I had heard that Scotland had some of the best driving anywhere. I generally take statements like these with a pinch of salt but I’ve always been partial to a good road trip. So when my wife and I were in Scotland for a family celebration, we took the opportunity to tack on a wee (I’m not sorry) drive around the Highlands.
We figured the Highlands would be a pleasant place to spend a bit of time. We were entirely wrong. They are an incredible place to spend some time and the driving was every bit as good as billed.
Leaving aside the friendly people, outstanding food (yes, you read that correctly) and magical hotels, the landscapes alone are worth the trip. We’d often drive around a corner and have to stop the car to get out and gawk, incapable of anything more than a “wow” or a muttered expletive. It really is a jaw droppingly pretty place.
An expert on Scotland I am not, but the treasures we found left us in love with Scotland and itching to get back. They’re just too good not to share:
Sat at the edge of Torridon Loch, The Torridon Hotel is a properly old school country hotel complete with miles of wainscotting, a plush living room in which to take tea and scones, and a bar with enough whiskey to make a grown man weep with gratitude. The hotel is small and intimate with amazing service and equally impressive food and nicest possible base from which to explore the stark and beautiful landscape that surrounds it.
Killiehuntly is what I want my house to be like. Impeccably designed, it’s Highland farmhouse meets Scandinavian minimalism. You’d be forgiven for thinking that sounds like a mess but it most assuredly is not. Killiehuntly is a perfect country retreat. Your days are spent exploring the miles of spectacular rolling countryside surrounding the farm, followed by sumptuous farm to table meals, finished off with drinks curled up next to a roaring fire.
Situated magnificently by an obligatory loch, Monachyle Mohr has quirk and charm to spare. It also has one of best restaurants in Scotland. No word of a lie, I had one of the best meals of my life here.
We ended up in North Berwick which is about an hour’s drive east and just a bit south of Edinburgh, and worth a look in its own right. It’s a cute seaside town and my suggestion would be a morning hike up The Law (the big hill behind the town) followed by some killer coffee at Steampunk Coffee Roasters and some fresh pastries from Bostock Bakery – rated by certain authorities as the best bakery in Scotland. Their sourdough bread is to die for.
When a chap with as much travel under his belt as Dan starts running out of hyperbole, it’s time to pay attention.