Places to visit in Scotland?

Aug 16th, 2005, 12:33 PM
  #1  
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Places to visit in Scotland?

We will be visiting Scotland from Oct 2 through Oct 11 and will be staying primarily in the Perthshire area. We've read some guidebooks and there seem to be so many places to visit, but we're having a hard time figuring out which places we should focus on given our limited time in Scotland. Any suggestions on must-see places (castles, golf, towns on the coast, etc) to visit in Scotland that are within a day trip from the Perthshire area? We will have a car and we are young/athletic and enjoy the outdoors (don't care for shopping). Thanks!
specter is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 02:18 PM
  #2  
 
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This might take a few postings, so don't hold your breath. I know the areas west and east of Strathtay better than Strathtay itself, so you might have to do the immediate stuff by primary research.

Starting at Dunkeld you will find nearby the Loch of the Lowes which is a wildlife reserve owned by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. It's one of the osprey sites and they should be back by the time you are going, so you should visit. Dunkeld itself is a very pretty town. the square is owned by the National Trust. There's a very good bookshop, a very good deli and a few good antique shops. If you're tempted to buy, they're all a bit on the pricey side, so you should no pay what they are asking. Talk them down a bit. the cathedral is worth a visit, and as I mentioned, the pub along from the Atholl is owned by Dougie McLean, a very famous (at least in Scotland) local folk singer. I can't remember what it's called, but you can't miss it. If you don't know his work go and get an album called "Indigenous" and listen before you go. There are nice walks along the river from the town. On the west side of the A9 at Birnam you can walk up Birnam Hill from behind the station (it's signposted, or "waymarked" as they say in the fancy mags) You know the stuff about "When Birnam wood shall come to Dunsinane" from Macbeth? Well, that's where's it's from.

Further north a couple of miles, at Inver is the Hermitage, also owned by the National Trust, a lovely place to walk in the trees along by the river Braan. There's also a nice walk up the hill above Dunkeld, which I have directions for in a mag. If you send me your snail mail address I'll copy everything I can find for the patch from mags and books and post it down. I hoard things like that.

Next Aberfeldy. the obvious place is the Birks. Do you know your Burns?
"Bonnie lassie, will ye go
will ye go
will ye go
Bonnie lassie, will ye go
tae the Birks o Aberfeldy?"

Mm I think it loses something in the non-singing.

Nice walks along the riverside. There's a pub in Aberfeldy called something like the Black Watch. It's just at the junction of the Weem Road and the main road through the town. The Weem Hotel used to be great and it still has some character and is worth a visit, but we had a meal there a couple of years ago and it was a disaster.

Nearby you have Castle Menzies which is open to the public and is worth a visit. Lastly on this bit is the Ailean Craggan which has a horrible modern appearance but excellent food, good beer and good crack and company.

If, instead of going east to Ben Lawers you go west, you come onto the Tarmachan ridge, which is well worth following. It's a linear walk that takes you down to Killin, so either do the first peak and come back or get a taxi back to your car from Killin. GET A MAP- assuming you can map read. Don't go if you can't. It's reputed to be a relatively easy walk except in winter. There are 3 Munros on the ridge I think. Killin is a strange
mixture of awful tourist tat and outdoor shops. There's a lovely view at the Falls of Dochart at the top end of the town.

On the south side of the Loch you will find the Ardeonaig Hotel- lovely from the outside and reputed to have very good food. Expensive for staying so I never have. There's a nice walk into the hills to the south above it.

Further east you will come to the Crannog centre- well worth a visit.; then Kenmore itself. Kenmore is a beautiful planned 18th Century village, with a very old hotel- reputed to be the oldest in Scotland. the food is good without being excellent. Burns is supposed to have stayed here. There's a super craft shop in a converted Church between the beach at the bottom of the loch and the Hotel which does soup and sandwiches for a
quick and nutritious lunch.

From the village there are a number of nice walks. You can go through the arch into Taymouth Castle estate- golf course for partners- and wander along the riverside. You can go over the river and turn left into what was the old policies and walk along the loch side and through the old gardens.

It's quite wild when you get past the time share stuff; and you can climb Drummond Hill above the north side of the loch. There are a range of waymarked paths.

Another quite nice linear walk is to come over the hill from Amulree to Kenmore. It's all tarmacced now. I first did it when I was at school and most of the road was a track. But very few people do it. Problem is, you have to leave your car at Amulree. You could arrange to have supper at the Hotel in Kenmore in return for them taking you back for your car, I suppose.

One last walk and pub. Above Pitlochry (Tourist trap warning!) there's a hill called Ben Vrackie, which is a very nice walk. The Moulin Inn would be a lovely place to finish off that walk.

Glen Lyon. Driving west from Weem you come to Fortingall (if you don't take the turn off for Kenmore)It's a pretty but dull village with a row of thatched cottages. It's famous for 2 things- in the churchyard is a 300 year old Yew tree which is meant to be the oldest tree in Britain; and legend has it that Pontius Pilate was born here. Yes, really! His Da' was meant to have been a legionnaire here when he was born. I haven't been in the hotel for years but it has character and used to do great afternoon teas.

