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Scottish Road Trip Day 2: A Drive Into The Highlands… Eventually! | Don't Ever Look Back

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Scottish Road Trip Day 2: A Drive Into The Highlands… Eventually!

Scottish Road Trip Day 2: A Drive Into The Highlands… Eventually!

We awoke early and refreshed on the second day of our Scottish adventure, ready to begin our drive into the Highlands and put our painful journey into Edinburgh behind us. All that we needed to do was pick up our car from the nearby Hertz location and we’d be on our way.

Unfortunately our rollercoaster journey was to continue – upon arrival at Hertz, we were informed that because Amy was under 25 years of age (and Kieron had an expired license), they couldn’t rent us the car we had booked as it wasn’t covered by insurance. Apparently a flaw in their website was to blame for allowing the booking to go through – but that wasn’t much good to us now, was it?

Dejected we headed back to our hotel, unsure of what to do next. Do we stay in Edinburgh for our entire time in Scotland and cancel the road trip, or do we look around and see if another rental company could help us?

Amy driving our Scottish Rental Car

Amy driving our Scottish Rental Car - thanks Alamo!

We searched online for car hire from Edinburgh and fortunately Alamo came to the rescue, letting us book another a rental car at a similar price. The only problem was that 3 hours had elapsed by the time we finally picked the vehicle up, meaning that we got on the road in the afternoon instead of the morning.

Our first stop was nearby Stirling but because of our delayed departure unfortunately we didn’t have time to step foot inside Stirling Castle. Instead we just stopped briefly to use the bathroom and take a couple of photos. We didn’t mind though – Blair Castle was on our way and from what we were told was much better value.

The entrance to Stirling Castle

The entrance to Stirling Castle

Things were finally starting to look up again… or so we thought. Unfortunately everything started going downhill from here. Because we were traveling in November and were forced to leave late due to our car rental bungle, our planned stops didn’t go quite as planned.

We discovered that the stunning Blair Castle is only open on the weekends as of November 1st (after being open daily during the summer season), the Blair Athol Distillery closed at 4PM (we arrived at 4:05PM) and the Salmon Ladder and Pitlochry Dam closed for viewing on October 31st.

Talk about one fail after another!

Tip: If you’re planning a Road Trip, do a little research beforehand to make sure the attractions you’re visiting are going to be open!

Path at The Hermitage

Path at The Hermitage

We did get to stop at The Hermitage woodland park for a short walk, but by the time we arrived at our accommodation in Aviemore it was long after dark and we were more than happy for our nightmare day to come to an end.

It probably can be best described as “one of those days” and truly proves that not everything about traveling is fun. At the same time we can’t complain – we were still in beautiful Scotland and had a couple more days to explore some of the best the country has to offer!


  1. Posted December 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I had a similarly dramatic trip to Scotland, but it was still great in the end. Surely some Scotch whisky would have made everything seem better! I look forward to the next installment!
    Amanda recently posted..And So It Begins| Christmas cookies galore!

    • Posted December 1, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately we missed out on the Scotch Whisky because the distillery closed just minutes before we arrived! But things do get better for us, fortunately. 🙂

  2. Posted December 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Glad that you were able to get a vehicle, but too bad about the attractions being closed. Instead you got some beautiful photos of the nature.

    And another tip would be to make sure your license is still valid 😉
    Pete Heck recently posted..When We Return To Zagreb

    • Posted December 1, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Pete, we didn’t even tell you what happened after we said goodbye to you guys in London! The bus we took from Kentish Town got stuck in traffic for nearly an hour (Halloween parade or something!) and then the driver decided to terminate the service in the middle of London which nearly left us stranded. Fortunately we found a cab and made it to the bus terminal with just minutes to spare!

      The traffic authority in Australia is ridiculous, from what I was told you can’t renew your license until it is within a few weeks of expiry (mine expired in October and we departed in July).

  3. Posted December 1, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Well someone did say “getting there is half the fun…..”

    But I don’t know, they probably had an unexpired license. 🙂
    Sarah recently posted..The Time With the Tips on Sleeping at the Airport

    • Posted December 1, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      Hahaha Amy was always going to do the driving (I did the driving in the US on the ‘opposite’ side of the road) but she was 4 months too young to qualify for a rental car with Hertz which we only discovered at their office!

  4. Posted December 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes it’s the plans that fall apart which yield the best adventures… Glad you got to salvage some of the day.
    The World of Deej recently posted..Ticket 2012 – The Road Ahead

    • Posted December 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately we didn’t have too many adventures that day, just a whole lot of driving. But always gotta look on the bright side and tomorrow is a new day! 🙂

  5. Posted December 2, 2011 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    You should of got that deluxe million dollar insurance and drove thru the gates of the distillery and got that whisky!! haha.

    • Posted December 2, 2011 at 1:29 am | Permalink

      Hahaha I’m sure we could’ve found whisky if we wanted, it was the tour we were more interested in! 🙂

  6. Matthew Cheyne
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    I’m sad to hear that you didn’t get the initial car that you wanted. It’s so silly that because of your age they would not give you the car. Being an insurance salesperson in a former job, I can tell you it’s all about risk but that said there ought to be a system in place whereby you can use your existing insurance history in Australia as supporting evidence to get yourself a car rental. All it need take is a certificate of currency of your existing Aussie insurance which would say what rating your on. And if you’re on a rating one you shouldn’t be lumped in with hoons be denied a car outright. Those are my thoughts anyway.

    As for Scotland, you guys aren’t the only ones to have a bad experience there. Marsha over at Single Occupancy Blog had a bad experience there too. Not about car rentals but something instead she needed to reach Glasgow to take part in a run and guess what? Her bus made her miss the run, the whole motivation for her being there in the first place! Sounds like Scottish Tourism needs to get their act together.

    But I’m glad to know that things improve for you guys from here.

    • Posted December 5, 2011 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      We would understand if it was that way across the board but what we don’t understand is how one company refuses to rent (Hertz) whereas others are more than happy to (Alamo).

      Can’t really blame Scottish Tourism though, it’s the individual companies who are at fault here and we just had an unfortunate experience.

  7. Matthew Cheyne
    Posted December 5, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    I can suspect that the reason Hertz wouldn’t rent to you and that others like Alamo would comes down to the insurance arrangements they’ve got in place with other insurance companies.

    The way that insurance works with big companies is that they do a bit of the insurance themselves called self insurance and then they pay an amount of money to another insurer (a premium in itself) to take on the riskier insurance. It sounds like Hertz either couldn’t get reinsurance or simply didn’t want to for commercial reasons. It’s quite silly really because in the UK you’ve got Lloyds who are the biggest re-insurer in the world right at your doorstep who insure anything from Cows through to Aircraft and Shipping.

    But all that said I can see the reasoning behind them saying no. Public liability insurance. This is what comes into play if you cause damage to person and property other than the opposing car, say in a car crash. Two great examples of public liability coming into play would be the AAMI insurance ads on air in Australia where you see the guy or girl initially crash their car into something and then the crash itself causes damage in a sequence along a line kinda like this AAMI ad here on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z_XtA5tiVU . You see the first car hit one car. That’s a normal car crash and then the second car hits another car. That’s where public liability insurance comes into play. The second great example is the movie The Blues Brothers – the original from the early 80s. Basically the entire movie involves them causing accidents and whatnot.

    As for Scottish Tourism, you’re right you can’t really blame them but the tourist experience is their product. And if you you’re marketing a product and there are issues with that product you need to go back to your suppliers who I give are multitude in the case of tourism and ask them to get their act together. That’s what I meant by original comment. I perhaps should have elaborated on it further.

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