With many of us unable to head abroad for our fix of blue skies and sunshine, it’s worth looking closer to home – Scotland’s rugged beauty can rival even the most striking landscapes of Italy, Spain, and Greece.
Its most famous route is undoubtedly the North Coast 500, but its popularity also means it is one of the busiest routes in the UK. So, with more of us than ever planning to enjoy a staycation, the experts at Camptoo have rounded up their top 5 lesser-known Scottish road trips to try.
Ed Bassett, Head of Wanderlust at Camptoo, says: “Scotland’s topography makes it a fantastic road trip experience, from wild woodland to dramatic coastline, rugged mountains and green glens, not to mention an impressive number of Lochs and castles.
“Our current booking data shows that Scotland is the most popular UK destination for campervan holidays this summer – outperforming typical holiday hotspots like Cornwall and the Lake District.
“Bookings show that Scotland’s NC500 route continues to be hugely popular, but we would encourage those looking to take a Scottish staycation to look further afield and head to the less obvious areas to avoid overcrowding, traffic congestion and overwhelming local resources.
“Van travel makes it even easier to go at your own pace, stop off at your favourite pit stops, and take in the sights, all from the comfort of your vehicle. Head off the beaten track this summer for a truly unforgettable Scottish adventure. Just be sure to pack the mozzie spray!”
Read on for Ed’s top 5 road trip routes through Scotland…
Perthshire Tourist Route (43 miles)
Short but spectacular, the Perthshire Tourist Route starts just north of Dunblane and offers non-stop scenery on an epic scale. Winding its way through the heart of Scotland, visitors can drink in the ever-changing landscapes. Highlights include the covered slopes of the rugged Sma’ Glen and Crieff Hydro, a Victorian spa. There are also several distilleries enroute where you can sample local whisky, but please remember never to drink and drive.
Moray Firth Route (80 miles)
Ideal for those looking to travel at a slow and steady pace, the Moray Firth Route is a meandering journey from Inverness to Loch Fleet, via the glittering waters of the Beauly Firth, Cromarty Firth and Dornoch Firth. Along the drive, pass through rugged landscapes of Easter Ross and Sutherland, two of the most breath-taking and untouched parts of Scotland.
Stretch your legs with a stroll to Rogie Falls and cross the impressive suspension bridge over the Black Water river. If travelling in August or September, you may be lucky enough to spot wild salmon leaping upstream. Topped by a mast, Struie Hill viewpoint offers stunning views of the Dornoch Firth and Tarbat Ness and is well worth the 2.5hr walk there and back.
The Coig – The Shire (138 miles)
The Shire touring route is one of five routes to make up The Coig on the west of Scotland, taking in over 100 miles across Ayrshire. Stretching between Irvine in the north, Ballantrae in the south and New Cumnock in the east, there is plenty to see along the way and attractions unique to the area – including beaches, harbours, and stately homes.
Sprawling Troon Beach, Irvine Harbour, and the fishing village of Dunure, home to the clifftop ruins of Dunure Castle, are well worth visiting. Turnburry Point and Lighthouse is a 19th century lighthouse offering fantastic views across the Ailsa Craig and Isle of Arran.
Fife Coastal Route (77 miles)
Follow the glittering Firth of Forth coastline on this meandering route, taking in the Royal Burgh of Culross, the historic town of St Andrews, and the beautiful fishing dwellings in the East Neuk area.
The trail starts from Kincardine Bridge and ends at Tay Bridge. Other highlights include Devilla Forest to spot red squirrels, Dunfermline Palace & Abbey to see the burial spot of Robert the Bruce, and the Tentsmuir Forest with fresh scent from pine trees and sand dunes.
SnowRoads (90 miles)
This incredible 90-mile stretch takes in some of the most scenic points in Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Moray Speyside, and the Highlands. Starting in the picturesque market town of Blairgowrie, the route passes through several towns, including Braemar, Ballater, and Tomintoual, finishing in Grantown-on-Spey. You can, of course, also start in Grantown-on-Spey and work your way down to Blairgowrie instead.
Expect snow-capped mountains, rugged glens, and delicious locally sourced food and drink. The route also encompasses some of the Cairngorms National Park’s finest areas and towering Munros for outdoor adventures.
To find out more and book a van for your road trip, visit www.camptoo.co.uk.
Image credit: Tobias Weinhold, Unsplash