I’m from Scotland and Scotland is beautiful. Here are my favourite places.
#5 – Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond is about 45 minutes from Glasgow and is where I spent a lot of weekends as a child. As an adult it was the site of my first camping trip, my first camp fire and my first row boat hire.
Luss is a historic village with beautiful views over the loch. In summer, the beach is host to many families with dogs, playing in the ice cold water. In winter, it’s lovely to grab a bowl of homemade soup from The Village Rest.
We first went camping at Beinglas Campsite which is right beside The West Highland Way and The Drover’s Inn. This pub and hotel is 300 years old and houses old weapons, stuffed animals and a few ghosts. It’s a nice place to stop for a drink or food (the hunter’s chicken is amazing). We’ve even been up for an evening of music but when we got there the electricity was out. It was lovely having a drink by candlelight. We even stayed here in October 2016 which I actually found a bit scary. It’s not the cleanest of hotel rooms but it’s popular amongst ghost hunters and historians.
#4 – Glasgow
Glasgow is where I went to university and I still see it as home. Despite growing up 20 minutes out of the city, I still feel like I’m from here.
For day I would recommend a visit to Kelvingrove Art Gallery or The Botanic Gardens. If it’s really sunny, head over to Kelvingrove Park where all of the students sun bathe and sneakily drink beer (it’s illegal in Glasgow to drink in the street).
For night there are some amazing restaurants around the Finnieston area. We used to live in a flat here, but since we moved it seems like they’ve got even more cool bars and places to eat. I like to visit The Ben Nevis which is a wee old Scottish pub which sometimes has live music. Towards Glasgow University, Ashton Lane is great. Grosvenor Cafe does amazing cocktails (try a flaming zombie) and just a few streets over, Hillhead Bookclub does a strawberry gin mojito for £3. In the centre of town Howling Wolf is good for beer and Nanakusa has great Japanese food.
#3 – Kintyre
I had to put Kintyre on the list because I’ve lived here for almost 3 years and I still love it. It’s the peninsula on the west coast of Scotland which we always refer to as “the penis”. We live in Campbeltown which is the biggest town in the area. It’s about 3 hours drive away from Glasgow but feels really remote. What’s so interesting about the area is that you can’t possibly just be driving through it to get to somewhere else – if you end up here, either you’re really lost or you meant to get as far away from civilisation (whilst still being on mainland Scotland) as possible. There are ferries in the summer and a working airport. There are no trains but you can get a 4 hour bus from Glasgow.
The best thing about living here is the scenery. Kintyre is surrounded by beaches and during the summer we like to grab a barbecue and sit out all night. There is also great surfing which I tried last year (and failed miserably at).
Food is great. For a nice meal, I’d recommend The Old Clubhouse in Machrihanish, wheareas if you’d like bar food and good craft beer Whisky Mac’s in Campbeltown is good. For cakes, Muneroy in Southend is the place to go. I’d phone ahead and book a place though, we’ve tried to go a few times when it’s been full. Campbeltown has is really into whisky and there are a few distilleries around which opperate tours. The Ardshiel Hotel has a great collection in their bar.
Kintyre has a few music festivals: The Mull of Kintyre Music Festival in Campbeltown in August and The Tarbert Music Festival in September. If you’re into sports, there are a number of running, walking and biking events all year round. A favourite is the MACC Challenge which is an obsticle race in the local air base. It usually happens in November and sells out fast.
#2 – Skye
This is a bit of a cheat because it’s a whole island but it’s my blog so I can do whatever the hell I want. I visited when I was in high school and again in October 2015. It’s such a beautiful place and I wish we could go back this year. Sadly it takes 6 hours from Campbeltown so I doubt we’ll make it there before we go to Canada in the summer.
When we last went I was in a bit of an Outlander moment. We spent the time wandering around castles and little towns. The best part of our trip was visiting the Fairy Pools which actually inspired a scene in my book. We got there quite early (about 9am) which meant we beat the rush. After we had taken photos, we looked back up to the road and saw a tourist hoard heading towards us. We felt pretty smug with our beautiful, quiet 30 minutes. We even saw an eagle circling ahead.
We stayed in a lovely wee bed and breakfast called Cruinn Bheinn which was very friendly and romantic. We didn’t get to go to any nice restaurants but Merchant Bar in Portree was good for a drink.
#1 – Aviemore and The Cairngorms
I’ve had some great times in Aviemore and the surrounding area since I went with a group to stay with my friend who’s parents had a house in Kingussie. Whether it’s summer or winter there are loads of things to do. We try to go at least twice a year and we’ll be heading back again in February 2017.
In the winter we go skiing or walking. So far the skiing has been pretty bad, with blizzards so I’m really hoping it’s ok this month. In summer we’ve been camping and swimming.
One year we went, Aviemore was the hottest place in the UK and we ended up on TV. We always go for a wander around Rothiemurchus for gifts then go for a walk near Glenmore Lodge. On the way to the town we stop in at The House of Bruar. We had a great trip in November 2016 because they had their Christmas market on and I got to drink lots of gin because Vince was driving.
The Mountain Cafe is our favourite place to eat and the savoury scones are the best. We also like the Skiing-Do for it’s burgers. We usually stay in the Aviemore Youth Hostel which has very clean rooms and a nice lounge. It’s nice to watch rugby on the TV there as there is usually a crowd.