Find your own fairytale in the highlands.
Being solo in Scotland provides the perfect backdrop for adventure. Whether this quest involves living out the plot of Outlander, conquering the rugged outdoors or finding yourself at the bottom of a peaty whisky barrel, the highlands will give you fuel to dream and the freedom to act on it.
I’d travelled solo in eastern Europe and in the more dubious parts of Asia, so for me, Scotland was a solo gal’s dream. But Scotland was more than just a victor by comparison and by default, the country put me at ease in more ways than I could twirl a kilt and a crank a bagpipe at.
Here are some things to consider as a solo gal in Scotland:
Friendly, fine folks
You’ve heard it. Sunkissed and jetlagged travellers returning from their trip abroad, asserting that THIS country and THAT country “had THE nicest people, just gorgeous”, but take it from ol’ Serene (me), Scotland’s it baby.
Just reminiscing on all the Scots I met brings a smile to my hatchet face and a Gaelic pipe tune to my pit of a heart. Let’s see, there was Alastair, the lovely gent who owned the Glenfinnian property where Harry Potter was filmed, Brian, the senior cyclist who guessed my star sign and Mary, the lovely woman whose Bed and Breakfast I never wanted to leave. Plus there was the entire town of Lochcarron, a seemingly utopian village where everyone was keen to fix my flat tyre.
I’m not crazy about hostels. I’m more likely to sleep in my car than stay in a hostel if I’m travelling on the cheap. In Scotland, however, the hostel scene is something else.
Rather than having overcrowded dorms, in the far reaches of the country are what I’d call wilderness hostels, lodge-like accommodation set against a spectacular canvas of snow-capped peaks, verdantly green valleys and moody, hidden forests. While the last one might be a red flag for you as a solo female traveller, fear not, because…
Scotland is safe
While I’m not off my rocker enough to issue a blanket statement on the country – things can always go wrong – from what I experienced, Scotland is a safe place. I never felt concerned about my wellbeing while in every other country on that European trip, I had.
As you might know, English is the primary language in Scotland despite the mellifluous tones of Gaelic also being spoken. So being an English-speaking lass, I loved being able to make my way around without any language barriers.
I’ve heard a buttload of people whining about the “indecipherable” Scottish accent, but for me this wasn’t an issue at all. Perhaps it’s one of the perks of being an Aussie, having an ear for rugged accents MATE.
JUST LOOK AT IT YOU BASTARD
Scotland is beautiful, you see. The highlands’ steep, gothic coastlines, surging waterfalls and glens teeming with life are a nature lover’s playground. Despite an almost constant drizzle, farewelling Scotland was a challenge.
I’m already fixated on the idea of living on a farm in Skye soon, so that my first novel might be birthed in Scotland.
Transport is a breeze
While I can’t speak about the trains or buses, I will preach about the Scottish road trip experience till I die. There’s nothing like the freedom of having your own whip: running on your own time, spending a little more or little less time wherever you like and being able to cover way more ground.
Plus Scotland’s quality roads and regular tourist signs made driving the highlands a breeze.
I understand going solo can make it a bit expeno to rent a car, but if you keep your eye out for good offers, it pays off. One sale to check out is the Avis End of Season Sale. Their snazzy rentals are currently a cool 25% off, which can make all the difference. Choose your ride here.
So if I’ve convinced you – or perhaps you’re really getting into Outlander at the moment – head here for some must-visit highland destinations.