Book review: Take the Slow Road – Scotland by Martin Dorey
is an inspirational book for road trips by camper van or motorhome in stunningly beautiful Scotland.
The first part of the book is packed with tips and advice – from what to pack to how to go about hiring a motorhome for your trip if you don't own one.
A useful 'Dos and don'ts' section features information about dealing with midges, how to ensure you're following the correct wild camping etiquette, and how to support the local economy by buying locally produced food and other items.
The bulk of the book contains guides to suggested journeys – there are 25 in all, covering trips right across Scotland, from Dumfries and Galloway in the south to John O'Groats in the far north.
Each road trip is described from Martin's personal experience – he has tried and tested them all. These descriptions – accompanied by colour photographs of each destination – are evocative and inspiring.
While travelling through Scotland to research the journeys, Martin has watched dolphins and puffins off the coast of North Uist and gone skinny dipping in sparklingly clear, cold water in the sea at Harris. He's enjoyed haggis and whiskey in Edinburgh's old town, and sped down forest tracks on a mountain bike.
The entry for each trip also includes a wealth of practical information. There's a description of the route itself, with clear directions about which roads to take. The descriptions are accompanied by suggestions about where to stay and where to buy food or meals.
Martin also describes what can be seen or experienced on the route: from hiking, wild swimming and wildlife-spotting, to visits to castles, gardens and stone circles.
Each route is drawn out on charmingly sketched maps, with key points of interest indicated on each illustration. There's also a map of the whole country, with each route clearly marked.
Even if you don't own a motorhome or camper van, you're still bound to find this book useful and inspirational. Many of the trips Martin describes could be undertaken in a car – either with a tent thrown in the boot, or by booking a night or two en-route in a hotel, bed and breakfast, hostel or self-catering accommodation.
Whether you feel like exploring the wild, untamed beauty of the islands of Harris and Lewis, the magnificent scenery of the Cairngorms, or 'Scotland in miniature' on the Isle of Arran, you will find plenty of inspiration in this book.