Showing posts from October, 2016


Stirling | Town | ★★

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 ★★
Location: G.R.: NN 782011 ///

Within walking distance

📌Dunblane Cathedral★★★
Description: Gothic town cathedral (technically now a parish church), mostly dating from the 13th century.
Location: The Cross, town centre, G.R.: NN 782014 ///kind.waged.modern
Open (2019): Daily
Cost: Free

📌Dunblane Museum★★
Description: Well-presented town museum showcasing the town and cathedral's history.
Location: High Street, town centre, G.R.: NN 782013 ///
Open (2019): Monday to Saturday, April to mid-October; also some Sunday afternoons, July…

Walk: A Darn good walk

Stirling | Bridge of Allan | Short walk | ★★★

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).

📌 Walk: A Darn good walk ★★★
▶ 4 km / 2 miles | ▲ 80 metres
Features: Bridge of Allan; Allan Water; Ben Gunn's cave; Dunblane
Start: Bridge of Allan train station, G.R.: NS 785978 ///bill.delays.crash. N.B. this is not a circular route.
Finish: Dunblane train station, G.R.: NN 781010 ///
Transport to start: Park near th…

Walk: Autumnal Loch Ard

Stirling | Trossachs | Half day 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.

📌 Walk: Autumnal Loch Ard ★★
▶ 11 km / 7 miles | ▲ 350 metres
Features: Loch Ard
Start / finish: Car park on minor road, immediately south of Kinlochard, G.R.: NN 447020 ///choirs.windy.insisting

Route: Car park - Blairhullichan - Couligarten - track along shore at G.R.: NN 461015 - leave track at G.R.: NN 464007 - rejoin higher track at G.R.: NN 463004 - aquedu…

Falls of Lora

Argyll & Bute | Connel | Tidal race | ★★★

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 visit perfectly, and grades the likely strength of the rapids depending on tidal ranges. If spending more time…

Walk: Castle Aargh! via Jubilee Bridge

Argyll & Bute | Portnacroish | Short walk | ★★★

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!

📌 Walk: Castle Aargh! via Jubilee Bridge ★★★
▶ 4 km / 3 miles | ▲ 20 metres
Features: Jubilee Bridge; Castle Stalker
Start / finish: Car park on minor road a mile west of Appin (not Port Appin), G.R.: NM 924465 ///watches.dinosaur.summit

Route: Car park - Jubilee Bridge - cross Glenstockdale Burn - viewpoint for Castle Stalker - return by outward route
Terrain: Good path, tarmac cycle path, track to shore then stony shoreline. Boardwalks north of Jubilee Bridge can be submerged…

Glencoe Visitor Centre

Highland | Glencoe | Museum | ★★

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: A82 a mile southeast of Glencoe village, G.R.: NN 112575 ///inflict.buying.unless
Open (2019): Daily, January to February & early April to December
Cost: Free (charge for parking)

Walk: Stag party on the Pap

Highland | Glencoe | Half day walk | ★★★★

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.

📌 Walk: Stag party on the Pap ★★★★
▶ 7 km / 4 miles | ▲ 720 metres
Summits: Pap of Glencoe / Sgorr na Cìche (742 metres, Graham)
Start / finish: Space for several cars on track just off minor road, east side of Glencoe village, G.R.: NN 107588 ///school.leader.treatable

Route: Start - leave roadside path at G.R.: NN 111586 ///groups.recruited.workflow

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Glasgow | West End | 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.

📌Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum★★★★
West end of Kelvingrove Park, 2 miles west of George Square, Glasgow, G.R.: NS 568663 ///stuff.owner.shady
Open daily | Free

Glasgow City Chambers

Glasgow | City centre | Historic building | ★★★

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★★★
Location: George Square, Glasgow city centre, G.R.: NS 594654 ///grass.wallet.stand
Open (2019): By tour only, twice daily on weekdays
Cost: Free

Walk: Wee Buachaille

Highland | Glencoe | Full day walk | ★★★★

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.

📌 Walk: Wee Buachaille ★★★★
▶ 8 km / 5 miles | ▲ 900 metres
Summits: Stob Coire Raineach (925 metres, Munro); Stob Dubh (958 metres, Munro)
Start / finish: Car park on A82 just east of The Study, Glencoe, G.R.: NN 188562 ///pans.grandest.charge

Route: Car park - Buachaille Etive B…