Showing posts from December, 2012

Walk: Through Tyrebagger's trees to Tappie Tower

Aberdeen City | Blackburn | Short walk | ★★★

Sandwiched between Aberdeen Airport, the A96 dual carrriageway, and now the new Aberdeen ring road too, Tyrebagger Hill doesn't sound like a promising destination. But this forested hill turns out to have plenty of character, with excellent views towards Bennachie and over the city of Aberdeen. There's a miniature fairytale tower on the summit with a spiral staircase accessing the top.

📌 Walk: Through Tyrebagger's trees to Tappie Tower ★★★
▶ 6 km / 4 miles | ▲ 140 metres
Summits: Tyrebagger Hill (250 metres)
Start / finish: Car park just off A96 2 miles east of Blackburn, G.R.: NJ 853116 ///claw.hands.imprints

Route: Car park - track junction at G.R.: NJ 848115 - track junction at G.R.: NJ 855122 - track junction near Pitdouries Well - Gueval Wood - Tyrebagger Hill - return to Gueval Wood - track junction at G.R.: NJ 843119 - start. Map of route here (no. 3); route waymarked in white.
Terrain: Mostly tracks with a little mud; clear …

Ski: Cairngorm Mountain

Highland | Aviemore | Ski centre | ★★★

Cairngorm Mountain (historically referred to as Aviemore) is Scotland's best known winter sports destination, attracting more visitors than any of the country's other ski areas. On paper, it's easy to see why: its Top Bowls have the most reliable snow cover of any runs in the UK, theoretically accessed by a funicular railway which also directly serves the dozen or more runs on the Cas side of the mountain. Nearby Aviemore village is also the closest thing Britain has to an all winter (and summer) sports "resort", making it a popular year-round holiday base. But Cairngorm's drawbacks are non-trivial. Huge lift queues are common at weekends and during school holidays, and the upper slopes are barren and inhospitable in bad weather: days when the hill is stormbound or uplift limited are fairly common. And that's even before ongoing problems with the funicular - which will disrupt operations over the coming season. We ar…

St Andrews

Fife | Town | ★★★★

University town, the home of golf, magnificent ruined cathedral and castle, an attractive coastal setting... St Andrews seems to have got the rub of the green when it comes to tourist attractions, even if you don't want to play the world-famous courses. Two magnificent beaches are particularly underrated - the more extensive West Sands was the filming location for the start of Chariots of Fire. Many visitors find the centre surprisingly small, and it's probably only thanks to the large termtime student population that St Andrews has a bustle about it that's rare in similar-sized Scottish settlements. It's certainly a bit of a bubble, with an almost English feel and in complete contrast to the rest of Fife.

📌St Andrews ★★★★
Fife, G.R.: NO 509167 ///butlers.butter.roaming

Within walking distance

>> British Golf Museum (not yet featured)
>> St Andrews Aquarium★★★★
>> St Andrews Castle & Cathedral page: St Andrews Castle ★★★★; St Andr…

St Andrews Castle & Cathedral

Fife | St Andrews | Castle & cathedral | ★★★★

One of St Andrews' manifold attractions is its wealth of religious history. On the coast and close to the town centre stand the ruined remains of St Andrews Castle and Cathedral. The two sites' histories are closely linked and you can buy a joint ticket covering both sites. There's a lot more to offer beyond the buildings you first see on the ground. A siege carried out by the Earl of Arran in 1546 involved the construction of underground passageways (by both sides) which you can still explore by crawling in places: great fun if you're in an adventurous mood. Meanwhile, the depths of the vaults around the cathedral's south cloister are home to a museum showcasing stone carvings, Pictish stones and gravestones from the site itself and the wider area. Finally, you can climb to the top of the 33-metre St Rule's Church tower: pre-dating even the cathedral buildings.

📌 St Andrews Castle★★★★
Description: Ruined home of…

St Monans

Fife | Village | ★★★

So far we've only had the chance to visit the fishing village of St Monans at dusk, which is sadly not long after 4 pm at this time of year. Even in the gloaming we could see enough of the beautiful harbour to make us want to come back during proper daylight hours, to further explore the sea front and the old alleyways leading back from it. Just along the coast path to the east is Fife's last surviving windmill, built in the late 18th century in order to pump sea water into nearby salt pans - once a major industry all along the Forth estuary. There are information panels and good views from the top of the spiral staircase inside, but see the info below about access.

📌 St Monans ★★★
Fife, G.R.: NO 526016 ///strut.accompany.melon

Within walking distance

📌St Monans Windmill★★
On the coast, 15-min walk east of the village centre, G.R.: NO 533018 ///aboard.include.paths
Open daily (limited hours - see website) | Free

Anything else? Slightly closer parking for the w…