In both the United Kingdom and across continental Europe drivers are subjected to many and various rules and regulations that can often make driving frustrating and demanding. Fortunately, in Scotland once out of the towns and cities the roads open up somewhat and keen motorists can seek out and drive some really very special roads. If you are one of the 55% of visitors whose main reason is to see and experience the incredible scenery and landscape Scotland has to offer, then driving it is definitely for you.
Bealach na Bà
‘The Pass of the Cattle’ is historically an old single track drovers road through the mountains of the Applecross Peninsula on Scotland’s west coast. Until comparatively recently it was the only road to the eponymous coastal village. The Pass is neither wide nor smooth but it is one of the highest and most spectacular places in the UK.
It is engineered in a similar fashion to roads through the great mountain passes of the Alps with very tight hairpin bends that switch back and forth up the hillside with gradients that approach 20%! Now that’s steep but speed isn’t everything when good driving skills are to the fore. Popular car brands for most of these routes of course include Ferrari and Aston Martin.
The Ullapool Route
Ernest Hemingway wrote that it is the journey that matters most and Scotland offers some spectacular routes and beautiful scenery. If you like your scenery extra wild then maybe the far North West of Scotland is the place to be. From Ullapool, the A894 road leads onto the A838 and delivers quiet roads, languid lochs and faraway places with strange sounding names, all the way to Durness, not far from the rocky eminence that is Cape Wrath, the northern-most point of mainland Britain.
The Trossachs & Fort William Loops
The Trossachs National Park and nearby Fort William, in the shadow of the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis, both deliver the goods when it comes to great driving loops from a single base and take in both coast and country. This is the way to find the real Scotland away from all the main tourist venues. Fast, curvy and often narrow roads lead across rolling hills and bracing moorland and can certainly test man and machine alike. At the end of the short twenty-two mile run from Crieff to Dunkeld the only thing any driving enthusiast will want to do is to turn around and do it again.
The North Coast 500
With the City of Inverness as base camp, this justifiably famous route is fast car heaven. Hugging the whole of the northern coastline it is well travelled nowadays as car enthusiasts from all over flock to experience this long-distance driving test, so visitors will not be short of like-minded people to meet.
Sadly, this popularity has inevitably caught the attention of the authorities and some parts of the route are governed by the cold, steely eye of cameras. This shouldn’t dampen your enthusiasm however. This is one of the most spectacular drives in Scotland if not Europe and all you need is the right car.