In May 2016, eight Hydro Nation scholars took to the road with the Hydro Nation staff team to explore the pressures and competing demands on, and the ecosystem services provided by, our water resource in Scotland. During the road trip, we considered how benefits and conflicts can be maximised through water resource management and contribute to the Hydro Nation Strategy. From a highland distillery to a lowland flood defence scheme, visits to a wide range of field sites allowed discussion with those implementing water policies on the ground, alongside those developing water policies. Site visits covered contrasting issues and pressures, including land use, flooding, industry, marine and restoration. Many thanks to the scholars for their enthusiasm and excellent final presentations which summarised the week’s learning on water pressures, policies and futures and approaches to water management.