FALKLAND PALACE…

Long time, no post! I have to admit the joy of actual travelling and not just being able to write about it while stuck at home has got in the way and so my little blog has been somewhat abandoned of late. And it’s funny cos I visit so many places and think “I really must post about this” and then get sidetracked and forget completely where I was even going to post about…. *facepalm*

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago (which *checks calendar* turns out to be over a month ago) we were staying in Fife and decided to visit Falkland Palace. This had actually been on the old bucket list for a while, especially after we decided to become National Trust for Scotland members last year.

We originally decided to go last year, drove into Falkland, realised there was probably no hope in hell of getting parked, and headed elsewhere. (Always have a plan B, folks. And occasionally a plan C and even possibly a D, just in case the other places are too busy.)

We visited on a sunny Sunday afternoon and found it to be a really good experience. There were a few different rooms to explore with guides in some of the rooms to give us a bit of history of the castle and answer any questions we might have. The usual covid procedures like face coverings, social distancing etc were in place which I always find reassuring. I also wondered about the practicalities of half-inching a four-poster bed I was coveting in one of the bedrooms but I decided there was *probably* a good chance I’d get caught. 😉

The gardens were also a joy and just bursting with flowers… perfect to wander about on such a gorgeous day! The historic tennis court is also worth a swatch.

It’s “free” if you’re a National Trust for Scotland member (we pay 9 pounds altogether a month for a joint membership because that’s apparently a sign we’re grown ups now) If you’re not a member it’s 13 pounds per adult or about half of that just to access the gardens.


We needed to book tickets in advance cos covid/social distancing/etcetcetc at the time of our visit but I believe the need to pre-book is no longer an issue; of course always best to check their website before you go though as, let’s face it, covid has made all of the rules change on the regular!


Parking in Falkland can be… problematic. There ARE car parks and some limited on-street parking but thanks in part to a certain show (*cough* Outlander *cough*) using Falkland a fair bit, it always seems pretty busy. Please don’t park like a bell-end and like I said before, if it’s too busy, consider going elsewhere and coming back another day!

Otherwise, enjoy!

Have you visited Falkland Palace before?

THE TRAIN TRACK TO NOWHERE…

I always love to find a little hidden gem on our travels around Scotland. We ended up booking a caravan on the Cowal peninsula last weekend. Because we had been to Dunoon just a couple of weeks before, I wanted to see if I could find anywhere different on the peninsula we had never visited before.

And I discovered there was another peninsula on the peninsula called Ardlamont. (Which is no real surprise as Scotland is absolutely full of peninsulas!) And there was a beautiful beach called Ostel Bay, which is not only extremely photogenic, but it also has a mysterious set of train tracks leading into the water. Seemed like a good chance for a photo opportunity for us, as well as just seeing some new sights!

So on the Saturday morning we left our caravan in Ardentinny and headed towards Tighnabruaich, passing the amazing viewpoint which looks over the Kyles of Bute – I’d definitely recommend a stop-off there – and then on towards our destination.

The easiest way to find it is to plug “Kilbride Farm” into google maps as this is where you need to park. There’s a small layby there you can park in, and there’s not space for a massive amount of cars so having read up on this beforehand we went with the expectation, as we always do, that we might not be able to visit the beach and might have to make alternative plans. Thankfully in this case we were able to park as there was space – by the time we came back to the car though it was a little busier and people were starting to park in places they shouldn’t.  Please don’t be that person!

There’s a small café and the path to the beach is next to it. It took around 15-20 minutes to walk to the beach from there, the first part of the road was pretty bumpy and stony, it then smoothed out before leading through a small wooded area then some small dunes.

The beach itself is stunning, with views over to the island of Arran and even though it was fairly overcast when we got there, the beach still looked gorgeous.

Now to find this railway track…

We thought we could spot something that looked like a track right at the left end of the beach, so we started heading that way. Although most folk on the beach were just sitting down having picnics or whatever, there were one couple who were quite far over to the left and were kind of wandering aimlessly. We thought they might be heading to the track too but they never quite made it. But because the tide was coming in and the part of the beach that remained over to the left was quite stony, we had to wait for them to start coming back and pass us if we wanted to ensure social distancing and all that jazz, which added on to our journey time slightly.

Because of this and the rocky underfoot (and one patch of terrifyingly slippery seaweed), it probably took us around 20-25 minutes to actually reach the track itself, and it felt like it was just getting further away at times, but I’m glad to say we eventually made it.

I’m not really sure of its purpose, but I did read somewhere it might have been used to launch mini submarines into the water during one of the wars, which seems to make sense given that the line stops at the water’s edge and it doesn’t really seem viable that a train would ever be on it!

Definitely worth a little visit if you have a chance!

COWAL’S CHINESE PONDS TRAIL

I’m a big Dunoon fan. It reminds me of my childhood, a simpler time – although weirdly I’m pretty sure we only went over on the ferry once when I was a kid, and I’ve actually been back far more times in the past few years! I also remember when I was a kid being very surprised that Dunoon was actually not an island, why would we get a boat to a place that wasn’t an island? My mum tried to explain it would take a few hours to drive around but I didn’t understand peninsulas back then, or just how many peninsulas Scotland has! Anyway, I love visiting Dunoon, in fact I love the whole Cowal peninsula, which is in my opinion a very underrated area of Scotland.

