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The highest village in Scotland.

The South West Coastal 300 is a new Scottish driving route that is perfect for a campervan or motorhome trip. Extending some 300 miles through the tranquil and scenic south-west region of Scotland, the circular road route takes in numerous attractions.

The route of the SWC300
Holidaying on the South West Coastal 300

The SWC300 is the third in a series of Scottish driving routes, including the North Coast 500 and the North East 250.

The SWC300 drive could be completed several days while on holiday in Scotland in a campervan or motorhome hire. But there is so much to see and do that it would be better to enjoy the journey over a week.

This guide to the South West Coastal 300 splits the journey into four sections.

Beautiful landscapes.
South West Coastal 300 in a nutshell

The 300-mile-or-so South West Coastal 300 (SWC300) is located in a quiet corner of Scotland in the south-west area. It heads through Dumfries & Galloway region and Ayrshire.

The driving loop reaches the most southerly point in Scotland at Mull of Galloway, as well as passing through Wanlockhead, in the Lowther Hills.

The SWC300 features fabulous coastlines, including two lowland peninsulas, and several traditional seaside hotspots of Ayrshire.

Inland, the route winds through a delightful rolling countryside, edges atmospheric forests and crosses dramatic moorlands.

The SWC300 sticks as much as possible to quiet country roads although inevitably there are some shorter stretches that are busier with traffic.

It’s possible to start anywhere on the circular route.  Most people will access the SWC300 from major routes, including the M74 and M77.

Section 1 of South West Coastal 300
Views on the Solway coast.

Dumfries to Kirkcudbright, Dumfries & Galloway

The historic town of Dumfries offers a good starting point for a holiday driving the SWC300. Before setting off, why not take a stroll about the town, which is closely associated with Scotland’s bard, Rabbie Burns.

A walk of 4.5 miles in Dumfries follows in the footsteps of the famous poet along the banks of the River Nith and through the town centre. Other attractions to visit include Robert Burns’ House and Dumfries Museum.

Sweetheart Abbey, New Abbey. Credit: Rosser1954

From Dumfries, the SWC300 heads south to reach a picturesque village called New Abbey. It is famed for beautiful Sweetheart Abbey, which is now in ruins. It was built in 1273 by the widow of John Balliol, a prominent figure on Scottish history. It’s a peaceful place for a picnic, or enjoy a light meal or snack at the neighbouring café.

The route travels further, joining the Solway Coast with fabulous views. On a fine day you might see as far as the Lake District. The Solway Firth is the watery border between Scotland and England.

Southerness Lighthouse. Credit: James Johnstone

A short detour at the village of Kirkbean reveals one of Scotland’s oldest lighthouses at Southerness. The views from the top are a lovely but you need to be lucky to find the building open to the public.

If it is closed, don’t worry, because the SWC300 soon reveals further coastal views as it continues, hugging the coast and passing through Sandyhills with its beautiful beach.

At Colvend, it’s well worth detouring to Rockcliffe. The superb rocks-and-sand bay is the perfect place for a walk or just sit and enjoy the view.

The SWC300 continues to Kirkcudbright, where a possible overnight is found a little way on at Solway View Holidays. You might like to pop in to visit the 12th century Dundrennan Abbey before arriving in Kirkcudbright.

Kirkcudbright sits on the banks of the River Dee and is the only town on the Solway coast with a working harbour. It’s an pretty town with medieval, Georgian and Victorian buildings. Kirkcudbright became a magnet for Scottish artists in the late 19th century and is now know as The Artists’ Town. You discover plenty of galleries and artist shops to visit.

Statue of a man looking out to sea in Port William.
Section 2: Kirkudbright to Portpatrick

From Kirkudbright, you can follow the quiet and narrow B727 or the A755 to head west on the SWC300.

Both end up joining he A75, a busier rad, as you skirt to the south of Gatehouse of Fleet. Allow yourself to be diverted by tourist signs for

attractions such as Laggan Outdoor activity centre or Creetown Gem Rock Museum.

The landscape grows more rural and luscious green fields, like plumped up duvets, roll and billow towards a shoreline of pebble beaches and a turquoise sea.

Heading towards Newton Stewart, the SWC300 route takes a turn south again and on to what is known as the Machars Peninsula.

The book shop in Wigtown. Credit: Oliver Dixon

A little further on, Wigtown, Scotland’s book town, is a popular stop off place, especially if you enjoy browsing traditional book shops. There are plenty of cafes, too.

Close to Wigtown is another popular attractions, the ghoulish sounding  Martyr’s Stake.

Journeying by campervan further south the views are of lowlands farmland and shoreline as you head towards the intriguing Isle of Whithorn. Strangely, despite its name, the picture-postcard sea port harbour settlement is no long an island after a causeway was built in the late 18th century. It is also the location of the ruined 13th century Saint Ninian’s Chapel.

Nearby is the village of Whithorn, where St Ninian built a priory that is now acclaimed as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland.

At another harbour, Port William, I there is a delightful statue of a man at his leaning post looking out across moody Luce Bay. It’s surely a perfect place to rest for eternity.

The South West Coastal 300 rounds on to another peninsula called the Rhins of Galloway. The coastline is sublime with rugged headlands and sandy bays lapped by the sea.

Eventually, the route joins a single-track tarmac road going south to the Mull of Galloway. On the west side of the narrow stretch of land are steep cliffs and inlets of crashing waves, while to the east, the landscape is softer landscape with many sandy beaches.

