December 11, 2015 at 9:20 AM
Often compared to New Zealand and Canada, Scotland's wild and rugged landscape will truly take your breath away. It's one of the least populated places in Britain and, once away from the cities, you can guarantee the roads will be quiet. Depending on your chosen route, chances are you won't pass another car for miles. The only problem you might have is keeping your eyes on the road; you could see snow-capped mountains, amazing coastlines, and grand castles nestled amongst the hills. Scotland's 'right to roam' gives you the freedom to pull over and go explore wherever takes your fancy: a quiet loch, a deserted beach, or an enchanted pine forest.
No trip to Scotland would be complete without visiting the country's capital. Famous for its medieval old town and numerous landmarks: Edinburgh castle, Arthur's seat, The Royal Botanical Garden, and much more. Located in the south, Edinburgh makes a great starting point for your Scottish adventure.
Leaving the capital is where the road trip really begins. The stress of the modern world will fade away with each mile north; you're on the open road now. But which way to go? There's three main choices:
East coast, towards Aberdeen via the Fife Coastal Tourist Route.
Cross the Forth Road Bridge and into the Kingdom of Fife. The coastal route, lined with blue flag beaches, takes you through the East Neuk, an area filled with pretty fishing villages. Anstruther is famous for its fish and chip suppers. Crail offers fresh caught lobster, perfect for a posh pick-nick on the beach. Historic St Andrews, the home of golf and a world-famous university, also has a surf beach, and a dramatic cathedral. Nearby is Tentsmuir forest which spills onto a beautiful sandy beach.
West coast, towards Fort William via Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.
Follow signs for Sterling. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park (Rob Roy country) is a nature lover's paradise. Loch Lomond is the largest fresh water expanse in the UK. Expect to see osprey, red squirrel, and red deer. From there you can take a choice of roads to the coast where you'll see the islands of Jura, Islay, and Arron. Head north to Fort William, not forgetting the distillery, and the spectacular Ben Nevis.
Inland, towards Inverness via the Cairngorms National Park.
Follow the M90 to Perth and visit Scotland's former capital. Amongst its sights is the Stone Of destiny where many Scottish Kings were crowned. On to The Cairngorms National Park, visit the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore - a free attraction offering a glimpse into early Highland life. Aviemore is popular amongst skiers and snowboarders, lessons are available. Once you reach Inverness it's time to go try spot the Loch Ness monster.
Check the weather forecast twice daily. The snow-gates are a big clue!
A mile is as the crow flies - allow for extra time.
Watch out for deer. The main roads have deer fences, but the smaller ones don't.