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Showing posts from January, 2012

Edinburgh Zoo

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City of Edinburgh | Corstorphine | Zoo | ★★★★★ [Panda at Edinburgh 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. [Chimpanzees] 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 boo

Gilmerton Cove

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City of Edinburgh | Gilmerton | Underground chambers | ★★★ [Gilmerton Cove] 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. [Gilmerton Cove] 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 [Gilmerton Cove]

Walk: Lethnot - hidden Angus Glen gem

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Angus | Angus Glens | Half day walk | ★★★ [Lowly West Craig is a magnificent viewpoint for the glen] 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. [View into the upper glen from the Shank of Donald Young] 📌 Walk: Lethnot - hidden Angus Glen gem ★★★ Start / f

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

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Aberdeenshire | Rhynie | Half day walk | ★★★ [View from Tap o' Noth] 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. [Looking back towards The Buck from the ascent] 📌 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 Features: △ Tap o' Noth (563 m, sub-2000'); 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

Walk: Eyeing up Dunnideer Castle

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Aberdeenshire | Insch | Short walk | ★★ [Hill of Foudland from the summit] 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. [Dunnideer Castle] 📌 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 Features: △ Hill of Dunnideer (268 m); Dunnideer Castle Terrain: Grassy path, steep gradient. Route & map Car park - Hill of Dunnideer & Castle - return by outward route R