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Showing posts from 2015

Walk: Tentsmuir - it grows on you...

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Fife | Tayport | Half day walk | ★★★ [Tentsmuir Sands] Expanding at a rate of up to 5 metres each year, Tentsmuir Point is the fastest-growing point in Scotland. Longshore drift and sediment from the River Tay combine here to create miles of pristine sand, the outer reaches frequented by both common and grey seals. The vast golden swathes are subject to tides, so time your walk to reach the Point around low water. On the way there, you'll have every opportunity to spot red squirrels in the 50 square miles of forest, while hundreds of teal and other ducks gather at Morton Lochs each winter by the start. If you're not interested in birds, beaches or trees, stay clear - you'll see little else all day. [View from one of the hides at Morton Lochs] 📌 Walk: Tentsmuir - it grows on you... ★★★ Start / finish at Morton Lochs car park, off B945 2 mi south of Tayport, G.R.: NO 465264 ///kindness.mass.munch ▶ 16 km / 10 mi | ▲ 30 m | ⌚ Half a day | ⬤ Moderate Featur

Balmerino Abbey

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Fife | Balmerino | Abbey | ★★ [Balmerino Abbey] Balmerino Abbey differs from most National Trust for Scotland sites. No gift shop, no guided tours (in fact, no staff at all) and happily no admission charge. Leaflets in a box near the entrance provided the information for our own exploration of the ruined 13th century monastery, partly held up by wooden props but still with some interesting architectural features visible. Also look out for the gnarly old Spanish Chestnut tree, reputed to have been planted to mark the abbey's founding (although signs on site put this in doubt!) in 1229. [Spanish Chestnut in the abbey grounds] Location & info 📌 Balmerino Abbey ★★ Balmerino village centre, G.R.: NO 358247 ///straddled.frames.revival Always viewable (exterior only) | Free [The abbey was later converted into a house for the Lords of Balmerino, including this first floor extension]

Walk: Norman's Law fae Luthrie

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Fife | Ochil Hills | Half day walk | ★★★ [Approaching Norman's Law from the east] Norman's Law only stands 285 metres above the Firth of Tay, but it's the highest hill in northern Fife, topped with trig point, view indicator and iron-age hill fort. Pheasant shooting may create a noisy backdrop to visits on winter weekends, but doesn't detract from the superb views along the length of the estuary and south to the Lomond Hills. Much of the Cairngorms, West and Central Highlands are also visible on a clear day - notably Schiehallion . [Cows watch on at Lower Luthrie Farm, near the start] 📌 Walk: Norman's Law fae Luthrie ★★★ Start / finish in Luthrie village centre (street parking), G.R.: NO 331196 ///hurricane.hill.struts ▶ 6 km / 4 mi | ▲ 290 m | ⌚ Half a day | ⬤ Moderate Features: △ Norman's Law (285 m, sub-2000') Terrain: Tracks as far as Black Craig, churned by cows in places, then path to summit. Route & map Start - Emily Wo

Walk: Lade Inn & Leny - raw power of the Garbh Uisge

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Stirling | Trossachs | Half day walk | ★★★ [Falls of Leny in full spate] Just downstream of Loch Lubnaig the Garbh Uisge (Rough Water) cuts a deep defile between Ben Ledi and Meall Biorach. Here are the Falls of Leny - less a waterfall than a powerful set of rapids, focussed around where foaming waters are forced either side of a huge, tree-covered boulder. The old Callander to Oban railway bed provides a flat outward option, but rougher paths follow the river bank more loyally if not flooded, and you need to divert onto these at some stage to see the rapids - hopefully in spate. Wider views of this part of the Trossachs open up on the higher return to the start, with the Lade Inn just around the corner serving good food. [Ben Ledi with a dusting of new snow on the return] 📌 Walk: Lady Inn & Leny - raw power of the Garbh Uisge ★★★ Start / finish at car park on east side of the A821 across the river from Kilmahog, G.R.: NN 608081 ///sides.theory.otters . Alter

Paisley Museum

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Renfrewshire | Paisley | Museum | ★★★ [Paisley Museum] Despite an occasionally leaky roof and unbearably excessive heating, Paisley Museum is an excellent museum showcasing Scotland's largest town. A large main hall, art gallery and several subsidiary rooms show Paisley 's history to be a lot broader than weaving alone (though there's ample space for that too). The back of the impressive Victorian building connects to the Coats Observatory: Scotland's oldest observatory. Tours from the museum run a few times daily, with nighttime telescope viewings over the winter months. [Loom Gallery] Location & info 📌 Paisley Museum ★★★ High Street, Paisley town centre, G.R.: NS 480640 ///invite.back.having Closed for major refurbishment - expected reopening in late 2022 | Free [Paisley Pattern exhibition]

