Tips from the locals: natural Scotland

To celebrate the Year of Natural Scotland 2013 we have put together some tips from self-catering owners on great local spots to enjoy the beauty of natural Scotland, from wildlife watching to stunning landscapes.

Corran Ferry

1. The Corran Ferry, Highlands:
The Corran Ferry, just a couple of miles from Springwell Cottages, takes you to Argour (a 5 minute crossing) where you can enjoy the spectacular Ardnamurchan Peninsula, including the iconic wild oakwoods, Sana Bay and the most westerly point of mainland Britain.  You can also take the ferry across to the magical Isle of Mull.

2. Porpoise watching, Dumfries and Galloway:
Porpoises can be easily seen around the Dumfries and Galloway coast throughout the year.  You can often see them as they feed close to the shore, usually in small groups.  A great spot to see porpoises is at Balcary Point, near Auchencairn.  They are easiest to see on a calm day and you do need a lot of patience.  Guests at Orroland Holiday Cottages can regularly view porpoises from the private sea shore.

3. Loch Etive boat trip, Argyll:
Journey down one of Scotland’s most attractive, yet often overlooked, lochs – Loch Etive.  The three hour round trip to the head of the loch is magical, with Donald as your guide.  You can see seals, Cormorants and, if you are lucky, a golden eagle.  Loch Etive is close to Airdeny Chalets.

4. Buchanty Spout, Perthshire:
This secret spot on the River Almond is six miles from Cloag Farm Cottages.  It is where the river cascades over a narrow gorge, with a spectacular waterfall and rapids.  Salmon making their way upriver in September have to negotiate this, and must leap up the waterfall, making it an ideal place to spot them.  There is a tiny car park, and a short path to some flat rocks which provides a great viewing platform.

5. Wildlife walk, Scottish Borders:
This is a wonderful circular walk in the sheltered Teviot Valley, not far from Hendersyde Farm Cottages, where you might see otters, fish, flowers and birds, as well as the skills of salmon fishers. The starting point for the walk is at Junction Pool in Kelso, where the Rivers Tweed and Teviot meet.  The walk takes you across the Teviot via the Roxburgh Viaduct and follows an elevated path along an old railway line, with far-reaching views across the Scottish Borders to Melrose.

6. The Tore of Troup, Aberdeenshire:
The Tore of Troup, near Mill of Nethermill, is a Site of Specific Scientific Interest and a Special Landscape area, yet it is largely unknown to the public.  This walk will take you through a spectacular glacial meltwater glen and gives you the opportunity to see a multitude of wildlife such as deer, hare, otters and Scottish wild cat.  About 45 minutes into the walk, you will come across a beautiful waterfall that is part of an abandoned timber mill.  To get there, take the B9031 from Macduff (The Coastal Trail East) towards Pennan for approximately 8 miles.  Immediately past the ‘Old Doctor’s House’ turn right, and park at the side of the road roughly 200 meters from the turn off – the track will be on your left.

This is the first in a series of blog posts on natural Scotland – look out for upcoming posts with more tips on off-the-track beauty spots from self-caterers across the country.

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