Snow Time Like The Present

The turn of the year is always a time to make plans for the future and what is better to look forward to than a trip away from it all?

Scotland could provide a never-ending, yearround holiday with so many destinations and in winter it is always a delight to enjoy some snow with a low sun illuminating the frosty conditions.

DOUNE’S Castle is better known to many as Castle Leoch, the home of Colum MacKenzie and his clan, in the hit TV show Outlander and as a result has seen visitor numbers rocket in recent years. The picturesque battlements above the River Teith may also be known to some as being in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Doune itself is a good base to explore this part of the southern Highlands with some splendid scenery as well as activities. Just to the north is Argaty Red Kites where you can see one of Scotland’s most beautiful birds of prey and gain an insight into their lives. For a different experience, just next to Doune is the Deanston Distillery where a very good visitor centre tells you all you need to know about Scotland’s national drink.

LOCH KEN in Galloway is another great place to see red kites. The Galloway Kite Trail, which runs around the loch, was set up in 2003 and has stopping points where you have a good chance of seeing the iconic creature. One of the other big attractions is the Galloway Activity Centre which has a range of pursuits from sailing to mountain biking, kayaking to archery. Just south of the loch are Threave Gardens, looked after by the National Trust for Scotland as one of the best landscaped gardens in the south of the country. For a little more energetic recreation there is much walking to be enjoyed in the area and to the north, at St John’s Town of Dalry, you can link up with the Southern Upland Way long distance footpath.

When it comes to quaint little villages nestled in the mountains it is hard to look any further than MOULIN above Pitlochry. The village inn, dating back to 1695 and with its own brewhouse next door, is as cosy as it comes and after a cold day is the ultimate place to relax with a warming drink. To earn the rest, and drink, you can climb the stunning Ben Vrackie with its proper, pointed, summit and views across the Perthshire Highlands to the Grampians. You could also enjoy your drink at the nearby Edradour Distillery, the smallest traditional distillery in Scotland, which off ers tastings and tours. Below Moulin is Killiecrankie, a stunning gorge where a Jacobite army led by Bonnie Dundee defeated government forces in 1689. Legend says that one soldier made good his escape by jumping across the gorge at a point now known as Soldier's Leap. The National Trust for Scotland visitor centre is closed during the winter months but great viewpoints can still be reached and are the best bit after all. TC
Published: November 2017