Robert Louis Stevenson-designed lighthouse at Mull of Galloway.

The Robert Louis Stevenson-designed lighthouse, the most southerly in Scotland, was completed in 1830 and sits atop a 260ft high cliff. It feels perfectly wild and far-flung and as the sun begins to set the drama of this location is accentuated.

To reach Portpatrick, you must make the return journey north on the Rhins – the views are as beautiful heading north and they are going south –  where you might choose to stop for a night.

The peninsula is also home to Logan Botanic Garden, which is well worth a visit if you have time.

Popular Portpatrick.

Portpatrick is a lovely harbour town with pastel-coloured houses, a wide bay and a backdrop of low cliffs.

Section 3: Portpatrick to Sanquhar

Continuing in a clockwise direction, the SWC300 leave Portpatrick to travel the west coast from Dumfries & Galloway to South Ayrshire. Before leaving the tourist town you might like to take a walk on a stunning clifftop path to Dunskey Castle.

It would be easy to rush north along the A77, imaging that the only attraction is the omnipresent view of the island of Aisla Craig. It is a mesmerising sight in the Firth of Clyde but there is so much more to this coastline.

It’s fun to follow the direction of a few such as towards the beautiful beaches, of Ballintrae, Girvan, Maidens (past Trump Turnberry) and Dunure.

Culzean Castle. Credit: StaraBlazkova

Historic Culzean Castle is positioned on top of high cliffs along this coastline. The National Trust for Scotland property would easily provide entertainment for a half day. Alternatively, you and enjoy a coastal view of the castle from the shoreline by visiting Croy Shore and walking along the beach towards Culzean.

Another interesting place to visit is the Varyag memorial, at Lendalfoot, which honours those that died when the Russian cruiser sank nearby in 1920. Meanwhile, the “gravity hill” Electric Brae is acclaimed for its mystery. A freewheeling vehicle will appear to be drawn uphill on this road, a section of the A719, by some strange attraction.

If you are travelling as a family, the Heads of Ayr Farm Park is a must-visit.

Heading further north the landscape becomes increasingly rugged with high hills on one side of the road and a sandy-rocky shoreline on the other. The SWC300 sends drivers east just before reaching the town of Ayr, although you might like to visit the seaside town and enjoy the various shops and tourism attractions here.

More attractions are dedicated to Rabbie Burns at Alloway, which was the poet’s birthplace. It would be easily possible to spend a day delving deep into the poet’s life and works, with visits to Burns Cottage and Burns Birthplace Museum. 

The rest of this section provides a rewarding drive through glorious rolling hills and moors and into the Galloway Forest Park, the largest in Britain. Two beautiful conservation villages, Kirkmichael and Straiton, arrive one after the other.

Straiton would also make a great base for a day or two of walking or just an hour or so. There are five short walking trails that start and finish in the village.

A hike from Straiton climbs to a hilltop obelisk memorial, dedicated to Lt Col James Hunter Blair.

The village of Dalmellington is reached via the B741. It is a former centre for weaving and mining but is now better known for the nearby Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, located on a fantastic hilltop setting on the edge of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.

A good overnight spot might be Sanquhar and nearby.

Beautiful rolling countryisde on the South West Coastal 300.
Section 4: Sanquhar to Dumfries

The SWC300 returns to Dumfries & Galloway at Sanquhar. The historic town boasts the world’s oldest post office. A sign reveals the PO dates back to 1712.

Sanquhar is also famous for the Sanquhar Pattern, a world-famous geometric-style of knitting pattern.

There is a host of places to visit nearby, too, including Crawick Multiverse, the art project by the landscape architect and designer Charles Jencks, and Wanlockhead, which claims the title of Scotland’s highest village.

The SWC300 heads into the Lowther hills to Wanlockhead and also to nearby Leadhills. Both are famed for their mining heritage, including gold and lead, and a small museum is worth a visit.

Wanlockhead is the highest village in Scotland at 1531ft above sea level. It seem remarkable that a village in southern Scotland claims this title.

In the summer, Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway volunteers run Britain’s highest narrow gauge adhesion railway, reaching 1,498ft above sea level.

The SWC300 route descends though a superb remote-feeling road with rounded grassy hills to reach Elvanfoot, where the road turns south to follow the recently born River Clyde.

The drive is along amazingly empty roads, the B7076 and then the B719 and A701, that run mostly parallel to the motorway, to reach Moffat.

The historic spa town of Moffat is a popular place for tourists with a number of places to visit including Moffat Toffee Shop, cafes, independent shops and a museum.

Lockerbie.

The route continues on the A701 to rejoin the B7076 heading south for Lockerbie. The large town is, of course, known to most people for the Pan Am flight disaster in 1988 when a bomb exploded bringing down the plane and killing all passengers and crew, as well as 11 residents.

The disaster is remembered in a number of ways with stained glass windows in the Town Hall displaying the flags of the countries whose nationals were killed, a Garden of Remembrance and Lockerbie Air Disaster Memorial.

From Lockerbie, the SC300 turns west heading towards the coast again and heading back towards Dumfries.

See South West Coastal 300.

Book a campervan hire early

Open Road Scotland has a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and conveniently located close to Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland. If you plan to visit Scotland this summer we recommend you book your hire as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

The post Great Scottish routes: South West Coastal 300 appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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Walk in the Borders hills: Duchess’s Drive looking towards Bowhill estate.

