Until recently, the seaside town of Largs would not have been a Scottish destination I would have associated with hill-walking. Ice-cream, yes, scenic hiking, not so much. However, I am happy to admit when I am wrong and wanted to share with you a fairly easy hill walk that I discovered which gets top marks for effort to reward ratio in my opinion.
Castle Hill has the best view of the Firth of Clyde that I've come across and a short detour at the start to visit a prehistoric tomb makes this a worthwhile adventure to add to your Largs itinerary.
The walk up Castle Hill is accessed via Douglas Park, a short stroll from the town centre, and when I visited the play-park opposite was full of gorgeous pink cherry blossoms. I couldn't resist standing beneath the floral coated branches while the fragile petals rained down in the wind.
The start of the Castle Hill walk is well signposted once you reach the park but I suggest you follow the path to visit the Haylie Chambered Tomb first.
Discovered in 1772 by James Wilson of Haylie, the remains of 5 bodies were found within. Sadly today all you are likely to find within is rubbish and the tomb does seem pretty unloved considering it is such a fascinating piece of local prehistoric history. However, its unexpected location in a little clearing behind some houses is worth a look.
I took a well worn short cut from the chambered tomb up to the official path for the Castle Hill viewpoint but you can take the path back to the signposted route at the start if you prefer. This is really a walk of two halves as the first stretch is along a path surrounded by patchy grass and scrubby undergrowth and isn't that picturesque. It is also quite steep going in places and I certainly felt my calf muscles working harder than usual.
However, keep checking behind you as the view opens up across the Firth of Clyde and you will get all the encouragement you need to keep going. There are also some benches where you can enjoy the view if you need a little breather.
Competition - Win 2 Access-All-Areas-Money-Can’t-Buy Golden Wristbands for the Edinburgh Whisky Festival!
If you're a fan of whisky or curious to find out more about Scotland's national drink and can make it to Edinburgh on Saturday 17th June then you are going to love my latest competition.
I'm giving away 2 x Access-All-Areas-Money-Can’t-Buy Golden Wristbands for The Edinburgh Whisky Festival to one lucky reader.
I'm sure that I don't have to remind you that Saturday the 17th June is also Father's Day so this prize could make an extra special gift for a very lucky whisky loving dad.
The Edinburgh Whisky Festival is bringing more than 50 whisky producers, makers and bottlers together under one roof on Saturday 17th June, for a one-day celebration of all things liquid gold. As part of their quest to quash the misconceptions around whisky, festival organisers, The Whisky Lounge, are including a special ‘beginners’ area, featuring talks and workshops from industry insiders.
This year, they are upping the fun factor and interactivity levels by adding the whisky creche, which will be hosted by HuffPost UK’s Matt Chambers, as well as cocktail workshops and a ‘Blending Lab’ – where festival-goers can have a go at making their own blended whisky.
More than 150 whiskies will be available to taste at the Festival, which is celebrating its fifth year in Edinburgh. Brands including Bowmore, Macallan, Jameson, Glenlivet and Talisker are among those exhibiting.
The Edinburgh Whisky Festival will provide a laid back, informal environment to break down barriers, unlock myths, educate and excite those who haven’t ever tried whisky or are cautious about where to start
The festival takes place in the Assembly Rooms in George Street, Edinburgh and the winner will be able to choose from two sessions, either 12pm - 4pm or 5pm - 9pm.
Standard entry includes
In addition The Golden Wristband will also provide access to any of the masterclasses and workshops (Blending Lab/Whisky Creche/Cocktail Workshops etc) for free and you will also experience the full VIP treatment as you won't need to queue either.
The Golden Wristbands are not for general sale so the winner really will enjoy a money can't buy experience! One winner will receive 2 Golden Wristbands.
So how can you win this amazing prize?
You can obtain up to 5 competition entries through the Rafflecopter App below. Each option is worth one entry.
Please note all entrants must be over 18 and available to attend the event on 17th June.
One winner will be picked at random via Rafflecopter on Wednesday 14th June and notified via e-mail. The winner can collect their wristbands from the venue on the day of the event.
Please see below for further terms and conditions.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
All entrants must be over 18 and available to attend the event on Saturday 17th June 2017.
The prize is as stated and no alternatives are available.
The winner will be drawn at random on the closing date of 14th June.
There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network.
The winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter and notified by email within 24 hours of the closing date.
If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 48 hours of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner. The prize can be collected in person from the venue on the day of the event.
