Posts

Showing posts from July, 2012

Elcho Castle

Image
Perth & Kinross | Rhynd | Castle | ★★★

Elcho Castle is a perfect example of why it's worth exploring off the beaten track. Although only a few miles from Perth city centre as the crow flies, local topography and the barrier of the River Tay means that access is by a lonely few miles of unclassified road on the northern slopes of Moncreiffe Hill. Perhaps as a result this is a castle that receives relatively few visitors, reflected in its closure each winter. This fortified former home of the Wemyss Family was constructed in the 16th century and still remains pretty much intact. It dates from the period in which wealthy families' residences were transitioning from being primarily defensive to primarily comfortable to live in; Elcho Castle seems to represent a reasonable compromise between the two. Just short of the castle on the access road, there's room to park and view the castle doocot, with the hundreds of nest boxes still intact within.


📌Elcho Castle★★★
At minor road…

Branklyn Garden

Image
Perth & Kinross | Perth | Garden | ★★★

Located on the sunny western slopes of Kinnoull Hill, Branklyn Garden is an oasis of tranquillity only a short walk or drive from the middle of Perth. The gardens are small but crammed full of plant species from all over the world, also incorporating a rock garden, pond and intimately winding walkways revealing a stunning array of colours at every turn. Early summer is probably the best time to visit, but the gardens' autumn colours are apparently also spectacular. For some reason we only took close-up photos: check out the garden's website to get a better idea of the garden layout.


📌 Branklyn Garden★★★
Fairmount Terrace, 20-min walk southeast of Perth city centre, G.R.: NO 126228 ///basin.fall.plot
Open daily, April to October, but probably best in early summer | £6.50 adult / £5 child / free for National Trust for Scotland members

Meikleour Beech Hedge

Perth & Kinross | Meikleour | Hedge | ★★
On sunny evenings, a tall beech hedge casts long shadows across the A93 just south of Meiklour. Record-breakingly long, in fact - for the Guinness Book of Records has verified this as the world's tallest hedge (30 metres) and the longest in Britain (a third of a mile). The hedge is believed to have been planted in 1745 by the couple who owned the local estate, for whom disaster struck a year later; husband Robert was killed fighting for the losing Jacobite side at Culloden, while his wife - Jean - fled to Edinburgh in the aftermath. For today's visitors the best approach is from the south. Park in the layby on the left (west) side just before the hedge, then walk around the corner. In winter the hedge is rather sparse and can be underwhelming, so we recommend a summer trip when foliage reaches its fullest. Trimming is reputed to take six weeks and is carried out about once a decade: perhaps not quite as time consuming as repainting …

Stanley Mills

Image
Perth & Kinross | Stanley | Museum | ★★★★

Stanley Mills are a stunning surviving relic of the Industrial Revolution, now looked after by Historic Scotland after a turbulent history. Local entrepreneurs first chose this site by the River Tay for a cotton mill in 1786, building Stanley village nearby to house and cater for employees. The site often changed hands over the following decades and went out of business several times due to fires, a troubled economy and overseas overproduction. There were intervening successful periods though, and the mills only closed for good in 1989. Today many of the buildings house outstanding displays and interactive exhibits documenting the mill's past, and this is one of Historic Scotland's most engaging (and reasonably priced) attractions.


📌Stanley Mills★★★★
Millbank, half a mile east of Stanley village centre, G.R.: NO 114328 ///paddle.patrolled.splash
Open daily, April to October |£6 adult / £3.60 child / free for Historic Environment Sco…

Lossiemouth beaches

Image
Moray | Lossiemouth | Beaches | ★★★

The sizeable former fishing port of Lossiemouth stands on a minor low headland jutting into the Moray Firth. Harbour aside, the town itself is a little disappointing - nearby Elgin appears to have sucked some of the life out of it - but its best features are on either side: two magnificent and sandy beaches, each stretching for miles along the coast. The East Beach features extensive dunes sandwiched between river and sea. There's a rickety-looking footbridge across the River Lossie to reach it. West Beach is equally beautiful though very small at low tide - it's also the start of an excellent walk to Hopeman via the Moray Coast Trail.


📌Lossiemouth East Beach ★★★
East side of Lossiemouth, G.R.: NJ 239706 ///folks.homes.uproot

📌Lossiemouth West Beach ★★★
West side of Lossiemouth, G.R.: NJ 225709 ///crab.sued.thinnest