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Jim Sherma

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Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« on: December 13, 2019, 11:34:00 PM »
Taking a trip to Scotland summer 2020. Traveling with my son whoís turning 13 in April. Nice swing but not a developed game yet. Looking for an adventure that will interest me and not beat him up and discourage him. Thinking of Durness-Reay-Wick-Brora across 8-10 days or so. Flying in and out of Inverness.


Is Askernish a feasible trip instead? Whatís a reasonable itinerary and how would I do it? Really looking for an absurd adventure where golf is the excuse more than the purpose. Thoughts?

Steve Wilson

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2019, 12:27:21 AM »
Jim,
Askernish  from the North Coast is going to cost you two days at least unless you can pony up the change to fly in and out. Askernish is at the lower reaches of South Uist and requires a 3 hour ferry trip. Thereís enough golf within hour of Inverness going either east or north to fill a ten day trip, but other than Askernish thereís no golf on Skye and the Outer Hebrides.  If you coming over inJune Iíll probably be lurking in Golspie and would be pleased to host you.


Bear in mind this advice is from an outlander and the locals might no some tricks I donít about accessing Askernish.



Some days you play golf, some days you find things.

I'm not really registered, but I couldn't find a symbol for certifiable.

"Every good drive by a high handicapper will be punished..."  Garland Bailey at the BUDA in sharing with me what the better player should always remember.

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2019, 03:04:09 AM »

Jim,


I would stick to doing your NC500 route as there is plenty of things to do on it and the golf is a really good mix of types of courses all of which are good to play even at 13. As for the Hebrides there is enough golf to be had even on Skye for the type of trip you are considering but the NC500 is the better option.


As a local to the Highlands I would give you two bits of advice. Firstly, which ever trip you decide to do book your accommodation well in advance as both areas are very busy in the summer and with a 13 year old you do not want to be stuck with the nearest available room being 3 hour drive away. Secondly, if you do decide to follow Steve Wilson's advice then do not do the usual big three (RD,NGC,CS) instead play some of the second and third tier courses which offer much more variety and fun.


If you need any help do get in touch.

Mark Pearce

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2019, 03:12:30 AM »
Looking for an adventure that will interest me and not beat him up and discourage him.

Is Askernish a feasible trip instead? W
No.  Askernish is brilliant.  But, at least in the condition it was in when I spent a week there, it's the hardest golf course I have ever played.  It makes Muirfield and Carnoustie look easy.  It's narrow, the rough is impossible and it is likely to be blowing a gale.  Go there some time but not on this trip.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid


Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2019, 12:10:40 AM »
Frankly, either trip means a lot of time in the car.  Does your son like riding in the car on very narrow roads?


I took my son to Scotland at that age, when I was working on The Renaissance Club.  We played at North Berwick, climbed the North Berwick Law, drove out to Tantallon and down to Bamburgh Castle and Holy Isle.  We went into Edinburgh.  It was a great trip, with plenty of adventure, but also more time to chill.  Just a thought. 

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2019, 06:30:17 AM »
Frankly, either trip means a lot of time in the car.  Does your son like riding in the car on very narrow roads?




Tom,


With a week to do the NC500 you are looking at a couple of hours a day split through the day so no arduous drives. The difficulty will be in deciding what to see and what to leave out.


Jon

Niall C

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2019, 08:00:42 AM »
Jon


I agree that you are underselling the trip if you try to cram it into one or even two days, and I certainly wish I'd spent more time stopping off here and there when I did it a few years ago. However my question is whether there is enough to fully engage a 13 year old ? I've never had kids and its been so long since I was that age so I've no idea whether golf/scenery/beaches ticks enough boxes. I suppose the same might be said about Askernish and at the end of the day I suppose it's also about Jim having a great time with his son and maybe its just the time spent rather than the location that counts towards that.


On a general note I also like Tom's idea of fitting in a city visit. It's always surprised me that golf visitors don't base themselves more in the major cities. For instance when you think of all the great courses within striking distance of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool etc you could have a great trip mixing great (links) golf with some fantastic cities.


Niall   

John Emerson

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2019, 09:43:51 AM »
While I havenít been to askernish yet, it seems like the journey is time consuming.  If you only have a week in the motherland Iíd say you could spend it on the mainland and have a much more enjoyable experience without all the hustle and bustle of traveling. Iíd love to one day see askernish, but it will have to wait.  Especially when thereís so much to see.  No doubt itís special, I personally canít justify the trip if I only have a week.  If I you have 2 weeks then I say do it.
ďThereís links golf, then everything else.Ē

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2019, 12:36:23 PM »
Jon


I agree that you are underselling the trip if you try to cram it into one or even two days, and I certainly wish I'd spent more time stopping off here and there when I did it a few years ago. However my question is whether there is enough to fully engage a 13 year old ? I've never had kids and its been so long since I was that age so I've no idea whether golf/scenery/beaches ticks enough boxes. I suppose the same might be said about Askernish and at the end of the day I suppose it's also about Jim having a great time with his son and maybe its just the time spent rather than the location that counts towards that.


