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Showing posts from October, 2016

Dunblane

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Dunblane is an small, attractive town bisected by the Allan Water a few miles north of Stirling. The settlement grew up around Dunblane Cathedral, which still dominates the upper end of the High Street. Today it's well-known for its links to tennis star Andy Murray, who grew up in the town. The excellent town museum is a good place to start; there are also excellent riverside walks nearby.


Name: Dunblane ★☆☆☆
Location: G.R.: NN 782011 / famed swordfish living


Within walking distance

Name: Dunblane Cathedral★★☆☆
Description: Gothic town cathedral (technically now a parish church), mostly dating from the thirteenth century.
Location: The Cross, town centre, G.R.: NN 782014 / kind waged modern
Open (2017): Daily
Cost: Free

Name: Dunblane Museum★☆☆☆
Description: Well-presented town museum showcasing the town and cathedral's history.
Location: High Street, town centre, G.R.: NN 782013 / fell winners cubed
Open (2017): Monday to Saturday, April to mid-October; also Sunday afternoons, July &…

Walk: A Darn good walk

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Linking the two towns of Bridge of Allan and Dunblane, the Darn Road is an historic byway dating back centuries, now mostly just a scenic path. Author Robert Louis Stevenson used to frequent the route as a child, and a small cave halfway along is claimed to be his inspiration for Ben Gunn's cave in Treasure Island. The whole route is nicely varied, with mossy old lanes and paths along field boundaries contrasting with the earlier riverside stretches. Autumn colours add to the appeal at the right time of year. It's a linear walk - let the train take the strain to the start (or from the finish).


Name: Walk: A Darn good walk ★★☆☆
Length: 4 km / 2 miles
Ascent: 80 metres
Points of interest: Bridge of Allan; Allan Water; Ben Gunn's cave; Dunblane
Start: Bridge of Allan train station, G.R.: NS 785978 / bill delays crash. N.B. this is not a circular route.
Finish: Dunblane train station, G.R.: NN 781010 / shipped safety coconuts
Transport to start: Park near the finish and take a train…

Walk: Autumnal Loch Ard

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The vast forests of the Trossachs explode into a spectacular array of fiery colours around late October, making this part of the National Park one of the best parts of Scotland to visit during autumn. Tracks around the south side of Loch Ard offer occasional glimpses across the sheltered waters of the loch, eventually revealing an ultimate, quintessential Trossachs vista on the higher return route. Long stretches of track could be a bit dull, especially at other times of the year (hence the lower star rating); nevertheless it's a good spot to immerse yourself in peaceful surroundings.

Name: Walk: Autumnal Loch Ard ★☆☆☆
Length: 11 km / 7 miles
Ascent: 350 metres
Points of interest: Loch Ard
Start / finish: Car park on the south side of Kinlochard, G.R.: NN 447020 / choirs windy insisting

Route: Start - Blairhullichan - Couligarten - track along shore at NN 461015 - leave track at NN 464007 - rejoin higher track at NN 463004 - aqueduct on north side of Druim nan Mial - leave track at NN …

Falls of Lora

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Where does a waterfall flow in both directions? Answer: The Falls of Lora, underneath Connel Bridge, a few miles north of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. Here, 20 sinuous miles of water making up Loch Etive connect to the Atlantic Ocean by a channel just a few hundred metres wide. Water levels in the loch can't squeeze through the gap fast enough to keep up with rising and falling tides on the ocean side. Coupled with an underwater ridge / sill in the middle of the channel, this causes a set of rapids every six hours or so in alternate directions. The spectacle varies from moderately interesting on a neap tide to spectacular on a flood tide (and even more awesome for kayakers), but there's nothing to see apart from the attractive bridge at slack water. The excellent Falls of Lora website (below) should help you time your visit perfectly, and grades the likely strength of the rapids depending on tidal ranges. If you're wondering who Lora was, so are we.


Name: Falls of L…

Walk: Castle Aargh! via a rickety bridge

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Castle Stalker has one of the most romantic settings of any Scottish tower house, cut adrift from everyday life on a tiny tidal island in Loch Laich. It's possible (at considerable cost) to visit the 15th century castle - which featured as Castle Aargh! in Monty Python and the Holy Grail - via boat from Portnacroish. The cheaper option is to view it from a few hundred metres away on the mainland, with the most interesting approach over the long, wooden Jubilee footbridge from the south. This rickety span crosses tidal marshland and dates from 1898, celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The bridge actually fails to do what it's supposed to do - the northern approach can flood at high tide - so check tide tables before you go or risk wet feet. Aargh!


