silbchris’s Travel Diary

Monday, 12 Jul 2021

Location: Scotland, UK

MapSeeing Scotland Without the NC500

This year has given people the opportunity to experience and enjoy what is right on their doorstep. Thanks to varying restrictions on travel and ever-changing quarantining rules, it could be said that 2021 is the year of the summer staycation. Many parts of Scotland are popular with tourists and are likely to enjoy lots of visitors this year. The North Coast 500 route has risen hugely in prevalence over the last few years.

This year, many locals and travel experts predict bedlam as the summer season will see the small rural roads filled with campervans and day-trippers. If you want to see Scotland without getting caught in the tourist trap -; here are some top places to add to your list!

Dumfries and Galloway

One of the most beautiful parts of Scotland is sadly overlooked before it lies on the road that links the North of England to the Central Belt. Many people look over Dumfries and Galloway as they are concentrating on heading up the road to Glasgow. If you take the time to divert from the motorway, you will find a beautiful landscape punctuated with pretty towns and villages like Dumfries, Castle Douglas, and Kirkcudbright. Many beautiful coastal areas are worth exploring too.


When people think of the North of Scotland, they naturally tend to consider places like Inverness and the Highlands. Aberdeenshire, to the East, is unfairly over-characterised by the city of Aberdeen itself. The region of Aberdeenshire covers some 2.5k square miles of countryside, even taking in a sizable slice of the Cairngorms National Park. This is the perfect place if you want a weekend’s Munro-bagging. Aberdeenshire’s towns are well checking out as well. A place like Bridge of Don offers loads for a weekend away with Aberdeen right on your doorstep.

St Abbs

Similarly to how Dumfries and Galloway is one of those places that you simply drive past on the way to a bigger city, St Abbs is a small hamlet that is criminally overlooked by tourists heading to the likes of North Berwick or Edinburgh, further along, the coast. You could be forgiven for thinking that St Abbs was Cornish, based on photos alone. The twisty road that leads down to the small jetty definitely gives an impression of somewhere closer to St Ives rather than Scotland. Nonetheless, it is a very pretty town and worth seeing, if you want to expand your horizons on the places on offer in Scotland.


When it comes to island life, Scotland is unrivalled in its offering. Many of the islands are famous and well known to visitors who come to see places like Skye, Arran, Orkney and Mull. These places are popular but barely scratch the surface of what’s on offer. The small island of Coll lies within Argyll and Bute, some 6km off the West Coast of Mull. Only 195 people live on Coll, but there is an extensive RSPB reserve that protects the native wildlife, such as the rare corncrake.

We hope that the places we have described above have inspired you to discover more of what’s on offer in Scotland.