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Highland Fling - by Joan Jaffe (Part One)

We were bound to have trouble in Customs with the muesli, Dick predicted, and maybe the half jar of jam and the 47 teabags; but I said they were souvenirs and I would relive our Scottish breakfasts each time I used them.

The eighteen day holiday was over and packed bags slung into the car, we slowly made our way up the rough farm track to the main road, a single thread of tarmac winding its way around the island. Looking back one last time, we saw the tiny white washed cottage, its sturdy wide hipped walls sitting hard on the sheep cropped grass.

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Highland Fling - by Joan Jaffe (Part Two)

The charm of hiking in the Highlands is the other side of the difficulty: that is, the mostly trackless walks, the obscure destinations only intimated by vague directions, the signless treasures sleeping quietly in remote glens or on top of scree-sided hills, make every discovery extraordinary. You are alone on vast moors, you cross burns below multiple waterfalls, you meet nothing but four footed wildlife—herds of stags grazing on the horizon, the ubiquitous sheep, the wild goats—and, of course, the birds.

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Lakes & Lochs of the Trossachs Region

Often referred to with the affectionate moniker of “the highlands in miniature”, the Trossachs region of Scotland offers much of the natural beauty and exciting history of Scotland as a whole; simply condensed into one comparatively small geographical area. With this in mind, it becomes clear that there is a great deal to see and do in and around the area, for tourists interested in experiencing the best that Scotland has to offer.

Ben Lomond

One of the more popular mountains in Scotland, Ben Lomond is the 30th tallest mountain in Britain in terms of relative height. At 974m/3193ft high, this mountain presents a fair challenge to prospective adventurers, though there are more family friendly walking routes available around the base of the mountain, and in the surrounding environs. Of course, as with many of the mountains in the UK, those looking for a bit more of a challenge are also well catered for upon a visit to Ben Lomond, with the more challenging Ptarmigan ridge route posing a significant peak in difficulty over the more standard “tourist route”. One thing to bear in mind with any mountain in Scotland, Ben Lomond included, is that Scotland’s already changeable and sometimes severe weather is magnified by the often extreme altitude of their climbing or walking routes; conditions can change rapidly, so make sure you have made the right preparations before heading for the summit: you’ll need proper walking boots, and warm clothing to account for the sudden bouts of cold weather which may well emerge during your climb; it’s often best to carry and ice axe and rope for the harder route as well!

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Features

Bathgate's History at the Bennie Museum

Visitors to Bathgate in West Lothian will find loads of interesting information on the history of the town at the Bennie Museum, situated in two restored cottages on Mansefield Street. The origins of the town date back to the early 12th century, although the land on which Bathgate is situated, as well as the surrounding area, is thought to have been occupied as far back as 3500 BC. The Bennie Museum has some relics related to the area's ancient history, including some Roman coins, but most of the items on display relate to the past two or three hundred years of Bathgate's history and the industries that came and went over the years.

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Ancient Natural History at Glenmore Forest Park

Located within the Cairngorms National Park and surrounding beautiful Loch Morlich, the Glenmore Forest Park is one of the remnants of Scotland's Caledonian Forest consisting primarily of old-growth Scots pines descended directly from the first pines that grew in Scotland after the ice-age, as far back as 7,000 BC. Changing weather patterns over the centuries, along with human encroachment, has resulted in the trees adapting to their various environments, and visitors exploring Glenmore Forest Park may want to bear in mind that they are walking among trees that represent a sequence of natural evolution spanning 9,000 years.

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Features

Enjoy the Scotch Whisky Experience

Housed in a stately old school building near Edinburgh Castle, the Scotch Whisky Experience offers fascinating insight into the history, development and distilling of Scotland's iconic beverage. Visitors can stop by and examine the various displays at leisure, but to get the full benefit of a visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience it a good idea to join one of the guided interactive tours of the museum. There are four tours to choose from – Silver, Gold, Platinum and Taste of Scotland – as well as master-classes for more dedicated whisky enthusiasts and educational tours for groups of school children and students.

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The Scottish Crossbill – Endemic to Scotland

With the spectacular pine forests of the Scottish Highlands as their home, Scottish crossbills are the only known endemic bird species in the whole of the United Kingdom. In fact, they are believed to be the only endemic vertebrates in the UK, and were identified as being a unique species in August 2006 based on their distinctive birdsong. The population of Scottish crossbills is estimated at around 6,800 breeding pairs and they are considered to be of 'least concern' by the IUCN from a conservation standpoint, while having 'amber' status with the RSPB.

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Features

Visit the Fascinating Folly at Dunmore

Located between the villages of Dunmore and Airth, in the Falkirk Council area of Scotland, is a most unusual 18th century building dubbed the Dunmore Pineapple. The building with its large pineapple-shaped cupola forms part of the walled gardens at Dunmore Park, and was built in 1761 by John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore, for his wife Charlotte. The top of the pineapple stands well above the surrounding walls and has four large vases surrounding it. The vases cleverly conceal chimneys for a heating system that was used to create a microclimate within the high garden walls to enable the cultivation of exotic plants, such as pineapples.

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Latest Travel Articles

Highland Fling - by Joan Jaffe (Part One)

We were bound to have trouble in Customs with the muesli, Dick predicted, and maybe the half jar.... read more

Highland Fling - by Joan Jaffe (Part Two)

The charm of hiking in the Highlands is the other side of the difficulty: that is, the mostly tr.... read more

Lakes & Lochs of the Trossachs Region

Often referred to with the affectionate moniker of “the highlands in miniature”, the Trossac.... read more

Bathgate's History at the Bennie Museum

Visitors to Bathgate in West Lothian will find loads of interesting information on the history o.... read more

Stroll Through the Beatrix Potter Garden in Birnam

Situated in the Perthshire village of Birnam, the Beatrix Potter Garden pays tribute to the 19th.... read more

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