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Single Tracked

You might fly into Glasgow Airport, pick up a hire car and set of to explore Scotland. When you reach Broadford you may pass the Co-Op and then turn left at the Broadford Hotel. That’s where it can all goes wrong.

This is where you are about to encounter your first Single Track Road of the journey. It might even be the first one of your life…

It is a narrow strip of tarmac with passing places that stretches from Broadford to Elgol. 17 miles of fear and panic. You may have spent your life in London New York, Paris, Tokyo or the like and never had the inclination to do much driving. Your roads are congested, the chance of a parking space slim and the public transport efficient. But when you arrive in Scotland you get in a Fiat 500 and set off on an adventure into the unknown. Which might end up as a Deliverance style nightmare on the Elgol road.

I have seen many things on the Elgol road. I have witnessed tour buses stopping on it to disgorge all their passengers onto the road to photograph highland cows while we wait patiently (patience is the virtue best suited to the Elgol road) behind them. I have seen young inexperienced drivers getting so worked up and confused that they burst into tears instead of getting out of the way of the oncoming traffic while we wait patiently (remember it’s a virtue) behind them. I have witnessed two drivers refusing to back down and demand the other reverse back to a passing place while we wait patiently (calm down) behind them.  I have held my breath as drivers pulled into a passing place that wasn’t there and risked plummeting down a rocky slope to their doom. I have waved frantically, flashed lights, hooted horn and sworn loudly at  foreign drivers as they pulled in to the wrong side. Into the very same passing place as I am heading. I have then waited patiently (oh, for fuck’s sake! *pounds head off steering wheel*) as they reversed erratically back onto the road.

I have laughed manically as cars have zoomed straight off down the Kilbride road instead of following the curve of the Elgol road. They brake violently when they realise their mistake but I am already happily ahead of them. I have trundled along behind cars with a driver and passenger gesticulating furiously at a sat-nav…. on a single track dead end road. I have wished a pox ridden end to drivers who slow down to stick a phone out of the window to photograph or video something.

A journey to Elgol should take about half an hour but in Summer it can take a morning or afternoon. It can be a soul destroying trip, so here are some top tips on driving it.

Stay calm

Don’t panic.

Keep out of my way.

Don’t drive at ten miles an hour.

If you do then a car will  appear  inches behind you with flashing lights, a loud horn and swear words.

Don’t stop to photograph an eagle, it’s a buzzard.

It’s the left. always the left.

A passing place isn’t a lay-by

A passing place isn’t a car park

A passing place isn’t an overnight stop for camper vans

If you don’t heed the last three then you are a dick and will end up with a sheep’s head in your boot.

Sheep have right of way.

Passing places with a diamond shaped sign are cooler than ones with a square sign.

The Elgol bus has priority over everybody.

The other vehicle that has priority is Love Skye Photography’s car. She has a wedding she can’t be late for.  If you impede her she will kill you.

She will not lose sleep over your death.

Enjoy Elgol if you make it there. . It is very pretty