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Showing posts from February, 2017

National Wallace Monument

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Out of dozens of monuments around Scotland dedicated to Sir William Wallace, the National Wallace Monument is by far the most popular, and an instantly recognisable landmark when passing Stirling on any of the main routes north or south. This 220-foot Victorian Gothic tower stands on the summit of Abbey Craig, a volcanic outcrop overlooking the site of Wallace's famous victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Viewing the tower exterior is free, but the (fairly pricey) admission fee allows access to the interior with exhibition rooms on several levels, 246 spiral steps, and superb views from the top.


Name: National Wallace Monument★★☆☆
Location: Off B998 just north of the A9 junction, 3 miles north of Stirling centre, NS 809957 / tags useful intruders
Open (2017): Daily
Cost (2017): £9.99 (adults), £6.25 (children)
Anything else? The monument is a 10-min walk from the car park on a wide but very steep path - alternatively there's a (free) minibus shuttle.

Walk: Abbey Craig - William Wallace wander

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If you're visiting Stirling's famous Wallace Monument, take an extra hour or so to explore Abbey Craig, the hill on which it stands. This rocky mound directly overlooks the neck of land in between meanders of the River Forth to the south, where Sir William Wallace and his Scottish army overwhelmed English forces as they piled across an old timber bridge over the tidal river. Behind is Stirling Castle atop its own rocky mound, with the West Highlands providing a distant backdrop to the city's northern suburbs. To the east the Ochil Hills are even nearer, but views in this direction are partially blocked by trees - the top of the monument is a better bet. Paths are steep in places, so you can probably justify a snack afterwards in the monument visitor centre's cafe.


Name: Walk: Abbey Craig - William Wallace wander ★★☆☆
Length: 3 km / 2 miles
Ascent: 170 metres
Main summits: Abbey Craig (111 metres)
Points of interest: National Wallace Monument
Start / finish: National Wallace…

Walk: Valentine's date with Duncolm

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Love is a strong word, especially when the Kilpatrick Hills are involved. This expansive plateau has a reputation for bog and featureless grassland; the interior feels a desolate place despite being just a stone's throw from Glasgow. But a scattering of reservoirs here and there add variety amongst the open hillsides, with a decent network of (soggy) paths trampled by centuries of Glaswegian day-trippers. Duncolm is the highest of the range, with great views of the Campsie Fells and Loch Lomond on a clear day; this circuit also takes in Greenside Reservoir and the summit of The Slacks, with a fine outlook over city and Clyde on descent.


Name: Walk: Valentine's Day date with Duncolm ★☆☆☆
Length: 14 km / 9 miles
Ascent: 620 metres
Main summits: Duncolm (401 metres, sub-2000'); The Slacks (365 metres)
Points of interest: Loch Humphrey; Greenside Reservoir
Start / finish: Kilpatrick Hills car park, off Mount Pleasant Drive, Old Kilpatrick, G.R.: NS 469729 / shadows canoe pilots

Rout…

Walk: Kerrera - jewel in the Firth of Lorne

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Protecting Oban from westerly gales, the island of Kerrera is described by the Scottish tourist board as "a jewel in the Firth of Lorne". Despite it's proximity to a popular holiday resort, the island doesn't get overrun and is the perfect size for exploring in a day, with a handsomely restored castle and a monument to David Hutcheson (father to the CalMac ferry company) in addition to great natural beauty. If Kerrera is a jewel it's an unpolished one: tracks don't quite go all the way around the wonderfully varied coastline, which leaves a couple of boggy bits and a few inland detours to join the dots. Visiting in summer adds the possibility of refreshment in two seasonal cafes (one at each end of the island and both on the route) - look out for the random mugs and quirky signs pointing the way to the southern one.


Name: Walk: Kerrera - jewel in the Firth of Lorne ★★☆☆
Length: 18 km / 11 miles
Ascent: 400 metres
Points of interest: Kerrera coastline; Gylen Cast…