Scotland and driving

Going to Scotland as someone who learned to drive on the right.
What should I know before taking the wheel?

Recommend sweet spots in the Highlands btw pls

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  1. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    It actually takes less time to get used to it than you'd think. For me it was a couple days. The wiring/coordination in your brain just kind of "reverses" at some point.
    I'm not telling you my favorite place in the Highlands, but Perthshire is worth driving through as well.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >I'm not telling you my favorite place
      Why

      • 3 months ago
        sage

        are you underage, a first time traveler or just severely moronic?
        give it some thought and figure it out yourself

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          Are you ok?

  2. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    not OP but I'm going to Glasgow and Edinburgh soon
    any overall recommendations of places to see, where to eat, etc?
    it's an improvised trip I had to make

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      I’m from that part of the world and it took me maybe five seconds to adapt to driving on the wrong side of the road when I first did it. You’ll be fine anon

      Main surprise about rural roads up here is that many are single track with passing places, so all your fear about driving on the other side is misplaced.

      How long are you up here for? And what do you like doing? There is a route North Coast 500 that’s popular and pretty if a bit busy at peak times but there is a lot more than that on offer. Islands. Activities. Bored women in Mallaig. All sorts

      Why are you there? If you’re with work or family just tag along with them they’ll be happy to show you around. Edinburgh has more tourist friendly stuff which is fine for a day. but go on the piss in Glasgow and see where you end up

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Why are you there?
        it's been a while since I last went on a trip (almost years) and I saw a show I wanted go see so that's the excuse. I'm going solo

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Lol me too, was supposed to go somewhere else but cancelled last minute. I'll be in Edinburgh for half a day to check the eerie architecture

      I’m from that part of the world and it took me maybe five seconds to adapt to driving on the wrong side of the road when I first did it. You’ll be fine anon

      Main surprise about rural roads up here is that many are single track with passing places, so all your fear about driving on the other side is misplaced.

      How long are you up here for? And what do you like doing? There is a route North Coast 500 that’s popular and pretty if a bit busy at peak times but there is a lot more than that on offer. Islands. Activities. Bored women in Mallaig. All sorts

      Why are you there? If you’re with work or family just tag along with them they’ll be happy to show you around. Edinburgh has more tourist friendly stuff which is fine for a day. but go on the piss in Glasgow and see where you end up

      That's reassuring. I'll rent an automatic as well for my first time .
      Staying 7 days. Booked a cabin and planned on doing hikes, horse trekking and fish on a lake if that's allowed somewhere.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        Where are you staying? As another anon said moving around can take some time so hopefully you’ve got stuff you want to do nearby.

        No idea about horse rental beyond knowing it exists. fishing is allowed, you don’t need a rod licence in Scotland (unless the river drains into England) but you do need landowner permission for inland fisheries. This can be expensive for private sporting estates but often it’s like a tenner a day. Sea fishing doesn’t need any permits etc you just turn up.

        Hiking is of course everywhere around you. Use walk highlands to select a few routes. Buy the orange OS map, makes a nice souvenir

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Skip Glasgow.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Glasgow
      Honestly I'm not a huge fan of the city, but I guess the most entertaining thing outside of bars and whisky is maybe checking out a Celtic match if you're into spectator sports. Although, you could just do the same in Edinburgh and watch Hearts or Hibernian but they kinda suck.
      In Edinburgh I'd highly recommend taking the walk up Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park is the weather isn't total shite. Also get some seafood by the port of Leith. Good seafood joints, barhopping and local vibes.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Also get some seafood by the port of Leith. Good seafood joints, barhopping and local vibes.
        any other recommendations for places to eat in Glasgow/Edinburgh?
        I hate having to look for food places in northern european countries so it'd be a big help to get some names down before going

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          >I hate having to look for food places in northern european countries

          Understandable but you'll be spoilt for choice in both cities. Plenty of great dining options at all price levels and cuisines. For Edinburgh, Aizle, Noto, Ondine, Palmerston, Eleanore for higher end. The current Michelin Star lineup isn't that impressive imo but these ones are operating at that level along with some others. Chez Jules, Macau Kitchen, Noodles Home, Chennais Marina, Locanda de Gusti, Chizuru Tei some of the best off the top of my head for foreign food. Edinburgh Street Food for street food, can't go wrong with any of the places in there and you can mix and match when ordering. Either of the Teuchters places for pub grub. For pastries,if you happen to be near Lannan Bakery and the queue is small then definitely try it. I waited months for the hype to die down and happened to be there at opening time a couple of times recently with no queue and have to say the hype really is justified.

