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some sailing time or avoid rough waters. Argyll, through its basic geography - it has more
coastline than France, for Pete's sake - is littered with such sites and therefore names.
But all the same.
Anyway, they had to put in a new road between Loch Garry and Glen Moriston back
in the fifties when the push to produce lots more hydroelectric power meant more or
less doubling the size of Loch Garry, Loch Loyne and Loch Cluanie, drowning the roads
which had grown on the old droving routes. The result was one of the best driving roads
in Scotland; a glorious, sweeping, swooping ribbon of tarmac with no built-up areas
between Invergarry and Shiel Bridge, save for a vanishingly brief exception at the Clu-
anie Inn itself.
Beyond, into Wester Ross, lies glorious, mountainous, eye-poppingly spectacular
scenery and (amongst the sorry nonsense of single-track, so-called A-roads, which any
other European country would surely have consigned to historic editions of atlases dec-
ades ago) roads of such beauty and grandeur it gladdens the heart just looking at them on
the map. Well, if you're a cartophiliac petrol-head like me they have that effect.
Just a shame there are no distilleries up in this whole rugged reach of Scotland, or on
any of the Outer Hebrides. None that we know about, anyway.
So have I, over the years - my head well and truly turned by all this spellbinding
semi-wilderness and tempestuous vertiginousness - been too quick to dismiss the more
refined, gentle attractions of places like Speyside? Maybe so. All the same, I've always
had a soft spot for the Borders and for Dumfries and Galloway, both as places of great,
if - compared to the Highlands - rather restrained, rolling, rounded-off beauty and as the
homes of some brilliant, often quite empty roads. Speyside feels similar in a lot of ways;
busier than Dumfries and Galloway, certainly, but with a similar mix of forests and hills.
Maybe I'm just getting older. Before too long I'll be one of those wee old guys who
wears a bunnet in the car; I'll drive with my nose up against the steering wheel while star-
ing at the road from underneath the rim, ambling along in a big fast car I never really use
while looking out for a lay-by with a view of the water so we can get out the camping-
chairs and me and the missus can have a nice cup of tea. Goodness knows there are zil-
lions of worse fates, but the prospect still fills me with a mild horror. A love of wild
scenery, even if it's just to drive through rather than walk in, might stave off senility for a
year or two. This is what I tell myself, anyway.
Glengoyne is technically a Highland whisky, at least given the place where it's made, if
not necessarily where all of it's matured, though this is anyway one of those occasions
when you find yourself puzzling over where the Highland Line does, and ought to run.
The Highlands: their identification and use .
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