Driving routes from England to Scotland (Cambridge to Inverness)

I'm often asked about driving to Scotland - since I do the journey myself pretty often. There are fewer main roads in Scotland which simplifies the choices, but there are still options for distance versus scenery. My main recommendations are presented below, based on a journey from Cambridge to Inverness - which raises the question: do I go East or West?

Option 1: Head West


The most scenic route in my opinion (for the scottish part) is the west - through GLENCOE- i.e. A82... 

My recommended way to take that from is:  (524 miles)

A1 north -> A66 at scotch corner to cut west -> M6/M74 north -> M8 round glasgow -> Erskine bridge -> (A82) Glencoe -> Fort William -> Inverness

Route Map

At the scottish end this is the more interesting route as it goes through Glencoe and past Loch Ness. The English end is basically just motoroway.

Option 2: A9 East Scotland

The M6 is the main motorway up the west of the country - and surprisingly it costs very little in extra miles to cut across to the west then back again. 

Via M6 / A9 (510 Miles)

Route Map

Google suggests this route - which is basically simplest, but also arguably most boring.. The English and lowland Scotland stretch is the same as option 1, but then it takes the A9 (i.e. the eastern side of the highlands) up to Inverness, so is more direct... saves about 15 miles - (amazingly you'd think it would be a lot more.. )

Option 3: Stay entirely East

499 miles

The natural inclination might be to stay East for the whole journey and head towards Edinburgh. Instead of doing that all the way up the A1, it is shorter and quicker and more scenic to cut across country from Newcastle. You CAN go through Northumberland National park which is a very scenic, but quite twisty route... so I tend to skirt round the edge on this route through COLDSTREAM:

Route Map

As you can see - this misses out Glencoe on the west and uses the A9 - i.e. stays East for the whole journey. Consequently it is the shortest route, but still by less than 30 miles...   this is the route I would take if pressed for time and wanting "just to get there" without being too bothered about scenery..

Option 4: The tourist route

535 miles

This is option is if you really want to go past Edinburgh and also do the scenic route through glencoe...  so overall, it probably is THE most scenic route..

This is longest - but picks up Edinburgh, Glencoe and Loch Ness

Route Map

As you can see, timewise and distance wise there is not a whole load in it..

[photos: Nik Sargent]

Driving Tips for Freshers

For students starting university this term, the last thing on their mind is probably driver safety.

But the roads before Fresher’s Week are increasingly filled with students moving their worldly possessions across the country - usually in heavily-laden, small, second-hand cars, raising a number of potential risks; fatigue, view blocking and driving on unfamiliar roads.

The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) has a few tips for those travelling to university this week on how to load all their clothes, books, stereos, TV’s and food, and allow students to kick-start their uni life safely.

  • Make sure belongings are securely packed - bear in mind, drivers can face prosecution for travelling with an ‘unsecure load’. More importantly, loose objects can be distracting and if the driver needs to brake sharply, unsecured items could fly forward and hit those sitting in front.
  • Loading a car until it’s ready to burst can obstruct the already dangerous ‘blind spot’ view further, making the driver more vulnerable when changing lanes. Loads should be made as small as possible and positioned for a clear view. Students should take essentials on the first trip and ask family to bring more when they visit.
  • A long drive can lead to fatigue, so drivers should get plenty of rest beforehand. For the journey, comfortable, loose clothing should be worn, the driving seat should be adjusted to a safe upright position and the heating/air-conditioning set to a cool – not cold – temperature, regular breaks should be taken at least every two hours and driving at night should be avoided.
  • Having a full car will use more fuel; keep an eye on the fuel level to ensure it doesn’t run out.
  • Check tyre pressures before setting off. Tyres on a full and heavy car usually require higher pressure. The right pressures prevent unnecessary wear, excess fuel consumption and potentially dangerous blow outs.
  • Finally, driving on unfamiliar roads can be unnerving. Sat navs can help and enable the driver to re-route quickly and relatively easily, however, they can be expensive so it is best to plan the journey before hitting the road. 

University life is fantastic; students should make sure theirs isn’t postponed by keeping their car safely loaded while driving there.


[source IAM]

A new 'intelligent' speed camera will soon be making its way onto the UK's roads.


The new cameras – nicknamed 'supertraps' – don't flash, can cover multiple lanes, and have the ability to differentiate between lorries and cars. Designed to blend into environment.
Unlike the UK's familiar yellow cameras, the new devices will be styled to blend with other street furniture. The first that many drivers would know about the camera's presence could be when they receive a fine through the post. 

Cameras will catch speeding truckers Speeding lorry drivers will also be targeted by the new 'supertrap' cameras, due to the device's ability to distinguish between trucks and cars. 

On many roads, lorries must adhere to lower speed limits, but convictions are difficult because current Gatso-type cameras do not differentiate between vehicles. Motoring groups question motives behind the new device.

The new speed camera has been met with criticism from motoring groups, which say that the stealth-like design of the device does more to catch speeding drivers than to slow them down. 

A spokesman from the RAC said: 'Camera positioning should be based on evidence that they will save lives, not to help balance the books for politicians.' 

The news comes after the Highways Agency revealed it is to spend £58 million on new digital cameras to monitor drivers using the hard shoulder on motorways.
[source RoadAngel]