I love roadtrips. How many times have I mentioned this in my blog? Many, I am sure. But it is still as true now as it ever was, so please take that into consideration when I say that the N500 of Scotland is one of the best roadtrips that I have ever been on. I got the idea for this journey from a Guardian article, and we actually replicated this intinerary fairly closely. It is a great little outline, unless you have more time, in which case I would suggest taking a day or two more on the way down from Wick to Lockinver- especially if you like to hike (or walk as they call it in Scotland). In any case, this means that we travelled from Inverness to Wick, Wick to Lochinver, Lochinver to Gairloch, and then Gairloch to Oban over the course of our roadtrip.
When I used to think about the UK, I imagined rolling green hills sprinkled with little villages, and webbed by narrow roads. The image is based on what I can remember of a two week trip I took to Ireland in 2012. This was nothing like that.
Actually, the drive from Inverness to Wick was somewhat like what I imagined, but that was no indication of what was to come. On the particular day that we did this drive, we first went a little south from Inverness down to Loch Ness to visit the ruins of Urquhart Castle . While the castle itself is little compared to the sprawling fortresses that you can see elsewhere in Scotland, there was something enchanting about these ruins. Maybe it was the fact that the famous loch was the backdrop to the crumbling walls, but I think there is just something that I love about such places… the element of imagination that you need to immerse yourself there can be so personal. It wasn’t a long drive down from Inverness, and even though it rained during the free tour, we enjoyed our time there, and it was unique among the castles that we saw in Scotland. After spending the afternoon wandering through the old rooms, now open to the sky and elements, we started north, up to Wick, and through the green pastures that I naively expected (somehow, despite having read the article that I posted above).
Our longest drive was on the day that we traveled from Wick to Lochinver. That morning, we drove as far north as possible, joining the ranks of bicyclists that had made the long journey from Land’s End in the south of the British Isles all the way to John O’Groats, the northern most point of mainland Scotland. There we looked out across the sea to the Orkney Islands, and posed next to the white post that marked this special point. After that, it was down the west coast and into some of the most beautiful landscapes that I have ever seen in my life.
The road that we followed south took us into the mountains and along sweeping coasts. While the white beaches and cliffs dropping off into the blue sea were lovely, it was really the peaks that I fancied the most. Many of them swept up from the ground with steep, stark and treeless flanks. Those mountain sides reached up into the low lying clouds on many occasions, but when their crowns were revealed, the bracken and grass gave way to dead stone, traced by veins of water making its way back to the earth after its stay on the summits during the winter. On some mountain tops, that snow may never melt, even in the depth of summer.
To be continued on June 15th.
I am with you, I really love read trips! This one looks so scenic and one I would love to take.
Yes! It is amazing. 🙂 Just be careful driving on the one lane roads!
One day I will visit Scotland. That is my ultimate dream…
You’ll make it!
Sylvia @ Happiness is homemade
Scotland is on my travel bucket list for a while now, such a incredible place!
It was amazing. It has a little bit of everything. 🙂
I did an international road trip in New Zealand and it was so much fun. Your article reminded me of it. I think those are the best road trip. Experiencing different culture and scenery. Very exciting
I’ve road tripped in New Zealand as well. XD I just love driving through different places. You definitely get a great taste of the scenery and culture, as you say. I also just love the freedom of it- stopped where you want to take pictures and finding all sorts of amazing places.
I love road trips as long as I don’t get motion sick! JanD
Yeah, that can definitely be a problem. Does riding in the front help you? Those roads in the highlands are windy.
This place sounds beautiful, I will have to go this summer coming since it’s not to far away, only moved to northern England about a year ago and have so much exploring to do! Scotland is on the list and this place drive is now on the list. I to love road trips!
Yes. You will love it. There is so much history there (as with the rest of the UK and Europe) and the landscape is just breathtaking.
Kathy - Walkabout Wanderer
I love Scotland! It is so so beautiful. I did find John O’groats a little over rated. Just a bit further down the coast away from the bikes (I was one of them when I did the cycle from Lands End to John O’groats) are less crowded versions. However I guess you are not really at the most northern mainland point of the UK.
Thanks for the great tip.
I agree with you on John O’Groats. We basically just stopped for the sign, and the views of the islands to the north and then kept driving. It was so crowded too.
This is a beautiful place not that I know but want to see one day.
I hope you do! It is lovely. 🙂
I would really love to visit Scotland, I went to Edimburgh and did a day trip to St Andrews when I was in college, but I’d really like to venture up North!
I thought all of Scotland was beautiful, but I loved the Highlands the most. I hope you make it up there someday.
Scotland is at the very top of my bucket list. Hoping for 2018!
Good luck! I hope you make it!
I’ve never been to Scotland, but I bet the lush greenery is beautiful. I would love to visit there someday and do a road trip through the country.
Coming from the desert, yes, I loved the lushness of it. But there is also a certain kind of desolation in the highlands. It is unarguably beautiful, but it is different. I hope you can make it in the future. Exploring the countryside in Scotland is really enjoyable.
This would be an amazing roadtrip! There are so many great places there.
Yes! So true. Scotland is amazing. 🙂
Honestly, sometimes my heart aches for Europe! I visited Scotland when I was too young to remember anything. I cannot wait to go as an adult!
I know that feeling! My family visited a bunch of places when I was young that I long to go back to.
It looks like a such a magical place. I have always wanted to visit; my grandmother was Scottish and the stories she would tell about Scottland were just amazing
That is really cool! I hope you get to visit so that you can seen some of the places that she was talking about.
Wow, how beautiful!! What an experience. I’d love to travel more one day. Thank you for sharing !
It was really wonderful. 🙂 Maybe you will make it up there in the future.