White cottage at Arisaig

Arisaig (2)

This pretty white cottage on the shore at Arisaig in north-west Scotland is actually the Club House of the Traigh Golf Club.   The nine-hole course enjoys one of the most picturesque settings in the whole of Scotland! To find out more about what's on offer at Arisaig, visit the community … [Read more...]

Falkland Palace: power and glory

Falkland entrance 2

In 1542, James V of Scotland lay dying in Falkland Palace.   He was still only 30, but he had lived a full and rather stressful life.   The son of the tempestuous Margaret Tudor, he’d been held captive here for two years by his stepfather, he had sired at least seven illegitimate children, and his … [Read more...]

Castle Coeffin: guarding a broken heart

Castle Coeffin (3)

The ruins of Castle Coeffin stand on the western shore of Lismore, a low-lying island in the Firth of Lorn. To get there, you have to walk a mile or so across fields that are bordered with stone walls, and if you’re blessed with good weather you will have far-reaching views over to the mountains … [Read more...]

Portraits of a cold climate

Approaching snowstorm

We took these photos in late March, in the mountains around Loch Tay.   I have chosen them for their colour, patterns and textures, and their overwhelming coldness.   Spring hasn't reached the uplands of Perthshire yet, but the landscape is still beautiful, even in the grip of ice.   (Click on any … [Read more...]

Skye’s ‘coral beach’

Claigan 11

Claigan Beach on Skye’s Vaternish peninsula is famous for its dazzling white sand... which is not sand at all, but a coralline deposit formed by a type of seaweed known as maërl. Unusually for a seaweed, maërl grows a hard outer skeleton by depositing lime in its cell walls, forming little … [Read more...]

Glen Lonan: ‘The Road of the Kings’

Glen Lonan (1)

If you’re travelling from the east of Scotland towards Oban, you’ll pass through the small village of Taynuilt before reaching Connel and then following the coastal road south. But if you have time, it’s worth taking a detour down a quiet glen that will transport you back to the era of Scotland’s … [Read more...]

Wildlife of the Caledonian forest

Crested tit Parus cristatus on dead branch Vastmanland Sweden

Following on from my feature on the Scots pine, I thought I'd take a look at five of the key wildlife species of the Caledonian forest.  My good friend, wildlife photographer Mike Read, has kindly allowed me to use some of his brilliant photos. Capercaillie    Tetrao urogallus There’s no mistaking … [Read more...]

Over the sea to…

Tobermory

I've been racking my brains to come up with a new quiz for you, and this one involves some travel by sea!   My questions are all focused on the beautiful islands that lie off Scotland's west coast. I realise that not all of my readers have a detailed knowledge of the geography or history of … [Read more...]

Iona: an island beyond words

Iona 6

This week I watched the last episode of Neil Oliver's excellent series 'The Sacred Wonders of Britain', and among the sites he chose to visit was the island of Iona. Iona is one of my very favourite places, and the atmosphere there is hard to describe.  'Tranquil' doesn't quite go far enough.   … [Read more...]

Killiecrankie: haunted by memories

Killiecrankie 6

A few miles to the north-west of Pitlochry is a beautiful glen known as the Pass of Killiecrankie.   Here, the River Garry flows through a steep-sided gorge, foaming and roaring between narrow straits and then broadening into a dark green ribbon fringed with woods of beech, birch, oak and hazel.In … [Read more...]