Want to go away this Easter but can’t afford to go abroad? Linda Guma suggests a road trip around Scotland could just be the perfect alternative
A road trip around Scotland is an ideal choice for those of you looking to get out of England without doing too much harm to your student budget. Thriving in culture and heritage, Scotland is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. Wild mountains, incredible wildlife, and haunted castles constitute just some of the breathtaking aspects of Scotland, where the outdoor enthusiast can take advantage of many adventurous activities. Don’t forget to try some traditional haggis or the calorie-bomb deep-fried Mars bars en route for an authentic Scottish experience.
You’ll definitely want to visit the mysterious and enchanting Loch Ness, situated in the heart of the Highlands. Well-renowned for the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, the lake attracts plenty of visitors eager to spot Nessie. You can enjoy spectacular scenery while staying fit by taking an invigorating walk up and down the steep hills surrounding the lake. Or, better yet, enjoy a challenging bike ride. You can also rent out a horse and go on a relaxing hack in the Loch Ness Glenn. On the banks of Loch Ness, you’ll find the ancient ruins of the Urquhart’s Castle. A medieval fortress between the 13th and 17th centuries, the castle withstood half a millennium of bloody struggles between the Scots and Brits. Under Scottish rule since the 1300s, the castle’s visitors’ centre now gives a comprehensive account of its impressive history.
Orkney and the far North
After a few nights, drive through the mountainous county of Caithness and Sutherland, all the way to the far North. Allow yourself to be taken aback by dramatic coastal views. The dense vegetation, peaceful rivers, and secluded beaches create an incredible atmosphere and the ideal occasion to do some fishing. Make sure you include Orkney and a visit to its islands and archaeological sites in your itinerary. And after relishing the sight of the prehistoric villages and ancient remains, palaces, and tombs, there’s plenty of bird watching to be done.
Continue your journey by cutting across the country and heading toward the west coast. Visit the photogenic Eilean Donan Castle, a 13th century Viking stronghold in Loch Duich and the quaint villages, Kyle of Lochalsh and Plockton, just a few miles south. Crossing over the bridge nearby you can also reach the Isle of Skye where you can enjoy more scenic drives and castle tours, as well as engage in activities including pony trekking, golfing, and water sports such as canoeing, yachting, windsurfing, and diving.