Scabious Crop

Devil’s-bit scabious

These pretty blooms of late summer are an important food source for butterflies and bees

Innerpeffray Collage

Innerpeffray: Scotland’s oldest free lending library

By the quiet waters of the River Earn in Perthshire is an unexpected treasurehouse of books. Step inside and prepare to be spellbound!

Ash tree Dollar Glen

The fire of the ash

The ash is a beguiling tree, elegant in all seasons, and mother to a host of legends

Fowlis 2

The Pictish stone of Fowlis Wester

The Picts liked to blend drama, devotion and mystery in their sculptures – or so it seems to us now – and this is one of their most spectacular offerings

Culross Abbey Crop

Culross Abbey

High on the hillside above Culross Palace are the peaceful ruins of a very old monastery with links to St Mungo and St Serf

Kilmartin CW March 2016 26

Kilmartin Glen: Nether Largie South

Stepping down through the layers of time into the darkness of a Neolithic chambered cairn

Culross Crop 2

Culross Palace: glowing with splendour

Its walls the colour of saffron, Culross Palace beckons you into a 17th-century world of cobbled streets and quaint townhouses

Loch Avich crop 2

Loch Avich and the Castle of the Red-haired Girl

I knew there had to be a story attached to this; I hope you’ll find it as spellbinding as I did!

WILDLIFE AND NATURE

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Ballachuan hazel wood

I’ve never walked through a woodland quite like this one: the ancient hazel wood of Ballachuan on the island of Seil

Marsh Marigold, King Cup 5

Marsh marigold: the yellow plant of Beltane

Lighting up wetlands and boggy places, kingcup flowers are dazzling in their brilliance

Celandine crop

Lesser celandine: greeting the sun

Star-like flowers of pure yellow welcome the first spring sunshine

HISTORY

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Temple Wood stone circles, Kilmartin Glen

We might have forgotten what went on there, but we’re still drawn to stone circles like moths to a flame – and this one in Kilmartin Glen is certainly alluring

Achnabreck (15)

Prehistoric rock art at Achnabreck

Who carved these intriguing symbols, and why? If there’s wisdom in beauty, we can surely glimpse it here in this ancient woodland above Kilmartin Glen

Rosslyn Castle Crop

Rosslyn Castle – falling shadows

Gaunt and brooding, the battered fragments of a spectacular fortress stand in the woodlands of Roslin Glen

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Ardchattan: in the footsteps of St Baodan

Sometimes the most beautiful churches have the least to say: this is certainly true of Kilmodan, high above Loch Etive