A walking festival makes a great focal point for a motorhome or campervan holiday in Scotland.

If you are making for a motorhome or campervan holiday in Scotland why not focus on an event, such as a walking festival. You can enjoy the freedom of your own mobile accommodation while benefitting from the guidance of local experts who will lead a range of walks to suit all fitness levels and interests.

The longest established walking festival in Scotland is the annual Scottish Borders Walking Festival, which takes place from September 7 to 14.

His year marks the 25th editon of the week-long event, hosted by Selkirk and the Valleys (Ettrick and Yarrow) in a beautiful, unspoilt and still relatively unknown part of southern Scotland.

The festival is non-profit-making. Some charges are made for the countryside walks to cover costs but every attempt is made to keep prices low. In fact many are offered for free or “pay as you please”.

The organising team comprises volunteers.

The beautiful Eildon hills. Credit: Stewart McDowall
Special guest Cameron McNeish
What to expect at Scottish Borders Walking Festival 2019
  • 28 daily countryside walks of varying lengths and levels of difficulty
  • Walks led by rangers and others by local volunteer walk leaders.
  • Free and easy strolls led by local people with special interest themes
  • Social event programme
  • Festival First Night Welcome on September 7 in Selkirk’s Victoria Halls, with local performers.
  • Ceilidh night on September 13. This will also be a fundraising opportunity for local charity Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue.
  • Special guest, outdoors writer and presenter Cameron McNeish.
Did you know?

Cameron’s most recent best-selling book, There’s Always the Hills, won the 2018 The Great Outdoors Magazine Book of the Year award.

Cameron will be giving a presentation on There’s Always the Hills with a book signing afterwards.

Keep track of updates

The full programme and tickets will be available from midnight on March 31 at the festival website. See regular updates on Facebook and Twitter: @borderswalking

The Festival is supported by Scottish Borders Council, Live Borders, Selkirk Community Council and Ettrick and Yarrow Community Council.

Book a campervan hire early

Open Road Scotland has a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and conveniently located close to Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland. If you plan to attend one of the popular Scottish festivals it’s advisable that you book your hire as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

The post Take a walk at Scotland’s longest running walking festival appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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Scotland offers a long list of festivals throughout the year, including arts, books, music, whisky, walking and film. If you are planning a Scottish campervan holiday, why not book your Open Road campervan or motorhome hire to coincide with a festival?

Some festivals provide areas for campervans and motorhomes to park, or you will be sure to find a great caravan and motorhome park nearby. You could choose to visit a festival for a day, a weekend, or make a longer trip of it.

Here we list five of our favourite Scottish festivals that will take place in 2019.

The Book Shop in Wigtown. Credit: Oliver Dixon
Wigtown Book Festival

Wigtown, in Dumfries & Galloway, has become known as Scotland’s Book Town. It is the focus of an annual book festival from September 27 to October 6, 2019.

The town plays hosts to authors, writers, playwrights, as well as showcasing books, films theatre and art.

The beautiful countryside of Wigtownshire offers plenty more attractions and there are several caravan and camping sites located in the area.

See Wigtown Book Festival.

The popular Spirit of Speyside Festival.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

Speyside in the north-east of Scotland is acclaimed worldwide for producing many high quality whiskies. IN fact, the area is home to more than 50 distilleries and Speyside has the greatest concentration of malt whisky producers compared to any other whisky producing region of Scotland.

From May 1 to 6, 2019, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival takes place with a chance to visit distilleries, meet the whisky experts, join a whisky masterclass and taste a dram or two.

The festival also hosts a Whisky Awards.

There are a number of caravan and campsite options where you can hook up your campervan or motorhome.

Why not check out the North East 250 driving route while you are in he area?

See Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Take a walk to: Loch Brandy in he Angus Glens. Credit: Neil Williamson
Angus Glens Walking Festival

The four-day festival programme from May 30 to June 2 offers 20 walks, led by mountain leaders and countryside rangers, to suit many different levels of experience.

The Angus Glens is a stunning location with gorgeous scenery and plenty of historic towns and villages to visit, too.

A search on-line will reveal a number of great places to stay in Angus with your campervan or motorhome hire.

Also see how blog that lists 8 of the best walking festivals in Scotland.

See Angus Glens Walking Festival 2019.

One of the many beautiful places to see on Islay is Saligo Bay. Credit: G Laird
The Islay Festival of Music and Malt

What could be a more perfect combination if you like music and whisky? The festival, from May 24 to June 1 takes place on the Island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland.

You will also enjoy the adventure of traveling to a Scottish island.

It’s possible to reach Islay from Kennacraig Port, south of Tarbet, on the mainland by Calmac ferry.

Please read information about campervans and motorhomes on Islay.

See Islay Festival of Music and Malt.

One of the acts performed on the capital streets at the Fringe Festival. Credit: Fringe Society
Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe

A list of festivals in Scotland is not complete without the most famous of them all: The Edinburgh Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe.

The EIF is from August 2 to 26 and showcases a fantastic variety of the performing arts. Keep an eye on the website for details of this summer’s festival.

The Fringe, also from August 2 to 26, runs alongside the main festival and is billed as “the world’s greatest platform for creative freedom”. It features a long menu of exciting acts to see.

It is recommended that you book your place to stay with a campervan or motorhome early because demand for sites is always high during the festival period.

See Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe.

