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?

LUSS FOR LIFE!

It’s been a bit of a stressful week for me. I had my first covid jag scheduled for Wednesday so, being anxious about needles/side effects etc I’d been a bit riddled with anxiety. By the time it got to Thursday, my anxiety was mostly gone but I had a bit of a dead arm and needed a bit of a distraction! So decided to visit Luss that evening, and it was a decision we did not regret one bit . . . We had a lovely time!

Bonding with Scotland’s national animal

Luss, back in the day, was possibly most famous for being the fictional village Glendarroch, in the now-defunct Scottish soap opera “Take the High Road” (or “High Road” in its later years) but it’s so much more than that.

Loch Lomond from Luss

It’s a beautiful wee village and, because it’s right beside Loch Lomond, the views are incredible! Although, as you may be aware from a previous post of mine, Loch Lomond is my happy place so there may be an element of bias there. 😉

Luss Parish Church

Now, Luss does have a tendency to be hugely popular and can get very busy so going in the evening like we did might be the best option if you want to avoid the crowds. They’re also now asking people to stop parking wily-nily on the teeny streets which has made a bit of a difference!

Delightful views

We wandered to the water to watch the ducks and take in beautiful Lomond, and then along to the lovely village church. After this we went for a walk a little further inland and inadvertently stumbled upon part of the faerie trail.

As you can probably imagine, Instagram fiend that I am (check out my insta here!), I took great pleasure in grabbing a pic with some fairy wings, as well as a unicorn!

Grew myself some wings!

We also spotted some lambs not long out of the packet, who came closer for a wee pose for us. I absolutely loved them, wee gems.

Wee lamb posers!

All in all it was a lovely wee night and I would thoroughly recommend an evening trip there, especially if you’ve had a hard day or week! It’s a real tonic. 💙

Have you visited Luss?

KILLIN: WATERFALLS, CASTLE RUINS, AND MY FIRST OUTDOOR DRINK IN MONTHS!

Travel has only been open again for a couple of weeks, and we’ve already been making the most of it. (Partly because of being stuck in Glasgow for so long, and partly because we’re now permanently worried we’ll be locked down again in Scotland so need to escape while we can!) Two nights away in Aberdeen came first and then last weekend it was the turn of a wee night in Killin.

Killin is definitely up there in my top five list of villages in Scotland (now, I don’t officially *have* a top 5 list of Scottish villages sorted out, and maybe one day I will sit down and work this out, but Killin would definitely feature in it). We’ve stayed there now five times and I’ve loved it every time. It’s a gorgeous wee place surrounded by mountains and water, and my favourite part is the beautiful Falls of Dochart which pretty much runs right through the middle of it, with an incredibly instagrammable bridge spanning the width of the falls.

The Falls of Dochart, Killin

There’s many walks you can do in the area, and you also have Ben Lawers just a short drive outside the village too, as well as a good few places to eat and drink, so there is plenty to occupy your time here. But on Saturday afternoon we settled for a walk from where we were staying at Killin Hotel, up to the falls and back, followed by our first outside alcoholic drink in an AGE outside our hotel (mostly in the rain)! We could even order our drink via our phone which made it the whole process even easier!

First outdoor drink in a while outside the Killin Hotel

On Sunday, as we didn’t have much time we decided to pop along for a quick visit to Finlarig Castle, which is on a road off to the right when you’re just about to leave Killin to head towards Kenmore.

Finlarig Castle ruins, complete with the beheading pit

Finlarig is castle ruins and while I find ruined castles far more interesting than the fancy well maintained type, it’s also a pretty . . . dark place to visit. Right next to the castle, for example, is a beheading pit. I remember seeing that for the first time and just thinking “oh my god!”

This time I wandered around, taking some photos and videos so I could do an Instagram reel, while the boyfriend disappeared off into the wood behind. Only at this point did I become how quiet it was and alone it felt next to these eerie ruins. Two seconds later,  I heard a rustle in the trees near where the boyfriend had disappeared into and what I am pretty sure must have been a mountain hare came bounding out, about twenty feet away from me, and got the heck out of there. It was pretty cool, but I’m just glad I wasn’t in its path.

Finlarig Castle

One wee note: when I say the castle is in ruins, I’m not exaggerating. While nothing is stopping you from visiting, a sign does warn that the castle is dangerous, so you may wish to take your pictures and explore from afar, and not get too close. Better safe than sorry after all!

The view from my hotel room

I would definitely recommend a visit to Killin, you don’t have to be an avid hill-walker to enjoy it, even lazy gals like me love it!

Have you visited?

DRAMATIC DUNNOTTAR CASTLE…

I love a good ruined castle.

A good ruined castle in a dramatic setting is a definite bonus. And Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire ticks both of those boxes.

We visited yesterday as we’re currently up in Aberdeen for the Bank Holiday weekend. Now you can’t just rock up to the castle at the moment and buy a ticket; after all we are still mid-pandemic, social distancing is still a thing etc.

