Motorway to Scotland

Road network in Scotland

Scottish highways

Scottish motorwayThe road network in Scotland is very well developed and virtually all, even the smallest, roads are paved. There are relatively few holes in them, even if they are in remote areas, so driving is quite enjoyable. The total length of the Scottish highways (according to 2017 data) is 56 thousand 250 kilometres, of which 632 kilometres are motorways. Strange as it may sound, the longest road network is in the Scottish Highlands.

There can be conventional Scottish roads with one lane in each direction (almost 28,000 kilometres in total), two- or three-lane motorways, or very narrow local roads with single file traffic sections. To be able to drive there, special passing places have been created on those roads. This type of carriageway is particularly common in the Scottish islands and makes driving slower but quite interesting.

To get to and return from Scotland, most motorists use the M74, which runs from the southern border of Scotland and is a continuation of the M6 ​​in England. This motorway has three lanes in each direction almost along its entire length, with the exception of a small section before Glasgow, where there are only two lanes.

Central Scotland

Of course, Scotland’s best-developed and ‘fastest’ Scottish roads are in the central part of the country, connecting the capital, Edinburgh, with Glasgow, Stirling and Perth.

The main Scottish highways (motorways) connecting these cities are the M8 (Edinburgh-Glasgow), M9 (Edinburgh-Stirling), M90 (Edinburgh-Perth) and M80 (Glasgow-Stirling). In the absence of congestion, any journey to these cities will not take more than an hour, but in the morning before the start of the working day and in the late afternoon, when the work ends, the journey may take twice as long.

The good news is that motorways in Scotland, like in England, are toll-free, so there will be no extra cost for travellers, unlike such countries as France, Italy and Croatia.

Western Islands

As for the extra cost, those will be if you travel to western islands of Scotland. Scottish roads in the western islands are as good as elsewhere, although you can often get caught on roads with only one lane in both directions.

There will be an additional cost for the ferries that will take you from the mainland to the island. The ferry service is very well organized and they run precisely according to a pre-arranged schedule. It must be said, however, that ferry travel is not cheap and can be stopped due to the weather conditions, mainly due to strong winds (those my be well over 100 kilometres per hour).

There are also popular destinations that can be reached both by land and by ferry, such as the Isle of Skye. We’ve tried both ways, and each has its advantages, especially if you don’t have to rush anywhere.

Rest of Scotland

Where there are no motorways, there are good ordinary roads, in some places there are even two lanes in each direction. One of the main reasons why there are no motorways is the Scottish terrain. For example, when driving in mountainous areas, in many cases there is hardly a space for even one full single lane.

Another feature, especially in mountainous areas, are long stretches of road where overtaking is prohibited but also practically impossible, as the roads are winding and cars, buses and lorries with long trailers drive on them. One can only hope for luck that there will not be many slow vehicles on the road.

In any case, if you go plan a longer trip, you can’t trust the estimated time of arrival to your destination proposed by your navigation device – be sure to add some time to your trip if you want to get to the destination at a specific time.