice over the phone if you call +44 (0)870 608 2608, or else you can use their tools on the web at http://www.travelinescotland.com.

In Assynt, we have made every effort to provide Parliament transportation for all your needs. It is about a four hour drive between Dunvegan and Inchnadamph, and while it is a wonderful route we think that your time may be better spent looking at the scenery than the pavement. Also, the Inchnadamph Lodge and the Inchnadamph Hotel are about 100 meters apart, so most of us will be able to traverse this distance on foot.  So unless you have special transportation requirements, you do NOT need to rent a car for the pre-Parliament trip to Assynt. We recommend that you join the Parliament motor coach on Wednesday 21 July at either Dunvegan, Kyle, or Ullapool. This same chartered motor coach will drop you off back at Ullapool, Kyle or Dunvegan on Saturday 24 July. Please refer to the Parliament registration form for booking instructions.   

We understand that it is very likely that people will have rental cars on Skye as some accommodation is a significant distance from Dunvegan.  However, if you do not wish to rent a car we will try to take care of getting you around.  There will be a Parliament minibus in Dunvegan that will have some ability to accommodate individual transportation needs. To make arrangements to use the bus, please contact your Parliament coordinator in advance at parliament@clanmacleod.org or make your needs known when you pick up your badge in Dunvegan. A list of private taxis will be available at the Information Point in the Village Hall. For public transportation to other destinations on Skye, plan to use Rapson's bus schedule (now owned by Stagecoach).  Note that the Rapson's schedule also has information on subsidised taxis in the Dunvegan area, as well as Skye "Megarider" passes, costing £30-£40, which give you 7 days of unlimited travel on their services.  

Rental car and driving information

Driving times in Scotland can be difficult to estimate.  Mapquest in the UK (http://www.mapquest.co.uk)  and Google in the UK (http://www.google.co.uk) both have reasonably good route planning capabilities.  Note that the closest major airport to Skye or Assynt is Inverness, Scotland, and if you arrive in Scotland after an overnight flight, you will be tired.  It will be important to give yourself extra time to drive safely. 

APPROXIMATE DRIVING TIMES FROM MAJOR AIRPORTS (CLICK FOR DOWNLOADABLE DIRECTIONS)
FROM: TO:
Dunvegan
TO:
Inchnadamph (Assynt)
TO:
Kyle of Lochalsh
TO:
Ullapool
Inverness Airport 134 mi - about 3 hours 14 mins (northern route, bypassing Loch Ness)
Inverness to Dunvegan
78.0 mi – about 1 hour 51 mins
Inverness to Inchnadamph
(to be added)
(to be added)
Glasgow Airport
(Paisley, not Prestwick)
202 mi - about 5 hours 0 mins
Glasgow to Dunvegan
(to be added) (to be added)
(to be added)
Edinburgh Airport 247 mi - about 5 hours 24 mins (fastest route)

Edinburgh to Dunvegan
(to be added)
(to be added)
(to be added)
London Heathrow Airport 610 mi – about 11 hours 33 mins
Heathrow to Dunvegan
(to be added)
(to be added)
(to be added)
"Chunnel" Folkstone terminal (England) 690 mi – about 12 hours 55 mins
Folkstone to Dunvegan
(to be added)
(to be added)
(to be added)

If you have never driven in the UK before, you might find some driving books helpful.

At the time that this webpage was created, we were still trying to see if we could arrange for any discounts with car rental companies. If we are able to do so, the information will be posted here later. In the meantime, please be aware that most major international car rental companies have offices at major Scottish airports. 

You might also consider Arnold Clark Car Rental, a Scottish firm that operates one of the UK's largest rental fleets. They have over 40 branches nationwide and coverage in every major Scottish town and city. The Arnold Clarke website also summarises key points about driving in the UK at Driving in the UK.

Traveling internationally to Scotland

Below are some good references on the web that will help you get yourself to one or more of the above "transportation hubs" for Parliament. While we have done our best to provide you with accurate information, please double-check the sources before you make firm plans.

Airline information

PLANNING YOUR AIR TRAVEL

If you have a favorite airline or travel agent, that is always the best place to start.  If you are booking your flight on your own, the intent is an indispensible tool.  Two of the major booking services you may use on the internet are Expedia (at Expedia.com, Expedia.ca, or Expedia.co.uk), or Travelocity.  Note that airfares are usually cheaper if you fly on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and tickets are cheaper in advance.  New ticket prices are usually posted on Sunday mornings. 

