We have 3 weeks to travel Scotland (mid-Sep to 9 Oct 2011), and plan to book 3 different self-catering cottages in villages for one week each to use as a base. We will hire a car and do day trips from our base cottage. We may spend the first week around Yorkshire Dales, and then just 2 weeks in Scotland - not sure yet. We really love staying in quaint cottages outside major cities - but somewhere that is a good central place to do these day trips. As Australians we are fine with driving 1-2 hours daily each way to visit different places. We like pretty villages, mountains, seascapes, maritime areas, historical areas, scenic train trips. Will probably buy a NT card or similar. We are a couple so only need a single bedroom cottage. Any ideas or recommendations most welcome, as are ideas for day trips / places to visit.