Showing posts from June, 2013


City of Edinburgh | Dalmeny | Stately home & church | ★★★

The quiet village of Dalmeny sits midway between the Forth Bridges and the western outskirts of Edinburgh. Here you'll find the self-proclaimed finest Norman church in Scotland, dating from the 12th century and bursting with beautiful carvings inside and out. Dalmeny House is the village's grander attraction, the stately home of the Earls of Rosebery and set amongst beautiful parkland. It's easy to forget that the centre of Edinburgh is barely 7 miles distant, making this area an easy escape to the country for city dwellers.

📌Dalmeny House★★★
Description: Early 19th century mansion in Tudor Gothic style.
Location: Off B924 a mile east of Dalmeny, G.R.: NT 168780 ///living.foal.ship
Open (2019): Sunday to Wednesday afternoons, June & July
Cost (2019): £10 (adults), £6.50 (children)

📌Dalmeny Kirk★★
Description: Beautiful Romanesque church close to the southern end of the Forth Bridges.
Location: Dalmeny village cent…

Crathes Castle

Aberdeenshire | Crathes | Castle | ★★★★

This 16th century tower house is one of Deeside's crowning jewels, a short drive or walk from Banchory. The castle's interior is somehow ornate and rustic in equal measure, but the superb grounds are just as much of a draw. 240 hectares is a serious amount of space to explore, and extends from manicured lawns and stunning walled gardens to ponds and quiet woodland. The main part of the site gets busy on sunny summer weekends, but you don't have to wander far from the castle to escape the crowds.

📌Crathes Castle★★★★
Location: Off A93 at Milton of Crathes (car park has a charge), G.R.: NO 734968 ///option.privately.downsize
Open (2019): Castle: daily, April to October; weekends, November to March. Grounds: daily
Cost (2019): £13 (adults), £9.50 (children), free for National Trust for Scotland members

>> Go Ape (Crathes) (not yet featured)

Walk: Lower Deeside delights - Banchory, railway, castle

Aberdeenshire | Banchory | Full day walk | ★★★★

The beautiful stretch of the Dee downstream from Banchory is perfect (apart from the bit by the sewage works) for an easygoing stroll, following one of Scotland's great salmon rivers through beautiful surroundings right to the gates of Crathes Castle. Allow time for several diversions along the way: perhaps take a steam train on the restored Royal Deeside Railway, or stop for lunch (or shopping) at the nearby Milton of Crathes complex? Even if you don't want to pay for the castle itself, the estate's free grounds are very much a key part of this walk, also taking you much of the way back to Banchory before suburban footpaths and cycleways finish the job.

📌 Walk: Lower Deeside delights - Banchory, railway, castle ★★★★
▶ 12 km / 7 miles | ▲ 200 metres
Features: Banchory; River Dee; Royal Deeside Railway; Crathes Castle & grounds
Start / finish: Tillybrake Road, Banchory, G.R.: NO 704962 ///cook.centuries.compacts

Route: Start …

Old Bridge of Livet

Moray | Glenlivet | Packhorse bridge | ★

There's more to Glenlivet than its whisky. For a start there's the River Livet (smooth place or full of water) itself, and crossing this only about a mile from the distillery is the Old Bridge of Livet. This hidden away, battered but still beautiful packhorse bridge dates at least to the 18th century, its characteristically high main arch having stood up to countless floods over the decades since. Climbing to the crest of the arch is still possible (although perhaps not recommended). The better-known specimen at Carrbridge is more spectacular, but watch out for the signpost for the car park off the B9008 for a quick break if you're driving by.

📌Old Bridge of Livet ★
Location: B9008 300 metres east of the B9136 junction, Glenlivet, G.R.: NJ 197301 ///masterpiece.cheerily.thudding
Open: Always
Cost: Free

Ballindalloch & Knockando

Moray | Castle & woolmill | ★★★★

Ballindalloch Castle is probably Speyside's finest castle. Close to the confluence of the Rivers Spey and Avon amongst immaculate surroundings, the grounds include a stunning rockery as well as formal gardens. The grand castle interior, good woodland walks, tearoom and even a distillery (plus we couldn't fail to mention the unexpectedly luxurious toilets!) furnish the visitor with a good few hours' worth of activities. There are plenty of other worthwhile diversions in the area too though, including the many Speyside distilleries and a recently restored woolmill at nearby Knockando.

📌Ballindalloch Castle★★★★
Description: 16th century, Z-plan home of the Macpherson-Grant family.
Location: A95 a mile south of Marypark, G.R.: NJ 178366 ///usual.materials.language
Open (2019): Sunday to Friday, Easter long weekend to September
Cost (2019): £12 (adults), £6 (children)

📌Knockando Woolmill★★
Description: Working 18th century textile mill on Knockan…

Walk: Aberlour's waterfall waterfalls

Moray | Aberlour | Short walk | ★★★★

Aberlour looks faintly attractive as you pass through it along the A95 and High Street. Make sure you stop, as the immediate area has all the ingredients for a short walk, and indeed for a short day out. A short hop away from the centre is a very pretty stretch of the River Spey, while nestled in the hills above are the idyllic Linn Falls. These slightly amusingly translate as waterfall waterfalls and are easy to reach on paths through beautiful woodland. There a couple of other big draws - the superb Aberlour Distillery is just around the corner. After a tour there you'll probably need to walk off the whisky, and this is just the ticket. Then there's the shortbread factory (with gift shop) at the east end of town. And finally, you can't look further than the Spey Larder for a delicious and locally-sourced picnic lunch.

📌 Walk: Aberlour's waterfall waterfalls ★★★★
▶ 3 km / 2 miles | ▲ 70 metres
Features: Charlestown of Aberlour &…

Walk: Mayar introduce you to Corrie Fee?

Angus | Angus Glens | Full day walk | ★★★★

The dramatic amphitheatre of Corrie Fee is regarded by many as Angus's greatest scenic asset. "I was blown away" and "better than anything you could imagine" are the sort of the comments you tend to hear in relation to this rocky bowl. Are they justified? In our opinion, the coire is no more special than dozens of other stunning Scottish coires, but its accessibility ensures its popularity. The sudden emergence from dense forest at the foot of the bowl helps further, as does the area's reputation for golden eagles. So much beauty lower down is a welcome addition for this hill walk to the twin Munros on the plateau beyond: the featureless summit areas are in direct contrast. On the plus side, the views are good throughout and the going relatively straightforward for a Munro walk.

📌 Walk: Mayar introduce you to Corrie Fee? ★★★★
▶ 15 km / 9 miles | ▲ 840 metres
Summits: Mayar (928 metres, Munro); Driesh (947 metres, Mu…

Walk: Mast-erful Mount Blair

Angus | Angus Glens | Short walk | ★★★

Mount Blair's ugly summit is in stark contrast to the beautiful views it offers, helped by its slightly isolated position just outside the Cairngorms National Park. The transmitter mast at the top ensures it's easily picked out from an array of Cairngorms summits: in turn, the hills visible from Mount Blair form an impressive list, as well as excellent views into lowland Angus and even Fife. With a high start point and good track underfoot, the effort to returns ratio is a good one. Roads circumnavigating the base also allow you to glimpse the craggier eastern and southern flanks from the comfort of the car.

📌 Walk: Mast-erful Mount Blair ★★★
▶ 5 km / 3 miles | ▲ 390 metres
Summits: Mount Blair (744 metres, Graham)
Start / finish: Gate entrance with space for a couple of cars (don't block gate) on B951 a mile east of the A93 junction in Glen Shee, G.R.: NO 155642 ///convinced.alpha.saved. Further space along the road to the west.