Scotland Stories and Tips

Scotland Driving Tour - Part 1

The western highlands Photo, Scotland, United Kingdom

A journal of Scotland would not be complete without discussing and showing the beautiful countryside as we made our way around from town to town.

During our week long vacation in Scotland our journey took us from Glasgow, north to Inverness, to the east to visit the Whisky Trail, and then south to St. Andrews. I generally don't drive when I visit the British Isles, but it is the only way to go if you want to take charge of your own itinerary. We did a great amount of planning for trip, using IgoUgo of course, and had created an itinerary that provided lots of flexibility should our plans change. The trip consisted of lots of sightseeing (as noted by the many reviews in this journal) and golfing, while my wife went shopping.

After about a half an hour on the road I got used to the driving on the other side of the road, and shifting backwards. It took me longer to get familiar with the roundabouts, primarily due to needing to check the signs as I am approaching the roundabout. At first, it the reaction time to view the myriad of alternatives was slow. However, by the end of the first day of driving my reaction time was improving. By the beginning of the second day I was comfortable with all of the changes and driving with reckless abandon as I do at home.

The major cities are connected by wide roads similar to the interstate system in the United States. However, most of the driving I did, and to connect to most parts of Scotland, is spent on narrow two-lane roads. It reminded me of being a small child traveling in my parents car in the 1950s in the United States. In addition to narrow winding roads, you occasionally came to a point where only one car could pass at the time. Additionally, in some places you just prayed that no one was going to pull out in front of you as you rounded a blind corner.

Another source of problems were the motorcycles, not that I have anything against motorcyclists (just the way these folks were riding). All along the A82 from Glasgow to Inverness I would look in the rear mirror and see one to three motorcycles on my tail. With a zip of acceleration each of them would pass me, sometimes while going around those blind corners. Up ahead I would see them weaving in and out of cars on those narrow roads. We came close to having a head on with a few of them as they were passing other cars. We encountered literally hundreds of them, clad in full-body gear of all colors. I thought perhaps life must be so boring there that they need the thrill ride to liven things up. Unfortunately, a few days later we came across one of those motorcyclists who was not so fortunate, backing up the road for miles.

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