I’ve been part of a fair few conversations recently where the answer to: Have you been to Scotland? has been Edinburgh, but that doesn’t count.
And looking at VisitScotland’s free ebook guide I can only agree. Don’t get me wrong, I love Edinburgh. It is one of the world’s great cities with history around every corner, stunning architecture and a powerful cultural presence. You can even go rock climbing in its very heart as Salisbury Crags rubs shoulders with a palace, a parliament and a castle, but you can’t claim to have experienced Scotland if your journey ended at Waverley railway station.
And I have to confess that’s true for me so I am relying on VisitScotland’s guide to provide a taste of what’s in store if you visit one of Scotland’s six forest parks and now is a great time to go. (They don’t actually spell it out but I think one advantage of a spring or early summer trip is no midges.)
I like the way activities in the guide are divided into Trailblazer and Tranquil Traveller. I know which catogary I fit into (see title of this blog), but you might want to explore both.
What can you do?
Take stunning photographs. At Loch Morlich, for example, the UK’s highest beach, you might even see ospreys fishing in the waters and if you don’t, well you still have Loch Morlich.
Bike. If you’re into mountain biking I’m told that there are thrilling trails at the 7stanes mountain biking centres across the south of Scotland. And if you’re new to the sport, novice riders can try out the green and blue trails at Kirroughtree in the Galloway Forest Park.
But if you want short, soft and lovely (if you count six miles short) pedal from Aviemore to the Glenmore Forest Park Visitor Centre following the Old Logging Way
Forage for wild garlic, leeks and other vegetables. Guided tours available.
Visit the fairies at Puck’s Glen. Sightings are not guaranteed.
Wildlife watch with and without children. They can learn how to tell who has been nibbling pine cones. (Squirrels are untidy eaters apparently while woodpeckers leave behind tell-tale ruffled scales.) Go with them into the forest after the sun has gone down and look for the creatures that come to life at twilight.
Walk and walk some more
Stargaze Get a better view of the universe…
Look. If your working day is hedged in by office blocks or there is more tarmac near your home than grass, refuel by just being there.
You can download VisitScotland’s free guide HERE Enjoy!