Just past Fortingall you get into the Glen proper. Some people think it's one of the most beautiful in Scotland. I certainly think it's very special. There are lots of lovely walks. There are Munros (mountains over 3000 feet high) on both sides of the Glen. At the top you come first to the hamlet of Brig of Balgie. The Post Office has a tea room and the whole affair is run by my friend Kate Conway. If you go down to the side of the river here you can walk up as far as Meggernie and then come back to the road and home again. Or drive on up to the dam. Lots of places to walk here.

The drive from Brig of Balgie over the hill past Ben Lawers to Loch Tay side is beautiful. Ben Lawers is owned by the National Trust and there is a very good visitor centre which is worth a visit. They own the mountain for the alpine flora. You should be there at a good time to see it. It's a deceptively easy looking mountain. Do have a go; but be careful of the weather. It can be treacherous if it changes on you.

It's about 85 miles of pretty good road to get to Loch Ness. It's very nice, but not as nice as some of the stuff you've got round about you in Perthshire. A good day out would be... 8am, leave-drive straight up the A9, passing Killiecrankie and the soldier's leap; House of Bruar (the Harrods of the north), Dalwhinnie (distillery); Kingussie (Ruthven Barracks) Aviemore (architectural nightmare, but good for Cairngorm- you can take the chair lift to the top if you like) Inverness (don't stop- it's not worth it! Lunch on Loch Ness side; stop at castle Urquart; down the Great Glen to Spean Bridge (Commando Monument) then Fort William (armpit of the west) passing Aonach Mor and Ben Nevis; 12 miles south along Loch Linnhe to Ballachulish, over the Bridge and up to Glen Coe- through the Glen of Weeping (National Trust)to Tyndrum(Green Welly shop because you just HAVE to) past Crianlarich and along Glen Dochart to Lix- down to Killin at the other end of Loch Tay- along the south side of the Loch, stopping for dinner at the Ardeonaig and then12 miles to home. Tired but happy.

>various golf courses.
Mmm- not much for the non-golfer at Gleneagles for the non-golfer (except the usual hotel amenities if you're into them. The King's course is a killer. Don't settle for second best 9 ie the Queen's or the Prince's. But every town and most villages in Scotland have a golf course- you'll be spoiled for choice. If you want the BEST local golf, go across to
Rosemount outside Blairgowrie and play there.
sheila is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 02:20 PM
  #3  
 
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Most of Perth's interest lies in its history- ancient capital of Scotland- and in its place in Scottish literature. Just north of Perth, 2 miles or so, is Scone Palace, worth a visit itself, which was the site where the kings and queens of Scotland were crowned, seated on the Stone of Destiny, (a good fake of) which you will no doubt have seen when you visited Edinburgh castle.

The town's 12th century Church, St John's is worth a visit. It contains the remains of an Earl of Perth who is supposed to have told the town's baillies "If you give me six feet, I'll give you twa Inches"- a reference to the two parks on either side of the Old town, the North and South Inches (from the Gaelic Innis meaning meadow). In addition it is where John Knox preached the destruction of the monasteries at the start of the Scottish reformation

Sir Walter Scott wrote a novel called "the Fair Maid of Perth" and her house and that of Hal o' the Wynd, can both be visited. This will tell you all about Clan Chattan and Clan Kay and the battle they fought (staged?) on the North Inch. Next to Hal o' the Wynd's house is the City Mills which has a restored oatmeal and some nice craft shops. The City Mills Hotel, which I think is now called the Stakis, is another converted Mill, done so the lade can be seen flowing underneath.

If you walk along the Tay, you can see where the houses in the Watergate had their gardens which led down to the river, where Kate Barlass held off the soldiers come to capture and kill the king.
The town has really good shopping centered around the High Street and Old High Street. On the north edge of the town is the Caithness Glass factory where you can see the glass being made and, of course, buy from the factory shop. It's now in liquidation (Chapter 11)

There are a lot of nice walks.. along the river and through the North Inch, through the Norie Millar gardens on the north side of the river, Branklyn gardens on the North side of the river, Kinnoull hill with its folly, and, near where you are staying, Buckie Braes and Callerfountain.

Places to eat- Let's Eat is without doubt the best place in town, Patrick’s is a bistro behind the Sherriff Court which is on Tay Street), which is quite good, and Paco's and and the Filling Station, are all cheap and cheerful.

The Willows tea room in St John's Square is very good for coffee/ tea and cakes and things.
sheila is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 02:20 PM
  #4  
 
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PS. Perthsire is my home patch. Where are you staying?
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Aug 16th, 2005, 03:43 PM
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Last year, we stayed in Dunkeld and really loved the area. We enjoyed our walks along the River Tay, the hauntingly beautiful Dunkeld Cathedral (part of which is a ruin and the other part is still used for services), and the Atholl Arms Hotel located in town right on the River Tay at the famous Telford Bridge. Very good food in their dining room.

We also enjoyed a side trip to Kenmore.
bettyk is offline  
Aug 17th, 2005, 09:14 AM
  #6  
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Hi sheila - Thanks for all of the detailed information! That's why I love this site! We are staying in Kenmore.
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