Work, rest … and the Scottish play!

Head out into the wildest landscapes across Scotland and you’ll find people working – managing the land that we see. We took time out to visit the eastern fringes of the Highlands – a land of forests, castles, ancient battlegrounds, salmon rivers, golf – and the landing point for close to 250,000 people flying in to the region’s airport at Inverness.

Wild about the Angus Glens

This is an ancient landscape – not just the rocks carved by the cascading waters of the glens – but a knowledge that folk have made these valleys their home for millennia. Angus is the recognised birthplace of ‘Scotland’ – but the Glens have been inhabited long, long before the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. Try some 4,000 years more.  That knowledge gives them an otherworldly feel. We took time out to visit one of the five Glens – Glen Esk – and in particular to try a new experience being offered … a wildlife tour to discover the Glen’s flora and fauna …

Canvassing ideas on Fife’s coast

The East Neuk of Fife is a gem of a place: picturesque fishing villages, coastal walks, beaches, cricket and a growing focus on provenance … a passion for the area’s produce and producers. For those looking to stay on the coast, there’s a new destination. We took time out to visit and discover the thinking behind Catchpenny …

Luss – helping it happen!

A visit to Luss is a great day out – a lovely village sitting on the banks of Loch Lomond with spectacular views over to Ben Lomond.  A popular destination too – with over 260,000 people each week visiting.   A very happy problem to have and it was very interesting to visit last month (March 2018) to find out more … all that is going on behind the scenes.

Something old, something new …

Arriving at the Wigwams at Montrave Estate, you get the impression this is all very new. There’s a new access from the main road – onto a new road that cuts through the grounds … newly trimmed branches of cut back rhododendrons on either side of the track shining bright in the Fife sunshine. A new parking area next to a new open-sided barn. And the new wigwams – with new turf!

A weekend away…… to Islay & Jura

Taking the 6pm ferry from Kennacraig across to Islay is a perfect start to our latest long weekend away.   With our self-catering accommodation booked, it gave us time to enjoy a leisurely drive over from the East, with stops at Ardkinglas Woodland Garden and lunch at The Tree Shop on the shores of Loch Fyne before a wander around the pretty town of Tarbet.   And once we boarded the Caledonian MacBrayne Ferry, it was time for the traditional CalMac dinner – whether your preference is macaroni & chips, steak pie or fish n’ chips, it is a great start to the weekend.

A New Generation in Hospitality

In the Deeside countryside, a mile or three off the beaten track, is Glen Tanar. We visited to meet with members of their team, to see first hand some of their work that’s helping to promote wildlife tourism … and to discover how they’re engaging with #YearOfYoungPeople2018 to encourage youngsters from Aboyne Academy to look at careers in the hospitality industry …

Gordon Castle Walled Garden

On a recent visit to Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Monika, Senior Gardener told me that studying horticulture at the Biblical Garden in Forres (part of Moray College) was “like a birthday cake” and now – being employed by the Walled Garden – is “the cherry on the top!”  And as a visitor, you can see why: it is a beautiful garden that has not only been re-developed by the owners, Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox, to reflect the history of the estate but has also been re-designed to bring it into the present day with an eye on the future.

Grantown – a Speyside Jewel

Grantown-on-Spey, in the heart of the Cairngorms and home to the offices of the Cairngorm National Park Authority, is a town packed full of history and things to explore and discover.

Being a good spokesperson!

Ride a bike around your lawn and you’ll soon see how your grass churns up. Multiply that by hundreds – sometimes thousands – and it is easy to see how unofficial bike tracks can cause real damage in the countryside – and that’s just to the land. We’re blessed that we have a right to enjoy responsible access across Scotland’s countryside – but that doesn’t extend to riding roughshod wherever we choose – not least of all because some riders try to create their own trails and obstacles, damaging property, endangering livestock and threatening the habitat of some endangered flora and fauna. We’re not being killjoys here. Luckily, we have what many claim to be the world’s best mountain bike trails – there to be discovered and enjoyed year round – without endangering any one or any thing. There are some crackers that grab the headlines: we take a look off the beaten track to discover some of the best …