Things would at least get easier on day two as we crossed the Cairngorms National Park. Our route took us north and, once we escaped the busy roads and motorways around Edinburgh and Perth, we could relax. The Scottish countryside always seems to appear from nowhere, hiding just behind the towns and villages. Cairngorms is also known as the Snow Roads, as you climb higher into the Scottish ski resorts.
For a hybrid, the wonderful thing about areas like this is they’re perfect for conserving a bit of electric power without needing to plug-in. Every crest of the hills and mountains is another opportunity as you coast downhill and the regenerative brakes charge the batteries. Sadly for the Volvo XC60, its petrol engine alone isn’t the punchiest for when those roads are really steep.
After a few hours in the remote hills, the towns snapped back into focus as we approached the coast. Here’s where we’d be stopping for the night in the town of Nairn – not the most picturesque town on its own but it has one of the highest rated beaches in the UK. With views out over the cliffs of the opposing coastline, it really is a sight to see.
Our charger for the night was just down the road from the hotel and an example of just how easy it can be. It was tucked out of the way by the local police station, with free car parking and no one else using it. I connected up the car using the app and then left it to charge for a couple of hours while we grabbed some dinner!
It wouldn’t be so easy at our next destination though. Day three would take us to the north coast of Scotland, although not on the traditional NC500 route we joined it near Bettyhill. From here we drove the stunning and surprisingly sunny coastal roads to Ullapool. Here the plan was simple, with a charging point right by our restaurant for the evening, we’d plug-in, eat and then drive back to the hotel much like the night before. However, in this case a faulty charger that thought it was already attached to another car meant it was free but unusable.