Self-Drive Tour of the Scottish Highlands

Consider five days, five different picturesque towns, the Scottish highlands, and self-driving. That being exactly what me and my family of four undertook for our summer break.

We started out from the Edinburgh airport, our destination for the night being Pitlochry, a tiny Victorian town lying on the river Tummel, and crossed the Boundary Fault into the highlands. In addition to the visible geographical change as we travelled across, the area is culturally distinguishable from the lowlands, and of course the variation in whiskey production and flavour.

The slight, mid-June drizzle was our constant companion amidst the reticent and prodigious mountains, only enhancing the journey’s dream like quality. We took a slight detour into the Grampian mountains, one of the three major ranges in the highlands, if only to extend the quota of driving for the day. Interestingly, the name is owed to a typesetter's mistake back in the 15th century, adapted from the incorrect 'Grampius' instead of 'Graupius'. Throughout, it was as if you knew what was coming after every twist and turn on the road but it still possessed the ability to render us speechless as we crossed it, one breathtaking scene after another. Detours and mistakes are what make life memorable, right? I apologise for my philosophical takes, but that is precisely what a place like this does to you.

We journeyed from the bottom to Pitlochry in the east, to Inverness in the extreme north, to Fort William a way off in the west and from Oban to Glasgow down below, completing the enchanting circle. The Scottish highlands is the only region in the UK to come under the umbrella of the Taiga regions as it features concentrated populations of Scots pine. There were these tiny clusters of houses and cattle dotting the otherwise lusciously green landscape. Always being encompassed by mountain ranges or sometimes an alluring waterbody, behind which again laid the bewitching mountains, we were tantalised by the isolated houses which would be the quintessential retirement houses. The concept of time not withstanding, which seemed to stretch into infinity in the paradise that Scotland was, the five days had been unbelievable. As we stood beside the car, at the drop point on the fifth day, crossing it off our bucket list, the road trip had left us all mesmerised at the beauty that does exist.

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