Lakes District or Inner Hebrides?
September 17, 2016 7:15 PM   Subscribe

Ms. Window and I are heading to Scotland and The North in mid-October. We have a chance to spend two days in the Lakes District or two days on Mull and Iona, islands of the Inner Hebrides. Which should we select? Difficulty: Ms. Window has trouble walking long distances and for long durations, so we'll be bringing her electric mobility scooter.

Both locations are picturesque, and we don't particularly care about fine single malt or barrel-aged whisky.
posted by infinitewindow to Travel & Transportation around Manchester, England (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's the Lake District, singular.
posted by w0mbat at 7:25 PM on September 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had a fantastic time on Mull and Iona, but I will say that they weren't the smoothest walking: Iona in particular was fairly rocky once you get off of the one main road, and there weren't all that many cars/taxis on the island (to my memory) since the trip involves multiple ferries. Since they're far in the west of Scotland, they're also often very rainy. It rained most of the time we were there in June. I think in mid-October they are likely to be quite dark and rainy, which might pose additional problems for the mobility scooter (I'm not even sure all the roads were properly paved on Iona). This isn't necessarily to dissuade you, since the islands were beautiful and I'd love to go back but if you're interested in the north in October, I wonder whether you might enjoy, say, the Yorkshire Dales, which are more accessible, have more cars/roads, and should be hopefully a bit drier (although not dry). I can personally recommend the charming town of Hawes, the Wensleydale cheese tour, and the stunning landscapes surrounding the town. Or, indeed, maybe even the overlooked northeast of England, which also has absolutely beautiful landscapes, as well as early medieval sites.
posted by ClaireBear at 7:27 PM on September 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yorkshire Dales are already on the itinerary, no worries there. From what I've seen of the Lake District (ta w0mbat) it can be rocky and poorly-paved as well.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:45 PM on September 17, 2016

The Lakes has some specific routes designated suitable for those with limited mobility, info here:

Windermere (the town and lake) were fairly easily navigable for MIL, who uses a combo of walking sticks and mobility scooter.
posted by threetwentytwo at 10:22 PM on September 17, 2016

The weather in either of your choices is going to be unpredictable, especially in October. However Mull and Iona at least have some influence from the Gulf Stream so the weather has a chance of being fairly mild. The Lake District is known for being very rainy (that's why all those lakes are there) so I think you'd have a better chance of dry periods on Mull and Iona. And you can go whale watching if you choose them.
posted by hazyjane at 11:40 PM on September 17, 2016

The Lake District has much shorter distances between places: you can get there quickly if you are coming from the M6 and/or from the south of England. One village or place to see is not so far from another and the whole place is set up for a comparatively high volume of tourists (which means that more thought has been given to issues such as mobility scooter access).

Mull and Iona are much more isolated - you have to drive for a few more hours to get there, then take a ferry or two. Once you arrive there are much fewer tourists and you have more of a sense of isolation. But Mull is also quite big and you will spend longer driving between the locations that you want to see. And access may be more limited (for example: Duart Castle: limited disabled access, Iona Abbey - severely limited access according to my googling)

Both places have lots to see and broadly similar weather. So The Lakes for ease of access and shorter distances. Mull for a sense of wilderness and being on an island.
posted by rongorongo at 1:07 AM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone for your suggestions--we're doing both!
posted by infinitewindow at 4:17 PM on October 18, 2016

Update: we ended up not doing Iona, just Mull. Lake District was the highlight of the trip, really; we went through three mountain passes (Hardknott, Honister and Wrynose) in a car and took some amazing pictures. Thanks again for the suggestions!
posted by infinitewindow at 5:50 PM on November 3, 2016

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