          I don't get through to Glasgow that often but Paesano is always reliably great value and some of the best pizza outside Italy. I recently ate at Saffron by Paradise and was very impressed with the quality, value and overall experience. Ka Pao, Five March, Ox&Finch are all good too. I've heard good things about 111 by Modou but it's out of the way a bit.

          Any particular type of food you fancy for more recommendations?

  3. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    i'm from the uk but i used to work in the usa quite regularly so i had the opposite problem
    when i rented a car i would drive around the car park a couple of times to get used to the control layout. everything is basically a mirror image of my own car so it soon becomes second nature
    switching from an automatic to a manual gear shift (which is much more common in the uk) would be a bigger step so make sure you specify automatic when you book the rental car. automatics are not uncommon in the uk but are generally seen as a lesser breed than manuals

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >automatics are not uncommon in the uk but are generally seen as a lesser breed than manuals

      I don't get this and I'm glad things are changing (60+% of new cars are automatic and growing). Learned on a manual, driven a manual most of my life and recently switched to an automatic. Less hassle.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        Automatics used to be for grannies and invalids and red blooded males wouldn’t be seen dead driving one. Things done changed

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        It's hybrids causing automatics to become the norm.

        I've moved to auto after driving nothing but manual. It's nice and lazy by holy frick I hate needing to accelerate hard and not knowing if it's going to shift down two gears resulting in no power. It's also annoying trying to coerce it into being in the right gear up/down hills.

  4. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    I'm going to make assumptions that you're American.

    Driving will be a lot more draining for the same length of time compared to driving on US roads. When calculating. Mentally add 50-100% onto driving times to figure out if you'll be up to it.

    Country roads are often national limit; 60mph for normal roads, 70mph for anything with a central reservation. The old cliché is that this is a guide, not a limit, this is especially true on country roads where they're national limit, not because you can go that speed, but because they're too lazy to put up endless speed limit changes. 60mph is often technically legal but you've a deathwish if you try it, especially on single lane roads. Drive the speed you're comfortable at and importantly, your speed should reflect your vision. Ignore c**ts doing dangerous overtakes and don't feel you need to speed up if it's dark and wet and there's a car trying to mate with you behind (it's always easier driving behind another car in the dark and twats often forget this).

    If you're not used to roundabouts, they're easy. Indicate when joining and when leaving, give way to the right, left turn or straight on in the left lane or follow the road markings (another rule of thumb is that you should never pass more than two exits in the left lane, even if the exit seems straight on but this is very rare on unmarked roundabouts)

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Ive loved both in the USA and Europe and that part you mentioned about adding 50% to 100% more time for the same mileage is totally spot on. But I don’t understand why?

      Is google just giving us the wrong distances? Just yesterday I did a drive that google claims to be 57km each way which isn’t much different from my actual odometer but the time is wildly different. Google claims 45 minutes. It takes me an hour with no traffic. I drive at 55/60mph speed limit is almost 80mph. Is that how google is calculating that?

  5. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    It's really easy pretty quick, except I tended to have a few days where I really had to think when doing right turns.

  6. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    American here, drove manual all my life, visited Cyprus a couple times (hope to live there). It didn't take long to feel comfortable, less than an hour with an automatic. I just kept saying "left, left, left" in my mind, especially when making right turns and in roundabouts. Biggest thing was constantly using the windshield wiper as turn signal. Which was stupid since they don't use turn signals in Cyprus anyway.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      TIL Cyprus drives on the left. Does the Turkish side drive on the left too?

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        Holdover from British days. Weird situation: Cyprus is in the EU; Turkey isn't. Turkey is in NATO; Cyprus isn't. If you cross the buffer zone, get another car with different insurance, you'll have to anyway.

        Sorry, not relevant to driving in Scotland.

  7. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Is an entire day driving through the northcoast 500 worth it?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      It's quite big I would take a couple of days to see it properly

  8. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    not op but will be doing Scotland soon.

    My plan is to hire a van then buy camping supplies to fill the back of it (nothing crazy, blow up mattress, sleeping stuff, gas stove)

    for context
    >camper van for required time (21 days) = $2000
    >van = $780

    Want to do most of the highlands but does anyone have other recommendations? will be sleeping in the van and possibly random hostels along the way.

    I fricking love scenery and thats my aim for the trip.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Highlands is a big place. With your own van and three weeks you can see more of the sparse and remote areas where airbnbs are non existent. You can also visit the western isles which have some drop dead gorgeous sights (north Uist beaches and the road to huisinis for example).

      Roads and parking can be in shit state and the ferries are a constant disaster. Plus some parts shut down on Sunday. But it’s probably the comfiest area in Europe

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Highlands is a big place.
        no it isn't.
        scotland is a tiny country.
        you can drive pretty much anywhere in the highlands from edinburgh in 3-5 hours.
        make that 1-3 hours from inverness.

        not op but will be doing Scotland soon.

