Showing posts from July, 2018

Galloway Red Deer Range

Dumfries & Galloway | Galloway Forest Park | Wildlife attraction | ★★

The Red Deer Range in Galloway Forest Park is a great place to get up close with one of Scotland's star species; the red deer is the UK's largest mammal, often seen in greater numbers in remote parts of the Highlands. Back here in the Lowlands there are about 60 on the range - hopefully including a few close to the viewing hide if you visit. Guided tours also run including during rutting period (check the website).

📌 Red Deer Range (Galloway)★★
By A712 9 mi northeast of Newton Stewart, G.R.: NX 520732 ///stale.pose.rejoiced
Always open (view from hide only) | Free

Galloway Wild Goat Park

Dumfries & Galloway | Galloway Forest Park | Wildlife attraction | ★★

Several hundred wild goats roam the Galloway Hills in Scotland's southwest region. Spend time walking in the area and you may well spot a few, but the best place to see them is from a series of car parks and laybys on the Queen's Way (A712) between Newton Stewart and New Galloway. Here, it's usually easy to spot several of the 50 or so horned mammals within an area of hillside encircled by a long fence (which slightly reduces the "wild" feel). Forestry and Land Scotland, which owns the land, requests that you don't feed the goats with your own foodstuffs - they're on a strict diet!

Location & info

📌 Wild Goat Park (Galloway)★★
Main car park is by >A712 7 mi northeast of Newton Stewart, G.R.: NX 497719 ///breezy.sway.roughest
Always open (views from roadside only) | Free

Walk: Marvellous views from Murray's Monument

Dumfries & Galloway | Galloway Forest Park | Short walk | ★★★

This prominent obelisk decorates a hillock above the Queen's Way through Galloway Forest Park in memory of Alexander Murray: a well-known, late 18th century linguist with humble beginnings as a shepherd boy close by in the glen. Climbing to the foot of the monument reveals excellent views over this attractive corner of the Southern Uplands, taking in Galloway Wild Goat Park and the Palnure Burn. Extend the route by a couple of miles to include a couple of foamy waterfalls and some rather unsettling rock sculptures...

📌 Walk: Marvellous views from Murray's Monument ★★★
Start / finish at car park on A712 6 mi northeast of Newton Stewart, G.R.: NX 491720 ///garlic.wheat.logged

▶ 3 km / 2 mi | ▲ 140 m | ⌚ Short | ⬤ Moderate
Features: Murray's Monument; Grey Mare's Tail waterfalls
Terrain: Good tracks and paths with some steep parts; rough, very steep detour to viewpoint for upper fall.

Route & map

Car park -…

Raiders' Road Forest Drive

Dumfries & Galloway | Galloway Forest Park | Scenic road | ★★

Raiders' Road Forest Drive is one of two forest drives in Galloway Forest Park (the other is Carrick Forest Drive). Both are gravel tracks suitable for most vehicles, accessing remote parts of the park which are otherwise a long way from the nearest road. Raiders' Road roughly follows the forested glen cut by the Black Water of Dee; the route can be driven in either direction (we did it westbound) in about an hour, but you should plan for at least double that once you take into account stops along the way. A key highlight is The Otter Pool: an attractive series of rapids usually interspersed by rocky outcrops, and a perfect picnic spot in good weather. Amongst the other points of interest are the Secret Cages. Now disused, these used to house young red kites before their release into the wild back when persecution threatened the bird's national extinction. A signpost near the east end of the forest drive sho…

Glen Ord Distillery

Highland | Muir of Ord | Distillery | ★★★★

Glen Ord Distillery is the only distillery in the Black Isle region near Inverness, and is the first major tourist attraction on the North Coast 500 road trip after leaving the city. Built in stages since the early 1800s, the site is now a mishmash of architecture ranging from photogenic to functional. Nevertheless, an unusually extensive exhibition makes this a good place place to visit no matter your level of whisky knowledge. This takes you through the history of distilling, the production process and associated occupations such as coopering and coppering (if that's not a real word, it is now!) before you venture into the spacious distillery itself. Tours end with a tasting of Glen Ord's famous 12-year old single malt (known as the 12-year old Singleton of Glen Ord), and perhaps some other expressions depending on which level of tour you've chosen.

Location & info

📌 Glen Ord Distillery★★★★
Marybank Road, 1 mi west of Muir of…

Ullapool Museum

Highland | Ullapool | Museum | ★★

This former Church of Scotland building was built by famous engineer Thomas Telford in the early 1800s as one of a series of Parliamentary Kirks around the Highlands, but became Ullapool Museum in 1995. Exhibits tell the Lochbroom Story: the history of the area around the sea loch which Ullapool sits next to. Crofting, fishing, religion and emigration are some of the key themes, as are klondykers: Eastern European mackerel processing ships which used to anchor in Loch Broom, even at the height of the Cold War. The museum's displays probably won't keep you occupied for more than an hour or so, but they're well worth the small admission charge if you're spending time around the town.

Location & info

📌 Ullapool Museum★★
7-8 West Argyll Street, Ullapool town centre, G.R.: NH 127940 ///brightly.remarks.reverses
Open Monday to Saturday, April to October | £4 adult / free for children

Walk: Knockan Crag - uncovering the mystery of Assynt

Highland | Assynt | Short walk | ★★★★

This short, steep circuit at Knockan Crag gives the perfect prologue to the geologically-confused area of Assynt - we reckon this is one of the best short walks you can do in the Northwest Highlands, and surely the most educational. The alien, individual hills in the west part of this region (such as Suilven) owe their appearance to their rock type: horizontal beds of red-brown Torridon sandstone sometimes topped with younger, whitish quartzite. This quartzite contains pipe rock: the burrows from ancient sea creatures left over from where this rock originated on a beach during the Cambrian period - these are visible at Knockan Crag. All of this overlies older, grey-coloured Lewisian gneiss which forms the flatter base to the landscape. Meanwhile, peat bogs characterise the moorland to the east, composed of Moine schists. Putting the cat amongst the proverbial pigeons is the Moine Thrust: a zone stretching from north to south where tectonic plate m…