Last summer my partner and I planned a 15 days road trip driving up through the UK and to travel across Scotland. My partner is half Scottish and having only ever visited Edinburgh in my life, he wanted to show me the beauty that Scotland has to offer.
The general plan was to set off from Leamington Spa where we live, travel up through the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, Kielder Forest, up to Edinburgh and Dundee (where he went to university), then cut across through Scotland to do the North Coast 500, then Isle of Skye, Isle of Mull and then back home. It’s a long trip and although we had a few things planned, we tried to keep it to one or two things a day to not put too much pressure on ourselves.
In this blog post i’m going to talk through the first 5 days of the trip because as you can tell this is probably going to be a very detailed series of posts! The first few days were mostly making our way to Scotland on the most scenic route we could and make the most of just trying to cover miles.
Day 1: Leamington, Peak District and Yorkshire Dales.
Day one we set off in the morning and headed north. We drove through Yorkshire and saw Derwent Valley, Mam Tor, Snake Pass and stopped at Holme Moss Summit. The first day wasn’t particularly exciting, but it was a very sunny day and we took it slowly. We found a random campsite that evening in the Yorkshire Dales and turned in early ready to get up early start and cover plenty of miles on Day 2.
Day 2: Brimham Rocks, High Force Waterfall and Northumberland National Park.
We got up really early and headed straight to Brimham Rocks, we managed to arrive early enough to avoid all the tourists and enjoy this park pretty much all to ourselves. This place is actually pretty cool, it’s full of lots of rock formations and reminded me of the Flintstones, who would totally live here. We’d finished walking around here around midday which by this point was pretty busy with tourists, so we’d planned it just right! This actually made us realise this was probably the best plan for the rest of the trip, arrive early to places and get early nights. After this we found somewhere to pull over and have some lunch before heading further North.
During the afternoon we came across information signs for High Force Waterfall, so we decided to take a little detour to see what it’s all about. Apparently it’s the biggest waterfall in the UK so definitely worth a little stop off, it was a little busy but free to park up and take a look and was a nice little stop before doing the final stretch to Northumberland National Park to find a camp site for the night.
Day 3: Kielder Forest, Bamburgh Castle, Bass Rock and Edinburgh.
Day 3 we started very early, mostly because we’d happened to stay in a camp site that had a huge swarm of midges, so we got up early and left as soon as humanly possible, unfortunately we still both got eaten alive anyway. We started the day by driving through Kielder Forest, which was suited more for 4×4 vehicles. We stopped in the forest at a cool little structure to take some photos along the way.
Next we headed to Bamburgh. I’ve spent a lot of time in Bamburgh and Chris has never visited before, so I really wanted for him to see it. It was a beautiful (but windy!) day and we had a little walk around the castle and grabbed an ice cream before having to hit the road again. We were meeting our friends for dinner in Edinburgh so had to make sure we were staying on time!
We decided to take the coastal road to Edinburgh and came across Bass Rock completely by accident. We’d pulled in somewhere to use the bathroom and saw it on the horizon. Bass Rock is a rock out to sea that all the Gannets live and it gives the rock a grey appearance. You can even get a boat tour out to see it!
We finally arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland in the early evening to meet our friends for dinner and eat pizza. We were staying at their place that night so it was a lovely change to have a proper shower and bed for the night and catch up with friends we don’t get to see very often.
Day 4: Dundee & the V&A Museum, Dunkeld and Loch Tummel.
We set off early from Edinburgh and headed to Dundee. Chris went to university in Dundee so it was a little blast for the past from him, but we also wanted to visit the new V&A Museum there. As we both work in the Video Games industry we wanted to catch the Video Game Exhibition whilst it was still showing and enjoyed it quite a lot.
Next we headed to Dunkeld for it’s infamous Fish and Chips and by that I mean, Chris always mentions how good they were. They lived up to expectation for those that care haha! We walked around the town to stretch our legs.
The last stop for day 4 was Loch Tummel. There was a great little viewing spot of the lake that we stopped off to enjoy and decided it would be nice to stay for the night in the area. So we headed down to the lake itself and found a campsite quite literally on the side of the lake. We relaxed and read out books to the beautiful still calm lake view before another early start.
Day 5: Cairngorm National Park and Boat a Garten.
We spent most of the day exploring the Cairngorms National Park in the car. We tried to go the railway but found out it had closed down the year before which is such a shame. So we decided to park up and take a little hike and enjoy the view, my van’s probably wern’t the best choice of footwear but you live and learn!
We then headed to Boat a Garten where we’d booked an Air Bnb for a couple of days. Boat a Garten is a great base to explore Loch Ness and the surrounding areas and a great place for us to relax for a couple of days and stock up on supplies. We spent the evening relaxing and catching up on Stranger Things Series 3 and crying about the ending (like you do!). That night there was a huge hail storm so we were very happy to be inside and not in the roof tent where we probably wouldn’t have gotten a great nights sleep with the noise.
Stay tuned for the next part…
So that was just part 1 of this 3 part mini-series for our Scotland Road Trip! The first leg of the journey was mostly making our way to Scotland itself and just seeing what the UK has to offer on the way there. It was a nice slow little start but there are some seriously beautiful bits coming up so make sure you come back and read those!
Is there anything so far that has caught your interest? or anything I’ve missed that you recommend? I’d love to know in the comments!