Book a campervan hire early

Open Road Scotland has a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and conveniently located close to Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland. If you plan to attend one of the popular Scottish festivals it’s advisable that you book your hire as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

The post Five Scottish Festivals in 2019 appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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Beautiful Inverness on the banks of the River Ness in the Scottish Highlands.

Inverness is the capital city of the Highlands and a great destination to head to as part of a campervan or motorhome holiday in Scotland. The city has many attractions to offer, including history, culture, arts, whisky and landscapes.

Inverness: Getting there

Inverness is located in the Scottish Highlands on the northeast coast, where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth. It takes around three hours to drive by road from Glasgow.

A motorhome is the ideal transport for visiting this Scottish destination and will give you a great view of the ever-changing landscapes, from the lower hills and mountains of central Scotland to the majestic Highlands.

Why not take a few days to reach Inverness and explore other fascinating towns and cities en route, including Stirling, Perth and Aviemore? However, if you are short of time, it’s easily possible to complete the drive in less than half a day.

Where to stay

There are a surprising number of options for overnighting in a motorhome or campervan in and around the city of Inverness. Search on-line and book early if you plan to holiday in Scotland at high season (spring and summer).

6 of the best things to do in Inverness
See a range of historic highlights in Inverness

1 History highlights

The Old Town of Inverness city features a number of historic sites, including the 19th-century Inverness Cathedral, the Old High Church, which mostly dates to the 18th century, as well an indoor Victorian Market, at Queensgate, selling food, clothing and crafts.

The modern Inverness Museum and Art Gallery offers visitors the opportunity to discover more about local and Highland history.

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Credit: Nicholas Mutton

2 Arts and culture

Check out events at Eden Court Inverness, which is a large theatre, cinema and arts venue, while you are in the city.

As well as the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery in Inverness, there are several more art galleries in the city including Castle Gallery, Scottish Flair Art Gallery and Inchmore Gallery.

The copper stills at Glenfiddich Distillery. credit: Tjeerd Wiersma

3 Whisky wonders

A stay in Inverness is not complete without a visit to at least one of the local distilleries.

Just north of the city is the village of Muir of Ord, which is home to Glen Ord Distillery.

A short distance east of Inverness is an area called Speyside, where you can visit a string Highland whisky distilleries, such as Glenfiddich and Balvenie.

Tomatin Distillery is 16 miles south of the city, and offers the rare opportunity to fill a bottle directly from a cask. (Booking in advance is recommended.)

Whisky fans might also like to check out whisky tasting sessions in Inverness at the  Highland Malt Whisky Experience and pop along to The Malt Room, a a whisky bar located in Inverness.

If you happen to be visiting the city in April, there is an Inverness Whisky and Gin festival Big Day out.

Sunset over Loch Ness.

4 Outdoor life

Inverness is very well located for seeing some of the great landscapes of the Scottish Highlands. Head in any direction from the city to be treated to views of spectacular mountains, glorious glens, lochs and the coast.

The beautiful mountain area of Torridon is a drive of about 1.5 hours to the west, for example.

If you like to take a stroll amid nature, Inverness Botanic Gardens is well worth a visit.

The Great Glen Way is a waymaked route between Fort William and Inverness and is perfect for walking and cycling. You can access it to the south of the city where you will enjoy a path along the banks of the Caledonian Canal and further south, Loch Ness.

For other ideas see Highlands walks at Walk Highlands.

Urquhart Castle on the shore of Loch ness, south of Inverness.

5 Great legends

Loch ness is famous for the Loch Ness Monster. It’s also the location of historic Urquhart Castle. Head south on a 30-minute drive from the city to Drumnadrochit to visit the castle and the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition.

Drive the NC500 route from Inverness.

6 Great drives

Inverness is also the gateway to the North-Coast 500, a driving route around north-west scotland and likened to America’s Route 66. Read about 11 highlights of the North Coast 500.

Hire a campervan in Scotland

Open Road Scotland has a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and  conveniently located close to Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland. Contact them for winter availability and prices.

The post 6 great reasons to visit Inverness appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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Winter in Scotland can be a brilliant time to hire a campervan or motorhome and head off for a driving holiday. While spring, summer and autumn are the most popular seasons for a Scottish campervan vacation, there are still many places to see and things to do in winter.

In addition, you have a greater chance of being able to book a campervan or motorhome hire when you want – and potentially for shorter breaks. The prices are cheaper, too, on many weeks because it is what is considered the low season for Scottish holidaying.

Find out some great reasons to book a Scottish winter campervan holiday.

Why go on a campervan holiday in winter? Winter beauty in Scotland

This view….Lochan na h-Achlaise on Rannoch Moor, against the backdrop of the Black Mount Mountains. Credit: John McSporran.

Scotland’s landscape is beautiful whatever the season, but in winter, when there is a frost on the ground or the hills and mountains are covered in snow, it can be even more breath-taking.

Travel to places where you have seen the view before and look at it anew under a blanket of pristine snow; gaze up at majestic mountain peaks topped with the white stuff, or head to the coast for dramatic vistas of crashing waves and moody seas.

See another of our posts: 15 fabulous winter views in Scotland.

Hit the Scottish ski slopes

Skier in the Scottish mountains.

Enjoy the snowy action at one of Scotland’s five ski resorts, which offer the best outdoor skiing and snowboarding in the UK. If you fancy trying a different snow sport head to Aviemore and book a sled dog safari or strap on a pair of snowshoes and join C-N-Do Scotland on a guided expedition.