Kilwinning Abbey

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North Ayrshire | Kilwinning | Abbey | ★★ [Kilwinning Abbey] The south transept of this once great building soars high above Kilwinning town centre. The abbey was built in the 12th century as a daughter house of Kelso Abbey , with the widest medieval church in Scotland at its centre. Much of the stonework was plundered or demolished for a new church in the 1700s, but it's still a very attractive aspect of the town and Main Street. The impressive clock tower on the northwest side is a modern (well, early 19th century!) addition, and its interior is open to the public on summer Sundays afternoons; as well as seeing the museum exhibits, you can climb the spiral stairs to see the bells, chiming mechanism and the excellent views from the roof. [View from the tower (22/6/18)] Location & info 📌 Kilwinning Abbey & Heritage Centre ★★ Main Street, Kilwinning town centre, G.R.: NS 303433 ///dislikes.episode.fallen Abbey ruins always open. Heritage centre: Easter l

Eglinton Country Park

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North Ayrshire | Kilwinning | Park | ★★ [A dreich morning at Eglinton Loch] Eglinton Castle is the centrepiece to this park straddling the Lugton Water near Kilwinning, the ruins the most tangible reminder of the large estate once belonging to the Earls of Eglinton. In 1839 the 13th earl hosted the Eglinton Tournament here celebrating Queen Victoria's coronation. This was one of the most lavish events the country had ever seen, re-enacting a medieval joust with 100,000 spectators attending. This being Scotland, torrential August rain marred the spectacle and scant evidence of the tournament remains. There's plenty else to see here if you live in the area though, with woodland, parkland and lochside walks linking the visitor centre, castle and various hidden-away buildings. Print out a map from the park website to get the best out of your visit, as signposting is limited. [Eglinton Castle] Location & info 📌 Eglinton Country Park ★★ Access from the A78 / A

Royal Yacht Britannia

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City of Edinburgh | Leith | Ship | ★★★★ [Royal Yacht Britannia] The Royal Yacht Britannia was Queen Elizabeth II's official ship until 1997. She was launched on the west coast of Scotland in 1953 and now sits retired on the east coast at the Port of Leith , having visited 135 countries over 44 years' service. A content-rich exhibition precedes a tour of the actual ship, including both the royal quarters and the staff areas below decks. Access is, weirdly, from the top floor of Ocean Terminal shopping centre, so it's easy to combine with a shopping trip, cinema visit or meal out - a good (though expensive) option for a wet day. [Grand dining room] Location & info 📌 Royal Yacht Britannia ★★★★ Access from within Ocean Terminal shopping centre, half a mile northwest of Leith town centre, G.R.: NT 266773 ///label.quiet.final Open daily | £17 adult / £8.75 child [Engine room] [Bridge] [Breakfast is served] [View from the deck] [R

Deep Sea World

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Fife | North Queensferry | Aquarium | ★★★★ [Shark tunnel, Deep Sea World] A flooded quarry in the slumbersome fishing village of North Queensferry is, perhaps unexpectedly, home to Scotland's largest aquarium. And probably the best: the excellent attractions includes hundreds of fish across dozens of tanks and climates ranging from cold Scottish waters to the Amazon rainforest. The list extends to seals, rockpool life, amphibians, rays, otters... and the UK's longest underwater tunnels, where you can view sharks, rays and other fish pass by inches away. Feeds, talks and activities run through the day so you could probably fill a full morning or afternoon without getting bored. [Deep Sea World] Location & info 📌 Deep Sea World ★★★★ Battery Quarry, 5-min walk southeast of North Queensferry village centre, G.R.: NT 133803 ///tadpole.prepared.smuggled Open daily | £15.80 adult / £11.25 child, discount for booking online [Deep Sea World] [Deep Se

Walk: Hidden underbelly of Falkirk

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Falkirk | Union Canal | Short walk | ★★★ [Falkirk Tunnel] On a dull and damp day it's often appealing to stay indoors... or you could head underground and explore Scotland's longest canal tunnel! Stalactites have been growing inside from the constant dripping for nearly 200 years since the tunnel's construction - these and atmospheric reflections in the still canal water create a fascinating underworld, accessible by foot or by boat. Beyond the tunnel exit, look out for the Laughin' Greetin' Bridge. Its arch is adorned on the Edinburgh and Glasgow sides with happy and miserable faces respectively: referring to the comparatively easy time canal navvies had in building east over flat ground, compared to the numerous locks (many now replaced by the Falkirk Wheel ) and the long tunnel lying ahead to the west. The overland return route through suburbs and scrub doesn't quite compare, but a decent view over Falkirk to the Ochil Hills is a nice bonus. [En

Falkirk

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Falkirk | Town | ★★ [Steeple on Falkirk High Street] The town of Falkirk (Speckled Church)  sits almost exactly in the centre of the triangle connecting Edinburgh , Glasgow and Stirling . Good road and rail links mean it's one of the best non-city bases for exploring the Central Belt. As a settlement in its own right though, it's often overlooked by tourists. Spend a little time locally and you'll discover an attractive shopping district surrounded by a variety of tourist attractions, ranging from a beautiful stately home within acres of landscaped grounds, to easygoing canal walks, a key Roman Fort on the Antonine Wall, a slick new urban park and the Falkirk Wheel: one of the most striking pieces of modern architecture in Scotland. The various attraction are listed below. [Callander House (25/7/14)] Location & info 📌 Falkirk ★★ Falkirk council area, G.R.: NS 888799 ///fame.piper.invest 🚶 Falkirk spreads quite widely, though Callander House is an