No matter how mind-blowing someone tells you the Highlands of Scotland are, don’t believe a word of it: They are far more spectacular than that. The only way to truly get gob-smacked is to get up there and see for yourself.
Motoring around the ever-changing incredible scenery from Ben Nevis & Glencoe up to Tongue on the north coast and round, westward to The Isle of Skye, my daughters and I said one word more than any other: “WOW.”
There are three reasons the Highlands make for such a great motorhome or caravan holiday.
One, the landscape is so intense, so extraordinary, that it often feels like you are on another planet. I’ve travelled pretty widely around the globe, and the Highlands are up there competing on the world stage for astonishing scenery.
Two, it is so under-explored that we enjoyed these incredible beauty spots either by ourselves, or in the company of a few similarly-thrilled travellers, also saying “wow.” You find yourself beaming at other beaming strangers.
And three, there is a relaxed attitude to parking up. No need to rely on caravan sites for every stop. Find a quiet spot and it’s perfectly normal to spend the night there. In fact, signs warn you in places it is not acceptable, so common is the practice.
This latter point makes for total immersion motoring, the excitement of not quite knowing where you will end up that day, and the chance of stumbling on a nice surprise – a hidden waterfall or little loch to swim in. It is about as far away as you can get, when you get away.
I don’t need to remind you that leaving any rubbish or loo waste would be a heartbreaking crime. Even the well-used spots we found were mostly spotlessly clean.
My two girls were enthralled and amazed at all times. So much so that watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer before bed represented a comforting normalisation of the senses.
Tips for visiting the Highlands:
1) Watch out for them midges. Yes they are as bad as everyone says. The sprays won’t protect you (much). Head to the coastline if they start to get on top of you – they don’t like the wind. And wherever you are, if the midges come in hard, bail.
2) Bring sandwiches. I’m sure there are a host of wonderful places to eat in the Highlands. We never found them, though. It was like eating out in the 70s, but with post-Brexit prices. So stock your fridge with sandwich fillers and feed yourself.
3) Beware of the wee roads. Many A roads up there feel like the minor B roads to the rest of us. Travelling on anything marked smaller than a main road, be prepared – especially if you are towing. Use a good
map, (plus GPS if you must) and give yourself options at every blind section. It’s like being in Lilliput at times if your vehicle or rig is anything other than teeny weeny.