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Showing posts from October, 2016

Walk: A Darn good walk

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Stirling | Bridge of Allan | Short walk | ★★★ [Allan Water near Bridge of Allan, reached by various short branch paths from the main route] Linking the two towns of Bridge of Allan and Dunblane, the Darn Road is an historic byway dating back centuries, now mostly just a scenic path. Author Robert Louis Stevenson used to frequent the route as a child, and a small cave halfway along is claimed to be his inspiration for Ben Gunn's cave in Treasure Island . The whole route is nicely varied, with mossy old lanes and paths along field boundaries contrasting with the earlier riverside stretches. Autumn colours add to the appeal at the right time of year. It's a linear walk - let the train take the strain to the start (or from the finish). [Ben Gunn's cave, and bench with a map from "Treasure Island"] 📌 Walk: A Darn good walk ★★★ Park near the finish (street parking relatively close by) and take a train to the start (several times hourly at peak times). T

Dunblane

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Stirling | Town | ★★ [Dunblane High Street] Dunblane is an small, attractive town bisected by the Allan Water a few miles north of Stirling . The settlement grew up around Dunblane Cathedral, which still dominates the upper end of the High Street. Today it's well-known for its links to tennis star Andy Murray, who grew up in the town. The excellent town museum is a good place to start; there are also excellent riverside walks nearby. [Dunblane Cathedral] Location & info 📌 Dunblane ★★ Stirling, G.R.: NN 782011 ///famed.swordfish.living 🚶 The cathedral and museum are right in the town centre, and the riverside walk to Bridge of Allan is also easily accessible. 🚌 Dunblane has a railway station on the line between Stirling and Perth. Buses run from settlements including Stirling, Perth and Crieff. See & do (<1 mi away) 📌 Dunblane Cathedral ★★★ 💬 Gothic town cathedral (technically now a parish church), mostly dating from the 13th century. Th

Walk: Autumnal Loch Ard

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Stirling | Trossachs | Half day walk | ★★ [Loch Ard from the middle of the walk] The vast forests of the Trossachs explode into a spectacular array of fiery colours around late October, making this part of the National Park one of the best parts of Scotland to visit during autumn. Tracks around the south side of Loch Ard offer occasional glimpses across the sheltered waters of the loch, eventually revealing an ultimate, quintessential Trossachs vista on the higher return route. Long stretches of track could be a bit dull, especially at other times of the year (hence the lower star rating); nevertheless it's a good spot to immerse yourself in peaceful surroundings. [The outward route passes close to the shore at several points - here's the view to Eilean Gorm] 📌 Walk: Autumnal Loch Ard ★★ Start / finish at car park on minor road immediately south of Kinlochard, G.R.: NN 447020 ///choirs.windy.insisting ▶ 11 km / 7 mi | ▲ 350 m | ⌚ Half a day | ⬤ Moderate Fea

Falls of Lora

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Argyll & Bute | Connel | Tidal race | ★★★ [Flood tide at the Falls of Lora from Connel Bridge - the falls are flowing "upstream" here] Where does a waterfall flow in both directions? Answer: The Falls of Lora, underneath Connel Bridge, a few miles north of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. Here, 20 sinuous miles of water making up Loch Etive connect to the Atlantic Ocean by a channel just a few hundred metres wide. Water levels in the loch can't squeeze through the gap fast enough to keep up with rising and falling tides on the ocean side. Coupled with an underwater ridge / sill in the middle of the channel, this causes a set of rapids every 6 hours or so in alternate directions. The spectacle varies from moderately interesting on a neap tide to spectacular on a flood tide (and even more awesome for kayakers), but there's nothing to see apart from the attractive bridge at slack water. The excellent Falls of Lora website (below) should help you time your

Walk: Castle Aargh! via Jubilee Bridge

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Argyll & Bute | Portnacroish | Short walk | ★★★ [Crossing the Jubilee Bridge] A trip across the Jubilee Bridge takes you to the closest viewpoint for Castle Stalker (or for Monty Python fans: "Castle Aargh!") which doesn't involve getting on a boat. This rickety span crosses tidal marshland and dates from 1898, celebrating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The bridge actually fails to do what it's supposed to do - the northern approach can flood at high tide - so check tide tables before you go or risk wet feet. Aargh! [Castle Stalker] 📌 Walk: Castle Aargh! via Jubilee Bridge ★★★ Short / finish at car park on minor road 1 mi west of Appin (not Port Appin), G.R.: NM 924465 ///watches.dinosaur.summit ▶ 4 km / 3 mi | ▲ 20 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Easy Features: Jubilee Bridge; Castle Stalker Terrain: Good path, tarmac cycle path, track to shore then stony shoreline. Boardwalks north of Jubilee Bridge can be submerged by the highest tides; a little