We’ve covered off a lot of the peninsula over the years, but the last few times I’d been I’d seen pictures of the Chinese Ponds and I wanted to visit them as the pictures of them looked lovely. I just couldn’t for the life of me work out where they were.

Finally, once I had actually worked out what their name was, I managed to track down the car park to visit them from – it’s a couple of miles south of Dunoon, and is called Ardyne. We headed there on a beautiful Sunday morning, and were pleased to find the car park was not too busy.

So off we popped, we weren’t sure of the exact route so headed uphill on the first path we came to – luckily that was a correct decision, as after a very short walk we found a sign that read “Chinese Pond Trail” so we were literally on the right track.  The walk wasn’t long but it was very uphill, so as you can imagine the Lazy Gal here was a bit out of puff. The fact it was so warm and sunny also didn’t really help as I was also sweating away like the proverbial pig.

The views down over the Firth of Clyde were beautiful, but after walking through more wooded area we found ourselves at a sign saying, once again “Chinese Pond Trail” that appeared to point back to the way we came – we’d missed a turn-off somewhere! *facepalm* So back we headed – there’s two small paths that go off the main path between the two signs, and they form a loop, so as long as you choose one of them, you’ll reach your goal!

It was actually a lovely tranquil sight – you get to walk past the beautiful water and clamber over the two little bridges. I have no idea who made these bridges, but they’re very cute and extremely photogenic. Although on a much smaller scale, I got Glencoe Lochan vibes from the whole little area.

The whole time we were up there, we only encountered a cyclist and his dog, and an older woman, it was otherwise lovely and quiet – which is crazy for us when we’d spent the best part of the week before travelling bits of the “North Coast 500” which were absolutely loaded with tourists. Like I said, Cowal is pretty quiet though in comparison to a lot of other areas in Scotland – I’m not really sure why though!

If you are visiting Dunoon any time soon, I would definitely recommend a wee detour to take in this lovely attraction – it’s worth a visit for sure!

Have you visited the Chinese Ponds?

FORT WILLIAM: THREE LITTLE GEMS TO SEE…

I absolutely love Fort William. It’s definitely one of my favourite towns in Scotland and I love visiting it. Not just because the views over Loch Linnhe to the Ardnamurchan peninsula are incredible, or the drive through Glencoe which precedes it, but also because usually when we’re staying there it’s a precursor to heading even further up north.

For example, we stayed there a week or two ago overnight as we were headed up to near John O’Groats and although we just stayed in the Travelodge it was still lovely. (I also got to have wine inside a restaurant for the first time since October but that’s besides the point).

We also took the opportunity to visit a couple of places just on the outskirts of the town, and I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight these as places you can visit easily for some nice views without too much of a walk!

Corpach Wreck

First up, we have the shipwreck at Corpach. It’s particularly photogenic as it has Ben Nevis looming up right behind it.

A short walk from the car park at the harbour at Corpach, the wreck has been there since 2011 and is definitely worth a swatch.

Being silly at Neptune’s Mirror

Next up, we have my favourite place to take a mirror selfie; it’s a little installation next to Neptune’s Staircase at Banavie. We nearly always make a little stop here for a new pic. It’s called Neptune’s Mirror and has been there for a number of years now.

I should add that I doubt its main purpose is for mirror selfies but it’s an added bonus!

Inverlochy Castle

Last up we have the old Inverlochy Castle ruins which are also just on the outskirts of Fort William. I’m always a fan of a good ruin and this ticks all the boxes! It’s also in a lovely setting next to the water.

Do you have a favourite place in Fort William?

LOVELY LOCH ARDINNING…

It’s funny how often you can drive past somewhere before you finally get around to visiting it isn’t it?

We have been based in Clydebank for the last week or so as my boyfriend has a house there he needs to start getting sorted out, and so we have been trying to take advantage of some of the beauty spots not too far a drive from there. Loch Ardinning is near Strathblane and about a 15 minute drive from the fella’s house so we popped over there a couple of nights ago on an unexpectedly sunny evening!

First up, parking. It’s pretty limited from what I can see, probably parking space for about 4-5 cars on either side of the road (depending on how people have parked obviously). Don’t park like a dick outwith the obvious laybys, you’ll be putting other people (and possibly yourself and your car) at risk.

Housekeeping out the way, the loch itself was beautiful, probably about a 5 minute walk direct from the parking area (although there are other paths you can take). We chose to take the direct route to the loch, walked around part of it then branched off uphill to the left where we encountered some lovely views back down to the loch and surrounding countryside, some mini waterfalls, and some – blurgh – bits that were a bit mushy underfoot.

We were actually blessed with how lovely and bright the weather was and the whole area, stunning though it would have been normally, was absolutely gorgeous in the bright evening sunshine. On top of that, I think because it had been raining on and off during the day, not that many folk were actually out and about which meant we had a mostly peaceful walk! Perfect for me, since I hate other people!

In addition, the self appointed lazy gal right here didn’t even start to whine “are we nearly back at the car yet?” until we were nearly back at the car! It wasn’t a particularly difficult walk, a couple of steeper bits but never for long enough to get me annoyed, and the views were fab all the way around.

It took us about an hour in total to do the loop we chose which was approximately 2 and a half miles… a decent walk on a lovely Monday evening all in all!

I’d definitely recommend a trip to Loch Ardinning, just bear in mind it could be busy and try and pick your time and day accordingly to let you park up nicely and not be inundated with crowds of other folk!

Have you visited Loch Ardinning?