Embrace Còsagach

You don’t always have to be outdoors to appreciate Scotland’s winter beauty. Drive the campervan or motorhome to a quiet spot, park up and experience a bit of Còsagach. This Gaelic word has been translated by VisitScotland as Scotland’s answer to Hygge, the Danish concept of cosy and convivial atmospheres that promote wellbeing.

Starry skies

Dark Sky Park in Dumfries & Galloway. Credit. getlstd

A clear winter’s night is a great time to appreciate the wonders of the cosmos. You can find perfect stargazing spots at Galloway Forest Park – the UK’s first Dark Sky Park , the Isle of Coll – a Dark Sky Island or Dark Sky Discovery Sites such as Tomintoul and Glenlivit within the Cairngorm National Park. Look out for planets as well as a host of twinkling stars as the sky, unlike during the summer nights, becomes properly dark

The Northern Lights

Aurora borealis ©Lorne Gill SNH

Winter usually offers a better chance of catching sight of the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights in Scotland. The best places are further north and also in areas away from light pollution.

Go on a night-time adventure

Go night mountain biking.

Winter might mean less daylight hours but Scotland doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. There is a host of great activities to try during twilight. You could go for a night walk, run or mountain bike ride, so long as you have the right lights and a good sense of where you are going, or else the skills to navigate at night.

If you are feeling brave, why not take the plunge at Highland Fling Bungee in Killiecrankie, Perthshire?  This is the place to go for Europe’s first (and only) black out bridge bungee jump.

It’s also possible to enjoy a night paddle on the waters across Perthshire with Outdoor Explore.

See old favourites in a new light

Winter is a great time to visit Skye by campervan or motorhome. Credit: John Allan

Winter is great time to enjoy some of Scotland’s most popular destinations at a quieter time of year. The Highlands and islands were recently named Best in Travel 2019 by Lonely Planet.

Take a road trip on the North Coast 500, drive the North East 250, use the dramatic winter sun to take the perfect photo at the beautiful Eilean Donan Castle, stop for a dram at one of Speyside’s many whisky distilleries or discover the magic and mystery of the Island of Skye, which is often very busy in the high holiday season.

Hire a campervan in Scotland

Open Road Scotland has a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and  conveniently located close to Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland. Contact them for winter availability and prices.

The post Why winter is a great time for a campervan holiday in Scotland   appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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Open Road Scotland turned ten years old this year and this feels like an event worth celebrating! It’s been an incredible decade for the company and we’re feeling very optimistic about the next ten years. To take stock of where we are (and how we got here), we thought we’d ask our founder, Andy McCluskey, a few questions about Open Road Scotland and publish them here, on our blog.

(Note: If you have a more specific question about our Scottish motorhome or campervan hiring services, please get in touch.)

Questions for Andy What was your motivation for setting up Open Road Scotland?

After years of working for big soulless corporate firms, I always wanted my own business, and I fell in love with campervans when I went on holiday to the Basque country in the French/Spanish Pyrenees back in 2005. I hired a van there and traveled around; it’s very similar to the west coast of Scotland, with beautiful mountains and a genuine sense of wilderness that I find very appealing. When I got home, I did my research and discovered that there were not many people offering campervan rental in Scotland at that point — so I spotted a gap in the market and went for it.

What is your best memory of Open Road Scotland over the last 10 years?

My best memory is of when we moved into our depot next to Glasgow Airport in 2010. I felt that was big moment for the business as we were no longer a new startup and we were growing rapidly. It was an exciting time for me, and for the business.

Where is your favourite destination(s) to drive to in Scotland?

There are so many to choose from, but one perhaps stands above the rest: Gairloch, Poolewe, and the roads around Loch Maree. Simply stunning. The Ratagan Pass from Glen Shiel to Glenelg is another favourite of mine.

View over Loch Maree

What would be your perfect road trip itinerary in Scotland?

There are too many to choose just one, but here is a favourite short trip that I love that also includes some ferry journeys — I think if you include a ferry you always feel you are on a real adventure!

Ferry from Gourck to Dunoon, then up the quiet — and criminally overlooked — Cowal Peninsula before arriving in Inveraray. Head west to Lochgilphead and then down the Kintyre peninsula to Macrihanish and Campbeltown.

Take the short Claonaig to Lochranza ferry then have a tour round the Isle of Arran. Finish off with the ferry from Brodick to Ardrossan and then back to Glasgow.

What has been the funniest, or strangest, request from a customer?

I had to provide the band AC/DC with two motorhomes for their backstage area when they performed at Hamden a few years ago. As the main dressing rooms were on the opposite side of the stadium from the stage, the band needed somewhere to relax in after they came off stage and before their encore. Inside the vans, they wanted scented candles, Irn Bru and Tunnocks Tea Cakes, and Classic FM playing on the radio. They were lovely customers and left my two vans very neat and tidy. Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Do you have any exciting plans for Open Road Scotland in the next few years?

I’m particularly excited about the phase over to electric vehicles in the coming years. With the growth in tourism in Scotland we need to think about the environmental impact on our beautiful country. I’m going to be concentrating on opportunities in this area and I suspect any efforts to provide a more environmentally friendly service for my customers will be very well received.

The post Open Road Scotland’s 10-year Anniversary appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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Are you thinking about a campervan holiday? Would you like to know some of the great reasons to book a campervan trip in Scotland?