On a general note I also like Tom's idea of fitting in a city visit. It's always surprised me that golf visitors don't base themselves more in the major cities. For instance when you think of all the great courses within striking distance of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool etc you could have a great trip mixing great (links) golf with some fantastic cities.


Niall



I would suggest it all depends on what interests a child has but there is a lot to do and see as the NC500 website shows.


https://www.northcoast500.com/


 In the end there is much to praise in most parts of Scotland but as the question was about the Northcoast or Askernish I chose to stick to this.

Ian Galbraith

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2019, 01:57:03 PM »
I'd skip Askernish,  it's too much travelling for this particular trip.


I have a left field suggestion which is to split the NC500 trip in 2 with a couple of days on Orkney. You'll be driving past the Scrabster Ferry anyhow. The Ferry trip will add some adventure to the trip, the islands and nature are amazing. Play golf there if you like but the prehistoric sites are unique (Ring of Brodgar,  Skara Brae),  he can crawl on his belly into an ancient burial mound (Tomb of the Eagles) , take a sea life watching boat safari etc etc. It's a great place.




David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2019, 05:33:44 PM »
Jim S. -

I would certainly consider adding Fortrose & Rosemarkie to your list of courses to play. One of the more remarkable/spectacular settings for a golf course I have ever seen.

https://fortrosegolfclub.co.uk/

DT

Jim Sherma

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2019, 09:25:09 AM »
Great info guys - thanks!


Based on what I heard I'll not do Askernish this time over. Instead, the preliminary itinerary I'm thinking about is to fly in and out of Inverness (will pull trigger on exact dates after the new year).




Day 1: Land Inverness -> Drive to Durness (3hr) - Stay in Durness
Day 2: Stay in Durness - Unwind and play Durness (9 or 18 across the two days depending on weather and timing)
Day 3: Drive to Reay (2hrs direct) - Stay in Reay, en route, or in Thurso (?)
Day 4: Play Reay - Drive to Wick (45min) - Stay in Wick
Day 5: Tour area in and around Wick/John O'Groats - Stay in Wick
Day 6: Play Wick - Stay in Wick
Day 7: Drive to Fortrose & Rosemarkie (2.5Hr) - Stay(?)
Day 8: Play Fortrose & Rosemarkie - Drive to Inverness airport - Stay at airport
Day 9: Fly Out


I've been eyeing up Fortrose & Rosemarkie as a possible round heading back to Inverness and I think that I will have to make it happen. It appears to be unique enough to pinch Brora off of the trip. I will hopefully be back for the Brora/Dornoch/Golspie trio on a more golf-centric trip. Unless I expand the trip I'm not surer that I can get the Orkney's in without making the travel time too hectic for my taste.


Happy to get more info on anything that we should not miss. I could easily have my mind changed about the Orkney's.

David_Tepper

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2019, 09:45:31 AM »
Jim -

You might want to think about reversing your plan. Start by playing Fortrose and end by playing Durness.

Driving from Inverness to Durness is a long day on narrow one- and two-lane roads. I would not recommend doing that if you have just arrived on an overnite flight from the U.S.

DT
 

Jim Sherma

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2019, 10:12:34 AM »
David - I understand your reasoning. I have not had a problem in the past with day-of-flight driving. Last trip to Ireland involved landing at Shannon, playing Lahinch followed by a drive to Westport on the first day. I tend to have a lot of energy at the start of the trip and would rather soak a drive then as opposed to the end of the trip.


I also thought that it would be cool if my son's first morning waking up and playing in Scotland was in Durness. Not sure why, but it seems like it would be a great memory.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2019, 06:08:18 PM »

Jim,


looks like a good itinerary and I can understand your thought about playing Durness as the first course for your son. If you do want to split the first day into two I could recommend staying in Ullapool which is a great little fishing village and playing the 9 hole course there.

jeffwarne

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2019, 10:08:19 PM »

Jim,


looks like a good itinerary and I can understand your thought about playing Durness as the first course for your son. If you do want to split the first day into two I could recommend staying in Ullapool which is a great little fishing village and playing the 9 hole course there.


Excellent idea and I love that itinerary.
The driving and scenery are fantastic in that area,
As Jon notes I really like adding the stay in Ullapool, or if really adventurous drive to Gairloch day 1 . Gariloch s a nice size course ffor a 13 year old (below is one who played through my son and I) and incredible scenery.