        My plan is to hire a van then buy camping supplies to fill the back of it (nothing crazy, blow up mattress, sleeping stuff, gas stove)

        for context
        >camper van for required time (21 days) = $2000
        >van = $780

        Want to do most of the highlands but does anyone have other recommendations? will be sleeping in the van and possibly random hostels along the way.

        I fricking love scenery and thats my aim for the trip.

        you could save yourself a lot of money renting a car and taking a tent. you can also use the tent for overnight hiking trips etc.
        summit camps are one of the highlights of hiking in scotland. pic rel.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous
          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            this looks amazing, where was this taken pls

            • 3 months ago
              Anonymous

              half way up a corbett called Buidhe Bheinn, looking west towards Knoydart.
              around about NG 945 088.

              i prefer corbetts to munros.
              less people. less foot traffic. means more wildlife. more adventure because there often isn't any well defined path.
              there is a lot of corbetts with amazing views.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          >you can drive pretty much anywhere in the highlands from edinburgh in 3-5 hours.

          And? That's true but we're talking about visiting the highlands not completing a road journey. Yeah you can get to Wick from Edinburgh in 5 hours but frick Skye, frick Aviemore etc. job's done because we've made it to Wick.

          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            My point was you can leave edinburgh at 7am and be pretty much anywhere in the highlands before mid day, with plenty of time to explore.
            your assertion "scotland is massive" is utter shite.
            you can day trip pretty much everywhere in scotland, from anywhere in scotland.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      Make sure you're prepared for midges or else you could have a really bad time.

  9. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    >Recommend sweet spots in the Highlands btw pls
    There was a lake inside a pine forest, it even had a sandy beach. It was a long time ago, but it most likely is loch morich. Really pretty forest too.

  10. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Driving on the left highway isn't a very big deal, but switching to a right-hand-drive car if you are used to drivers side being on the left is a pretty big shift/adjustment, and takes a few hours driving to get used to.

    RE Scotland, Oban is nice if you'll be west. Rest and be Thankful viewpoint also is pretty and has a good food truck. Further east and you have Cairngorms which is beautiful. RE big cities, Edinburgh is a nice town; Glasgow is not (both lowlands though). If you have the time and like whisky speyside is worth a few days. Skye also worth a trip.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      The hardest part for me is small, rural roads (especially single lane which aren't common in the US) as they lack the visual cues of where in the road you're supposed to be and where oncoming cars are supposed to be.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        Single track: passing places are marked. There’s a sign or in the most rural places they still have the old black and white posts. First one there either pulls in (if the pocket is to their left) or waits opposite the pocket (so the oncoming driver pulls left to pass). The edge of the road is the visual cue.

        Most rural roads without passing places are wide enough to let two cars pass if they drive carefully.

        You do get some narrow roads with no passing places. These are usually literally leading to individual properties so traffic volumes are low and they’re usually short. You’ll just have to deal with it.

        Gravel and other unsealed roads are very rare outside of forestry and farm tracks. I actually can’t think of many. This compares to large parts of Europe and North America where you have to deal with gravel surfaces in rural areas.

        Ive loved both in the USA and Europe and that part you mentioned about adding 50% to 100% more time for the same mileage is totally spot on. But I don’t understand why?

        Is google just giving us the wrong distances? Just yesterday I did a drive that google claims to be 57km each way which isn’t much different from my actual odometer but the time is wildly different. Google claims 45 minutes. It takes me an hour with no traffic. I drive at 55/60mph speed limit is almost 80mph. Is that how google is calculating that?

        Rural roads in Scotland are windy and narrow with many blind corners. You’re not doing the limit. They do occasionally have rallies where you can forget about oncoming traffic on blind bends. They go faster then.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          >Single track: passing places are marked. There’s a sign or in the most rural places they still have the old black and white posts. First one there either pulls in (if the pocket is to their left) or waits opposite the pocket (so the oncoming driver pulls left to pass). The edge of the road is the visual cue.
          this but also communicate with your headlights. flash your high beams to let oncoming traffic know you're giving way for them.
          it's also worth noting that any space big enough for two vehicles to pass each other is a passing place, not just the officially signposted ones. many remoter roads wont have any signs or they'll be missing.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          That's not really the issue I was describing as far as where to pass, it's the "where should I be on the road" part. This is completely instinctive in right-driving countries but when on the left, when a car approaches on a narrow undivided (meaning no separating barrier between traffic directions) road, I have to think myself through it every time. The oncoming traffic looks like its coming at me, so my instinct is to veer to the right, out of their way, but that would actually place me in their direction of travel, instead of to the left, and I have to think about where I need to actually go and how far over every time. I do get used to it more after a while.

