“Scotland. A Spirit of Its Own”
That’s the phrase that the Scottish tourist board have gone for and, to be honest, they could not have been more accurate. Blending a unique landscape with a ‘frontier’ feel brings forth a sense of adventure more akin to a fairytale than a nation in the United Kingdom. Even Scotland’s cities, embracing its cobbled streets, winding alleyways, and historical moments – both positive and otherwise – makes wandering around constantly interesting. With this in mind, and with 2017 now just around the corner, we thought we’d highlight why a road trip around Scotland should be one of your resolutions for the coming year!
(This article first appeared on Rakbo in January 2017, go check em out!)
The Starting Point:
Boasting an almost-unheard of number of artisan café’s and shops alongside historical features like Edinburgh Castle and natural sites such as Arthur’s Seat (the volcano [yes… VOLCANO] just outside the city-centre), the walking city of Edinburgh is the perfect starting point for your adventure! For those wanting to get straight to the highlands the bridge over the Firth of Forth is the easiest way to dreamland while those with more time can follow the road north to Stirling and spend a day traipsing around castles.
When tv shows such as Outlander as well as scenes from Harry Potter and James Bond are filmed on Scottish moors, you know you’re in for an aesthetic treat and you won’t be disappointed. From the ‘Fairy Pools’ on the Isle of Skye to the small seaside cove at Pitlochry, the natural undisturbed landscape of the Scottish Highlands will make you run the batteries out on your camera as you ceaselessly try to put what you can see onto film.
… Like Really Pretty
Like too much pretty to put under one heading. Honestly, the reason we suggest this as a road trip is not just the freedom to travel on your own time rather than a public transport schedule (which is shocking up there by the way – just a heads up), but it is the fact that every time you drive up another Col, through another mountain range, alongside another loch or even turn a bend, you are going to be begging the driver to stop to be able to properly appreciate the view.
Culture and History
Now if you are able to tear your eyes away from the pretty natural landscapes, you may just be able to spot some unique Highland culture and history. As a nation of people keen to emphasize their separateness from England (just read their tourist slogan again) both now and historically, Scotland has managed to maintain its unique culture and language (albeit to a lesser extent) and there is nowhere better to see this than the Highlands. From the Gaelic place-names sharing space on road-signs with their English counterparts to kilts, castles and even reports of a monster living in Loch Ness, Scotland has it all to keep you both puzzled and engrossed throughout your trip. Throw in a Highland-cow sighting and you’ve successfully completed the Scottish ‘bingo’.
Escape to Freedom:
With the focus on nature, it is therefore no surprise that, in the Highlands, you are in an almost constant state of being alone. The relative scarcity of towns on the narrow winding roads leads you to feel as though you are quite literally separate from civilization a feeling propelled by the rarity with which you will be able to get any form of phone signal let alone 4g! While not ideal for everyone in this Instagram-dominated world, the ability to switch off for a week and slip into the fairytale-esque setting is a rare blessing nowadays!
Got any other tips or tricks for traveling through Scotland? Get in touch!
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