If you follow my blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m Scottish, and that our little family spends a lot of time touring our lovely country in our VW campervan. Few things make me happier than spending time enjoying our beautiful landscape and encouraging others to do likewise, and this Easter we completed an epic, 1100 mile west-of-Scotland road trip which once again highlighted to me what an amazing place we are fortunate enough to call home. But if you’ve yet to discover the joyful experience that is a Scottish road trip, or you just need reminding of some of the reasons why Scotland is so, quite frankly, FAB – then read on for my list of 12 reasons to plan a Scottish adventure as soon as possible. And you can scroll to the end for a little video I made of our Easter holiday road trip too!
YOU’LL FIND THE MOST MAJESTIC SCENERY
The Scottish landscape is quite literally stunning, and you’ll find rugged mountains, awesome glens, and untamed rivers just about all around you. Just look at this view pictured on the road to Applecross a couple of weeks ago. It’s enough to make my little Scottish heart go pop.
AND THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES
Stunning beaches abound all over Scotland, and even in the busiest of seasons, it’s usually possible to find your own private bit of coastline, for a little while at least. How about the Silver Sands of Morar, the arced shores of Camusdarach, or the rocky beauty of Ceannabeinne in Sutherland to get you started? With so many beautiful beaches, picking a favourite can be very, very hard!
YOU’LL EXPERIENCE STUNNING SUNSETS
Sunsets (and sunrises) in Scotland are genuinely breathtaking, and coupled with the fantastic scenery, it’s fair to say they really are a sight for sore eyes. Here are a couple of my favourites from our stays in Applecross and Arran recently. But don’t just take my word for it, come see them for yourself!
YOU CAN DANCE UNDER RAINBOWS, AND LEARN TO FLY A KITE
I won’t lie and tell you it doesn’t rain in Scotland, because it does – sometimes quite a lot. But we also experience some absolutely lovely weather – much more regularly, in fact, than depictions of Scotland in film and the media would have you believe. And anyway, a bit of grey weather only adds to some extra road trip drama. And I’ll let you into a little secret – rainy days often lead to beautiful rainbows like this.
It can get quite windy in Scotland, but when the wind blows, what better excuse to head to the beach and learn to fly a kite? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade folks. And remember, when you’re making lemonade, you’re usually making treasured memories, too.
YOU CAN VISIT MYSTERIOUS CASTLES
Beautiful castles are everywhere in Scotland, and there can be few places shrouded in as much mystery and legend as our home here in the north. Lochranza Castle on the Isle of Arran was one of my favourite pit stops on our recent travels, but with castles virtually all over Scotland, history-seeking tourists will be quite literally spoilt for choice.
AND GO MONSTER HUNTING IN A LOCH
You’ve probably heard of the Loch Ness Monster, but what about Morag, her lesser known cousin who reportedly resides in Loch Morar in Lochaber? (it’s true – google it – one of my Dad’s friends saw her once). We didn’t manage to see Morag on our recent trip but my eight year old is determined to keep looking. And if you’re planning a road trip in the Highlands anytime soon, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for monsters lurking beneath the depths.
YOU CAN GO ON A MOVIE TRAIL ADVENTURE
Scotland has been used as the setting for many a well told tale, film, and television series, and you could easily notch up a Scottish road trip based on visiting film, tv and advert locations alone. Have a look at my article ‘6 movie locations to visit in the Scottish Highlands’ to get you started. You never know, you might even meet Harry Potter as he crosses the Glenfinnan viaduct on the legendary Hogwarts Express.
OR JUST ENJOY THE PEACE
There are peaceful beauty spots all over Scotland, and if you’re in the mood for some rest and relaxation, a day on the shore pebble hunting or skimming stones might be just the thing you’re after. I loved the relaxing shores of the Applecross peninsula during our recent visit, and the meaning of the Gaelic name for the area – The Sanctuary – seemed just as fitting for Applecross as it does for Scotland as a whole.
YOU CAN HAVE A DRAMATIC DRIVING EXPERIENCE
If you like driving, you might enjoy the dramatic experience of the Bealach Na Ba (near Applecross), which means ‘Pass of the Cattle’ in Gaelic, and rises to a height of 2053 ft above sea level (poor cattle!). The sign says it is not recommended for learner drivers, large vehicles, or me (even as a passenger I found it something of a jelly-leg inducing experience). But if you fancy a bit of (responsible) Alpine adventuring in Scotland, you’ll find that the views are, to put it mildly, quite literally out of this world.
AND SAY HELLO TO THE LOCALS
Wildlife and nature are quite simply everywhere in Scotland, and on our recent road trip, we watched deer, goats, birds of prey and seals living their lives out from the comfort of our van. There’s something about a close encounter with a stag, or an afternoon watching seals playing, that does something to feed your spirit. And when you’ve completed your Scottish road trip, you might find that intangible nourishment lingers on.
YOU CAN ENJOY SCOTTISH HOSPITALITY
There are a wealth of wonderful eateries, pubs and distilleries in which to enjoy a bit of Scottish hospitality, but you’ll also find the quiet warmth of the Scottish sprit in small ways and simple gestures almost everywhere you go. Take this sign for beach goers we found at Achmelvich Beach in Sutherland for example. If there was ever an advert on why you should visit Scotland, as far as I’m concerned, this just about sums it up.
AND YOU MIGHT JUST LOSE YOUR HEART
I hope this article has given you a few reasons to add a Scottish road trip to your future holiday plans. And whatever you choose to do when you visit Scotland, I can promise you one thing – you’ll leave a little bit of your heart behind here when you go.
Click here for a video of our West-of-Scotland Road Trip:
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