The Centre of Scotland-A Surprising Find

Aside from soaking up buckets of gorgeous scenery, one of the best parts of motoring around Scotland are the surprises. It was an afternoon in May, and Mr. C and I were out for a leisurely drive through the Highlands. We were about four miles east of Laggan, having randomly diverged off of General Wade’s Military Road onto an itty bitty single-track road with a sign that pointed towards Glentruim (near the village of Newtonmore).

Google Maps image of General Wade's Military Road near Laggan, Scotland.

We were casually cruising along, lost in thought when we suddenly spotted a massive boulder with a yellow plaque. Curious, we pulled over to take a look.

A large boulder with the Centre of Scotland sign tacked onto it.

To our surprise, we discovered that, in what felt like the middle of nowhere, was the center of Scotland! Wow, the luck!

Centre of Scotland sign that describes how it came to be.
A single track road next to a stone fence that passes by the Center of Scotland stone.
Single track road to Glentruim and the Centre of Scotland.

Though a fun find, I have since learned that whether or not this location is technically the center of Scotland is a matter of some debate. There is the obvious geographical argument for what constitutes the center; however, there is also just as valid an argument for determining the spot based on the country’s mathematical center of gravity. What in the world does that mean? Well, imagine placing Scotland on the tip of a pin. The mathematical center of gravity would be the point at which the country balances perfectly. Some believe that point is on a hillside near Loch Garry. To complicate things further, one also has to ask whether or not Scotland’s small outer islands should be factored into the calculation (I think they should) or whether to base the math on the mainland alone. And what about coastal erosion? Tricky stuff!

Mind-boggling technicalities aside, the good folks in Newtonmore say that “Locals have always claimed that the centre point of Scotland, as defined by the most distant point from the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, is just south of Newtonmore at Glentruim.” The massive rock, placed on the site in 2015 to commemorate the spot, is a testament to their belief.

A single track road and the stone Macpherson Monument, set amongst green countryside and hazy purple mountains.
Nearby Macpherson Monument as viewed from the Centre of Scotland.

Honestly, I have no idea whether this spot is really the true center of Scotland. It doesn’t matter much, though. I like to think that we stumbled upon a bit of a treasure, a random special find. Scotland, after all, is nothing if not surprising.

Have a terrific week, friends, and I’ll see you again soon.


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