Not the North Coast 500: 3 Alternative Road Trips in Scotland

Not the North Coast 500: 3 Alternative Road Trips in Scotland

Fancy discovering Scotland by car? Road tripping in Scotland is not just about the North Coast 500. Here is a video guide to three stunning alternative Scotland road trips you could do instead.

Press play! 

Read on for more detail on how to drive the road trips and discover the places to visit in Scotland by car in the video.

1 – Go West as Far as You Can

Scotland’s wild west from Arisaig to Ardnamurchan is a driver’s dream. Cruise through a stark volcanic landscape, discover white sands that beat the Caribbean and then stay at a traditional inn for a sublime west coast sunset.

sanna-beach-ardnamurchan

How to Road Trip Ardnamurchan

Start: Fort William. Round trip. Distance 140 miles / 20km. Driving time: approx 6 hours

  • From Fort William take the Road to the Isles (A830) to Lochailort and then take the A861 to the village of Glenuig. The Inn, perched on Glenuig Bay is the perfect place to stop for a coffee or lunch.
  • From the Inn, drive south to the village of Salen, detouring off to visit the beautiful ruins of Tioram Castle which sits on a tidal island on Loch Moidart. Watch out for the tides, for it is very easy to get caught out on the island! The Salen Hotel is a great stopping point for lunch.
  • After lunch it is time to take the single track B8007 along Glenborrowdale. The road hugs the side of Scotland’s longest sea loch, with views of Mull across the sound.
  • At the end of the road is Ardnamurchan Point, with its lighthouse, the most westerly point in mainland Britain.
  • Don’t miss Sanna Bay where the sands are white and the sea is as blue as the Caribbean! You can drive to the beach but you can also walk from Portuairk along the coast to Sanna Bay – you get the best view of the beach from above!
  • To make this a round trip, return via the B8007 to Corran and catch the Corran Ferry (£8.20 a car inc passengers) back to Fort William or Glencoe.

Ardnamurchan Road Trip Tips

  • Before taking the B8007, make sure you know how to drive on a single track road!
  • You can make this a longer trip by hopping on the ferry from Kilchoan to Mull and then returning by ferry to Oban (see below)

More info: How to visit Amazing Ardnamurchan

2 – Discover Scotland’s Heart Breaking Glens

Deep in Scotland’s heart is the majestic ‘glen of weeping’ where the Glencoe Massacre eventually led to the Jacobite Uprising 23 years later. Drive this majestic Glen and then head to Glenfinnan to watch the ‘Harry Potter Train’ go over the viaduct.

Scotland road trips

How to road trip Glencoe and Glenfinnan

Start: Anywhere north of Loch Lomond. One way trip. Distance 50 miles/80km. Driving time: 1 hour

  • From Loch Lomond take the A82 through Crianlarich and then Tyndrum. The road then opens up to the Highlands, taking you through Rannoch Moor to the head of the glen, guarded by Buachaille Etive Mor (the Great Herdsmen of Etive) at the head of Glen Etive. James Bond fans might want to take a detour into Glen Etive to take that Skyfall photo.
  • There are various photo points in the Glen including at the Three Sisters, but be careful, as the road is very busy – so use the car parks at all times! In Glencoe, the Clachaig Inn is an institution for real ale and food.
  • Leaving the Glen behind, head to Fort William for lunch before taking the Road to the Isles (A380) to Glenfinnan. Stopping points include Neptune’s Staircase, a flight of 12 canal locks.
  • At Glenfinnan, the ‘Harry Potter Train’, otherwise known as the Jacobite Steam Train crosses the viaduct twice a day – at around 11am and 3pm. The best views are from up behind the viaduct so get there early.
  • On the banks of Loch Shiel is the Glenfinnan Monument, a tribute to those fallen fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie in the Jacobite rebellion.
  • More info: Let’s go to Glen Coe!
You might also like...  Road Tripping Scotland's Stunning West Coast (a NC500 Extension!)

3 – Go ferry hopping around our beautiful islands

Road tripping in Scotland is not all about driving. Take a ferry to discover Scotland 790 islands. The best road to the isles – is actually on the water.

How to ferry hop around Scotland

From Orkney and Shetland in the north to the Outer Hebrides of Lewis and Harris and the myriad of islands that make up the Inner Hebrides including Arran and Bute you have lots of choice for your island hopping adventure.

Visit Scotland has a guide to the Scotland ferry companies, including the most well known, Caledonian MacBrayne, affectionately known as Cal Mac. Cal Mac offer an Island Hopscotch ticket which allows you to hop along various routes. A great ferry hopping road trip can be taken from Ardnamurchan to Mull and back to Oban.

Start: Kilchoan on Ardnamurchan. One way trip. Distance 40 miles/65km including ferries. Driving time: 3 hours including crossings.

  • From the Kilchoan ferry terminal catch the CalMac Ferry to Tobermory on Mull. The Kilchoan to Tobermory ferry takes around 40 minutes.
  • On Mull, stay in Tobermory which is a bustling little town, with lots of restaurants and bars.
  • Spend at least a day exploring the island, great views of the island and the west coast can be seen from the island’s Munro, Ben More, there is a distillery in Tobermory and the island has great beaches such as Calgary Bay.
  • Return to Mull from Craignure, catching the Craignure to Oban ferry which takes 55 minutes. Oban is famous for seafood, so make sure you stop in the town for at least one meal. For great views of the town and the Isles, climb up to McCaigs Tower.

If you now fancy planning your own road trip in Scotland, check out my guide on How to Plan a Road Trip in Scotland. Remember that wherever your road trip journey takes you, take it easy, there is no rush – don’t let Scotland just whizz by. Make sure you always greet the locals with a wave as you go past, and always stop and say hello to our lovely hairy coos!

Love, from Scotland x

More Scotland Road Trips

Pin for later

Road Tripping in Scotland (1)

Follow:

8 Comments

  1. Ruth
    18/07/2017 / 2:30 am

    This is paradise for adventures and road trippers. Hope to visit Scotland one day. I cannot resist coasts like that (plus, there are castles around). #MondayEscapes

  2. 18/07/2017 / 9:48 pm

    Absolutely stunning! I’d love to visit Scotland for a hiking holiday, must add these places to my list 🙂

  3. 19/07/2017 / 11:51 am

    Great wee blog! Can i ask you a question….. How did you get the route onto the blog with an interactive google map?

  4. travelingchristie
    19/07/2017 / 9:43 pm

    Wow what an incredible trip, the views are just breathtaking, I so want to do a Scottish Road Trip those views and that open space is just so beautiful and good for the soul, thanks so much for linking up #MondayEscapes xx

  5. 23/07/2017 / 7:46 am

    Very useful article, especially since we are going on a road trip to Scotland next week. Thanks for the info about the time the Harry Potter train crossing the viaduct. I didn’t find information about this elsewhere!

  6. 27/07/2017 / 1:40 pm

    Oooh I wanna do all of these! I had a brief road-trip around the Cairngorms but so many more beautiful landscapes to see!

  7. 14/10/2017 / 8:01 am

    Just discovered your blog. Timely as we are planning a road trip in June 2018 from Australia. Using your hints and tips as we speak to plan. Thanks

Leave a Reply