Relish Simple Pleasures in the ‘Year of Natural Scotland’

With 2013 designated as the ‘Year of Natural Scotland’ and CNN declaring Scotland to be its top travel destination choice for 2013, travelers who have considered visiting this ruggedly beautiful country may want to make 2013 the year to do so. The fact that the latest Bond movie, Skyfall, was filmed in Glencoe, certainly helped bring some of the spectacular scenery Scotland is known for to the attention of a broader public, and with a host of special events and activities planned, visitors will be spoiled for choice.

The first ever ‘John Muir Day’ will be celebrated on 21 April 2013 – the 175th anniversary of the Scottish-born naturalist’s birth. Born in Dunbar, East Lothian, in 1838, John Muir’s family moved to the United States in 1849 where he became known as the ‘Father of the National Parks’ due to his groundbreaking work in establishing national parks, including the renowned Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. His love for nature began during his boyhood years in Scotland and his contribution to the concepts of conservation and preserving nature will be celebrated through a series of events, activities and walks in Scotland’s nature reserves and country parks.

Young people will be encouraged to get in touch with nature during 2013, and Young Scot – the national youth information society – will be offering helpful advice and suggestions on how to get the most out of outdoor activities. The whole family can absorb the beauty of natural Scotland on a scenic train journey, including the West Highland Line – voted in 2009 as the ‘Top Rail Journey in the World’ by the travel-savvy readers of Wanderlust Magazine. The West Highland Line links the ports of Oban and Mallaig on Scotland’s west coast, to the city of Glasgow, passing through some of Scotland’s most breathtaking scenery.

Scotland already has a number of annual nature and outdoors related festivals and shows, such as The Royal Highland Show and the Scone Game Fair, and these will fit in perfectly with the Year of Natural Scotland, encouraging visitors to embrace the simple pleasures offered by nature in Scotland.