Name: Walk: Castle Aargh! via a rickety bridge ★★☆☆
Length: 4 km / 3 miles
Ascent: 20 metres
Points of interest: Jubilee Bridge; Castle Stalker
Start / finish: Car park on minor road a mile west of Appin (not Port Appin), G.…

Walk: Stag party on the Pap

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The Pap of Glencoe cuts a majestic profile above Glencoe village. The distinctive summit cone affords a wonderful panorama over almost the whole length of Loch Leven, backed by the Mamores to the north and Ardgour to the west. While the views from the ascent are hard to beat, the path itself won't win any medals: loose and eroded in places, water running down the middle elsewhere. Grin and bear it - the rewards are well worth the effort, with the roars of red deer stags filling the air on our rutting season visit.


Name: Walk: Stag party on the Pap ★★★☆
Length: 7 km / 4 miles
Ascent: 720 metres
Main summits: Pap of Glencoe / Sgorr na Cìche (742 metres, Graham)
Start / finish: Track off minor road just to the east of Glencoe village, G.R.: NN 107588 / school leader treatable

Route: Start - leave roadside path at NN 111586 / groups recruited workflow - south-east side of Allt a Mhuilinn - Pap of Glencoe - return by outward route.
Terrain: Good path at first. Middle section is loose, eroded…

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

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Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Glasgow's, and Scotland's, most popular tourist attractions. Housed in a towering red sandstone building on the west side of Kelvingrove Park, the interior underwent a massive restoration between 2003 and 2006 following its 100th anniversary. It now claims to have 22 separate galleries, including excellent natural history, armour and continental art collections. A unique feature is the daily lunchtime organ recital in the Main Hall, on an instrument as old as the building itself. Like the museum, it's free to attend.


Name: Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum★★★☆
Location: West end of Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, G.R.: NS 568663 / stuff owner shady
Open (2017): Daily
Cost: Free
Public transport: Subway (Kelvinhall), 700 metres; bus, <200 metres

Glasgow City Chambers

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Glasgow City Chambers is the HQ for Glasgow City Council, occupying a commanding position on the east edge of George Square, right at the heart of Scotland's biggest city. Thousands of people must pass its doors every day, but how many know about the daily tours of the resplendent interior? The huge structure was built in 1888 for a whopping £578,000 (massively over-budget) by William Young, incorporating ten million bricks and nearly 10,000 cubic metres of stone. Figures aside, tours include the mahogany council chamber, grand banqueting hall, ornate staircases and upper gallery, the latter with portraits of all the former Lord Provosts.


Name: Glasgow City Chambers★★☆☆
Location: George Square, Glasgow, G.R.: NS 594654 / grass wallet stand
Open (2017): By tour only, twice daily on weekdays
Cost: Free
Public transport: Train (Queen Street), 200 metres; subway (Buchanan Street), 300 metres; bus, <200 metres

Walk: Wee Buachaille

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Buachaille Etive Beag (Little shepherd of Etive) is the shy and retiring little brother of famous Buachaille Etive Mòr. Taking the form of a long ridge stretching back from the A82 in Glencoe, it doesn't look particularly impressive from the roadside start. But climbing up onto the ridge reveals a wonderful traverse between two separate Munros. Decent paths throughout probably make these the two easiest 3,000-foot summits to reach in the region, though with the usual precautions necessary in wild or winter conditions. Stob Dubh (at the south end of the ridge) is the main highlight, by virtue of its superb views directly down Glen Etive to the loch of the same name.


Name: Walk: Wee Buachaille ★★★☆
Length: 8 km / 5 miles
Ascent: 900 metres
Main summits: Stob Coire Raineach (925 metres, Munro); Stob Dubh (958 metres, Munro)
Start / finish: Car park on A82 just east of The Study, Glencoe, G.R.: NN 188562 / pans grandest charge

Route: Car park - Buachaille Etive Beag ridge at Mam Buidhe - S…