Yesterday, I shared a list of the most spectacular roads in the world on Facebook. The Rohtang Pass in India was indeed majestic, Australia’s Great Ocean Road was as awe-inspiring as promised and the Øresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark checks out as an utterly emphatic statement of man’s dominance over nature.
Every single one of the list’s 16 roads was utterly and brilliantly spectacular. It was all we could do not to jump in a car and head on a worldwide road-based scavenger hunt.
There’s just one but. There’s not one Scottish roads on the list. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
In fairness, the article was written by Ashly Perez from Los Angeles so she’s probably not intimately familiar with the quality of Saltire tarmac. We’re here to fix that.
Ashly, this article is for you. Buckle up and let me walk you through the five most breathtaking Scottish roads.
Durness to John O’Groats (A838/A836)
Welcome to the end of Great Britain. You’re as far north as you can go on the mainland unless you fancy wearing a snorkel.
To your north sit the islands of Orkney and Shetland and beyond those lie the dark expanses of the Norwegian Sea and Arctic Ocean.
The stretch of road between Durness and John O’Groats traces the roof of mainland Scotland. It’s the edge of the island and offers up sensational views both inland towards the craggy shore and out to islands and sea.
If you go on a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Orkney.
Rest and be Thankful (A83)
Summit the Arrochar Alps and drop down into the Rest and Be Thankful pass. At its highest point – 803 feet above sea level – the Rest and Be Thankful offers up sensational views of Glen Croe and the old valley road, which snakes along beneath you. At its end, the Rest and be Thankful delivers adventurous motorists to the shores of the idyllic Loch Fyne.
Truly one of Scotland’s most beautiful roads.
Glencoe to Inverness (A82)
There’s arguably no better way to get to know Scotland than by driving the magical road between Fort William and Inverness. The long straight stretch of tarmac runs almost the breadth of the country, altering its path only for Invermoriston and Dumnadrochit.
After skirting around Loch Oich, the A82 affixes itself to the northern bank of Loch Ness and boasts brilliant views all the way from Fort Augustus to Dochgarroch.
Stop at one of the special viewing points and hunt for the majestic shape of Nessie in the brown waters below.
Fort William to Mallaig (A830)
The Road to the Isles stretches from the tip of Loch Linnhe all the way to Mallaig and Knoydart on the west coast.
Along the way, stop and take in the Glenfinnan Viaduct, a magnificent piece of Victorian engineering and setting for the finest scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
The rest of the scenery isn’t half bad, either.
Selkirk to Moffat (A708)
When most people think of dream drives in Scotland, few think of the borders. However, the A708 between Moffat and Selkirk proves that you don’t need Highland hills for the drive of your life.
The route takes you past gently rumbling hills, brooding lochs, drystone walls and scraggy hedgerows. The road itself dips and dives and twists and turns, keeping your the butterflies in your stomach thoroughly energised.
It’s quintessentially Scottish and one of the best drives you’ll ever take in little country.