July 2017

The Birks O' Aberfeldy, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland

There are few places in Scotland better suited to the casual hiker than Perthshire. It’s a region of rolling highland foothills covered in swaths of mixed forest cleft into rocky river valleys by the Tay and Tummel. Mountains like Schiehallion and Ben Vrackie loom over it all, providing even greater contrast to this gorgeous landscape. You don’t need to be a rugged mountaineer or spelunker to enjoy Perthshire’s natural treasures. That’s a good thing, too, because I’m neither. I’m just a guy who likes to get into the Scottish countryside and connect with natural splendor.

I’ve been a fan of Dunkeld and Pitlochry for a long time… Read more...

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Knockendarroch House, Pitlochry, Scotland

When last I met Struan Lothian he was running the beautiful Torrdarach House perched above Pitlochry’s main street. He and his family had come to Pitlochry from the fantastic Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland to share their gifts as hosts and proprietors further south, and I was intrigued when I learned he had moved to another establishment within Pitlochry, Knockendarroch Hotel and Restaurant.

Pitlochry is graced with more excellent accommodations than your average Scottish town. It’s a pretty place along the River Tummel, situated on the main route into the northern highlands and amidst Perthshire’s natural glories. Read more...

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Digging into Smoo Cave

by Keith Savage · 2 comments

Smoo Cave, Durness, Sutherland, Scotland

The north coast of Scotland’s North Coast 500 is the least exciting stretch, but there are a few highlights. Castle Varrich and Dun Dornaigil Broch both warrant visits, and Smoo Cave just outside Durness is another interesting destination.

Northern Scotland has been home to inhabitants as far back as the Mesolithic, but to look at this coastline today you’d be hard-pressed to see any evidence. It’s a largely rocky, pastoral landscape gently sliding to the sea with few historic structures or markings visible to the untrained eye, and yet the name Smoo probably comes from the Old Norse Smuga, meaning “hiding place.” Read more...

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Foraging mushrooms in Perthshire's Old Scone Woods

My trip to Perthshire last autumn presented a chance to see the region at its most colorful, but it also allowed me to pursue activities I’ve long wished to do. Case in point: Foraging. I’ve always loved hiking in Scotland and over the years I’ve gained an interest in earthier pursuits like bushcraft and foraging, ways to interact with the natural world rather than simply pass through it. Inevitably in my planning I come across workshops and tours related to such outdoorsy activities but I could never quite get the various schedules to mesh.

I took a different tack for the autumn Perthshire trip. Read more...

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