Our Scotland road trip was at the end of a six month adventure across America and Europe. We’d already experienced a lot of amazing places. It also rained more than anywhere we’d ever been (but you kind of expect that with the Highlands). Despite all this, the road trip remains one of our best memories. The five days were wet and windy, but also wonderful. Here’s why.
Scotland’s scenery is incredible. Unlike the gentle rolling hills of England, Scotland is vast, craggy, rocky, remote, unforgiving and in many parts, uninhabitable (unless you’re really brave and like spending a lot of time on your own with only sheep for neighbours!).
For all those perhaps negative sounding adjectives, it is also magnificent. Never have I been anywhere which made me feel so grounded and at the same time, so very small and insignificant! Scotland wowed us at every turn and immediately went on our list of places we want to visit again.
A hip and historical start
We flew into Edinburgh, where I last visited as a student. I enjoyed it then but I don’t think I was mature enough, or had seen enough of the world, to realise quite how magical and beautiful it is.
This time around we arrived in the midst of the famous Fringe Festival (the largest annual international arts festival in the world). The city was teeming with people and the atmosphere, despite much rain, was decidedly jolly. We spent the rare sunny afternoon exploring the Scottish capital, its impressive architecture (both the Old and New Towns are jointly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site) and the gorgeous castle up on the hill. It’s very easy to get around on foot but wear sensible (unlike me) shoes as there are plenty of cobblestones to catch you out! Being a student city, there are a lot of young people (and of course, tourists) around and a really nice, busy vibe. That evening, I set about finding somewhere to eat haggis (love the stuff!) for dinner and we had a nice wander around, rugged up against the elements.
Out on the road
The next day it was up and at ’em, we collected our wheels from Europcar and were off. I’m not sure why I’ve always been so obsessed with visiting the Isle of Skye, but that’s where we were heading, with stops at Inverness and Loch Ness on the way.
The drive from Edinburgh to Inverness took roughly six hours including stops for lunch and to look for the Loch Ness monster (no success, I’m afraid!). Loch Ness in itself is not that exciting, but you have to see it.