          As far as actual travel times in rural parts of the UK vs the US idk the answer, but they are I think based on average travel speeds not posted speed limits. So if the average speed traveled on a road is 60 mph and you're averaging 55 mph you'll arrive later than predicted though I think their AI does take into account the differential between how fast you drive compared to other drivers. I can usually beat google's estimates in the US especially in areas where I'm driving faster than the average minivan on winding roads.

  11. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Driving in Scotland is piss easy as long as you're not going into the centre of Glasgow or Edinburgh. If you're spending time in the cities I'd park at the airport and get the metro/tram in. I'd recommend KoolBa in Glasgow if you want a nice curry as well.

  12. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    Make sure to keep left.

  13. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    OP here. It's actually nothing to worry about when you have an automatic. These cars are actually big toys.
    I had a couple close shave moments with truckers on the single lane country roads but it turned out alright.
    This place is incredible.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      whats incredible about it?

  14. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    scotland has the best hills .

  15. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I got used to it in about an hour. Even shifting with the opposite hand was easier than I thought.

  16. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I'm thinking of going to Scotland next year and I have a question. The frick do you eat in Scotland. One of the main reasons I travel is for the food, and most of my travel has been in Asia where the food is amazing but when I google Scottish food I get picrel. Do you just eat a sandwich in your hotel for dinner or what? Not trying to start shit I'm genuinely curious.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Scots at home eat beige slop like everyone else in the British isles

      Traditional dishes are often stodgy like the stovies you have there but some individual dishes are nice (Cullen skink, cranachan, haggis are all tasty)

      Food scene has improved over the last couple of decades. Seafood is very good and there are plenty of nice restaurants kicking around. But it’s not like Asia where you get excellence on every street corner

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Typical pub/hotel menu in Scotland is things like steak, fish and chips, salmon, a pasta dish, a risotto, chicken balmoral etc. Pretty easy to find something you'll eat. It's not like you'd go to a restaurant in the south US and expect to only get things like chitlins.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      scottish dishes - haggis neeps and tatties, cullen skink, shortbread, scottish breakfast
      scotland is great for freshly caught/hunted fish, grouse, and venison
      scottish cows make great steaks too
      if you like whisky scotland is paradise
      fried chicken originated in scotland
      general british dishes - steak and ale pie, fish and chips, scotch egg, beef wellington, crumble, sticky toffee pudding, all sorts of cakes and pastries, local cheeses

  17. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Look up NC500

    >Seafield in Cullen is a nice restaurant but HV
    >Inverness: Fig and Thistle

    I'd advise a night out in Aberdeen
    >drive to Inverness via spots
    >Onto Skye

    Skye is it. Isles, also.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      >I'd advise a night out in Aberdeen
      lol absolutely not

  18. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Bumping thread because I'm going to Scotland in September.
    We want to go to as many distilleries as possible and for obvious reasons we don't want to drive.
    Any circuits to recommend? Are train, bus and taxi OK or should we hire a driver and car? We also want to spend at least 1 night in Ireland.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      the distillery tours are all kind of the same anon, but if you like whisky or are a big fan of X distillery you'll enjoy doing a few tours anyway

      the problem you have is most distilleries are a good distance away from each other and the public transport between them is usually dogshit or worse. however if you go to speyside or islay there are enough distilleries in a small enough area for you to set up a base and get taxis to and from them.

      last one i did was Talisker; complete pig to get to (Islay is worse) but the isle of skye is so gorgeous that I didn't care

      also what do you want to do in ireland ? you won't really see much overnight but maybe you like collecting countries idk

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        >also what do you want to do in ireland ?
        One of my friends in this group wants to see the distilleries there (Tullamore Dew iirc) but it's all about Scotland as far as I can tell. I've never been to either country so I'm fine with going there as well.
        >the problem you have is most distilleries are a good distance away from each other and the public transport between them is usually dogshit or worse.
        Frick.
        >speyside or islay there are enough distilleries in a small enough area for you to set up a base and get taxis to and from them.
        OK so I guess I'll have to suck it up, get sober and rent a van/car for the rest of the areas. I really was expecting a decent bus network between cities or something like that.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          Going to Ireland just to do the tullamore tour seems a waste but not my trip. It’s easy enough to get to from Dublin

          There is public transport in Scotland but outside of commuter cash cow routes they never seem to be timetabled conveniently. Maybe you’ll get lucky. Draw up an itinerary and see if calmac / scotrail / stagecoach / city link / … lines up. If it doesn’t hire a car or book on to one of those whisky tours where you get a minibus and driver

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