During our stay in Scotland, we decided to take a little trip to Inverness to see the highlands and do some of the standard tourist sites. We had the option of either taking the train or driving. The train provides reliability and safety, but lacks flexibility. Driving means having to figure out how to navigate traffic whole driving on the wrong side of the road. Since we wanted to visit a few sites around Inverness as well as on the way there and back.
I had already gained some experience with driving in Europe and reacquainted myself with driving stick during our cross-country trek across France. This means that I had been through my fair share of roundabouts, but had circled them counter clockwise rather than clockwise.
We planned our route from Aberdeen to Inverness such that we could see the East Aquhorthies Stone Circle and Fyvie Castle. Both sites were quite interesting. We were hit by a brief snow storm while visiting the circle but unfortunately none of us heard any buzzing while there. Fyvie was also a beautiful castle, but being off-season, we couldn’t go inside so instead we circled round the grounds.
From there we finished the drive up to Inverness, skirting the edges of the Cairngorms. Quick shout-out to the Citi Costco Visa’s Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, which saved my butt after a minor incident involving a parked car and a tight hotel parking lot space.
Over the next few days, we paid our respects at Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, and Culloden.
For the drive back to Aberdeen we had originally planned to drive the Snow Roads directly through the mountains. However, a snow storm the night before closed the roads and we had to take a different route. We were still able to make a stop at Fraser Castle. The castle had a lovely free tour, which was good because admission to the castle was about $50 for our family!
We made it back to Aberdeen in time to return the rental car, slightly worse for wear, and get some rest at our AirBnB. I can now add left-handed stick-shifting to my repertoire of skills!
Honestly, driving on the other side of the road wasn’t as bad as I feared. I was hyper vigilant for the first hour, but then was able to settle into the normal routine of driving. I will say that all of this driving of manual transmission cars has made me really want one at home. Of course they are relatively difficult to find in the US.