Keith Savage

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

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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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The Alhambra, Granada, Spain

I’d forgotten what May was like in Wisconsin. The still-cool air mixed with warm sunshine, the lilacs and peonies flowering, and the amazing sunsets make this month one of the best in my home state. The last six or so years I’ve been gone at this time traveling somewhere: Scotland mostly, but also France, Spain, and Switzerland. This year it’s June that gets shipped abroad. Traveling Savage is going on vacation to Spain and Norway!

Over the last ten years Sarah has really turned me on to southern Spain, especially Granada (her favorite city). It’s a multicultural city in a majestic setting with incredible weather and some of the best damn eating and drinking to be had in Europe. This will be my fourth visit to Granada and I can’t wait to indulge in tapas and red wine. Read more...

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The River Kirkaig, Sutherland, Scotland

One of the great drives to be found along the North Coast 500 runs from Achiltibuie to Lochinver. This span is well off the beaten path on single-track roads twisting and kinking through the hilly terrain of northern Wester Ross and southern Sutherland. Mountains rise up through the mist, sun ricochets off lochs scattered in the glens, and red deer stand upon rocky hillsides looking over the odd car that finds its way to this distant corner of Scotland.

I found myself on this road because it led to a hike Sarah and I wanted to do: The Falls of Kirkaig. I’m a sucker for waterfalls and thankfully Scotland’s loaded with them. Read more...

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