Morvern: past, present & future

In our latest ‘weekend away‘ feature, we took time to visit the Morvern peninsula on Scotland’s west coast – staying at the stunning Ardtornish and discovering some of the area’s most off-the-beaten track treasures – including Camasnacroise and Drimnin.

Speyside casts a spell …

Speyside: to some, it means whisky – home to 50 distilleries producing more single malt than any other region in Scotland. To others, the river is inseparable from salmon, attracting visitors from around the world to ‘Spey cast’ on some of the finest beats. To all, it is an area of stunning scenery, outstanding natural beauty and unique wildlife – wrapped up in a landscape that is steeped in history. We took a drive to explore …

A Right Royal Drama!

Blair Castle in Highland Perthshire has released exciting details of what went on during filming of the second series of the acclaimed Victoria TV drama, which saw Episode Seven filmed in and around the Castle and estate.

More heaven than earth?

What links two time major golf championship winner, Sandy Lyle, Scottish outlaw and folk hero, Rob Roy – and Oscar-winning film director, James Cameron?

At one time or another, they have all called the Stirlingshire village of Balquhiddher ‘home’. It overlooks the stunning Braes of Balquhidder and the breathtaking Loch Voil. The beautiful glen – in the heart of the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park – is a popular haven for walking, fishing and nature watching. One company has made more – or should be say mhor – of a mark than most by investing in this landscape and the surrounding area. We took time out to explore …

Beautiful Bute

Been to Bute? Four years ago, David Dimbleby made a series for the BBC – Britain & The Sea. The third episode traced Britain’s trade. He visited Bute – and waxed lyrical about one destination: Mount Stuart. He was right to do so. We wanted to visit this island jewel – to follow in the broadcaster’s footsteps – and to discover Bute’s draw and find out why – for more than 2,000 years – folk have crossed the seas to visit …

Tuning into Skye

The isle of Skye is huge … or at least it seems it. The island – connected to the mainland by a bridge – is the largest of the Inner Hebrides. It is only fifty miles from north to south, but the zigzag coastline with inlets, beautiful sea lochs and stunning, mainly unpopulated peninsulas – combined with mile after mile of single track roads that rise and fall from hill top to sea level – make the 50 seem like 500. OK, if not 500 … then a lot more than 50! We took a week to explore …

Wild About Food?

Love local food? Passionate about provenance and reducing food miles? More and more people are demanding locally-sourced food and, as a result, Scotland’s leading restaurants and hotels are embracing wild food – especially game – as never before. We take a look at venison and grouse – two of Scotland’s wildest delicacies …

POSH Tourism?

Scotland’s cruise business is booming. Liners on the Forth are a regular sight ‘neath the three bridges. Dundee – with the planned opening of the V&A next year – is welcoming more and more ships on the Tay as a taster of things to come. Further north, Lerwick – the main port of the Shetland Isles – has just opened a £16.5m new pier and predict as many as 90,000 cruise ship passengers will set foot on the island in 2018.

On Harris, the UK Government’s Coastal Communities Fund has just announced investment for the Harris Marina Hub that will complete a chain of pontoon facilities – including Stornoway, Lochmaddy, Lochboisdale and Castlebay – to enhance the islands’ reputation as a premium cruising destination. In Aberdeen, Scottish Enterprise is to contribute millions towards the development at Nigg Bay – boosting facilities that will enable the docking of cruise ships large enough to carry up to 3,000 passengers. Crucially, these passengers don’t stay on board. They want to explore. We look over the stern to see where it all began … and over the bow to glimpse Scotland’s cruise tourism future …

A bath with a view …

Speak of Scottish islands and many come to mind: Skye, Mull, Orkney … and more. But some of the smaller islands provide brilliant opportunities to escape for a long weekend or short break. We took the CalMac boat from Oban to discover one.

Only 8 miles long by 3 miles wide – Colonsay is a wee gem in the Inner Hebrides. There’s a single track road – with off-shoots – that runs around it servicing the homes of those who live here (just 124 people at the last count) together with those who make this stunning place their holiday destination …

A dog’s life …

There are 9 dog breeds that originate in Scotland – the Bearded Collie, the Gordon Setter, the Scottish Deerhound, the Shetland Sheepdog and five terriers: Skye, Cairn, West Highland White – the Westie, the Scottish and what is one of Britain’s rarest breeds, the Dandie Dinmont,

There used to be more – the Paisley or the Clydesdale Terrier – is now extinct, and the Sleuth Hound’s past has become blurred in the mists of time. Scottish dogs have been immortalised in literature, art and film, and today, a new media is helping to spread the word to a whole new dog-loving audience …