The view from the Brochs of Coigach, Wester Ross, Scotland

The yearning for adventure fills the hearts of many people (and even some hobbits), but the dream of a trip rarely includes the nasty logistical bits that cast one down to the mundane, earthly realm of the modern travel experience. I can’t tell you how many trips to Scotland have begun with some whisky and bright-eyed romanticism: Galloping across the hills and through the glens, my vision somehow from a drone’s point of view, as the skirling notes of a bagpiper’s air fade on the swirling wind. I’m laughing because it’s true. Invariably, the reality of that dream starts in endless lines, stale airports, cramped cabins, and distinct physical discomfort. The thought of “roughing it” with your accommodations suddenly turns from adventurous to foolhardy. Read more...


The Old Mill Inn, Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland

When I help people plan their trips to Scotland, I focus on choosing a limited number of ideal bases from which to explore the surrounding countryside. This strategy often makes accommodations a crucial choice. The last thing you want is to dread coming back to a sub-optimal flophouse, so I’m always on the lookout for new, exciting, quality places to stay. As part of my visit to Perthshire last fall organized by the wonderful Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust, I had the opportunity to experience The Old Mill Inn in Pitlochry after a day out foraging mushrooms and wild edibles and a visit to Edradour Distillery. Tucked away just off Pitlochry’s high street, The Old Mill Inn, contrary to its name, is a beautifully modern place. Read more...


Cuil-an-Duin Country House, Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland

In the heart of Perthshire, directly in the center of a triangle formed by the wonderful towns of Dunkeld, Pitlochry, and Aberfeldy, stands one of the region’s finest accommodations. I had the chance spend a trio of nights at Cuil-an-Duin Country House at the beginning of this past November, and as you will see it’s hard to ask for a better base from which to explore the glory of forested Perthshire.

This part of Scotland, being just north of the cities and on the main route deeper into the highlands, is filled with all types of excellent accommodations, from B&Bs to hotels to castles. It seems to me to be a difficult place to start… Read more...


The Brochs of Coigach, Achiltibuie, Wester Ross, Scotland

The beauty of Scotland’s northern highlands is a beauty largely untrammeled by mankind: Hills slope into the sea, mountains rear up from the moor, and islands heave across the horizon. Humans have lived in these parts for millennia, however, and seeing their remarkable stewardship of the land in person fills one with a desire to honor their stunning landscape and history. Out here you won’t find strip malls, Wal-Marts, parking structures, or hideous billboards. You’ll find small homes, farmsteads, and even a surprise or two.

I’m certainly not the only person inspired by this gorgeous stretch of highland coastline. Read more...


Corriness House, Poolewe, Wester Ross, Scotland

The beauty of Wester Ross cannot be shackled by language. It must be viewed. And in that great Scottish wilderness of mountain and sea loch you gather a sense of what the most northerly parts of this island must have looked like in days of yore. There is much to explore here, many narrow roads to follow, empty beaches to kick across, and heather-shrouded hills to ascend. All you need is some time and a decent base from which to venture out. The towns of Gairloch and Poolewe serve admirably in this regard. I spent a pair of nights at the homey Corriness House on the edge of Poolewe this past summer, and it was a great location from which to explore the heart of Wester Ross. Read more...