“The most interesting moment of a person’s life is what happens to them when all of their certainties go away. Then who do you become? And then what do you look for?… that’s the moment that the universe is offering up an invitation saying, ‘Come and find me …” – Elizabeth Gilbert.
I’m not only a huge fan of Liz’s literature, but also her wisdom and I think the above pearl is something that has truly resonated with me of late. As lockdown version 2.0 grinds on like the worst movie ever made, I have been trying to quieten my wanderlust and to condition it into accepting stillness for another while yet. I keep shhhhing and reassuring it that, “One day we will travel again. You and I will hit the road for all of the adventures!” But until that time arrives and it is safe to do so, my wanderlust and I remain still. I absolutely support the Scottish Government’s lockdown measures and understand the part that I must play to keep myself and others safe.
It has been a time of deep, creative reflection (I started writing the novel I’ve been wanting to write for years) and at times, deep creative frustration (just when I felt I was getting into the swing of developing this blog!) In an attempt to keep myself buoyant I have turned to venturing across Scotland whilst using Google Maps to virtually drive my favourite roads. Yes, you read that right. I have been carousing along the picturesque thoroughfares, through glens and revisiting favourite routes and memories, one mouse-click at a time. Sounds crazy I know, but believe me, it has been a tonic.
What lockdown has taught me most about myself is that views of nature are a gorgeous breath of sanity. Gazing upon mountains and stunning countryside is my kind of restorative adventure. Drinking in seascapes distracts from dark thoughts and murkiness. Google Maps truly has saved me during these lockdowns by simply helping to remind me that Scotland is still there awaiting my return. Therefore dear reader, I am going to share with you some of my favourite hidden treasures. Happy exploring my dears!
- The Bealach na Ba, Wester Ross This stunning mountain pass is the gift that keeps on giving. The view from the top over to the Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye is nothing short of breathtaking to behold. The kind of place that makes you want to shout from the top o’ yer lungs, “Hello world!!”
Tip – follow the entire road from the Bealach Cafe at Tornapress all the way over to Applecross. You can thank me later 😉
- Applecross-Shieldaig coastal road in Wester Ross. This road is the alternative route to the aforementioned bealach (mountain pass in Gaelic) which takes you further north towards the spectacular Torridon mountains. Your first glimpse of them from this road is your next gasp-of-awe moment.
Tip – be sure to keep looking left on your journey from Applecross where you will be rewarded with stunning views across to the Isle of Raasay.
- The Wee Mad Road of Sutherland A roller-coaster of a single track road through the wilds of Assynt. The vantage point in the above link gives you a panorama of the remote peaks of Canisp, Stac Pollaidh and sugar loaf head of Suilven. Absolutely my favourite road in Scotland.
- Kinlochbervie-Oldshoremore, Sutherland road aka the route to the bonniest beach in Scotland (in my eyes). Catch your first glimpse from the crest of the brae which leads down to it.
- The road by Loch Stack, Sutherland and the breathtaking view across it towards the mountains of Arkle and Foinaven. The entire route along the A838 from the shores of Loch Shin to Laxford Bridge is definitely worth exploring.
- The glen that leads down to Durness by the mountains of Cranstackie and Beinn Spionnaidh, Sutherland If you’re looking for a sense of dramatic remoteness, then look no further than here.
- The mountain pass between over Ben Lawyers and Beinn Glass, Perth and Kinross Starting at the lovely Bridge of Balgie Post Office tea rooms in Glen Lyon, this lush, meandering mountain pass which runs by the Allt Bail’ a mhuilinn burn and the aforementioned impressive munros.
- The Quiraing road in the Trotternish Peninsula of Skye Lord of the Rings-tastic. Enough said.
9. Destitution Road driving towards An Teallach, Sgurr nan Clach Geala and Beinn Dearg, Wester Ross I find this drive just so dramatic. The contrast of the open moors on either side of the looming mountains in the distance. Views to stir the soul.
10. Sutherland’s Other Wee Mad Road which runs past the Stac Pollaidh This road is worth clicking on all the way to Lochinver. Be sure to keep stopping to take in the views of Canisp and Suilven along the way.