Showing posts from April, 2015

Deanston Distillery

Stirling | Deanston | Distillery | ★★★

No pagoda chimneys, no obvious whisky clues except the barrels by the entrance and the sign on the wall... Deanston Distillery looks nothing like a traditional distillery. But you shouldn't always judge a building by its exterior: the uncompromising architecture isn't ideal if this is the only distillery you'll ever visit, but otherwise Deanston makes an interesting change from the norm. And inside, things are pleasingly old-fashioned. The building started out as a cotton mill in 1785, powered by the fast-flowing River Teith alongside. As demand and corresponding production declined through the early 20th century the river was instrumental again, making it suitable for conversion into a distillery in 1966. The visitor centre opened in 2012; tours are good and start with a slick film about the site's heritage.

📌Deanston Distillery★★★
By minor road, east end of Deanston, G.R.: NN 716015 ///clothed.dated.riverside
Open daily - booking…

Doune Castle

Stirling | Doune | Castle | ★★★★

This massive, 14th century castle is the main draw of the village of Doune. Tourists flock here thanks to the castle's links with Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of Thrones and Outlander: sections of all 3 were filmed here, making Doune Castle one of the country's most visited. A worthwhile loop of riverside path links the castle indirectly with the attractive village centre via the Ardoch Burn and River Teith, shown on a 3-D map in the castle's exhibition room and also on our dedicated walk page.

📌Doune Castle★★★★
Castle Hill, 10-min walk south of Doune village centre, G.R.: NN 728011 ///chariots.lance.buildings
Open daily | £9 adult / £5.40 child / free for Historic Environment Scotland members

Walk: Meikle Bin - far from rubbish

Stirling | Campsie Fells | Full day walk | ★★★

The Campsie Fells form an abrupt barrier to travellers heading north from Glasgow. Dumgoyne is probably the most popular hill in the range, but Meikle Bin enjoys equally good views, rising prominently from the eastern side of the surrounding plateau. With a shady approach on forestry tracks and a longer return along the Carron Valley Reservoir, this is a good bet for a hot day - when you'll also come across one of the most perfectly sited picnic benches you're likely to find anywhere.

📌 Walk: Meikle Bin - far from rubbish ★★★
Start / finish at Todholes car park, B818 near outflow of Carron Valley Reservoir, G.R.: NS 673859 ///blemishes.outdoor.eager

▶ 14 km / 9 mi | ▲ 540 m | ⌚ Full day | ⬤ Moderate
Summits: Meikle Bin (570 m, sub-2000') | Features:Carron Valley Reservoir; Peggie's Spout
Terrain: Mainly forestry tracks. Wide paths near summit and along Bin Burn, wet higher up.

Route & map

Car park - River Carron outflow - …

Walk: Ben Lomond from the other bonnie bank

Stirling | Rowardennan | Full day walk | ★★★★

The most southerly Munro, Ben Lomond is probably the only serious contender to Ben Nevis for the title of Scotland's most popular hill over 3,000 feet. On average 100 people each day reach the summit; for summer weekends, thousands must be a better estimate, most heading up the "tourist route" along the broad, southern ridge. For a much quieter, more interesting ascent with far better views of Loch Lomond, ascend via the steeper Ptarmigan Ridge, leaving the tourist route for the descent when legs are tired. Even better, start the day by accessing the start at Rowardennan by ferry from Tarbet on the other bonnie bank. Outside peak times, by this route you'll have a reasonable chance of reaching the top without meeting another walker.