Instead you need to book a slot and pay for a ticket online at their website. There were three slots for us to choose from; we went for the 3pm slot. This allowed us to enter the castle between 3 and 3.45 and we had until 5.15 to explore if we wanted. The tickets can be scanned from your phone so no need to worry if you don’t have a printer. It cost us eight pounds each for a ticket.

The walk to the castle from the car park is pretty dramatic and features a lot of steps which both short-arse moi and my much taller boyfriend found to be awkward heights. So be careful walking on them. Walking back up afterwards was exhausting, not helped by having people close behind me and a woman standing right at the top of the stairs with a tripod and camera pointed at me the whole time. (Given I was puffing and panting like I’d just completed a 1k – yeah, I know what I said, I can’t run okay? – it was probably a stupid move blocking the top of the stairs like that given the aforementioned pandemic!)

Inside the castle itself was cool and there was loads of nooks and crannies to explore as well as great views from the castle. Because of the whole booking in advance stuff probably as well as the pretty inclement weather, there was not too many folk there either which made the experience more pleasant than some castle visits we have had in the past.

However my favourite view had to be from the viewpoint before you reach the castle itself. There’s a wee path and a small bridge over to the right before you walk down the killer stairs; I’d definitely recommend catching the view from there!

You can book tickets on Dunnottar’s own website, right here.

Have you visited Dunnottar?

THE LAZY GAL’S GUIDE TO SOME AMAZING VIEWS (WITH MINIMAL EFFORT . . . )

I’ve been a bit lax with the whole actual writing posts of late (great start, considering this website is still in its very early infancy, eh?) but in my defence Scotland opened back up and for the first time in close to six months I’ve been able to finally travel outside my council area so we’ve been making up for lost time and getting our roadtrips on.

But let’s get back to it with a topic very close to my heart – amazing Scottish views.

Now, there are a LOT of these, and I guess probably the best views are ultimately those atop a Munro. However, this is me, self-proclaimed lazy gal, and so with that in mind, I am going to share with you a favourite of my few Scottish views which don’t involve you breaking into too much of a sweat. Or a sweat at all in some cases . . . unless it’s hot weather, and we all know that’s rare in Scotland.

So without further ado, let’s get going!

REST AND BE THANKFUL VIEWPOINT

A mere zip in the car down the A83 road towards Inveraray and the Kintyre peninsula, you’ll find the Rest and Be Thankful and its viewpoint. This is one of my absolute favourite places for getting an amazing view down the glen, and the best part? There is a car park right next to it, so you can just hop out of the car and take a couple of snaps without actually having to do any climbing or walking. (Obviously given the place is surrounded by hills you can do your research and do a bit of a climb of one, or wander down the old military road if you so desire but you don’t have to…)

Rest and be Thankful

CARR BRAE VIEWPOINT

I’ve mentioned this area before as you get a great view of Eilean Donan from there, but if you continue up this road from Dornie you also can get fabulous views over Loch Duich and they’re pretty damn impressive.  Once again, not much effort involved. Park the car and within a couple of minutes walk from the car the views are right there for you.

Carr Brae viewpoint

MAM RATAGAN

On the single track road to Glenelg, on the other side of Loch Duich, you will find two great viewpoints near the start of the road, both with amazing views over the loch and mountains. Once again you can park in the car parks and they’re right there for you.

One of two viewpoints on the Mam Ratagan pass
And the other… was a bit misty on this particular day!

CATHKIN BRAES

Great views over Glasgow and the hills behind within a few minutes of walking. We were very happy to realise during the most recent lockdown that these were within Glasgow council area as it felt like one of the closest places we could get to the countryside and be able to pretend we were NOT in Glasgow – even though we were looking right at it!

Cathkin Braes

QUIRAING

Massive views from this landslip up on the Isle of Skye and it’s up to you how much effort you put in as you don’t have to walk far at all if you don’t want to. We walked for around five to ten minutes to get views like ours and, to be honest, we would have went further but we were very aware of the sheer drop at some points at the side of us, which put us off quite a bit!

The Quiraing

MCCAIG’S FOLLY

This folly looms over the lovely town of Oban and gives you a great . . . vista (trying to say something other than “view” is hard!) over it. You can walk up from the town itself, but there is a car park and within five minutes from the car you can see it all for yourself. The tower itself is also pretty cool.

McCaig’s Folly

DUNCRYNE HILL

Last of all (for now anyway) I will mention The Dumpling near Gartocharn. I have mentioned this before, but I would highly recommend it as  it has great views over Loch Lomond and some of its many islands. Now, it involves a bit more walking than any of the other viewpoints I have mentioned, probably somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes to walk up to the summit, but you get it over with really quickly and  the views are great for such a short distance uphill. (It has the Lazy Gal stamp of approval, which I’ve literally just invented as I type.) I’m hoping to revisit The Dumpling again soon so once I do expect a post devoted just to it.

“The Dumpling”

Anyway I hope you found this helpful , happy travelling and all that . . . and I’ll just leave you with one reminder, just since everything is now opened up again – just make sure to park responsibly, drive responsibly, use passing places properly and just be generally considerate. (The last rule just applies in general too!)

Do you have a favourite lazy viewpoint?