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Issue 92 - Where the wild things are

Scotland Magazine Issue 92
April 2017

 

This article is 7 months old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Where the wild things are

Christopher Coates on Scotland's remote landscapes

There is nothing like a trip to the countryside to help reinvigorate the spirit. Especially after a long winter, escaping the city — even a beautiful one like Edinburgh — can come as a real relief. Once out of the urban environment, I'm always struck by the vitality of the natural world and how it stands in stark contrast to the sterility of modern living.

A particularly pleasant reminder of the rural landscape's vivacity came during a recent stroll along the banks of the River Tummel near Pitlochry. A cacophony of diverse birdsong pervaded the atmosphere, delivered at incredible volume by hundreds of tiny creatures that were eager to remind anyone who would listen that the warmer months are finally here.

But even in more remote, windswept areas, one is still never truly alone. Last month I learned this lesson myself, while walking on the Dalnacardoch Estate. Upon rounding a bend, I found myself face-to-face (quite literally) with a magnificent red deer stag. I’m not sure who was more surprised! Regardless, this experience served as a fitting reminder of why so many people find themselves drawn to Scotland’s wild places.

Exploring this idea further, Geoff Allan has related the history of bothies — rudimentary dwellings found in the most remote reaches of the hinterland. Reaching them can be a challenge that's not for the faint of heart, but that's really the whole point. Bothies offer shelter in regions that would otherwise be almost impossible to explore. The reward? Some of the best views Scotland has to offer.

The focus of our regional feature in this issue is another of Scotland’s truly special rural locations: the Isle of Skye. Once again, Charles Douglas is our guide and he will help us follow the road to Skye — whether we choose to travel by land, sea, or air. He has also visited the Clan Donald Centre and the Museum of the Isles at the impressive Armadale Castle.

Taking a more gentle pace, Keith Fergus has drifted down the River Dee and related its dramatic social and natural history, while John Hannavy has once again indulged his passion for steam in a focus on the legacy of the great James Watt. Meanwhile, James Irvine Robertson brings us the tale of a failed uprising in the picturesque Glen Shiel and expands upon the history of the warrior people of Clan Maclean. For those of you planning a holiday to Scotland, we have also provided a programme of the country's very best events and festivals that will take place during the coming year. I trust you shall find it useful!

Finally, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to peruse the results of the 2017 Scottish Hotel Awards. Hopefully you will have a chance to visit some of these wonderful establishments for yourself during the months ahead.