📌 Walk: Ben Lomond from the other bonnie bank ★★★★
Start / finish at car park at minor road end, Rowardennan, G.R.: NS 360986 ///shapeless.with.nicknames

▶ 12 km / 7 mi | ▲ 990 m | ⌚ Full day …

Loch Lomond boat trips

Argyll & Bute / Stirling / West Dunbartonshire | Loch Lomond | Boat trips | ★★★

Loch Lomond looks beautiful from most angles, but to get the best views you either need to get up high, or out onto the water itself. Several boat operators ply their trade up and down both shores, creating a complex web of possible itineraries. Cruise Loch Lomond are probably the biggest name, with sailings mainly from Luss, Tarbet and Inveruglas on the busy western side, plus Rowardennan and Inversnaid on the secluded eastern bank. Further south, bustling Balloch is the territory of Sweeney's, with timetabled there-and-back sailings as well as routes serving Luss and Balmaha. Last but not least, a tiny ferry beetles back and forth between Balmaha and the bluebell-clad island of Inchcailloch over the summer months. This dense network of routes opens up some novel possibilities for walking and cycling too. We've accessed Ben Lomond with an early morning sailing from Tarbet on the opposite shore:…

Loch Lomond

Argyll & Bute / Stirling / West Dunbartonshire | Balloch | Loch | ★★★★

Loch Lomond is Great Britain's largest freshwater lake, forming the heart of Scotland's first National Park. With the southern end of the loch only a dozen or so miles from Glasgow, the transformation into dramatic, mountainous country as you drive north along the west bank is remarkable. However, to see the loch and its 60 or so islands at its best, you need to get away from the A82. The best spots are largely accessed by the B837 up the east shore to Balmaha, and the unclassified road beyond. Further north still, you'll have to go it on foot, along a tough stage of the West Highland Way. Alternatively, hop on a ferry for 360° views back to those bonnie banks.

Location & info

📌 Loch Lomond ★★★★
Argyll & Bute / Stirling / West Dunbartonshire, G.R.: NS 374942 ///estate.guidebook.crowned

Anything else? Some lochside car parks charge a fee, including at Luss and Rowardennan.

>> Inchcailloch

Walk: Cascades on the Caaf - Lynn Spout

North Ayrshire | Dalry | Short walk | ★★★★

North Ayrshire isn't well known for its dramatic waterfalls, but Lynn Spout is a true gem. It's the highlight of this short but beautiful, wooded circuit just outside Dalry. The route explores both banks of the Caaf Water to reveal a stretch of burn liberally scattered with little cascades and rapids. The best views of the waterfall are from near the base: a short scramble down off the main path. Wear some grippy shoes and catch it after rainfall - that shouldn't be too much of a challenge here in western Scotland.

📌 Walk: Cascades on the Caaf - Lynn Spout ★★★★
Start / finish at car park on B714 half a mile south of Dalry town centre, G.R.: NS 287486 ///washable.charted.hike

▶ 2 km / 1 mi | ▲ 30 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Easy
Features:Lynn Spout
Terrain:Clear dirt paths, with two very brief, very muddy spots before the waterfall. Short scramble to the best view of the waterfall (optional).

Route & map

Car park - Lynn Spout via south bank of…

Dundonald Castle

South Ayrshire | Dundonald | Castle | ★★★

This brutal block of a castle dominates Dundonald's skyline. Exuding power even as a ruin, it's difficult to imagine it was ever a particularly comfortable place to stay. Nevertheless, Robert II lived here until his death in 1390. The Laigh Hall is the most impressive part, but don't miss the vertical extremities of the castle - the Great Hall, now open to the elements, and the pit prison, accessed by a vertical ladder from above.

📌Dundonald Castle★★★
Winehouse Yett, Dundonald village centre, G.R.: NS 364345 ///analogy.castle.shippers
Open daily | £6 adult / £4 child / free for Historic Environment Scotland members

Rouken Glen Park

Glasgow | Thornliebank | Park | ★★★

On a map, Rouken Glen Park looks like a rather small, suburban green space in Glasgow's Southside. And it is. However, beyond the playground and open grass the Auldhouse Burn bisects the park in a secluded little valley - follow it upstream a short way to reach a picturesque, triple-tier waterfall. Just beyond is a large boating pond, full of ducks and frogs in springtime.

Location & info

📌 Rouken Glen Park★★★
Off Rouken Glen Road (A727), Thornliebank, 5 mi south of George Square, Glasgow. Main car park is at G.R.: NS 548587 ///invite.edgy.jungle
Always open | Free