In Scotland you are surrounded by history wherever you travel in the country and for every popular historical attraction there are dozens of others that remain under the tourist radar. Many of these sites have just as much, if not more, historical significance but receive much less attention for various reasons.
Nestled tightly between a housing estate and the Main Street of the North Ayrshire town of Kilwinning is the unexpected gem of Kilwinning Abbey.
Urban Quarters Review
My recent visit to Dundee was my fifth trip to the city in the last couple of years and as I had already covered most of the Dundee attractions on previous visits, I was looking forward to exploring the city like a local rather than a tourist. Thanks to an invite to experience the centrally located Urban Quarters apartments, I even had my own luxury Dundee pad for the weekend and you can't get much more local than that!
Since it was also my wedding anniversary that week it was the perfect opportunity to celebrate with Mr Adventures Around Scotland as Dundee is one of our favourite places.
Urban Quarters is made up of 4 individual apartments, each named after a famous Dundonian. We were allocated the two bedroom Patrick Geddes apartment on the top floor.
From walking in, we felt immediately at home. The designer apartment is fitted out to a high standard with lots of creative and quirky touches which I just loved. It is definitely the first (and will probably be the only) accommodation I have stayed at with a popcorn maker, 3D glasses and a record player (complete with an eclectic mix of albums). If you were watching my Instagram story you might recall me playing some Scottish tunes from the legendary jimmy Shand as our Friday night entertainment. I really know how to party!
If you would rather chill out than dance the night away to some cheesy tunes then a yoga mat and book of mindfulness is provided to help you relax. Personally, I was really impressed by the unique touches which all helped us to feel at home, in fact it felt better than my home as I don't have a popcorn maker or a Jimmy Shand album.
I can hardly believe that my little Scottish travel blog turned 3 this week and although I don't normally write blogging related posts, after 3 years I felt it was the right time to share some of the highs, lows and future of Adventures Around Scotland.
What started out as a way to fill my new found spare time when I relocated from Glasgow to the Isle of Bute has taken me on the most amazing journey, quite literally! When I started this blog, I thought I already knew Scotland pretty well but I've discovered that I hardly knew my country at all and even after all this time, I'm constantly finding new places to explore and my Scottish travel bucket list just keeps getting longer.
The trips I've enjoyed around Scotland over the past three years have left me with the most amazing memories and some of the experiences that I could only have dreamed about thanks to this blog (and all the hard work behind it!) include -
As you may have noticed from my Scottish travel blog, I spend much of my time travelling around Scotland searching out hidden gems. When I read about The Wild Guide to Scotland, which is released today, it sounded exactly like my kind of guide and I was excited to get my hands on a copy and check it out for myself.
The book comprises beautiful images and a decade worth of research. It aims to guide you to over 700 secret adventures, hidden places and wild escapes, including secret beaches, lost ruins and tiny islands.
Compiled by a trio of young Scottish photographer-explorers (Kimberley Grant, Richard Gaston and David Cooper), it is the latest release in the award winning Wild Guide series.
One thing that is a bit misleading from the title is that the guide doesn't cover the whole of Scotland, only the Highlands and Islands which is a shame, but for those looking to explore this area, there are plenty of inspirational ideas. One other disappointment for me was that my home island, the Isle of Bute, doesn't get a mention either despite there being lots of local wild adventures available.
The guide is a mixture of well known wild attractions such as the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye and Ben Nevis, along with lesser known gems such as Black Rock Gorge and Taynish Nature Reserve. It also provides ideas for places to eat, stay and visit in each area.
I think I know Scotland pretty well and although most of the suggestions were already familiar to me, there were still quite a few places I hadn't heard of. The Wild Guide to Scotland is ideal for anyone wanting to explore Scotland a little deeper and discover new places that aren't normally mentioned in traditional guidebooks.
It would be impossible to include all the amazing places that Scotland has to offer in one book (or blog!) but The Wild Guide to Scotland does provide plenty of inspiration for some memorable Scottish adventures.
You can buy The Wild Guide to Scotland here
enter my competition to be in with a chance of winning a copy!
WIN YOUR VERY OWN COPY OF THE WILD GUIDE TO SCOTLAND
Please note this competition is open to UK entries only.
All you need to do is enter your e-mail address to subscribe to my monthly newsletter via the app below.
