“Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, the hills of the Highlands for ever I love”. This quote from Robert Burns simply summaries what we lived together with my dad during our four – day road trip through Scotland. We simply fell in love with the region.
Scotland has always fascinated me. When I hear the name, I can’t help but think of cloudy landscapes, highlands, whiskey, kilts, cattle and many more. The country has something mystical. I never had the chance to visit it until the beginning of September, when I had two weeks of s pare time before starting my last semester at University.
All started with three days spent in the capital city of Edinburgh. Afterwards, I walked seven days in the Highlands until Fort William to finish with the road trip. My father only joined me for the road trip. The meeting point was Glasgow. He took the ferry in Amsterdam on a Monday at 5:00 pm and arrived in Newcastle – Upon – Tyne the next morning at 9:00am. Then, he drove north to Glasgow to pick me up. The road trip started from there on. I prepared the itinerary in advance and we just had to follow the map. No GPS. We just wanted to keep it real and to live the experience. We drove parts of the NC500, one of the most beautiful coastal road trip in the world.
After a bit more than one hour, we officially arrived in the Highlands. The magical sign welcomed us and we soon realised we were going to have jaw-dropping views all along the trip, what a landscape!
The problem with these beautiful views is that we had to stop every five minutes in order for me to take pictures, I could not help it but capture the moment as soon as I would see something interesting (every hundred meters).
We drove by the Eilean Donan Castle, a very touristic place in Scotland. However, it is easy to understand why, as the castle is magnificent by its architecture but also its history.
We continued in order to reach the hotel soon enough. We booked it just past the Applecross Pass, a famous pass road in the Highlands. We did not eat for h ours so we decided to stop at a restaurant we found on the side of the road. What a great surprise, we ate so me delicious pork chop and were ready to hit the pass.
It was already dark. We did not have the opportunity to drive it at the speed we wanted but even with this, it was so much fun!! The only lights were from the 504, we saw deer in the fields around, some passing in front of us and it was raining as hell!! We arrived at 10:00 pm at the hotel, went to bed immediately and were ready at 7:00 the next day to begin with the second stage.
We passed through so many cattle grids that we had to take a picture in front of one.
From there on, we were driving along the coast. We had the road for ourselves. We just kept on going. Indeed, we had to cover 580 kilometres on this day, the schedule was quite tight!! The scenery in the morning was dramatic and the kind I thought I would only see in films. Just pure nature.
The kind of roads you just dream of.
And then we passed by lovely villages like the Shieldaig village, Unapool, Elphin or Clachtoll for example, where we made a quick stop in order to get something to eat at Flossie’s Beach store. From times to times, we obviously had to stop to fill the gas tank. Despite the little roads and the good pace we had, the consumption was reasonable, the 504 is a dynamic grandma!!
We kept going on and stopped wherever it was worth it (okay, not really, otherwise we would never have finished the road trip).
Obviously, I also took pictures without the car, like at the Loch Bad an Sgalaig, just before entering the little village of Clachtoll or when we passed by Elphin, the houses there are just amazing!!
We drove through Drumbeg, Durness, Tongue and so on. All of these aforementioned villages are so beautiful. At Tongue, we did not continue on the NC500 but drove south in order to arrive on time in Inverness, where we would sleep before catching the ferry in Newcastle the day after. Here are some pictures of this beautiful day.
We drove along the impressive cliffs of the country.
The weather on this day was perfect. On the first day, we encountered heavy rain and wind. On the second day, we only had a little bit of rain but the sky was just amazing, with a lot of clouds. It was intimidating.
We arrived in Inverness at 8:00 pm. On the last day, we woke up at 7:00 am again. We still had 450 kilometres to drive and we had to catch the ferry at 2:00 pm!! Quick breakfast, filling of the gas tank and we were ready to hit the road again!
Who says Scotland think s distillery. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to visit one yet, we had to drive so much that we did not have the time to stop to visit one. We were a bit disappointed until we saw a sign on the highway indicating a distillery four miles further. We looked at the time we had, which was not a lot and to ok the decision to take a break. It turned out to be Blair Athol, one of the oldest working distillery in Scotland!! We tasted two types of whiskey (with moderation of course) and bought two bottles to bring back to Belgium. All that at 10:00 am. Thereafter, it was the rush to catch the ferry on time.
We were there on time!! We could not realize it was the end… Bye bye Scotland, you were amazing!!
The ferry arrived at 10:00 am in Amsterdam the day after. I saw that Kinderdijk, known for its windmills, was not far from the road we had to take to go home. We took advantage of the situation and visited it. It is a really nice village and the windmills are beautiful!!
We, finally, drove straight home. In conclusion, as you may have understood, this road trip was just amazing! Father and son sharing the same passion and spending these four days across the extraordinary landscapes of the Highlands were just unforgettable. I can’t thank him enough for this. In total, we drove 2400 kilometres without a single problem, what a car!! It is comfortable, breaks well, has enough power to cruise and has a good handling. In short, a perfect car for road trips..
For the ones interested, here is the itinerary I made.. If you like it, be sure to give me a follow on Instagram where I keep documenting my motoring journeys and experiences. Until next time… Felix.