Glencoe Visitor Centre

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Highland | Glencoe | Museum | ★★ [Glencoe Visitor Centre] By far the best way to explore the wonderful world of Glen Coe is on foot. But if weather, time or health prevent you from doing this, you can get a taste for this iconic spot at the National Trust for Scotland's recently revamped visitor centre close to the lower, western end of the glen. Exhibitions give an excellent overview of this area's pivotal role in rock climbing; the Glencoe Massacre; how the landscape was formed and its vibrant flora and fauna. The centre is free to visit but there's a parking charge; this goes towards the Trust's work preserving the famous landscape and maintaining footpaths. [Glencoe Visitor Centre] Location & info 📌 Glencoe Visitor Centre ★★ By the A82 1 mi southeast of Glencoe village, G.R.: NN 112575 ///inflict.buying.unless Open daily | Free (parking charge)

Walk: Stag party on the Pap

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Highland | Glencoe | Half day walk | ★★★★ [Lower Loch Leven from the ascent] The Pap of Glencoe cuts a majestic profile above Glencoe village. The distinctive summit cone affords a wonderful panorama over almost the whole length of Loch Leven, backed by the Mamores to the north and Ardgour to the west; whatever this wee peak lacks in altitude, it more than makes up for in attitude. While the views from the ascent are hard to beat, the path itself won't win any medals: loose and eroded in places, water running down the middle elsewhere. Grin and bear it, as the rewards are well worth the effort, with the roars of red deer stags filling the air on our rutting season visit. [Great views of upper Loch Leven from the summit] 📌 Walk: Stag party on the Pap ★★★★ Start / finish on track (space for several cars) just off minor road, immediately east of Glencoe village, G.R.: NN 107588 ///school.leader.treatable ▶ 7 km / 4 mi | ▲ 720 m | ⌚ Half a day | ⬤ Tough Features:

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

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Glasgow | West End | Museum | ★★★★ [Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum] Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one of Glasgow 's, and Scotland's, most popular tourist attractions. Housed in a towering red sandstone building on the west side of Kelvingrove Park , the interior underwent a massive restoration between 2003 and 2006 following its 100th anniversary. It now claims to have 22 separate galleries, including excellent natural history, armour and continental art collections. A unique feature is the daily lunchtime organ recital in the Main Hall, on an instrument as old as the building itself. Like the museum, it's free to attend. [Main Hall and organ] Location & info 📌 Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum ★★★★ West end of Kelvingrove Park, 2 mi west of George Square, Glasgow, G.R.: NS 568663 ///stuff.owner.shady Open daily | Free [Art display (16/7/15)]

Glasgow City Chambers

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Glasgow | City centre | Historic building | ★★★ [Carrara Marble Staircase] Glasgow City Chambers is the HQ for Glasgow City Council, occupying a commanding position on the east edge of George Square, right at the heart of Scotland's biggest city. Thousands of people must pass its doors every day, but how many know about the daily tours of the resplendent interior? The huge structure was built in 1888 for a whopping £578,000 (massively over-budget) by William Young, incorporating ten million bricks and nearly 10,000 cubic metres of stone. Figures aside, tours include the mahogany council chamber, grand banqueting hall, ornate staircases and upper gallery, the latter with portraits of all the former Lord Provosts. [Glasgow City Chambers (26/5/17)] Location & info 📌 Glasgow City Chambers ★★★ George Square, Glasgow city centre, G.R.: NS 594654 ///grass.wallet.stand Open by tour only, twice daily on weekdays | Free [Banqueting Hall]

Walk: Wee Buachaille

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Highland | Glencoe | Full day walk | ★★★★ [View along the ridge from Stob Dubh to Stob Coire Raineach] Buachaille Etive Beag (Little shepherd of Etive) is the shy and retiring little brother of famous Buachaille Etive Mòr . Taking the form of a long ridge stretching back from the Pass of Glencoe , it doesn't look particularly impressive from the roadside start. But climbing up onto the ridge reveals a wonderful traverse between two separate Munros. Decent paths throughout probably make these the two easiest 3,000-foot summits to reach in the region, though with the usual precautions necessary in wild or winter conditions. Stob Dubh (at the south end of the ridge) is the main highlight, by virtue of its superb views directly down Glen Etive to the loch of the same name. [Stob Dubh's south summit has wonderful views down the glen to Loch Etive] 📌 Walk: Wee Buachaille ★★★★ Start / finish at car park on A82 just east of The Study, Glen Coe, 6 mi east of Glencoe vi