“It is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the world, the history is fascinating, the men are handsome and the whisky is delicious.”
– J.K. Rowling
Few people know Scotland like J.K. Rowling and even fewer can explain it with as beautiful language – she’s pretty good at the old writing, don’t you know?
However, we think J.K.’s made a glaring omission in her famous appraisal of our dearest Scotland. Yes, she mentioned the beautiful landscape. Yes, she gave nodded towards the intricate tapestry of Scottish history. Yes, she referenced the water of life. And yes, she shamelessly flattered the gentlemen amongst us.
But she didn’t mention the roads!
Not one mention of the ribbons of tarmac perfection that criss-cross our fine nation from the tip of John O’Groats to the tail of the Mull of Galloway.
Not one word. Not one syllable. Not one single sound for the strings of tar-penetrated macadam (we had to look up the fancy name) that more ought to traverse the clouds of Heaven than the craggy hills of our little country
In fairness to J.K., she rarely has to use muggle modes of transport, preferring – as she does – broomstick, flying Ford Angilas and the Floo Network.
We, on the other hand, see a lot of roads. Every day our drivers roll their way from Dundee to Dumfries and Inverness to Inveraray. We know every inch of every foot of every yard of every mile. We know the roads like the back of our hand.
If there’s a new pothole, it’s a talking point. If there’s a pothole repair, it’s a party.
With our unique insight, we thought we’re the best people to whip up a wee list of the best driving roads in Scotland. So without further ado, here are our three best driving roads in Scotland.
Glasgow to Fort William
Starting with one of the most well known roads in Britain – if not the world – the A82. The A82 reaches northward from Glasgow, connecting the bustling hub of the city with the snow-peaked Munros of the Highlands.
If the road looks familiar, it might be because James Bond drove it in Skyfall!
The A82 is a beautiful road that slowly winds its way up along the shores of Loch Lomond before carving a thin line between the mountains of Glencoe.
Unfortunately, the road can get quite busy so you’ll have to contend with coaches, lorries and the odd boy racer. But concentrate on the surroundings and nothing will dampen your spirits.
The Road to the Isles
The Road to the Isles runs west from Fort William and doesn’t stop until it reaches the Atlantic. Along the way it passes passed hundreds of year of history, through beautiful forrests and round the endless black depths of Loch Morar.
The highlight of the drive is the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct. Constructed by Victorian engineers at the turn of the nineteenth century, the Viaduct carries the West Highland Railway on its way towards the coast upon giant stone arches.
Again, if it looks familiar, that’s because the Viaduct was used in the second Harry Potter instalment.
The Road to Applecross
From close to two dozen miles away you can see the the Road to Applecross – or rather you can see the two jutting mountainous ridges between which the single track road winds.
Leaving Lochcarron, the road gently tosses and turns, subtly warning drivers of the drama to come. Before long warning signs start to sprout at the roadside and the incline begins to grow. Drivers are leant back into their seats and the bonnet points higher and higher into the sky.
For what seems like an eternity the road ascends, finally breaking through the inevitable clouds and leveling out at a dizzying 625.7 meters from sea level – just 100 meters shy of Ben Stack to the north.
If the skies are clear, the summit offers spectacular views across Skye, Rum, Raasay, Rona, Harris and Lewis. A sight that has to be seen to be understood. As the sun catches each peak, the oranges and reds dance all the way out to the horizon. Truly one of the most spectacular vistas in our fine country.
What do you think of our list? Have we missed anywhere truly exceptional? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.