Scotland

Abundance of Rainbows: an uncharacteristically Greyfriars Bobby

A ridiculous number of rainbows

Edinburgh is a city close to my heart. Perhaps my Scots ancestry has something to do with that, but Scotland’s ancient capital stands proud in delighting tourists and locals alike. The Royal Mile, with its gradual ascent to the craggy Castle, and its mediaeval warren of lanes and closes, invites exploration. The New Town – construction commenced 250 years ago – is elegance itself, full of grand shops, haughty restaurants, upmarket hotels.

Between the old and the new, the Princes Street Gardens and Waverley Station offer an escape from the everyday. The gardens with their trees and flowerbeds, benches and lawns, lie literally under the shadow of the castle towering above, impossibly romantic with sheer cliffs, grey stone walls, and bastions and turrets galore. Waverley, with its busy trains heading off to the Highlands and the Islands, is a Harry Potter melding of old and new. Few steam trains now, but easy to imagine Professor Minerva McGonagall stalking off to another term at Hogwarts, or yours truly, heading out to dive into the Scotch whisky vats on the distillery trail.

Jaguar on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Skyedriver

I’ve driven on the Isle of Skye. We hired a Mercedes from Avis Prestige – a lovely car, but I was hoping for a Jag like the previous year – and set off from Fort William to Dunnet Head, the most northerly part of the British mainland. We may have spent a little too long at Eilean Donan, the glorious and much-photographed castle a little further south, and I was contemplating the chances of our arrival at the night’s accommodation before dusk.

Scottish High Road

Scottish High Road

Angela and Graham of Mowgli Adventures give some practical advice on this classic Scottish road trip. I’ve actually driven most of this route a couple of times now, and I have got to say that it is one of the great road trips of the world. And I speak as someone who has done the Great Ocean Road, and a lot of Route 66 – once in a red Mustang.

The scenery is incredible. The Northwest, especially. Pick the right time of year, either spring or autumn in my opinion, and the roads are uncrowded, there are plenty of places to pull over for photographs, and the weather is clement. Well, usually. 

And the route is made up of great driving roads, mostly. Narrow, twisty, up hill and down dale, prepare to enjoy the trip. My son and I did it in a Jaguar, and it was exhilarating. We still talk about it.

Angela and Graham drove in a campervan, a far more practical vehicle, but their tips and pointers are relevant to all.