If you are already a subscriber and would like to enter the competition, you must still submit your e-mail address in the app below to confirm your entry.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
When I stayed in Forres at the beginning of the year, I quickly realised just how many fascinating historical sites there are in the Moray area. Pictish stones, castles galore, Jacobite connections, quirky museums, Macbeth country, heritage whisky distilleries and a ruined yet still very impressive cathedral are just some of the diverse historical gems that drew me back a few months later. There are just so many historical attractions to visit in Moray that one visit just isn't enough, and as I have now found out, two visits aren't enough either as I still haven't made it to lots of historical places in the area, including Cawdor Castle which doesn't reopen until May and is still top of my list for next time.
However, I did manage to cover a lot of ground during both my stays and wanted to share with you 12 of the historical sites that I discovered in Moray which I think are worth a visit.
1. Elgin Catherdral
Scotland has more than its fair share of ruins, some hardly worth a mention and others, like Elgin Cathedral, which are well worth exploring. As ruins go, this medieval cathedral has lots to offer. What remains of the structure is impressive enough but for me the highlight is the large display of carved stones. I haven't come across a collection as magnificent as this anywhere else in Scotland and I was particularly spellbound with the lifelike detail of the faces.
Another unique display in Elgin Cathedral which I love is the effigy of Bishop Archibald, brought back to its former colourful glory with clever lighting effects.
As with all good Historic Scotland ruins there is a tower to climb which offers a rooftop perspective of the cathedral and open views across Elgin and beyond.
If you didn't know the history of Burghead before you arrived, you could mistakenly assume it is nothing more than a sleepy coastal village but you couldn't be more wrong. This is a village bursting with significant history and most of it is well hidden unless you know where to look. This unassuming place once held a strategic position of power, being surrounded by the sea on three sides made it an ideal location for what is reputed to have once been the largest Iron Age fort in Britain. Subsequently it was a site of significant power for the Northern Picts and later it was captured by Sigurd the Powerful, the Norse Earl of Orkney.
Burghead Fort is the only Pictish fort where bullstones have been found and you can view two of them in the tiny the heritage centre along with a model of what the fort might have looked like. You can also pick up the key for the mysterious Burghead Well from here (or the Bothy Bistro if the centre is shut). The main purpose of this man-made sunken pool is unknown although objects found within, including carved stones and a metal jug, have led to various theories including it being used as a shrine, a Christian baptistery and even a place for ritual executions. I recommend taking a torch if you want to look inside.
I suggest doing some local history research before visiting Burghead to fully appreciate just how important this area once was and you might even end up becoming as captivated by Burghead as I am!
Recently I have found myself receiving more invitations to speak about how to work with a Scottish travel blogger, coupled with a growing amount of inquiries from businesses and destinations that are interested in working with a travel blogger but don't know where to begin. From my own experience and chats to fellow bloggers it seems that there is a growing interest within Scotland to work with local travel bloggers but a lack of information available about how best to go about any potential partnership to maximise the chances of a successful marketing campaign.
I have been running my Scottish travel blog for almost 3 years now and throughout that time I have gained a huge amount of experience working on a wide range of collaborations with every size of business from global brands to small local startups. I have also worked on blogger campaigns with numerous destination management organisations, event organisers and accommodation providers. This first hand experience has given me a good understanding of what is needed to create a successful digital campaign and just as importantly, what elements can reduce the effectiveness of a campaign.
I decided that the best way to address the numerous queries and lack of information out there was to create a comprehensive guide to working with a Scottish travel blogger, based on my own experience and that of fellow bloggers. I had started out writing it as a blog post but quickly realised that the amount of material that I wanted to include to make it a valuable reference would have made it one of the longest blog posts ever! Instead, I have decided to make it available as a word document that I can e-mail out to anyone that is interested. This guide focuses only on working with travel bloggers based in Scotland rather than international bloggers as there are very different considerations involved and less flexibility.
Having created and worked on highly successful campaigns throughout Scotland which have positively benefited businesses and destinations, it is important to me that I dispel some of the misunderstandings about collaborating with Scottish travel bloggers and show the potential value in working with the right blogger. Working with a skilled professional local travel blogger can help you reach your target audience, provide an authentic and trustworthy voice to deliver your message, raise your online profile, help you stand out from your competitors and most importantly bring you new custom.
My comprehensive guide is split into three sections to cover the things you need to think about before, during and after a campaign to maximise its potential effectiveness and covers the following categories
My guide will be ready shortly and you can request your personal copy now by
e-mailing Susanne at
Follow me as I search for the best and most original travel experiences in Scotland.