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Scotland Named in Top 5 Ultimate Summer Drives

The Inverness to Nairn part of the ​North Coast 500 route

With summer upon us thoughts naturally turn to holidays. For those considering a driving break, would you trust science to identify the best routes? Dr. David Holmes has done just that and the North Coast 500 in Scotland has come out on top as the best summer driving road in the UK and fifth best in Europe.

Norway’s Atlantic Ocean Road was rated the best in Europe. Portugal’s Estoril Ocean Drive was second, the drive round Lake Como third and Greece’s The Peloponnesus fourth.

Working with TomTom, the scientist from the Research Institute for Health and Social Change, looked at elements of the driving experience that are important to the planning of a summer route. These included some things you might expect - the weather, traffic, scenery and some things you wouldn’t, such as the number of hills and bends.

Speaking of the code, Tom Brown, Vice-President, TomTom UK said:“There are so many incredible journeys with jaw-dropping views all over the world to explore, which a summer road trip can help you discover. We know that driving is a passion for many people in the UK – and we’re sure that the 25 best summer driving routes that we’ve identified will be debated by car enthusiasts across the country!”

The stunning North Coast 500, which covers 516 miles, is billed as Scotland’s answer to Route 66 and begins in Inverness and runs north via Muir of Ord, Applecross, Gairloch, Ullapool, Durness, Thurso, John o’Groats, Wick and Dunrobin Castle and back to the Highland capital.

If you were to undertake the route, which car would you drive in? The Rover Evoque would match the majestic landscape as would the Volvo v40 Cross Country. Equally at home in the Highlands would be the Qashqai from Nissan.

The winding circuit, which spans vast swathes of the nation’s Highland coastline, was named the most spectacular drive in the UK earlier this year.

The brainchild of the North Highland Initiative, backed by Prince Charles, the touring route was only officially launched last year.

However given the vagaries of the Scottish weather, probably best not to complete the drive in a convertible!

If you are thinking of enjoying the North Coast 500, do it in a car from Taggarts.

By Tracey McBain