These tips come from those who know and love Stirlingshire. And what’s not to love? Charming towns and villages, the historic city of Stirling with its fantastic castle (don’t miss the Tapestries), the dreamy scenery of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, views to nourish the soul… Whether you want to unwind in tranquil surroundings, go sightseeing, delve into Scotland’s history or step off the beaten track, Stirlingshire is an ideal holiday destination. And this year there are unique Homecoming 2014 events to enjoy, such as the grand opening of the Kelpies (see below) and Bannockburn Live.
As always we asked our holiday home owners for their suggestions on exploring Stirlingshire, and this month we also invited Scotland-lover and photo-blogger Dougie Baird to share his favourite ‘hidden gem’ tip. Take a look below for Dougie’s little-known three loch drive and a host of other great suggestions…
When asked about hidden gems I always mention Loch Arklet – a great little loch with wonderful views over to the Arrocher Alps. To get there you drive through Aberfoyle, past Loch Chon and onto stunning Arklet. It’s a great picnic spot in the summer and a fantastic photo stop in the winter. The road is not the best but the views are stunning.
After Archlet drive onto Stronachlachar. You are now at Loch Katrine pier at Stronachlachar where the Sir Walter Scott Steamer calls in the mornings. There is a tearoom, a phone box and fabulous views down the loch to the east. Eilean Dharag, a picturesque island, lies just off the pier. From here head to Inversnaid – a lovely village on the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond. Don’t forget your camera! ~ Dougie Baird (for more Scotland trips, take a look at Dougie’s Great Travel Pictures blog).
On the River Endrick, east of Fintry, you’ll find The Loup at Fintry waterfall – a lovely picnic spot. Also, don’t miss the salmon leaping when the Endrick is in spate – a sight to delight and fascinate children. ~ Carol and Mark Seymour, Thorntree Barn
Inchmahome Island and Priory is located in Scotland’s only lake – the Lake of Menteith. This is probably best visited on a fine day, avoid Sundays and bank holidays if you can as it can get busy. On the northern side of the loch and just before the hotel there is a jetty where a ferry runs back and forth from 9am-5pm, Easter to October. It is a really magical place, with impressive remains of the 12th century priory and, although you aren’t allowed to climb all over the ruins as we did as children, you can still run round the island. Look for the Yew Tree clearing, where I always imagined the infant Mary Queen of Scots played! And have a picnic. There is only a tiny shop on the island so provisions should be taken with you (and away, if there’s any left over!). ~ Christopher Nairn, Lochend Chalets
Ospreys have nested in the dead pine at Morenish for the past five years – on each occasion rearing two chicks. They can even be seen from the dining tables in our self-catering cottage! ~ Ken Chew, Morenish Mews
The Kelpies at The Helix Park will be opening in spring 2014 – two towering horse heads that rise above the Forth and Clyde Canal. Another tip is to visit Duncarron Medieval Fort constructed near Denny (part sponsored by Russell Crowe). It’s an educational visitor attraction – make sure you wear boots/wellies! ~ Glenise Borthwick, Glenvarloch
I love the drive from Aberfoyle to Callander – a beautiful journey through scenic landscape. Also, if you’re in the Killin area, you can see the pretty Falls of Dochart meandering through the middle of town. ~ Jenifer Moffat, Airdeny Chalets
Why not choose a home-from-home as your base to explore Stirlingshire during Homecoming 2014?
If you have any tips to add, we’d love to hear them! Please leave any comments below.