The best list of airline routes for flights into Scotland is available from Rampant Scotland. This list includes a number of lower-cost airlines that fly directly into Scotland, although most of them originate in Europe. While these airlines can provide good value, make your reservations carefully. Minor airlines sometimes fly into minor airports, which means you may pick up a hefty ground transport change for any travel connections. Plus, they often fly on off hours - which is part of the reason why they are inexpensive - but this means you may be unapologetically left at an airport in the middle of the night.

If you live in the northern United States, you might consider flying through Canada.  There are more direct flight to Scotland from Canada than from the USA. 

POOLING FREQUENT FLYER MILES

Most major airlines have programs that allow you to transfer your frequent flyer miles to family or friends. Airfare to Europe requires between 40 and 80 thousand miles, depending on the airline.  This is a great way to use up little pockets of miles that by themselves can't be redeemed for much of anything. Check with the airlines first to see what their policies are for transferring miles (not all airlines are the same). Things to keep in mind:

The person to whom you wish to transfer miles needs to have a SINGLE personal frequent flyer account into which the miles will be transferred. (Don’t open up multiple new accounts for your recipient as they cannot be combined at the moment when they are redeemed for travel.)
Make sure that the miles you want to transfer won’t expire before the recipient needs to use them. (Note also that most airlines consider transferring miles an activity that resets the “idle account” timer on an account, so the transfer activity itself may need to be planned as part of your account management.) 
There is usually a fee for transferring miles, so plan to make your transfer in just one or as few transactions as possible.
When you redeem frequent flyer miles for travel, it is still necessary to pay taxes in cash. These can be quite hefty – from North America, perhaps as much as $200 USD/CAD – but it is usually much less than the cost of the flight itself. There can also be additional fees if you redeem the miles close to the time of the flight, so plan ahead.

Trains between London and Scotland

Sometimes taking the train from London (or north of London) can be the most pleasant and inexpensive way to travel. UK air routes typically make you go through London on your way to Scotland, and the intense competition for passengers through London can result in lower fares. But there is less competition for the air routes between London and Scotland. So it may happen that you find a good deal on an airfare to London, but the connecting flight to Scotland is quite expensive. In this case, the train becomes a great option. HOWEVER, last minute train tickets are pricey - you should buy them well in advance.

GETTING FROM THE AIRPORT TO THE TRAINS

If you are unfamiliar with getting around London, you should probably only try to reach the trains from Heathrow or Gatwick. Heathrow is the simplest and least expensive way to get to the Scottish train services, via the London Underground.  Note that if you take a cab from the airport to the train station, it may cost you £60.00.

The London underground Picadilly route stops at all Heathrow terminals. It takes one to 1 1/2 hours and costs +/-£5.00 to travel from Heathrow to Kings Cross (also on the Picadilly line) for the daytime trains. Sleeper/night time trains leave from Euston Station, which is not on the Picadilly line but is a short walk from Kings Cross or else a single station change away from the Picadilly line. Note that if you are trying to get to the Kings Cross or Euston stations, you should ignore the screaming airport advertisement for "Heathrow Express" because the Express won't get you all the way to these train connections.
The Gatwick Airport South Terminal is right on the train line, and you can get to Kings Cross in about an hour (with one train change). There is information here to tell you how to get from Gatwick to the trains. Please note that your Parliament coordinator doesn't have that much experience with Gatwick.

THE TRAINS THEMSELVES

Click here for information on the daytime trains between London Kings Cross and Scotland. Note that Kinds Cross is the train station that Harry Potter must take in order to reach Hogwarts. (There is a shopping trolley inexplicably embedded in the brick station wall at platform 9 3/4.)
Click here for information on the Caledonian Sleeper, which leaves Euston Station close to midnight every night. Sleeper "bargain berths" mean a comfortable bunk bed in a two-person cabin, and advance tickets start at £19.00. BUT bargain berths are posted 12 weeks in advance of the travel date, and sell out very fast.

Bus travel

The truly rugged among us may contemplate bus travel from London to Scotland. Megabus is a discount carrier that operates a furiously regular service between London and Glasgow/Edinburgh/Inverness. The London departure point is from the Victoria Coach Station. It is about a 9 hour trip, either by day or by night.

CityLink provides a network of reasonably priced bus services within Scotland, including a route that will take you from the Glasgow Airport (or downtown Glasgow) to Kyle of Lochalsh in about 6 hours. Summer schedules are published here:

Glasgow - Fort William - Skye
Edinburgh - Fort William - Skye
Inverness - Ullapool

For further information...

More travel information is available in the Parliamentarians Handbook or by contacting the Parliament Coordinator.


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The ACMS gratefully acknowledges
the major sponsors of our 16th Parliament.