Scotland scenery is some of the best scenery in the world, without a doubt. During the winter, this Scottish scenery is transformed – hills topped with soft pillowy white snow and greenery crystallised with glass-like frost. It really is incredible.
If you’re looking for a driving experience in Scotland, but you’re put off by the poorer weather conditions, don’t be disheartened. There are many routes which are heightened in beauty by the chilly winter weather.
Short or long haul, here are some great routes to follow in the Scottish winter wonderland.
Fort William to Mallaig
If you’re looking for a shorter, more restful journey with gorgeous Scottish scenery, then the drive from Fort William to Mallaig is for you.
Taking around 40 minutes to 1 hour, it gives you a great snippet of the beauty Scotland has to offer, which is guaranteed to whet your appetite for a longer journey another day.
On the way, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Neptune’s Staircase, Ben Nevis, and the Glenfinnan Viaduct from the Harry Potter films – the iconic raised track that the Hogwarts Express travels on!
You’ll take the A830 from Fort William on this journey. The first stretch of the route has the view to Loch Eil blocked, though the calmness of the trees lining the road will keep you at ease. In the winter, these green trees might be snow-topped, adding to the magic of the Scottish scenery.
At Glenfinnan, you can jump out of your car and head up the viewpoint for a breathtaking view of Loch Shiel and the Glenfinnan monument. There’s also a small trail down towards the Viaduct. Time your trip well and you might be lucky enough to watch an old train make its regular journey across it, plunging you into Harry Potter scenes featuring the Hogwarts Express trip home at Christmas.
Continue on your car journey past the icy deep blue shores of Loch Shiel and you’ll eventually reach the coastal village of Mallaig. Stretch your legs again on the Mallaig Circuit walk, soaking up all the beauty of the quaint working fishing port.
The quiet of the winter will allow you to absorb the Scottish scenery slowly rather than rushing it in the hustle and bustle of peak-season summertime.
North Coast 500.
This route is often hailed as Scotland’s answer to America’s famous Route 66. Starting in Inverness and taking 5-7 days, spanning 516 miles, the route takes you all around the North coast towards Dunnet Head, the most northerly point in Scotland and then back to Inverness.
If you intend to take this trip, get your timings just right so you can see the magnificent shimmering Northern Lights! This northern spot will give you an absolutely fantastic view.
There is no specific route to take, allowing adventurers to customise their own journeys, but it does begin and end officially in Inverness.
Take the A9 for the majority of the route and it takes around 2 hours and 40 minutes to reach Dunnet Head.
You’ll have stunning views of the East Coast this way, laced with ice crystals and powder snow.
South West Coastal 300
Take a trip in the opposite direction and trek down to Scotland’s most southerly point, the Mull of Galloway. For 300 miles, you’ll enjoy quiet roads through South Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.
The route is basically a large circle, filled to the brim with beautiful views of rugged clifftops and cosy and colourful little villages.
Passing along the South Ayrshire coastline, you’ll see the Ailsa Craig in all its glory, situated around 10 miles away from the mainland – you can make it out in the winter fog in Girvan if you swing by and stand on the beach front.
En route you’ll pass through (and hopefully stop at) the town of Kirkcudbright, a creative town linked to the rise of Glasgow’s art movement. With gorgeous historical architecture that will look positively eye-catching in the frosty winter months, you won’t want to leave.
The town of Whithorn is a must-see to add to your list on this route. It’s a world of Vikings, Saints and Iron Age life, with the first recorded Christian Church in Scotland. The history will really come alive in the colder months.
Ready To See Scotland?
These are just 3 of many fantastic driving routes to take in Scotland, exposing you to the gorgeous Scottish scenery.
Winter might be a time where many try to stay off the roads, particularly in the wet and windy conditions of Scotland, but with the right preparation and planning, you’ll be open to amazing scenes and sights.