Blogs from Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe


Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » The Highlands February 12th 2021

11th February - Scottish Highlands The wind was bracing, the views were simply stunning and the stories told by Craig Our guide were full of interest. Craig is so engaging, a group member asked about heather and he was able to find examples of the 3 varieties on the hillside (I have added them in bloom). I loved that we could see Craig’s shadow as he took us on today’s journey. The view overlooking Loch Linnhe was fabulous. Loch Linnhe follows the line of the Great Glen Fault and is the only sea loch along the fault. One of the islands we saw in the distance was Lismore. Lismore was an important centre of Celtic Christianity from an early date. In the 6th century Lismore was part of the kingdom of Dalriada until the arrival of ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh January 31st 2021

31st January - Edinburgh The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. Today’s tour was quite inspiring because the tour guide Paul was once homeless! Now he is member of Invisible Cities, a social enterprise that trains people which have experienced homelessness to become walking tour guides of their own city - These are in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester & York with Cardiff being added shortly. On the Virtualtrips platform any tips are donated to the Invisible Cities projects. The tour did not disappoint as we learnt about The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Edinburgh. We could include Excellent, that would be for Paul. We started high on the hill in front of Edinburgh Castle, geographically Edinburgh is located in the ring of 7 volcanic hills. The castle is perched on top of a rocky crag ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » The Highlands January 29th 2021

29th January Back to the Scottish Highlands Our guide Craig lives in the idyllic village of Ballachulish and it was above the village that we started our walk today. As we made our way down the hill, the views were quite magnificent. Craig, great narrator and was full of fascinating and interesting stories. We came to the slate quarry - back In 1693 slate was first quarried in the Ballachulish Slate Quarries just a year after the Glencoe massacre that took place nearby. By the early 1700s this had developed into a major slate quarrying operation which continued for over more than 250 years. The slate was shipped south and to roof the new houses of much of Edinburgh and Glasgow’s skyline in the succeeding centuries. However, over 75% of the slate cut from the quarries ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » The Highlands January 27th 2021

27th January Scottish Highlands Another visit to Scotland today for a ramble with Craig exploring the woodland in Glenco. The trail was narrow & over roots from the many fir trees in the area. Lichen, bracken and moss including Pink Sphagnum created a beautiful colourful carpet. It was interesting to hear how sphagnum moss acts as an antiseptic. It’s absorptive properties makes an excellent wound dressing and was widely used for this purpose in the past. It is said to have saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in the First World War. We stopped at Signal Rock, historically this was the place where the head of the Glencoe MacDonalds would address his clan, and according to legend it is also the place from where the signal was given to the Campbells to begin the Glencoe ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland January 24th 2021

21st January A different tour today! Away from the usual city tours - A walk around Glencoe Loch, close to the scene of the infamous Glencoe Massacre of 1692. It really felt as if I was walking with Craig our guide, the landscape full of rhododendron, lichen, moss & fir trees reaching high into the sky. We passed babbling brooks, and the views across the loch were amazing with beautiful reflections. The trails were planted with North American trees by Lord Strathcona in the 1890s – he hoped they would comfort his homesick Canadian wife. Glen Coe achieved notoriety in 1692 as the site of a bloody massacre perpetrated by government troops under the command of Captain Robert Campbell of Glenlyon. An unfortunate delay in expressing allegiance to King William III brought about a tragic series ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland March 14th 2020

It had been a fairly uneventful drive up north. Snow was covering the peaks in North Pennines, but fortunately the road was nice and clear. We stopped for a short wander in Gretna. The wedding business looked like it was needing a few extra customers, as indeed did the Outlet Village. The grey pound was still in evidence though and the Coronavirus had not yet dampened the enthusiasm to spend on unrequired purchases. Virus or no virus, the panic buying of toilet roll, beans and pasta earlier in the week had not been enough retail excitement. It was Friday 13th. Unlucky for some. The someone turned out to be me. The bad news arrived ironically, as the floodlights of Motherwell's Fir Park came into view from the M74. The Scottish Parliament were expressing a view the ... read more
Charles Rennie Mackintosh Mural, Clutha Bar, Glasgow
Cathkin Park, Glasgow
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire » Aberfeldy February 8th 2020

I had a bit of a hiatus of ideas over the summer and was patiently waiting for something decent to pop up. Then it happened! A group of us were assembling for the hill race at Killin Highland games in early August. Don Reid, Westies Stalwart and midweek race regular asked me if Killin was “K” in an A to Z of Perthshire. The seed germinated and after a couple of hours on google and using the appropriate OS maps, I had a plan which on paper looked pretty reasonable. A good mixture of running in beautiful places in an area famous for its autumn colours. A few days ago, I loaded Mogwai into the CD player and pointed the car north toward Aberfeldy. A fine place to start as I could do a circular run, ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire February 8th 2020

After the first part of the A to Z of Perthshire which was a nice circular run starting and finishing in Aberfeldy , it was time for something a bit more problematic. The run itself was reasonably straight forward. Lots of trail and over two race routes I had ran previously . My anxiety revolved around getting to the start and then returning to the car afterward.Achievement one – I arrived at Ballanluig a good fifteen minutes before the bus to Aberfeldy was due to depart – I toasted the lack of traffic action at regular trouble spots Hermison Gait , The Queensferry Crossing and The Broxten Roundabout with a cup of tea in a café as I waited for the bus. The bus dropped me where I had stopped the previous week and just to ... read more
02 dewars
03 grandtully
05 Edradour

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire » Blair Atholl February 8th 2020

I really must buy some new maps. Not that there was a geographical issue with the 1984 version of OS sheet 43 Braemar to Blair Atholl. It is always the memories that floor me. Using maps from a by gone age take me back to my days as a race snake in the mid eighties where distance and height was no object for a day out. Sheet 43 has a number of good days on it. These included a trot over my favourite munros Ben a Ghlo and Cairn Laith. Also there was a great long day leaving Aviemore around 09:30 and making Blair Atholl for a leisurely pint before boarding the 17:40 train – causing much amusement in the Greenmantle pub after Tuesday intervals when I explained my absence later that evening. 35 years later, ... read more
03 Garry Bridge
04 Neolithic Stone
05 Blair Castle Hydro Plant

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Perthshire » Pitlochry February 8th 2020

After a couple of stages which had been fraught with logistical challenge, I to M was a totally breeze. Indeed, I was so confident that I could pull this run off without any risk of becoming a Hitchcock style murder victim that I invited guests. Even better, we arrived on time so Don Reid, life long Westie , top trail runner Lucy Colquhoun, Otto and Isaac left the Iron Bridge after parking 50 metres away at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre. I was confident this would be a run that Don, Lucy and the dogs would enjoy and the wee warm up to the John Muir Trust shop on the High Street gave a nice illusion of progress. Even better was to follow as we left the tarmac of the High St and found a wee riverside ... read more
02 John Muir Trust
03 Killiecrankie Soldiers Leap
04 Linn Of Tummel

Tot: 0.68s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 13; qc: 57; dbt: 0.0248s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb