The ultimate online guide to exciting places, walks and hidden gems across Scotland
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Argyll & Bute | Village & marina | ★★
For a moment you could be fooled into thinking you've been teleported to the Mediterranean. Then gaze inland (or just wait for the wind to blow again) and remind yourself you're actually in deepest Cowal, Argyll. It all feels slightly surreal: the extensive marina and spa complex complete with restaurants, infinity pool, shops and accommodation opened in 2010 and is located in one of the most remote parts of the Scottish mainland: it's nearly 100 miles by road to Glasgow, the closest city. Is it a stroke of genius, or a ridiculous concept? We're not quite sure: it probably makes more sense to those who own a boat. Our star rating refers to the "village" as a whole, which also includes a handful of older houses and a vehicle ferry to Tarbert, both of which existed before the leisure complex was built). Paying guests are surely treated to an altogether more luxurious experience, but for the rest of us it's still a fascinating place to wander around in a mild state of bewilderment.
What springs to mind when someone mentions Livingston, West Lothian? Sprawling road junctions, retail parks, 1960s architecture... how about a splendid waterfall? Under a mile from the town's southernmost suburbs, the Camilty Water drops into a short but beautiful gorge sharply at odds with the gentleness of the surrounding farmland. Two substantial waterfalls and several smaller ones tumble into the depths; the largest is actually fed by a crumbling mill lade (the mill no longer exists) but this isn't obvious from below. The walk from the nearest road begins promisingly, but the last few hundred metres are a bit sketchy: stepping stones across a side burn, and a very slippery slope to reach the best viewpoint - more details below.
📌 Walk: Livingston's jaw-dropping waterfall ★★★
▶ 1 km / <1 mile | ▲ 20 metres Features: Linn Jaw (waterfall) Start / finish: Space for only one or two cars at minor road corner, half a mile south o…
Beinn Mhòr is the highest summit on the Uists, and part of a rugged group of hills running down the eastern side of South Uist. Rough, pathless terrain belies the hill's relatively low height, with fearsome bog defending against marauding walkers from the road to the west. Successfully tackle all this and the reward is a wonderful north ridge: narrow enough to be exhilarating, yet with no scrambling involved (unless you go looking for it), and no chance of crowds. The second highest summit on the island - Hecla - is included in this circuit, as well as the lower summit of Beinn Coradail which sits in between. The three separate summits result in well over 1,000 metres of ascent, and you'll feel every single metre of it on the tussocky grass, bog and boulders. Potentially superb summit views were affected by pesky hill fog when we visited, but we've left a long photo roll below to give an idea of the typical terrain. Good luck!
This colossal granite statue of the Virgin Mary thrusts into the sky just south of Gerinish, South Uist. Its position close to the only north-south road means you can't fail to miss it when exploring the island, with a steep lane leading up the lower slopes of Ruabhal to a parking area at the foot of the monument. The sculpture was built by Huw Lorimer, and commissioned by a local parish priest in resistance to 1950s plans to build a large missile testing range nearby. Looking at the landscape today, it seems the protests were successful, though there are still some smaller firing ranges on the coastal flatlands to the north.
📌 Our Lady of the Isles ★ Location: Off A865 half a mile south of Gerinish, South Uist, G.R.: NF 776407 ///clef.famous.judges Open: Always Cost: Free