Sourced from personal experience – because we not only hire campervans and motorhomes but we also enjoy our own campervan holidays – here are 10 benefits of spending your time in a campervan.

10 reasons to go on a campervan holiday 1 A step up from camping

Camping can be fun when the weather is good but the UK weather is not always kind. When it’s wet or cold, you will be far more comfortable in a campervan.

There is no need to pitch a tent, either. You simply drive to your destination, pull on the handbrake, turn off the engine and you’re ready to kick back/cook/relax/sleep.

2 Freedom to travel

You can travel when you want, where you want and as far as you want in a campervan.

There are no schedules or programmes to follow, such as those that would be in place on a typical organised tour, because you simply pick a destination or attraction and drive.

Scotland offers easy accessibility to all compass points of the country on a great network of roads. There are also plenty of campsites dotted across the country so you will rarely be far from good facilities.

3 Budget friendly

Book a pop-up van with space for four people.

If you are keen to tour Scotland, then you might choose to hire a car and book a series of different accommodations. You’ll also need to pay for your meals.

But if you hire a campervan you have your overnights and cooking arrangement sorted up-front.

The best way to reduce the cost person is to fill the campervan or motorhome, so a family of four makes the best sense in a campervan with a pop-up roof. You’ll save money by cooking your own food.

Modern campervans are comfortable and have moderate fuel consumption, so spending your vacations on the move is not as expensive as you might think.

4 Great for family holidays

Campervan road trips are a fantastic way to travel with children. There is a great sense of adventure in a campervan or motorhome and you get to enjoy quality time together.

5 Up close with nature

A van with a view.

Stopping at a quiet roadside, close to a beach, in a forest car park or, well, almost anywhere in rural Scotland offers the chance to get up close to the natural surroundings.

When you park up for a meal or to enjoy a relaxing rest, make sure you set up the camping chairs and simply sit and look around you.

We would love to see your favourite photos of places that you have stopped with an amazing view.

6 Take your dogs, too

There is no need to book your pet into the kennels because our campervans and motorhomes are dog friendly. Simply bring the dog with you so they can enjoy a holiday, too.

7 Great combination of indoor and outdoor

You’ll find out what we mean by this the first time you park the campervan in a beautiful place. The attraction of sitting inside a comfortable campervan and looking out of an open side door is immense.

Of course, there will be times when you are happy to sit outside, times when you’ll want to be cosy inside with the doors and windows shut and many times when you’ll be content to sit in the van with the doors open looking outside.

8 It’s a flexible way to travel

You could go surfing in East Lothian.

Choosing a holiday that suits the whole family is a bit like trying to cook a dinner everyone will like. In other words,  someone will always complain.

But a campervan trip can suit sightseers, surfers, walkers, cyclists, teashop fans, board games addicts and more.

One mode of travel can be something perfect for everyone – and as part of one big holiday.

9 Great for groups

If a group – such as extended family or several different families – want to take a combined holiday in Scotland, you could hire several campervans or motorhomes at once and head off for a holiday convoy.

You’ll enjoy travelling together and staying overnight in the same campsites or wild camping spots, yet you’ll also have the freedom to do you own thing during the daytime if you wish.

10 It’s a bucket list holiday

Put simply, many people have a trip in a campervan on their bucket list of holidays. So why not make it a “tick”?

Hire a campervan in Scotland

Open Road Scotland offers a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and  conveniently located close to Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland.

The post 10 great reasons to book a campervan holiday in Scotland appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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Driving through Glenshee.

If you are planning a campervan or motorhome trip to Scotland, the new North East 250 is well worth considering, especially as an alternative to the busier North Coast 500. Modelled on the NC500, the NE250 offers a beautiful road trip that is perfect for a campervan or motorhome tour around Scotland.

The North East 250 driving route

The 250-mile North East 250 forms a circular route in the north-east corner of the Scottish Highlands and passes through a wide variety of landscapes in the Cairngorms, Speyside, Moray, Aberdeenshire and Royal Deeside.

Two logical entry points for the driving tour of Scotland are the city of Aberdeen or, from Glasgow, the small settlement of Spittal of Glenshee in the southern Cairngorms.

The journey offers myriad attractions including castles, churches, museums, heritage centres, whisky distilleries, golf courses, ski resorts, mountain bike and walking trails, nature reserves and many beaches.

There are plenty of caravan parks along the NE250 so the route can be split into a multi-day journey.

You can start the route at Spittal of Glenshee.

Four-day driving tour on the NE250 Day 1: Spittal of Glenshee to Aberlour

 Miles: Almost 70 miles.

(Travelling north from Glasgow, head for Perth and then follow signs to Blairgowrie. The A93 takes you to Spittal of Glenshee.)

The NE250 route includes Spittal of Glenshee at its most southerly point. Leaving the small settlement behind and travelling north, the Cairngorms scenery quickly envelops travellers and offers huge open views of rounded mountains and wide glens.

The road climbs to the first high point at Glenshee Mountain (great for skiing in winter and for hiking and mountain biking in summer) before descending towards the famous historic village of Braemar.

A colourful bike outside a Braemar cafe.

There are plenty of attractions to visit from Braemar and you could easily spend a day or two here. The Scottish Highlands residence of the Royal family, Balmoral Castle, will be a must-see for many visitors, as well as Crathie Kirk which is best known for being a place of worship for the Royal Family when at Balmoral.

