Ah, the Scottish Highlands. Breath-taking scenery, friendly locals, the freshest food aannnddddd snake like roads carved into mountains and treading precariously close to lochs. For those new to driving in rural Scotland, it can be a baptism of fire. Here's why:
1. Their width. In some places, you would be lucky to get one car down the road, never mind two. Us locals have become adept at driving on tight roads and seeking passing places out of nowhere. Virtually all have frequent passing places for you to pull in and let oncoming traffic past. Although traffic isn't usually an issue, you'd be wise to consider the locals and make sure that you allow them to overtake.
2. The animals. Sheep are the most likely culprits. I often find them relaxing on the tarmac and soaking up the sun, seemingly without a care in the world. Best just take a moment to enjoy the scenery whilst waiting for them to move on.
3. Their length. A highland mile is not the same as a normal mile. Well it is really but when you add in the 'road factor', it definitely feels twice as long. Single track roads, carved into hillsides with resident sheep don't provide the ideal conditions for speedy driving. Just as well because it gives you more time to enjoy the breath-taking landscapes.
4. The breath-taking vistas. It's hard to keep your eyes on the road when the scenery is so spectacular. Not only that but it never looks the same two days in a row. The tumultuous weather and changing seasons dictate the colours, the light and form of the landscape. One of the many reasons why it is such a joy to be a photographer here.
5. The weather conditions. It's easy to get caught out here. The weather conditions can and do change rapidly. That old adage about 4 seasons in one day - it's true. When the weather gets tough, head indoors for a cuppa.
I love driving these roads. None of these things put me off. They add to the charm. With a bit of common sense and respect for the locals who don't necessarily have the time to meander and enjoy the scenery, you might just find that driving on Scottish roads is the best trip you'll ever take.