Loch Lomond - Campbeltown : My Dream Drive

Name: Matt Bird
Where: Loch Lomond to Campbeltown Airport, A85 and A816, West Scotland
Car:Bentley Continental GT Speed

Roads always great, weather perhaps not
Roads always great, weather perhaps not
The route:
"The drive begins on the banks of Loch Lomond, the A82 staying close to the water until the A83 and then A85 take you west. At Oban get onto the A816 and track south past Loch Melfort and then through, well, not an awful lot really until Stonefield. Here the '816 is incorporated into the A83. Follow it towards Brackley and Loch Gilp (you'll know that when you see it!), a brief stint on the B8024 around Tarbert and then continue on the A83 all the way to Campbeltown. The airport probably won't let you max your car on arrival though."

Why it's a dream drive:
"This part of Scotland is quite sparsely populated as well as spectacularly beautiful. Ergo even 'major' roads like the A82 and A83 are a) relatively quiet and b) run through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, let alone Britain. Moreover, as the primary roads between a few Scottish settlements they seemed well looked after too. Again the fairly light traffic will help here.

If you could match car with road...
If you could match car with road...
"The vast open expanses of water up here are totally captivating. Gorgeous weather on the days I was there certainly heightened the experience but to drive along huge lochs with sun glinting off the surface is a special experience.

"With so much space, lots of the roads are fast and flowing if not always the widest. Perfectly matched to the Bentley we were there for actually, the corners long and open, the straights stretching off into the distance. But don't think the route is dull by any stretch. Quick direction changes abound, the roads climb up hillsides and there are tighter, technical sections in the forest too. Here the two-ton Bentley felt less at home..."

Highlights and lowlights:
"There isn't really a lowlight to the route, just sections that are marginally less amazing than the rest. The very appropriately named Loch Awe is certainly a highlight; keep an eye out for the train station in the town and a very scenic track. Searching for trains shows it's a 13-hour journey from PH Towers there or thereabouts...

Views really are worth stopping for
Views really are worth stopping for
"Traffic can be a bit of a problem. As major routes, sparsely populated or otherwise, you can come across trucks, tractors and other big stuff. On the stretches with good visibility overtakes are easier but in wooded sections that obviously becomes harder. And much more frustrating. Having a gigantic Bentley probably didn't help the cause either.

"For me the best section of road was after the stop at the (exceptionally nice) Loch Melfort Hotel. You'll see on the map that there's very little between Loch Melfort and Lochgilphead on the A816. Drag Streetview across and you'll see mile after mile of superb roads; twisting, turning and with more stunning views. That stretch alone is worth however long it takes to get that far north. Probably."

Sights, stop-offs and diversions:
"The route incorporates Oban, a noteworthy stop for single malt fans. We of course couldn't make a stop at any distilleries during the drive...

Scotland does A-roads rather well
Scotland does A-roads rather well
"Predictably enough the Cameron House hotel Bentley put the journos up in is a fabulous place to stay and is perfectly sited for further exploration of the loch and the surrounding National Park. In fact you can take your pick from lochs in the area, with Goil, Long, Eck, Craignish and Nant all on or close to the route

"As you travel further west Scotland becomes more desolate so it's worth bearing in mind that Loch Lomond is only about 30 minutes from Glasgow Airport. Just if you want a little less isolation. And as you are so far north, Fort William won't seem quite so far away.

"So there it is. Get the flight to Glasgow and rental car booked ASAP!"

Follow the route here.



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Comments (29) Join the discussion on the forum

  • f1ten 31 Jul 2014

    I cannot disagree. I spent most of my life there around loch lomond and the light traffic and scenery is exactly the point. yes the alps are stunning but you have to pick your times of day like 7pm to have a thrash to avoid the caravans

  • b14 31 Jul 2014

    Absolutely - blast up the Rest and Be Thankful, stunning roads on the other side as well. Heaven.

  • thatguy11 31 Jul 2014

    Well that's my weekend sorted....

  • 5STM5 31 Jul 2014

    Agreed. I live close to Loch Lomond and as long as you pick the time right it is a fantastic drive.

  • GroundEffect 31 Jul 2014

    The Alps might be more dramatic but the West Coast of Scotland is still the most beautiful place in the world to me.

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