Road tripping in a caravan, motorhome or campervan is high up on the list of staycation activities this summer and Scotland’s North Coast 500 (NC500) is set to be among the most popular routes.
While the 516-mile circuit takes in some stunning locations in a loop beginning and ending in Inverness, it’s by no means the only route in Scotland to serve up beautiful scenery and activities in nature.
Ed Bassett, head of wanderlust at Camptoo, said: “Bookings show that Scotland’s NC500 route continues to be hugely popular, but we would encourage those looking to take a Scottish staycation to look further afield and head to the less obvious areas to avoid overcrowding, traffic congestion and overwhelming local resources.
“Van travel makes it even easier to go at your own pace, stop off at your favourite pit stops, and take in the sights, all from the comfort of your vehicle. Head off the beaten track this summer for a truly unforgettable Scottish adventure. Just be sure to pack the mozzie spray!”
So, where does Mr Bassett recommend? Here’s a lowdown of the five trips he suggests offer good alternatives to the NC500.
Perthshire Tourist Route
A good option for anyone short on time, the Perthshire Tourist Route is just 43 miles and starts a little bit north of the town of Dunblane. But what it lacks in length it makes up for in scenery, as it winds its way through the ever-changing landscapes of the heart of Scotland.
Fife Coastal Route
Following the coastline along the Firth of Forth, this 77-mile route offers caravanners a bit of everything. Soak up the charm of small fishing villages, try to spot red squirrels at Devilla Forest and visit the final resting place of Robert the Bruce at Dunfermline Abbey.
Moray Firth Route
Set out from Inverness and discover some of the most untouched parts of Scotland as you travel to Loch Fleet, taking in the Beauly Firth, Cromarty Firth and Dornoch Firth along the way. Across 80 miles of driving, you’ll be treated to rugged landscapes contrasted with glittering waters, showcasing the true beauty of Scotland.
There may not be snow on the peaks at this time of year, but you can still expect 90 miles of world-class scenery as you make your way through Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Moray Speyside, and the Highlands. The route starts in the picture-perfect market town of Blairgowrie and offers plenty of opportunities to try locally sourced refreshments.
The Shire Route of The Coig
The Coig is a collection of five driving routes and the one Mr Bassett suggests taking is The Shire, which stretches for 138 miles. Enjoy beaches, harbours and stately homes as you drive between Irvine in the north, Ballantrae in the south and New Cumnock in the east. Be sure not to miss the 19th century Turnburry Point Lighthouse, with its awe-inspiring views across to the Isle of Arran.
Mr Bassett added: “Scotland’s topography makes it a fantastic road trip experience, from wild woodland to dramatic coastline, rugged mountains and green glens, not to mention an impressive number of lochs and castles.
“Our current booking data shows that Scotland is the most popular UK destination for campervan holidays this summer – outperforming typical holiday hotspots like Cornwall and the Lake District.”