31 MAY 1930, Page 35

Touring the Highlands

NINETY per cent. of motorists who go to Scotland try to cover the whole of the country in two or three weeks, and come home tired and disappointed: They are tired through having sat in a ear, covering 150 miles a day along main roads ; they are disappointed with their impressions of Scottish scenery, as seen from these roads. It is important to realize about mountain scenery that it can never be properly appreciated from a main road, which invariably cuts through the valleys at their lowest point, and that to be stirred by mountains one must actually be among them. -- Anyone having it in mind to visit Scotland is recommended to read a finely-illustrated volume, entitled The Peaks, Lochs and Coasts of the Westein Highlands, by Arthur Gardner (R. Grant and Son. 10s. 6d.). Mr. Gardner's book is one of the best advertisements possible for a " Come to Scotland " Movement in that its 115 unique photographs open up a panorama of Scottish scenery which the casual visitor would never see without his guidance. Most of the photographs lose nothing from the fact that they were taken under conditions of snow, hail or rain, and by choosing such weather for his labours Mr. Gardner has proved that Scotland under its most characteristic weather conditions can still be enchanting. It is, moreover, not necessary to be an accomplished moun- taineer to find this book a useful guide to a large portion of Scotland : means of reaching many high elevations are shown to be within the compass of any ordinary pedestrian, besides which suitable inns are named as well as the roads leading to them. For the sake of the " ninety per cent." this passage will bear quotation :— " In the deep snow, with all Scotland lying at our feet, and soft mists drifting over the landscape and occasionally enveloping us in their folds, we felt wonderfully remote from the busy world in which we spend most of our lives. It is good at times to go up into the hills, like the prophets of old, and there, alone with the clouds of heaven above us, and the noblest of terrestrial forms at our feet, to imbibe something of the spirit of infinity and worship before the throne of the Creator of them in humility and awe I worship before • * * *

To enjoy the best of loch, mountain and river scenery, and to be able to visit places with historical associations, one must plan carefully ahead unless time is of secondary consideration. Where, then, shall one go in Scotland to ensure the best of a short holiday ? Choice must, of course, differ according to tastes, but below are tabulated the things and places in Scot- land which the writer has found most impressive.

The Scott Country, its abbey ruins, and the road following the river Tweed from Kelso to Biggar, and continuing by way of Lanark along the banks of the Clyde to Hamilton—the City of Edinburgh and the Forth Bridge—the Avenue of Beeches near Blairgowrie and the " royal " route to Braemar over the Devil's Elbow with its continuation alongside the Dee to Aberdeen—the mountain pass from Balmoral over Cock Bridge to Tomintoul (reputed the highest village in Scotland)—From Beauly along beautifully-wooded Strath Glass and Glen Antic (after a thunderstorm)—A complete cir- cuit of the wooded road round Loch Ness—Loch Leven from Ballachulish Ferry and the . Pass of Glencoe, continuing to Tyndrum over Rannoch Moor—Ben Nevis from Banavie-- Sunset over the Western Isles, seen from Oban, and the winding road from Oban to Lochgilphead, skirting several prominent West Coast fjords—and, lastly, from` the head of Loch Awe by Dalmally and Glen Avay to Inveraray and towards Glasgovi over Rest and Be Thankful, passing Loch Fyne, Loch Long and Loch Lomond.

* * *

Although the good roads existing to-day in the Highlands make private motoring the ideal means of conveyance, there are many alternative methods of travelling round the country. Motoring competition has improved train-travelling facilities and motor-coach services link up everywhere. One can, in fact, book up for a motor-coach tour at a prearranged figure, which will, include fare, hotel accommodation and special sight-seeing trips, without recourse to a tourist agent. It is possible even to break the journey and pick up another coach at one's convenience later on. In Mr. Gardner's book we read that wet weather is not such a disadvantage to the enjoyment of a Scottish holiday as one might imagine, owing to the fact that loch and mountain scenery always look their- best " between the clouds," but it would not be Wise, nevertheless, to see Scotland by boat in bad weather, despite the great variety of shipping cruises available. With the certainty of fine weather, one could not suggest a better Means of -enjoying Scotland, than by adopting a Scottish Fjords or a Western Isles cruise, as boats leave regularly during the season from both Glasgow and Oban, visiting as far afield as St. Kilda and Loch Roag on the Isle of Lewis. With the elements in doubt, however, it would be safer, if a sea voyage were contemplated, to make the journey to Scotland by East Coast steamer. A.,regular service runs from 11-ondon to both Dundee and Aberdeen in the summer months.

* * * *

The " Come-to-Scotland " Movement appears to be making determined efforts this year to attract a more equitable proportion of the European tourist trade to its own country, and in-this connexion one does feel' that it could well concen- trate its attention on popularizing the seaside resorts of Scotland. In many cases these seem to be greatly neglected, doubtless for the reason that they are not situated on " tourist routes." Scotsmen themselves are also to blame for this, as only the most ardent patriots among them appear to spend_ holidays in their own watering places. Last season the Travel Bureau _Of the -Spectator answered many enquiries from_ Scottish readers for small family resorts in East Anglia. Why the East Coast of England ? Why not the East Coast of Scotland, where transport of the family would be easier, where the resorts are as dry and even more bracing, where the sands are famed as children's playgrounds and where the golf is the best in the world. Can any Scot, one wonders, .say why Cromer should be preferable to Stonehaven, Frinton to Nairn, Scarborough to Aberdeen, Hunstanton to Elie ? C. H. G. Nina.

[In forthcoming issues, we propoSe to publish suggested tours of Scotland with maps for the guidance of motorists.]