Subject: Re: Northern Scotland

My wife and I spent 3000 miles in Scotland a year ago, that being our second trip up beyond Edinburgh.

If you enjoy wild scenery, there's nothing much to beat the West coast above the Great Glen. Trouble is the roads are often exactly one lane wide (though with passing places) once you leave the A roads, but the traffic is non-existent so its not as bad as you might think. Look at the area called Assint in your atlas.

For more road-worthy places - a drive along the lochs forming the Great Glen is well worthwhile. From Fort Willian to Inverness is pretty and impressive as well.

I suggest John O'Groats is only legendary - would be the meanest little tourist trap I've visited in many a while, and only worth driving to as the way to Duncasby Head, which is notable for the millions of nesting sea-birds. Dunnett is in itself not exciting, but gives good views to Scapa Flow and along the coast. In general the North coast is fairly wild and picturesque, some similarity to Norway (not surprisingly).

Aberdeen is a clean, neat, efficient, DULL city - everything is built from the same mid-grey granite. Provost Skene's house is worth visiting, but its not a city worth spending much time in if you have things to see.

Oban is interesting, though a bit faded from what appears to be the grandeur of Queen Victoria's days.

Look for a little town on the west coast called Mallaig. A lovely drive out, or just as lovely by train, which is a steamer on some days. Its the port for some Hebridean islands, I forget which ones, but pretty enough in itself.

Muy best advice to anyone driving Northern Scotland is to look for the roads marked with steep grades (the AA and Ordinance roadmaps have gradients marked on the steeper roads) and TAKE THEM. Steep grades = fantastic views.

By the way, Plockton is the town made famous by Hamish MacBeth (if you have heard of that TV series).

I will be going back to Scotland as soon as I can.