Showing posts from February, 2016

Walk: Luss for words above Glen Striddle

Argyll & Bute | Luss Hills | Full day walk | ★★★

The Luss Hills are practically Luss's back garden, and easily accessible from Glasgow. Despite this, they're usually bypassed by walkers heading for the higher peaks further north, so solitude usually awaits after escaping claustrophobic Luss and the noise from the A82. A horseshoe route around Glen Striddle rewards with some of the best views you could hope for, with Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps all vying for attention. In good conditions this isn't a full day's walk, leaving plenty of time to divert along the banks of beautiful Luss Water for a leisurely stroll back towards the start.

📌 Walk: Luss for words above Glen Striddle ★★★
Start / finish at main car park (charge in summer, though a little free street parking nearby) in Luss village centre, G.R.: NS 359931 ///basics.position.novel

▶ 12 km / 7 mi | ▲ 740 m | ⌚ Full day | ⬤ Tough
Summits: Beinn Dubh east top (642 m); Beinn Dubh west top (657 m,…


Argyll & Bute | Village | ★★★

Luss tends to divide opinion depending on the season and time of day. On a sunny summer weekend it can feel like half the world has descended on this tiny village, which comprises little more than a handful of beautifully-kept cottages, a couple of touristy shops and a pretty 19th century church. If you can, visit in low season or early morning and you'll get the village and its beautiful views across Loch Lomond mostly to yourself. Alternatively, take to the quieter hills and countryside around the fringes of the village.


📌 Luss ★★★
Argyll & Bute, G.R.: NS 359930 ///retailing.costs.trades

🚌 Long distance coaches call at Luss on several routes between Glasgow and towns all along the western seaboard including Campbeltown, Oban, Fort William and the Isle of Skye. There are also infrequent local buses.
🚗 The main car park has a charge in summer. If you're lucky you might find free street parking - but don't block access for res…

Walk: From motorway to Moncreiffe Hill

Perth & Kinross | Bridge of Earn | Half day walk | ★★★

The dulcet tones of motorway traffic accompany the start of the ascent to the two hill forts on Moncreiffe Hill. This isn't a good walk to get away from it all, but the open summit areas are the sites of Pictish hill forts and give great views over Perth, the eastern Ochils, the Firth of Tay and Kinnoull Hill - the latter almost a carbon copy of Moncreiffe. Further down, tracks wind through unspoiled woodland with snowdrops in February and daffodils in spring.

📌 Walk: From motorway to Moncreiffe Hill ★★★
Start / finish at car park off minor road 2 mi east of Bridge of Earn, G.R.: NO 153192 ///mixing.september.imparts

▶ 9 km / 6 mi | ▲ 270 m | ⌚ Half a day | ⬤ Moderate
Summits: Moncreiffe Hill / Moredun Top (223 m, sub-2000') | Features: Moncreiffe Hill Fort; Moredun Top Fort
Terrain: Clear tracks and paths through forest, steep in places.

Route & map

Car park - path junction at G.R.: NO 127198 - Tarsappie Hill - Moncre…

Huntingtower Castle

Perth & Kinross | Perth | Castle | ★★★

This 15th century castle is conveniently sited on the edge of Perth, its surrounding lawn and field maintaining a semblance of tranquillity despite the A9 passing just a few hundred metres away. Huntingtower unusually started life as two separate tower houses: built by the 1st Lord Ruthven in the 1400s, reputedly one for each of his two sons. The Murray family joined the two parts both externally and internally in the 1600s, but separate entrances and a modern (internal) bridge connecting the eastern and western towers mean that the two sides still feel separate to each other when you visit. One highlight is the beautiful painting ceiling in one of the halls.

Location & info

📌 Huntingtower Castle★★★
Close to the A9 / A85 junction, 2 mi west of Perth city centre, G.R.: NO 083251 ///jacket.both.hatch
Open daily, April to September; Saturday to Wednesday, October to March | £6 adult / £3.60 child / free for Historic Environment Scotland membe…

Dunure Castle

South Ayrshire | Dunure | Castle | ★★

Dunure's castle is a 13th century ruin, for centuries the stronghold of the Earls of Cassilis, which really rewards thorough exploration. When you first approach from the inland side, its very ruinous state and the offputting presence of a neighbouring skate park don't do the site any favours. The ugly metal staircases, litter and weeds inside the damp interior further detract from the experience. However, make a beeline for the headland directly to the south and you'll be rewarded with an excellent view of the dramatic seaward side of the castle, hidden until now. The scale of the northwestern walls overlooking vertical cliffs become fully apparent if you descend a rough path down to the shoreline (past the "Dunure Labyrinth" - a maze of rocks constructed in a hollow below the headland) and follow the coast north. The castle's beehive dovecot is nearby and in better condition.

Location & info

📌 Dunure Castle ★★
Off Cas…

Electric Brae

South Ayrshire | Dunure | Road | ★★

Amongst all of Scotland's weird and wonderful places to visit, Electric Brae has to be one of the more unusual ones. A quirk in the topography around the A719 south of Dunure means that when you round the corner and begin to "descend" into Craigencroy Glen, if you pull into the signposted layby, put the car in neutral and (carefully) release the handbrake, you should find that "down the road" is actually upwards, and up is down. The name comes from the original belief that a strange electric or magnetic force was pulling vehicles uphill here. In reality it's just a clever and natural optical illusion, but fascinating nevertheless. Approach from the north side for the best effect.

Location & info

📌 Electric Brae ★★
On the A719 2 mi south of Dunure, G.R.: NS 254132 ///
Always open | Free

Walk: Search for the Straiton squirrels

South Ayrshire | Straiton | Short walk | ★★★

A series of attractive waterfalls on a tumbling burn surrounded by tranquil woodland makes Lambdoughty Glen an ideal add-on to your day if you're passing through nearby Straiton. From the car park, paths lead up both sides of the valley enabling a beautiful short circuit. The remnants of pine cones devoured by red squirrels were everywhere in February 2016 so keep an eye out for rust-coloured activity in the trees, as well as for the wooden animal sculptures in the upper part of the glen.

📌 Walk: Search for the Straiton squirrels ★★★
Start / finish at car park on B741 1 mi east of Straiton, G.R.: NS 390052 ///tradition.royal.then

▶1 km / <1 mi | ▲ 50 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Easy
Features: Lambdoughty Glen; Rossetti Linn & other waterfalls
Terrain: Woodland paths with lots of steps and a few muddy sections.

Route & map

Circuit (in either direction) of Lambdoughty Glen upstream of car park.

Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)
On our visi…

Walk: Straiton for a monumental ramble

South Ayrshire | Straiton | Half day walk | ★★★

You are now entering Rambling Territory, warns the sign as you enter Straiton village, written in a slightly ominous font. Happily, Straiton itself is anything but ominous, and this is indeed one of Ayrshire's better short walk bases: the hills round here seem to have a friendly intimacy that's occasionally lacking elsewhere in the county. The map at the car park shows several routes, with this circuit on both sides of the Water of Girvan probably the best one. Tackle it in an anticlockwise direction to save the best views until last, from the monolith on Craigengower dedicated to Colonel Hunter Blair. On the wetter west side of the glen, fallen trees and overgrown vegetation mean the signposted detour to Bennan Hill isn't really worth the effort. Straiton's village pub possibly serves food, but with no menu or website available we tried the nearby Kirkmichael Arms instead. Verdict? One of the best meals we've had for …