Welcome to Scotland… Not to the Scotland of glossy tourist brochures, airbrushed landscape photographs, coach parties, visitor centres and woollen mill cafes, but to a nation of secret, treasured places, free of crowds and tartan trappings.
Here, we veer off the well-trod tourist trail and wander down backroads and byways to reveal the country’s unusual and offbeat attractions, quirky curiosities and hidden gems, secluded and less well-known spots that await discovery.
Of the 50 attractions listed in the book, most can be visited at any time of the year, day or night, with no booking required or admission charged.
So, whether you want to wish upon an ancient stone, spend the night in a Royal lodge or hermit’s bothy, drive an alpine road, climb a manmade hill, spot gnomes all at sea, descend into a pagan canyon or see where oil rigs go to die, pack a bag and enjoy the journey…
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Secret Scotland for a taste of Secret Scotland
Glen Doll has long been bereft of a campsite. There used to be one adjacent to the car park but, thanks to some rather rowdy campers and a few too many boozy parties, it closed down (quite a number of years ago now). However, in a bid to fill the void left by its departure, the local ranger service has designated three short stay wild camping sites. They are located in Glendoll Forest adjacent to Jock’s Road (NO 252766), in a former quarry above Acharn (NO 280764) and by the River South Esk south of Moulzie (NO 285768). With no road access, all require a walk in.
Hutchison Hut | Renovation work is under way on the Hutchison Memorial Hut in the Cairngorms. The Mountaineering Council of Scotland reported that the hut will be temporarily closed from August 31, 2012, and is not expected to re-open until September 16, although that date may depend on how the project progresses. For a report and photos on progress to date, visit Neil Reid’s excellent Cairngorm Wanderer blog.
Sandwood Bay | Another phase of repair work to the Sandwood Bay access path has just been completed by contractors working for landowner the John Muir Trust. The latest upgrade concentrated on a 450 metre stretch of trail which runs along the edge of Loch a’ Mhuilin. For a full report and photos visit the John Muir Trust site.