Like all of Martin Dorey’s other offerings, Take the Slow Road – Scotland: Inspirational Journeys round the Highlands, Lowlands and Islands of Scotland by Camper Van and Motorhome is another superb travel guide.
When the world was normal (back in 2019) we took this with us on our honeymoon all the way around Scotland. Without it, we would have missed some amazing places!
With the lockdown hopefully lifting sometime in 2021 we can once more look forward to taking some journeys in our vans! This book review will hopefully whet your appetite for adventure and is essential reading if you’re heading to Scotland.
Let’s dive in…
Take the Slow Road – a great travel companion!
First off, let’s say this book feels great. It’s more than just a book; it’s an object that feels good to hold. The cover is robust and folds open to reveal a map of Scotland with numbered routes of Martin’s travels, each corresponding to a chapter in the book.
This makes it easy to navigate your way through all 354 pages. Talking of which, the pages are of thick paper, almost card-like, making this an extremely durable road-trip companion. And the pages smell great too, that kind-of new paper smell. (Our copy still smells great after a year!)
So, before taking another deep inbreath amongst its pages, let’s look at some of the content…
Full of inspiration…
There are great pictures, hints and tips, places to visit and see on each route and detailed descriptions of the routes themselves, each with its own map. All this, and recommended campsites too.
There’s advice on hiring a campervan or motorhome, if you don’t have your own, and all the info you need about wild camping laws in Scotland. For instance, we now know about the £3 a night parking permit you need in the Loch Lomond area.
There’s also advice on essential equipment for your trips.
We used this book throughout our road-trip honeymoon and it made us aware of places we would otherwise have missed.
Scotland is a long way from Suffolk and it’s not easy to just jump in your van and go back if you’ve missed a gem of a place!
Fate lends a hand…
Before arriving north of the border, we stayed a couple of nights at Dent in Cumbria. Reading the book, Gav marked out the Buddhist Temple at Eskdalemuir but it was a little east of where we intended to go.
But then fate lent a hand…
The photographer at our wedding in Gretna said, “I know where you two would love to go…”
Sure enough, it was the Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery along the B709, the very place Gav had earmarked in the book. We had to go, of course. And what a place!
Visiting this Tibetan Monastery, on the first afternoon of our life as Mr and Mrs Roberts, was incredible. For the time we stayed – about 4 hours – we experienced authentic Tibetan chanting and meditation, as well as marvelling at the architecture of the buildings and the serenity of the gardens. We could have been in the Himalayas!
Without reading about it in Take the Slow Road we wouldn’t even have known of its existence. Maybe the photographer could read our minds?
But that’s the thing about this book; first-hand accounts of Martin’s experiences, written in a down-to-earth, practical style that inspires you to want to go there yourself and find out more.
We possibly owe this experience to Martin (and our wedding photographer, Ray). Thank you both!
The highest road in Britain
We would also have missed the highest road in Britain, the A93 in the Cairngorms, had we not read the book.
It’s this attention to detail that makes Take the Slow Road such a great travel guide.
And what more could you want? Great advice, superb pictures and route maps, hints, tips, and stories, all told in such a way that you can’t wait to get going yourself.
We had an amazing time in Scotland and some of that was a direct consequence of reading Take the High Road. We’ll take it when we return, for sure. But until then we’ll periodically flick through the pages, reminding us of the routes we’ve taken, feeling inspired to take more epic journeys.
So, in summary, this is a must-have book if you’re heading to Scotland, especially if you’re in a campervan or motorhome. It’s worth every penny and might well lead you to some memorable moments you’ll cherish forever, just as it did us.
Get your copy from Blackwell’s – a family run bookshop since 1846…