Active + Adventure

Favorite Road Trips

by Jason H. Harper

The winding road: Scottish Highlands

Why: An otherworldly mix of crashing coastline, heather-covered hills, and craggy mountains—and some of the world's friendliest people.

What to expect: Scotland isn't actually very big, but once you get north, the roads often become single-lane tracks, with pull-offs to accommodate oncoming traffic. It isn't speedy, but at least you're more likely to get caught behind a sheep than a tractor trailer.

Start your engines: Caledonian Classics, a specialized car rental agency near Edinburgh, will set you up with the ultimate U.K. tourer: a sexy 1970 Jaguar E Type. And they'll customize a road itinerary, too. A perfect one is a three- or four-day loop up the Western coast, past towns like Inversnaid and Oban (home to phenomenal whisky, named Oban of course), and with a stopover on the Isle of Skye. From there east to Inverness and then south to Loch Ness (get out your cameras!) and Fort William.

Road secrets: Looking for an adrenaline buzz? On the mainland just across from Skye, take the Bealach na Ba road from the seaside village of Applecross over the mountain pass. It's a narrow zigzag of a road (pictured) that sidles along a cliff. Near the top there's a lunarlike landscape often swallowed by clouds, yet you can usually still spy the sea beyond. Classic Highlands beauty that you'll never forget.

Shack up: The Kinloch Lodge on the island of Skye is a short drive to the mainland, making it an ideal stopover point. Even better, the two antique-decorated houses are owned by Lord Godfrey and Lady Claire MacDonald—she's a chef famous for her Scottish country-style cooking. You may come for the views overlooking the loch (that's a lake to you, laddie), but you'll probably stay for the food. You might—might—just take to the taste of haggis.

Caledonian Classics
Tel: 44 125 974 2476
Seven-day Jaguar E Type rental, with unlimited mileage, $2,064

Kinloch Lodge
Tel: 44 147 183 3333
Doubles from $344, including breakfast

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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