The road then climbs again on a narrow road to another ski mountain, The Lecht, and also to Tomintoul, the highest village in the Highlands.

A fast-flowing river is never far from sight and, as the seasons change, the heather-covered moorlands will provide a colourful backdrop through browns, yellows, oranges, greens and purple-pinks.

A long descent takes you into the rolling countryside of Speyside, which is famed for its fertile lands and whisky distilleries.

The final destination for the day is Aberlour where there is a lovely whisky distillery (if you arrive before closing time of 5pm) or take a quiet riverside walk to see a waterfall. Linn of Ruthie walk.

Art work on the Linn of Ruthie walk.

Other things to see & do:

  • Walking and mountain biking trails at Glenlivet Estate.
  • Tour one of many Speyside whisky distilleries.
  • Ballindalloch Castle and Gardens.

Suggested overnight: Speyside Gardens camping and caravan park. See: www.speysidegardens.com 

Day 2: Aberlour to Banff

Miles: 45 miles

Driving north from Aberlour, the landscape changes from rolling farmland to flatter coastal plains before reaching Spey Bay on the Moray Firth.

This north coast is a famous location for spotting wildlife, especially dolphins.

Visit Spey Bay on the Moray Firth.

A string of fishing villages and towns, such as Findochty, Portknockie and Cullen, are great places to stop for a walk, a morning coffee or for lunch. Park up and take a stroll to see historic harbours and pretty beaches.

Walk from Cullen along the coast.

A coastal walking path links the settlements and offers many views of a coastline of rocks, cliffs and some amazing geological formations, including sea stacks and arches.

The Whale’s Mouth.

Bow Fiddle Rock.

Look out for the slanted arched rock called Whale’s Mouth near Cullen and sea arch, Bow Fiddle Rock, near Portknockie.

Back on the road going east, you could visit Findlater Castle. It is discovered on a magnificent cliff-top location after a short walk from a car park.

Other things to see & do:

  • Craigellachie Telford Bridge.
  • Cardhu Country House.
  • Fochabers Folk Museum and Heritage Centre.
  • Duff House at Banff.

Overnight: Book ahead for a caravan park in or near Banff or choose your own quiet spot.

Day 3: Banff to Maryculter

Miles: Around 85 miles.

If you have seen the 1980s film Local Hero you might like to visit the tiny settlement of Pennan, along the coast from Banff. The tiny shore-side village was made famous as the fictional village of Ferness in the movie and many people will remember the red phone box in the film..

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A campervan holiday offers great opportunities for seeing the best views in Scotland.

Hiring a motorhome or campervan for a Scottish holiday offers you the freedom to explore many of Scotland’s great roads, routes and views. Scotland is a popular place for holidaymakers who enjoy great landscapes – and there are countless places to stop for a while to absorb a spectacular scene.
If you are looking for some of the best viewpoints on a driving tour of Scotland, we can offer a few suggestions. There are plenty more but these are six of our favourite Scottish views from the road (or close to the road) on Scotland’s mainland.

6 great views to see in Scotland

Queen’s View in Perthshire.

Queen’s View, Perthshire

Getting there: Follow the B8019 to the Queen’s View Visitor Centre.

Queen’s View, overlooking Loch Tummel, has been a popular viewpoint for centuries. Queen Victoria, who visited this spot in 1866, thought the location must have been named after her but it’s claimed it was named after King Robert the Bruce’s first wife, Queen Isabella.

Glenfinnan Viaduct is a famous view in Scotland.

Glenfinnan Viaduct, Scottish Highlands

Getting there: Follow the A830 to the Glenfinnan Viaduct car park.

If you have watched the Harry Potter movies you will have already seen the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Seeing it for real offers a very special view and also takes in lovely Loch Shiel. The best views are to be had by walking he short Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail.

So many amazing views on the Bealach na ba road pass.

Bealach na Ba, Scottish Highlands

Getting there: Follow the Bealach na Bà road from Tornapress to Applecross. There is a large parking area at the top.

A famous road pass, which also features on the North Coast 500 driving route (see 11 more highlights of the NC500), is the Bealach na Bà. Famously steep and winding, it’s well worth driving to the top of the pass at a height of 625 metres of glorious surrounding views.

On a clear day you’ll see as far as the mountains of the Isle of Skye as well as the islands of the Outer Hebrides.

Kinlochewe and Loch Maree. Pic credit: Steve Partridge

Loch Maree, Scottish Highlands

Getting there: Take the A832 from Achnasheen to Kinlochewe. The viewpoint is some 1.5 miles short of Kinlochewe on the right.

From the stunning viewpoint you’ll see across Glen Docherty towards Loch Maree. The loch is home to more than 60 islands and if the sun is shining the setting will sparkle under a blue sky.

Scott’s View. Pic credit: Mehfoos Lal Yacoob

Scott’s View, Scottish Borders

Getting there: Follows signs on the A68 near St Boswells.

Famous Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott was inspired by many scenic locations in Scotland. The vista, named Scott’s View, overlooks the River Tweed valley is said to have been one of his favourites.

There are now three great bridges spanning the Firth of Forth. Pic credit: Chris Combe

3 great bridges, Firth of Forth

Getting there: You can see the bridges from both sides of the Firth of Forth. Head to South Queensferry on the B924 or to North Queensferry across the Forth.

