Showing posts from January, 2012

Edinburgh Zoo

City of Edinburgh | Corstorphine | Zoo | ★★★★★

Edinburgh Zoo is one of Scotland's big-league attractions, with a correspondingly big ticket price. The zoo shot to the top of the UK list with the arrival of Tian Tian and Yang Guang in 2011: two giant pandas and the only ones anywhere in the country. Pandas aside, there's still plenty to see over the huge site, from a large chimpanzee enclosure to the biggest outdoor penguin pool in Europe along with daily "penguin parades", where penguins process along the zoo's paths whilst being kept on track by visitors. Take full advantage of the numerous animal talks scheduled throughout the day to get full value for money.

Location & info

📌 Edinburgh Zoo★★★★★
Corstorphine Road (A8), Corstorphine, 4 mi west of Edinburgh Waverley station, G.R.: NT 209729 ///soil.foal.verge
Open daily | £21.95 adult / £12.50 child including voluntary donation (!); discount for booking online

Anything else? Car park has a charge, but there'…

Gilmerton Cove

City of Edinburgh | Gilmerton | Underground chambers | ★★★

Underneath what looks like an average betting chain shop on the main road through a southeastern suburb of Edinburgh there's a big surprise. A network of hand-carved tunnels and chambers extend into the bedrock. Perhaps it was a smugglers lair. Or a drinking den. Or, ironically given the shop above it, a gambling parlour. The best part? All these theories abound as to their purpose, but no-one truly knows what they were used for. Tours are a little pricey considering the small dimensions of the underground space.

Location & info

📌 Gilmerton Cove★★★
16 Drum Street, Gilmerton, 5 mi southeast of Edinburgh Waverley Station, G.R.: NT 293686 ///horn.lanes.invent
Weekends & some weekdays (see official website) by pre-booked guided tour only | £10 adult / £5 child

Walk: Lethnot - hidden Angus Glen gem

Angus | Angus Glens | Half day walk | ★★★

Angus famously has 5 glens. Of these, Glen Clova, Glen Esk and Glen Isla are all popular walking destinations, and deservedly so. But what about Glen Lethnot? Stranded just outside the Cairngorms National Park and accessing few high hills, this is a lonely valley neglected by visitors. In bygone days this was good news for whisky distillers, who hid their illicit stills in the glen away from prying eyes. It's also good news for us: Glen Lethnot's quietness makes this a superb place to get away from it all, and useful coverage by tracks and stalkers paths make exploration of the upper glen easy. Once your wanderlust is satisfied, head back over the prow of West Craig for great views downstream. Consider yourself unlucky if you meet another soul all day.

📌 Walk: Lethnot - hidden Angus Glen gem ★★★
Start / finish at car park by minor road end in Glen Lethnot, G.R.: NO 465716 ///bystander.keen.trails

▶ 11 km / 7 mi | ▲ 420 m | ⌚ Half a day…

Linn of Corriemulzie

Aberdeenshire | Braemar | Waterfall | ★★

There are numerous of waterfalls, gorges and rapids in the region immediately west of Braemar. The Linn of Corriemulzie is immediately adjacent to the popular Linn of Dee access road, but it's hidden from the tarmac so usually gets passed by. From the roadside you can only see the top of the falls before the burn plunges into the ravine below (perhaps we'll investigate access from downstream one day); nevertheless, it's quite an impressive sight.

Location & info

📌 Linn of Corriemulzie ★★
Below minor road 3 mi west of Braemar, G.R.: NO 112893 ///stumps.suspended.rushed
Always open | Free

Anything else? Park on the grassy verge either side of the bridge over the burn, then walk briefly downhill and peer (carefully!) over the edge.

Walk: To the top o' the Tap o' Noth

Aberdeenshire | Rhynie | Half day walk | ★★★

The curious flat top of Tap o' Noth is a prominent sight from many other hills in Aberdeenshire. Huge piles of stones extend for hundreds of metres around the summit; these are the remains of a colossal hill fort dating to at least 3,000 years ago. The fairly gentle approach track ascends the higher slopes in a spiral shape, letting you take in the views in all directions as you climb.

📌 Walk: To the top o' the Tap o' Noth ★★★
Start / finish at car park off A941 1 mi west of Rhynie, G.R.: NJ 480284 ///flat.builder.showrooms

▶ 5 km / 3 mi | ▲ 290 m | ⌚ Half a day | ⬤ Moderate
Summits: Tap o' Noth (563 metres, sub-2000') | Features: Tap o' Noth hill fort
Terrain: Mostly grassy tracks.

Route & map

Car park - track junction at G.R.: NJ 476291 - Tap o' Noth - return by outward route

Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track
On our visit

Wildlife: Not much.
Weather: Mostly overcast with full snow cover; just above freez…

Walk: Eyeing up Dunnideer Castle

Aberdeenshire | Insch | Short walk | ★★

The remains of 13th century Dunnideer Castle sit, Eye of Sauron-like, atop the Hill of Dunnideer just west of Insch village. The direct ascent of the eastern slopes is short and straightforward (though unremittingly steep, and we can testify that the short grass is like an tilted ice rink when frozen!). The views over Aberdeenshire from the top are excellent considering the minimal effort required to reach it, taking in the Hill of Foudland, Tap o' Noth, Bennachie and much more.

📌 Walk: Eyeing up Dunnideer Castle ★★
Start / finish at car park on minor road 1 mi west of Insch village centre, G.R.: NJ 617282 ///hiked.shortens.mission

▶ 1 km / <1 mi | ▲ 100 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Easy
Summits: Hill of Dunnideer (268 metres) | Features: Dunnideer Castle
Terrain: Grassy path, steep gradient.

Route & map

Car park - Hill of Dunnideer & Castle - return by outward route

Route credit: Scotland Off the Beaten Track
On our visit

Wildlife: Sheep in surround…