Snow or no, there is no need for air

If you look at the adverts, Christmas cards or films, December is a time when snow covers the ground and sledges scoot about all over the place.

The reality can often be a little less white but that is no reason to stay indoors and ignore the wonderful sights and sounds on off er across Scotland – and the fresh air is a good break from all that shopping and wrapping ahead of the big day.

ABERDEEN allows you to indulge in some last minute impulse buying but also has the advantage of some great attractions to keep you occupied. Top of any list is the Aberdeen Maritime Museum, showing off the proud connections between the city and the North Sea. Fishing and seafaring are represented, as well as the oil and gas industry with a highlight being a huge model of a drilling rig. Just north of the city are the pointed summits of Bennachie, somewhere much more tranquil to escape to. If you are lucky enough to get snowy conditions, the forest below the hill makes for a winter wonderland while the views from above it will last long in the memory.

Away from city hustle and bustle is the pretty Highland village of NEWTONMORE. Nestled in the shadow of the Monadhliath Mountains, walking is an extremely popular activity – from Munros to Glens, riversides to lochs, but there is a lot more to do, including a visit to the Highland Folk Museum. The first open air museum on the British mainland when it opened in 1944, it documents and shows in replicas, how our ancestors lived in the wild country around the village. The nearby Clan Macpherson museum houses relics and a fascinating insight into one of Scotland’s largest clans, which dominates this area. Natural history is to the fore a few miles down the road, at the Highland Wildlife Park. Run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, it has wildcats, a polar bear and snow leopard.

Further south the TWEED VALLEY is also blessed with the mighty river fl owing gently below. For some the salmon fishing on off er in the iconic waters is all you could wish for in these parts but for others the idea of walking the hills is a “must do”. The source of the 97 mile river is in the Lowther Hills, not far from the source of the Clyde, and it then flows all the way to the North Sea, passing many beautiful places to visit along the way. These include Dawyck Botanic Garden, part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Neidpath Castle near Peebles and Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott. Further downstream is the pretty town of Melrose with its abbey, good eateries and rugby heritage. After passing Dryburgh Abbey and Kelso the water course nears the English border, eventually reaching it at Coldstream. Finally, it empties into the sea below the high bridges of Berwick. TC
Published: November 2017