Three bridges span three centuries and the Firth of Forth between North and South Queensferry. The Forth Bridge is a railway bridge and was opened in 1890. It is also UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further west is the Forth Road Bridge, opened in 1964, and the new Queensferry Crossing, which opened in 2017.

Hire a campervan in Scotland

Open Road Scotland offers a range of campervans and motorhomes to hire in Scotland and  conveniently located close to Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland.

The post 6 of the best views to see on a campervan tour of Scotland appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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Scenic Isle of Skye.

Scotland is a great place for a summer holiday, especially if you are planning to hire a motorhome or campervan. The breadth and variety of places to visit while enjoying a campervan tour is mesmerising. But with so many attractions, landmarks, viewpoints and sites to see, where will you choose to go first?

7 of the best: Where to visit in a campervan in Scotland

Thanks to our in-depth knowledge of motorhome trips in Scotland and sightseeing tours while campervanning around Scotland, we can pass on our insider’s tips and recommendations of the best places to visit in a campervan.

Beautiful Isle of Arran.

1 Island get-away

Scotland is endowed with the superb natural asset of many lovely islands. A great number are located off the Scottish west coast and can be easily reached by ferry. The Isle of Skye also has a free road bridge.

A few of the best islands to choose from for a campervan tour include Arran, Mull, Islay, Lewis, Harris and Skye.

Each island offers a unique scenery, charm and atmosphere and it depends on what you enjoy as to the island you might choose to visit on a motorhome trip in Scotland.

For wildlife and quiet roads, we love Mull; for iconic mountain scenery and bustling villages and towns, you’ll enjoy Skye; and for whisky fans we recommend Islay.

Arran is known as Scotland in miniature thanks to a landscape of Lowlands and Highlands so it’ a great island for outdoors adventures, while  Harris and Lewis, located in the Outer Hebrides, offer you best opportunity to get away from it all on a Scottish campervan holiday.

Eilean Donan Castle.

2 King of the castles

Scotland boasts many hundreds of castles and fortifications to visit and it’s very difficult to choose the best. Some of most iconic Scottish castles include Edinburgh Castle, Balmoral Castle (home to the British Royal family when they are in the Scottish Highlands), Cawdor castle, Eilean Donan Castle located on an island in Loch Duich, Glamis Castle and Stirling Castle.

If taking your pick of the best of Scotland’s castle tours proves difficult why not follow Scotland’s only Castle Trail, located in the north-east of Scotland?

Iconic Loch Ness. Will you spot the fabled monster?

3 Lochs (not lakes)

In Scotland, an area of inland water is known as a loch. It’s called a lake in England but Scots will proudly tell you there is only one lake in Scotland and that is the Lake of Menteith near the city of Stirling.

Two of the best lochs to visit include Loch Lomond, the largest area of inland water in the UK, located in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, and Loch Ness, the home of the fabled Loch Ness Monster. Visit the Loch Ness Centre to find out more.

Glenfinnan Viaduct is a famous view in Scotland, especially thanks to the Harry Potter movies.

4 Spectacular viewpoints

It is almost impossible not to come across a spectacular viewpoint while enjoying a driving tour of Scotland. Look out for signposts at the roadside directing you to famous views or head for one of these: Six of the best views in Scotland.

Whisky is a famous draw for holidaymakers in Scotland.

5 Whisky galore

Castles, great landscapes and whisky are three of the most popular attractions for holidaymakers planning a trip to Scotland. Whisky distilleries offer a great day or half-day activity and with so many to visit, you will be spoilt for choice.

A few to consider include Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye, Glengoyne just north of Glasgow or Glenkinchie to the east of Edinburgh.

Or for a host of whisky distilleries in one place, visit the Whisky Island of Islay or follow Scotland’s Whisky Trail on Speyside in the Scottish Highlands.

Luskentyre beach on Harris. Pic credit: Neil Aitkenhead

6 Sand and sea

Scotland is famous for its dramatic coastline, including many fabulous beaches. Some of the best are discovered on a trip to the Island of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The most famous on Harris is Luskentyre. Find out more about a great drive of the West Coast of Harris.

Sandwood Bay on the west coast of Sutherland – and located on the North Coast 500 driving route – requires a walk of around six miles but the rewards for your efforts are a huge expanse of sand backed by dunes. There is also a stunning sea stack located just off the shore.

In Fife, there are fabulous sandy beaches at St Andrews West Sands, Tentsmuir and Aberdour, to name a few.

We also discovered some amazing beaches on the new North-East 250 driving route (link to new blog) in Aberdeenshire and head to one of Scotland’s best kept secret destinations, Dumfries & Galloway for many fine beaches including Mossyard near the town of Castle Douglas and Dhoon Beach near the town of Kirkudbright.

There is so much to see and do in the city of Glasgow.

7 City lights

A campervan trip in Scotland makes it easy to visit Scotland’s seven cities. They include the capital city of Edinburgh, Scotland’s largest city of Glasgow, as well as Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness. Look for caravan parks close to the city boundary, or even in the city itself, for a cheap way to visit all the many attractions of Scotland’s famous cities.

Find out more

If you are looking for more tips about the best places to visit in your campervan in Scotland this summer, you only have to ask the friendly team at Open Road Scotland. The website also has lots of information about Scottish campervan and motor home hire Open Road Scotland is conveniently based near Glasgow Airport in Central Scotland.

The post Top 7 places to visit in your campervan in Scotland this summer appeared first on Open Road Scotland.

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