I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of an amazing view that doesn’t involve too much effort. Sure, I’m constantly inundated with Instagram post suggestions that show incredible vistas that only involve a four hour climb or whatever but, I’m sorry, that life is not for me.

The Dumpling, however, fits my M.O. perfectly.

Isn’t that the cutest name for a little hill? It is, of course, a nickname. The Dumpling is really called Duncryne Hill and is just outside the village of Gartocharn, south of Loch Lomond.

Now, views of Loch Lomond from the nearby-ish Conic Hill are legendary, but that walk is longer and immensely popular. We once tried to walk there on a random January Saturday morning when it was freezing cold and even then there were too many people. Also the path was so icy in parts that we had to give up anyway.

The Dumpling is lesser-known and you can actually complete the walk up and back down, with an adequate amount of time spent admiring the view at the top, in around half an hour. The path is fairly straightforward, albeit prone to being a bit boggy in places, and is only really steep for the last stretch. After that last steep part, when you arrive puffing and panting at the summit, you’ll be immediately rewarded by a beautiful view of Lomond and some of its many islands.

I mention the bogginess though as, the first time we tried to do the walk, it was a sunny day but there’d been a decent among of rainfall in the preceding days, and we’d ended up having to go back to the car to change footwear. So just assume it will be boggy and wear suitable shoes from the outset! I think parts of the path have been fixed since that first time but it’s best to err on the side of caution!

There’s space at the side of the road to park, but it is limited so, as always, I would recommend picking a quieter time to do it if possible. The last time we visited was spring last year and we chose a random weekday evening . . . It was perfect as we only encountered two other groups of people the whole time.

That would never happen on Conic Hill!!!


It’s been a while. Sorry about that.

Now we’ve got my half-hearted apology out of the way, let’s talk about the Fyrish monument.

Now I actually made this walk pretty much a year ago now – maybe I’ve only just recovered from it enough to discuss it? We were staying in Muir of Ord at the time (which in a weird coincidence we’re actually heading towards tomorrow for a few days) and the hill the monument is situated on isn’t too far a drive from there, so we decided to give it a go.

As you will recall, I am a lazy girl. This walk was probably not for me. It took close to an hour to climb up the hill, and it was steep in enough parts to get me very out of puff on several occasions.

I ended up with blisters on my feet and chafed thighs but that was probably my own fault for being inadequately prepared.

We passed a lot of people coming back down as we climbed up so I was surprised to find we actually got the top to ourselves for five minutes. It was a normal non-school holiday (in Scotland anyway) at lunchtime so maybe that’s why. Or perhaps our timing was just impeccable for a change as when we were walking back down we passed a lot of people coming up.

It was actually very cool at the top, the monument looks great and the views over the Cromarty Firth were ace. Plus I got to pat a newfoundland dog called Molly on the way up so I was still riding off the high of that! (Fact: dogs make everything better.)

I was surprised to find that the walk back down took nearly as long as the walk up. But maybe that was partly because my feet were trash by that point.

There’s a decent sized car park but I would still recommend trying to do it at a quieter time like during the week if possible… I imagine it would be pretty crowded at the weekend or during holidays.

Would I recommend doing the walk, even if you’re lazy? Yep. Just be warned it’s not always easy. The path is decent though, and the pay-off is the view at the top!


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?


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!


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?