If your son is into music here's a shot taken in a pub at dinner in Gairloch-


I leave it to Jon as to this or Ullapool GC-forgetting the extra hour I've added-it's not a lot of driving anyway over 9 days and 9 holes isn't  a bad formula on a nonexclusive golf trip)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 10:13:34 PM by jeffwarne »
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Adam Lawrence

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2019, 04:25:01 AM »
Just for reference note that you can fly to Benbecula (the airport for Askernish) from Inverness as well as Glasgow. Loganair flies the route.
Adam Lawrence

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Ian Galbraith

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2019, 05:06:13 AM »
Driving to Ullapool on day 1 is a good shout. Not so much for Ullapool itself which is okay but the drive up the west coast from Ullapool to Durness is world class and in my opinion worth the slight detour. You can still get to Durness in plenty time to play there on day 2 (especially if you are coming in summer time).


Also the fish and chips at Ullapool Harbour are almost worth the detour on their own :-)



If you do go that way and fancy a non-golf outing a visit to the huge sea cliffs at Cape Wrath is always good. You need to get a small minibus to drive you out through the army firing range to the lighthouse but is is worthwhile. https://www.visitcapewrath.com


Gairloch is a lovely wee village and the golf course is 9 holes of fun in a spectacular setting but it might take you too far off the track to fit with the rest of your trip.




David_Tepper

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2019, 12:18:30 PM »
Further north from Ullapool, a stop at the Kylesku Hotel for lunch or dinner (or an overnite stay) is highly recommended. If you have time, take a tour of Loch Glendhu and Loch Glencoul on the boat Rachael Clare, which leaves from right in front of the hotel.

https://www.kyleskuhotel.co.uk/
https://www.kyleskuhotel.co.uk/local-area/boat-trips-north-coast-500

 
« Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 12:34:01 PM by David_Tepper »

Jim Sherma

  • Karma: +0/-0
North Coast Scotland - Trip with Son
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2019, 11:38:24 AM »

Itinerary - Take 2 - subject to change
[/size] [/color]
[/size]Ian, Jeff and Jon - I love the thought of Gairloch and Ullapool and think that will make a nice start to the trip. I think I'll have to lose the Fortrose & Rosemarkie round as well as any ferry trip to the Orkney Islands in order to make it work time wise. The cruise from Ullapool around the islands off the coast looks like it will be a great thing to add in. [/color]
[/size][/color]
[/size]David - Will definitely stop at the Kylescu for lunch en route - possibly do the boat tour as well as it looks pretty awesome[/color]
[/size][/color]
[/size]Durness, Reay and Wick have been the center pieces from the start of this plan so I'm thinking I will keep them in place.[/color][/size]

Day 1: Land Inverness -> Drive to Gairloch (1:45) - Stay in Gairloch -
[/color][/size]Play Gairloch GC[/size]Day 2: Wend up to Ullapool (1:30) - Play Ullapool GC - Stay in UllapoolDay 3: Summer Island Cruise from Ullapool Harbor - Stay in UllapoolDay 4: Drive to Durness (1:45) - Stop along way at Kylesku Hotel for lunch and possible boat tour - Play Durness GC this day or next depending on timing - Stay in Durness
Day 5: Wend our way to Reay along North Coast (2hrs direct) - Stay in Reay/Thurso
Day 6:
Play Reay - Drive to Wick (45min) - Stay in WickDay 7: Tour area in and around Wick/John O'Groats - Stay in WickDay 8: Play Wick - Stay in WickDay 9: Drive to Inverness airport (2:20) - Stay at airport
Day 10: Fly Out

[/size]

Ian Galbraith

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2019, 12:33:54 PM »
Jim, Take 2 is looking like a fine trip.


My only tweak to consider might be on day 8 where instead of playing in Wick  I would drive to Golspie and play and stay there (or in Dornoch next door). You are spending a lot of time in Wick.


Anyhow I'm sure you'll have memorable trip.  :)


Ian

jeffwarne

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2019, 12:43:33 PM »
re all the time spent in and around Wick
You can add Fortrose and Rosemarkie on the fly if your son has suddenly developed an addiction to golf
compact-easy walk
"Let's slow the damned greens down a bit, not take the character out of them." Tom Doak
"Take their focus off the grass and put it squarely on interesting golf." Don Mahaffey

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2019, 01:01:18 PM »

Jim,


possibly the best Highland trip itinerary I have seen on GCA. I am sure you will both have a blast!!!


Well done  :)

Ian Galbraith

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Getting to Askernish vs North Coast
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2019, 01:02:29 PM »
PS Jim, not sure it's been mentioned yet, but once your itinerary is settled don't delay in booking accommodation. There is more demand than supply in these wonderful places on the NC500.

PPS there is also a small boat that can take you to Handa Island ( http://www.handa-ferry.com and https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserve/handa-island/ ) - a great excursion to a unique bird sanctuary where you can enjoy getting dive bombed by the Skuas! Too many places to visit and not enough time!
« Last Edit: December 20, 2019, 01:15:16 PM by Ian Galbraith »

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